In Gear Career Chapter Locations for Military Spouse Professionals as of May 12, 2014



Kaitlin Leonard, Dann Spann, Monica Roy



Sue Lowe



Shelly Habeck, Kelly Coughlan, Kim Eldred



Sarah Stowell



Amanda Crowe



Zuleika Hernandez, Kelly Wilke



Jill Warning



Lindsay Teplesky, Christie Nix



Danielle Cournia, Josie Beets KENTUCKY – FT KNOX

Michelle Campbell



Amy Bontrager



Susan Woodson Pilley, Megan Stainbrook



Tammy Meyer



Katie Christy



Kathleen Foley



Anna Startzell



Allison Treloar



Katherine Adler, Pamela Alvarado










Fort Stewart



San Antonio


Bethesda/Ft. Meade



Various sub-chapters


To start a chapter in your location, email us at for more information!

The Must-Have Resource for the Career-Minded Military Spouse

With nearly 70% of open jobs filled by referral, having a professional network is essential to a successful career, no matter what stage we’re in: actively looking for a new job, considering a return to the workforce in the near future, or happily employed.

The frequent relocations associated with the military lifestyle make it particularly challenging for career-minded military spouses to build this essential network of professional contacts—contacts that can open the door to unadvertised job openings.

Each time we PCS to a new duty station, we often have to start from scratch to find employment commensurate with advanced education and experience. And even though we may be surrounded by the spouse community at large, being a military spouse with career ambitions can sometimes be frustrating and isolating.

That’s why we’re here to help.

In Gear Career is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life, morale, and stability of military families by enabling military spouses to seek and obtain professional employment alongside their service members.

Through our local chapters, website, and social media channels, we offer career-minded military spouses like you opportunities to:

  • build your professional network and advance your job search by connecting you with local business leaders
  • expand your knowledge though career resources and professional development opportunities
  • be a part of a supportive community of like-minded spouses to who understand the challenges of balancing a professional career with the demands of a military lifestyle.

You’ll find advice tailored to the needs of military spouse professionals, tips and tricks to help you get ahead in your career, and much more.

In Gear Career currently has more than 16 local chapters throughout the U.S. and Europe, with more planned for 2014.

Join Us – Find Your Local Chapter

Take charge of your career! Get started by creating your FREE account here.

In Gear Career for Military Spouses to Share Professional Development and Networking Expertise at 2013 AUSA Expo

For entrepreneurial military spouses, running a business provides the opportunity to have a professional career in spite of the challenges they face living the military lifestyle. Thirteen successful military spouse small business professionals will have an opportunity to showcase their businesses at next week’s Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Expo in Washington, D.C., thanks to the Military Spouse CEO Experience.

“We’re thrilled that talented military spouse entrepreneurs will be featured at the Expo’s Military Spouse CEO Experience Pavilion. In Gear Career is excited to help these talented professionals network effectively with the many attendees and fellow exhibitors at this year’s event. It’s a great opportunity for these military spouse professionals to showcase the value their businesses bring to the marketplace,” said Executive Director Amanda Patterson Crowe.

To help these entrepreneurs maximize the opportunities to build their businesses, In Gear Career will provide them with hands on strategic networking coaching throughout the expo. These businesses represent a wide variety of industries and target markets, so the coaching will be customized to meet the needs of each company, their business models, and individual goals for the expo.

“In Gear Career provides free professional development resources and networking opportunities to military spouse job seekers through more than 15 local chapters across the country. We’re excited to offer our expertise and mentor these dynamic and talented business leaders,” Crowe explained.

This is the inaugural year for the Military Spouse CEO Experience, which is the brainchild of military spouse professionals Adrianna Domingos-Lupher of MSB New Media, Lori L. Volkman of Trajectory Communications, and Wendy Poling of My Military Life Radio, and underwritten by Armed Forces Insurance, MetLife, UPS and the Virginian Suites of Arlington.

This year’s businesses participating in the Military Spouse CEO Experience Pavilion:

• Christina Bell Landry, Dumbell Fitness
• Jessica Bertsch, Power House Planning
• El Brown, Kinderjam
• Stephanie Brown, The Rosie Network
• Lori Churchill, Lock n Load Java
• Kellie Dudley, R. Riveter
• Marijke Landon, Nomadés Collection
• Ginger Miller, Women Veterans Interactive
• Stephen Peters, The American Military Partners Association
• Jennifer Pilcher, Military One Click
• Bridget Platt, Daddy’s Deployed
• Lee Platt, Avening Management & Technical Services
• Ashley Thompson, Smash Creative Services

Five Creative Job Search Strategies for Military Spouses

Creative job search strategies for career minded military spousesNot only is it mind-numbingly repetitive to spend 40 hours a week firing off cover letters and resumes with the precision of a Swiss assembly line, it’s not an effective strategy to land full-time employment. With a little creativity and initiative, career-minded military spouses can continue to advance their careers while looking for full time opportunities.

Here are five must-do strategies to help you stay marketable during a job search:

1. Volunteer

Volunteering is one of the best ways to stay marketable in during a job hunt. You will not only gain useful experience that, if positioned correctly, can be used to fill in gaps in your employment history, you will open up a wide range of networking opportunities that could lead to future full-time employment.

That said, it’s important to be strategic about your volunteer work. While spending your weekends swinging a hammer and building houses for the poor is certainly noble, focus your volunteer efforts on opportunities where you can build upon the skills you already use in your career. Alternatively, seek out opportunities to build your “soft skills,” such as leadership, that are in demand no matter what field you are in. Step up and chair that FRG committee that no one wants to lead or run for an executive position on the school PTA.

2. Network, Network, Network

If it feels like we’ve been beating this idea to death, well, we are—but with good reason! The majority of senior-level and professional positions are filled through referrals, so use your time to stay in contact with your professional network, and actively seek opportunities to expand it.

But what if you are new to an area and don’t know anyone? Most, if not all, military spouses have been in this position at least once during a service member’s career. First, check out In Gear Career to see if there is already an established local chapter in your new area. Also, look for networking events sponsored by the local chamber of commerce or college. Or better yet, try #3.

3. Join a Professional Organization

Professional organizations of all kinds exist in nearly every city and state, and being active in the right organization is smart way to build your professional network and stay up to date on industry trends.

Think about the industry-specific major organizations in your field. Sign up for the local chapter, and you’ll have access to networking opportunities and educational events that will help you in the know. If there isn’t a local chapter, sign up for the chapter nearest you and stay in close contact with those members online through the organization’s listserv or forums.

If there isn’t an industry-specific professional organization near you, consider joining an organization comprised of professionals from diverse industries, such as the National Association of Professional Women or Toastmasters International.

4. Keep Learning

While it may not be feasible to go back to school full time, you can still keep your skills current, often with very little added expense.

Coursera and EdX offer free online classes taught by leading university professors. You can also take advantage of the (often free) whitepapers, tutorials and webinars offered by companies and professional organizations (usually as a way to attract new customers/members). And don’t overlook that wonderful resource called YouTube. It’s not only a repository of funny cat videos and internet memes, it’s one of the best how-to tools ever invented. Need to learn how to use a specific software program? There are hundreds, if not thousands, of video tutorials available to choose from.

5. Freelance

Freelancing is an excellent way to keep your skills sharp, build your online brand and make connections that can greatly help your career trajectory. And let’s not forget the fact that you get paid and will likely have flexibility with your work schedule—something important to nearly every military spouse, especially during a service member’s deployment.

Check out this blog for a list of the best freelancing websites and suggestions on how to use each of them effectively.

Got any strategies to stay marketable while looking for a job? Share them here.

Seven Strategies for Job Fair Success

Attending a job fair may not lead to an immediate job offer, but it is an excellent opportunity to expand your professional network and connect with potential employers and other job seekers that can help you advance your career. Here are seven strategies to help you succeed at your next job fair.

1. Keep Your Expectations Realistic

Let’s face it: a job fair can feel a bit like a hyper-competitive cattle call. There will likely be 500 people applying for 15 positions. Receiving a job offer is pretty unlikely, so your efforts should focus on making a positive impression on recruiters at your targeted companies and building networking connections that you can leverage in your career development efforts.

2. Do Your Pre-Event Homework

Review the list of companies attending the fair to see which ones have openings for applicants with your skill set. Spend time researching these companies before the event and make them the focus of your time at the fair.

3. Create and Practice Your Elevator Speech

Recruiters will meet hundreds of candidates at the job fair. To have any hope of being remembered, you need to perfect an “elevator speech”: your 30 second pitch about who you are, what skills and experience you have, and what value you would bring to an employer. Start by writing out it on paper, and practicing it a few times with a friend before the job fair.

4. Smile…and Put Your Best Foot Forward

No, I don’t mean wear comfortable shoes (although that’s definitely a must). Putting your best foot forward at a job fair means using your pre-event preparation to market yourself to potential employers. Simply handing your resume to a recruiter won’t impress them. Draw on your research about the company to ask the recruiter questions about the position you are interested in, and demonstrate that you understand the company’s business. Be sure to offer the recruiter your card, and ask for one of theirs. And don’t forget to smile.

5. Arrive Early

This one’s a no brainer. Arriving early will help you avoid the long lines, make your time more productive, and give you more opportunities to network with companies and fellow jobseekers.

6. Map out your route

You planned and prioritized a list of companies you want to visit. Now it’s time to marry that up with a map of the show floor so you can be efficient with your time. A good strategy is to meet with the more popular employers on your list early in the day, before the lines become unmanageable (another benefit of arriving early). Spend the remaining time focused the secondary companies on your list, as well as networking with other job seekers.

7. Follow Up Quickly

Recruiters meet hundreds of candidates at job fairs, so you must act quickly to stay top of mind. Send a thank you email after the event to each recruiter you met within 48 hours. Reference where and when you met, the position you are interested in, and thank them for their time. Be sure to invite them to connect on LinkedIn as well. Even if you don’t receive a response from the recruiter, your thank you email will demonstrate professionalism and follow up that can help set you apart from your competition.

Got any job fair success strategies? Share them here: