Dear Career: How Can I Hide That I'm a Military Spouse?

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You’ve heard the story before. You may have even told the story to a friend over a cup of coffee, “How can I hide the fact that I'm a military spouse from potential employers? I can't tell you how many times in the past I've been qualified for a job and got called in for an interview, only to be cut short when they realize I'm a military spouse.”

And, well we haven’t exactly found the way to avoid sharing that you’re a military spouse, but we may have some ideas.

So you may not be able to hide your military spouse status -- and in some cases, you may not need to.

Although employers are not supposed to ask about marital status during an interview, many still ask, or they get around the restriction by asking the dreaded: "Soooo, what brought you to the area?"

Aside from these questions, savvy employers may be able to identify you as a military spouse if your resume or LinkedIn Profile contains locations (when everything starts with "Fort," that's a dead giveaway).

Before you decide how to approach the issue, start with a little research. Does the company advertise itself as military friendly? Does your interviewer have evidence of being a veteran or being a military supporter in their office? If so, I suggest you own up to your status but do so with a positive attitude.

Related: The Military Spouse Employment Manual

For example, "The military brought us to the area and we're looking forward to making Leavenworth home for as long as the military allows us to stay. I'm excited to spend that time working for your company. And who knows, perhaps we can work out an arrangement for me to work remotely if I must leave the area in the future."

If they don't advertise their military affinities, or if you're sure they won't find your spouse status a plus, you can take one of two approaches. You can still take the approach above (because they may peg you anyway), or you can do your best to work around the question and keep the focus on you.

Example: "Personal circumstances brought us here, but I'm excited to settle in and make the area home. I hope you'll let me find a home in your company as well!" Or "Personal circumstances brought us to the area and I am so excited to have found an opportunity that fits my skill set so well."

The reality is your family's military affiliation is likely to come to light at some point. Do you really want to work for an employer where you feel as though you need to hide?

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