If you’re a military spouse, you know finding a job can be a real challenge. PCS moves, deployments, frequent separations, etc. doesn’t make job-hunting any easier. With a little advance planning, flexibility, and creativity, you CAN find a way to advance your career and do something you enjoy.
Here are 22 Things military spouses can do to prepare for their job search and help them find a job:
- Get additional schooling. There’s MyCAA and other military spouse scholarships to help your further your education. That extra certification may just be the bump you need in your job search.
- Update your resume. For civilian and federal jobs. Add any and all relevant and new skills or accomplishments. This includes your LinkedIn profile. Read more resume tips for military spouses here.
- Create a job hunting email for job alerts. I created an entirely new email address when I started the job process. It was easier to keep track of applications, status updates, job alerts, etc. Make sure it is still sound professional aka email@example.com
- Some states allow for licensure or certification transfer. If you work in a field that requires a license or other credential, find out if it will transfer to your new area and explain to them that you are a military spouse.
- Contact your new installation’s employment assistance program. Each service has different names for these programs, but contact information should be through your installation’s Family Support Center. Email or call them about employment opportunities in your new area, resume check, or other job counseling.
- Visit Spouse Employment and Career Opportunities (SECO) consultant. Military OneSource SECO consultants can offer information on education and career opportunities at your new duty station.
- Check out In Gear Career. In Gear Career is a nonprofit established FOR military spouses BY military spouses. They offer networking and career resources.
- Look into federal employment on the installation. If you arrive at a new duty station, use that military spouse preference to your benefit. Make sure your federal resume is optimized for the job announcement. Create job alerts for the fields you want on usajobs.gov
- Look into defense contract employment work. From my personal experience, defense contractors haven’t view my “military spousehood” (not a word? it is now.) as a negative. They, more often times that not, view it as a strength because we are familiar with the client base and the military culture.
- Attend a spouses’ club meeting. This can be a great opportunity to meet new people and network. Inform the other spouses know you are looking for a job.
- Use social media. Join area-specific facebook groups and throw the question out there. Connect with military spouses that you’ve met on LinkedIn for networking. Follow certain businesses on social media to see if they are hiring.
- Go to a job fair on your installation. These can be great sources of information. Be appropriately and bring resumes and portfolios.
- Explore your community. Go on yelp. Visit local businesses and see if the owner is hiring. Bring your resume just in case.
- Check job boards regularly. Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor, Craigslist, USAJobs, your local MWR/MCCS job board, LinkedIn.
- Use even more specific job boards. Field-specific job boards. For example, I work in PR so I would check PRSA’s job board for opportunities Same for education, healthcare, defense contracts, nonprofits, etc.
- Consider volunteering. This can be a great way to gain valuable skills and fill that gap on your resume. It may even lead to a paid position.
- Sign up with a temp agency. A temp agency can be a great segway in your career. It fills the resume gap, you make some money, and you can also network for whomever you temp for a possible permanent position.
- Consider starting your own home business. It can be flexible to your schedule. You are in charge of making your own money. Check with installation regulations first if you live in base housing. I started blogging as a way to made side income and now I make $3,000 a month just from blogging. You can see my easy 4 steps to launching a blog here.
- Think about doing virtual work. These opportunities include virtual assistance, IT work, graphic design, database management, call center services, and more. Just watch out for work-at-home scams. Be suspicious of anyone who asks for money up front.
- Perfect that interview. Military spouses can encounter some difficult interviews questions. I’ve created some answers to tough interview questions for military spouses here.
- Be flexible. You may not find a job in the same industry as your previous job, but you may still be able to use many of the same skills while gaining valuable new ones for the future.
- Never stop looking. Even if you have a decent job, always be aware of potential new opportunities. The best time to find a job is when you already have one.
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