Military spouses sometimes find themselves disadvantaged because of a reassignment move, and having to leave their current employment. My personal experience was that the military has all sorts of assistance if you seek it out.
Years ago I was able to teach myself various software programs at the free computer lab on post, as well as take other free classes they offered. Then when we moved overseas, I volunteered at a community center to meet people and acquire a more intimate knowledge of the workings of the military as it pertains to families. I offered to help with newsletters and met important people on the military base.
When I began looking for a job overseas, I visited the Personnel Office many times a week, pouring over the openings and reading the descriptions. I asked numerous questions trying to figure out the hiring “system” because I had never worked for the Federal government. After several tries, I was finally selected from a list of qualified people for an entry level position in a military personnel office. I learned how to prepare military orders for enlisted soldiers, E7 and above, and those going on “special assignments,” as well as how to cut the orders for their family members.
During this time, my husband was deployed to Desert Storm and while many spouses left to go back to the U.S., I made the decision to stay in Germany and continue my job. The huge drawdown in the 90s after Desert Storm had all of us in the office working furiously with personnel folders stacked in piles about 3 feet high. Later, my Federal status strengthened my qualifications and helped me to move to a higher graded position in a different office. Upon returning to the United States, I was hired with military spouse preference and have been working in HR for the same agency ever since.
For those of you are not aware, Military Spouse Preference is a Federal Hiring Authority that can be used to hire a spouse with a non-competitive appointment. While it can help some spouses gain a Federal position, not all spouses are eligible. It does not put a spouse ahead of someone else applying, nor does it guarantee selection. The applicant must still be qualified for the position and the Federal agency that is hiring must elect to use this authority. More complete information is available at OPM’s site: http://1.usa.gov/13hFWeb
My Recommended Resources for Spouses:
One website to look to for help is: http://www.military.com/spouse/military-life/military-resources/family-support-services.html.
This site provides information on career services, relocation, USO, family support centers, family advocacy, and the Exceptional Family Member Program, to name a few. One will find some interesting quick links on the site such as “Ask Ms. Vicki,” base guides and a blog called “Paycheck Chronicles.”
Another great resource for spouses is: www.militaryonesource.mil/
This site has Tweets of interest and articles about various benefits for military families such as the best ways to use the commissary, how to support a friend with a deployed spouse, and information on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) program whose mission is to be a targeted recruitment and employment solution for spouses and companies that:
- Partners Fortune 500 Plus companies with ALL Military Services
- Provides human resource (HR) managers with recruitment solutions – military spouses
- Prepares military spouses to become competitive, “job ready” applicants
- Connects military spouses with employers seeking the essential 21st century workforce skills and attributes they possess
The MSPEP Career Portal is the final site I would like to share with you. It has templates to help you build a resume and it allows you to search job openings by location. Be sure to visit their website here: https://msepjobs.militaryonesource.mil/
Hopefully you too can find your way to the assistance you need and that these resources are helpful!
What other resources have you found that you can share here in the comments?