With every new duty station, a sense of “starting over” happens for military spouses and their career. Your spouse is guaranteed a job, and you’re not. From personal experience, military spouse employment is definitely a process. With new potential employers, you have the arduous task of explaining why you’re in the market for a new job and why you moved. The answer of “I followed my husband” doesn’t seem to resonate well for some employers. This post will give some insight on where to find jobs for military spouses:
-Government work- http://www.usajobs.gov, or NAF jobs within MWR or the NEX/Exchange/AAFES/MCX cater to veterans and spouses. Use that military spouse preference when applying for federal jobs. Play up your “government and military insights”.
-Government Contractor Work- mainly Defense contractors- There are usually a variety of jobs offered, and since it’s contract work, there’s a higher turnover. Another bonus, Military spouses don’t have to feel bad about leaving the job in three years should new orders come up.
-Staffing Agencies- Let someone else find a job for you. Sure it may be contract or temp work, but it can definitely get your foot in the door at your new duty station.
-National Companies with military hiring initiatives. Off the top of my head: banks, home improvement stores, insurance companies have multiple locations throughout the country. It may be easier to transfer jobs with these kinds of employers, and it keeps your “time-in” status.
-Seasonal Positions- retail, hospitality, tourism: these industries are known for mass hiring during peak seasons. They’re perfect for students or those who can only commit to part time work.
The best advice I can give, is to not give up. Finding a job is a process for everyone, not just military spouses. Apply, apply, apply. Collect yourself every month and re-evaluate what you could change to increase your odds. Do you need more experience? education? Does your resume grab attention? Interview skills a little lacking?
Watch for items that may need sprucing up and take the necessary steps to do so. Join a area-based spouses facebook group and ask around. More often than not, someone can alert you to a place that’s hiring.
Personal note: In our move to San Diego to Hawaii, it took 1 and a half months for me to find a job. Hawaii back to San Diego took nearly two months. I applied to about 5-10 jobs a day in those time spans. I screamed, I cried, I was frustrated, but I never gave up. Neither should you.