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Love of travel

Military spouse and blogger leverages spouse skills to land local travel job

Mandy Kruger on a WSDOT ferry taking photos for her blog, Mapping with Mandy. Photo credit: Mapping With Mandy

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Trying to have a career as a military spouse is very challenging with the constant moves causing gaps in your resumé. Military spouse Mandy Kruger utilized her skills to start a travel blog and keep her resumé up to date with the frequent changes and unexpected aspects of military life.

"Blogging is a great opportunity to brand yourself and express your interests," Kruger explained. "It's also helped me to keep my resumé current during PCS moves. I've always enjoyed writing and learning through my passion of traveling. At Fort Bragg, I joined forces with a fellow military spouse, Sarah Adams, who is extremely skilled in marketing, social media and web design. She originally convinced me to start writing the blog as a travel and leisure resource for military spouses. After moving to JBLM (Joint Base Lewis-McChord), I hired her on to assist me and eventually we created Mapping With Mandy, my blog."

"I've been blogging for six months now. My website is still very new but my growth has been consistent! Pinterest and Instagram are the main channels for growth. We're currently working on some new things for monetization. I've learned to be very careful about how and what products to accept or write about. It's all about being true to my brand and gaining credibility in the industry.

She has always had a love of travel. "In 2001, I started working in leisure travel prior to becoming a military spouse. Back then, I went to a travel school that taught me the global reservations systems and travel theory. That was a very long time ago, and there's many different ways to get in the business now. Through each PCS move, I've grown in my field and held various leadership roles in leisure travel and cruise sales," she said.

In August of this year, Kruger landed a job at Seattle Southside. "My journey at Seattle Southside has been a perfect match because I get to help utilize my industry knowledge to network and help promote the Seattle Southside region. I love working with our hoteliers and partners in the area. Seattle's backyard is such a fun place to explore, and so close to JBLM. There's everything from exploring Redondo Beach, eating delicious seafood at Salty's, savoring amazing chocolate at Seattle Chocolates, shopping till you drop at Westfield Southcenter, staycationing at one of the affordable airport hotels and riding the light rail to downtown Seattle," she shared.

Kruger has found that many of the skills she learned as a military spouse have helped her in her career. "There are too many to list! I think as military spouses we are quick to become resilient. We easily adapt and learn new skills as industry demands change. I'm learning the art of blogging, technology and social media trends now, but who knows, next year I may need to utilize project management skills learned through Family FRG and other volunteerism roles as a military spouse."

"Keep learning," is her advice to military spouse sisters. "Utilize the MyCAA grant (if you qualify) to help land an in-demand job. Volunteer during the gaps in employment. I can't tell you how many times volunteering in a spouses club, or as an FRG leader has helped me in my career search," she said. The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program provides financial assistance up to $4,000 over two years for military spouses to pursue education that leads to a portable career field and occupation. 

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