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Managing Your Career as a Military Spouse During a PCS

You’re beginning a new chapter of your military life. As a military spouse, a successful transition may include finding meaningful work at your new duty station. By tapping into your network of support and accessing a variety of programs and resources, you can continue to advance your career while building a new nest. Here are some strategies to help manage your career during a PCS.

Maximize your resources to help land military spouse employment

Take advantage of all the tools and services available to you to advance your career through location-based, telework or other flexible arrangements. They will empower you with the information and connections you need to continue your career wherever you land.

  • The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities, or SECO, program provides education and career guidance to military spouses worldwide, offering comprehensive resources and tools related to career development, education guidance and employment opportunities. The MySECO website can help you whether you are new to the workforce, advancing your education or established and looking to grow in your career. Check out the My Individual Career Plan, the SECO Scholarship Finder, specialized career coaching packages and self-assessments to help you discover your education or professional strengths.
  • The Military Spouse Employment Partnership, or MSEP, connects military spouses with hundreds of partner employers who have committed to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers. Use the MSEP Job Search to find thousands of job postings in your current or new location, including Hot Jobs, positions that need to be filled immediately.
  • Installation spouse employment readiness specialists, accessed through the Military and Family Support Center on your installation or through your service branch, offer hands-on assistance with everything from resume writing and preparing for interviews to resources for portable careers. Most employment installation readiness programs offer workshops, host hiring fairs and partner with local community-based agencies to help spouses and family members find employment.

Update your resume and prepare a list of references

It’s never too early to update or enhance your resume. Designed specifically for military spouses, the MySECO Resume Builder helps you create a resume customized for the position you are seeking. You’ll also want to prepare a list of references who can speak to your accomplishments and skills.

Take advantage of the Military Spouse Preference Program

As a military spouse who is relocating, you get preference when you apply for a Department of Defense civilian job thanks to the Military Spouse Preference program. You can apply for spouse preference for Appropriated Fund and Non-Appropriated Fund federal jobs as early as 30 days before your spouse’s reporting date. Appropriated Fund vacancies are filled on military installations. Spouse preference is available for these positions at pay grades up to GS-15. Regulations are different for spouse preference outside the United States.

Connect with a SECO career coach

Consider connecting with a SECO career coach as you prepare for a move or after you’ve landed at your new location. Career coaches assist military spouses by providing useful resources for managing a career during a PCS, including help with finding education opportunities that fit mobile life, maximizing job search efforts, building your network and exploring portable career options.

Transfer licenses and credentials

If you’re in a job that requires a license or credential, either by state or a national accreditation, you’ll need to transfer your license or credential. Go to the Military OneSource Spouse Licensure Map to find out which states require which types of licenses or credentials and what office you need to contact to transfer them. The state licensing and career credentials initiative is designed to make it easier to transition your credentials to a new state.

Build your network to find opportunities and support your peers

Networking leads to 70 percent of all jobs and is key for managing a career during a PCS. Here are a few places to begin:

  • Join the MSEP Spouse Group on LinkedIn to connect with hiring managers and human resources professionals from the organizations in the partnership, as well as other military spouses.
  • Check out the Spouse Ambassador Network, a group of MSEP organizations that promotes military spouses in communities where they live.
  • Connect with a mentor through mentoring organizations, like the Military Spouse eMentor Program, to find an experienced professional who can offer you guidance and help establish connections.

Explore portable career and temporary work

Portable careers can be ideal for the military spouse life. Explore different portable career paths, learn about opportunities to take your job with you, read tips on telecommuting, and use the MSEP Job Search to find telework positions. Develop transferrable skills that make any job portable.

Temporary work can be great for earning some extra savings, gaining experience in your field and exploring different career opportunities. MSEP partner staffing agencies hire military spouses for a variety of jobs, from entry-level to positions requiring a license or advanced degree.

Military spouses are adaptable, resilient and flexible. Employers want to hire you no matter where you land. Use these resources to seize the adventure of your PCS while advancing your career.