Moving to a new duty station can be a great adventure. But, if you’re a military spouse, finding a new job each time you move can be a real challenge. Fortunately, most installations offer programs and services to help military spouses reach their career goals. With a little advance planning and creativity, you can find a way to grow your career and do something you enjoy.
Before you move
Here are steps you can take before the move to prepare for your job search:
- Update your resume. Be sure to print plenty of copies to hand-carry when you move. That way, you’ll be able to hit the ground running when you arrive at your new home.
- Think about where you might want to work. There may be good opportunities both on and off the installation, but you’ll want to consider logistics like whether you have transportation available to get you to employment away from the installation.
- Contact your new installation's employment assistance program. The Services have different names for these programs, but you can find contact information through your installation's Family Support Center. You may want to email or call them before you move to find out about employment opportunities in your new area.
- Speak with a Spouse Employment and Career Opportunities (SECO) consultant. Military OneSource SECO consultants can offer information on education and career opportunities at your new duty station.
- Consider other opportunities. This might be a great time to go back to school or start your own business. You might also consider volunteer work, which is a great way to learn new skills and network!
- Find out about transferring your occupational license. If you work in a field that requires a license or other credential, find out if it will transfer to your new area. The Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) program may help cover costs associated with getting credentialed or licensed in another state.
Once you’ve moved to your new duty station
Once you've arrived and have settled in to your new community, there are a number of ways to look for job opportunities:
- If you haven’t done so already, contact the employment assistance program office on your new installation. Besides information on local employment opportunities, the staff may offer classes in federal employment, resume writing, or interviewing.
- Look into federal employment on the installation. Pay attention to deadlines and requirements for any listings you find. If you miss any required paperwork, applications, or deadlines, you will not be considered for the position.
- Attend a spouses’ club meeting. This can be a great opportunity to meet new people and to network. Let the other spouses know you are looking for a job.
- Go to a job fair on your new installation. These can be great sources of information. Be sure to bring plenty of resumes.
- Learn as much as you can about your new community. Explore the neighborhoods, looking for places you might like to work. Talk to local shop owners and ask whether they know of any available positions.
- Check the local community websites for job listings. Don’t forget to check out employment opportunities posted in local newspapers.
- Find out if there are any training or educational opportunities available. For example, are there any local colleges or technical schools that offer training for military spouses?
- Consider volunteering. If you can afford it, this can be a great way to gain valuable skills that may lead to a paid position.
- Sign up with a temp agency. A temp agency can be a great way to network in the community. Temp jobs also give you an opportunity to meet new people in your new community.
- Contact local school systems. They may be looking for substitute teachers.
- Consider starting your own home business. Check with installation regulations first if you live in installation housing. You should also check with the local chamber of commerce for information and resources.
- Consider virtual work. These opportunities include bookkeeping, computer programming, graphic design, database management, call center services, and more. If you are looking for virtual work online, watch out for work-at-home scams. Be suspicious of anyone who asks for money up front.
- Be flexible. You may not find work in the same industry as your last job, but you may still be able to use many of the same skills while gaining valuable new ones for the future.