How to Find Military Spouse Jobs and Build a Career
Don’t let a transient lifestyle stall your career.
As a military spouse, jobs can be difficult to find. Building your career is challenging as you move around during transfers and deployments.
Statistics show that military spouse unemployment rates are four to six times the national average. A Monster and Military.com survey found that being a military spouse is considered a barrier to employment for nearly half of those surveyed. This problem is so pervasive that 53% of candidates have withheld their military spouse status when applying for jobs.
What keeps a group so vital to our country's security from finding work?
We're going to explore why military spouses struggle to join the workforce, look at jobs that fit your lifestyle, and find resources for you to find and keep steady employment.
Why Is It Hard to Find a Job as a Military Spouse?
As a military spouse, your job search may have been unsuccessful because of an employer’s fear of:
- a resume that shows frequent job changes as you have moved with your spouse through multiple deployments and transfers.
- several gaps in employment when you haven’t been able to find jobs at previous locations.
- the probability you will have short job tenure because of impending reassignments.
Additional barriers to employment that keep spouses from looking for work include:
- Lack of daycare for the 39% that have children, especially when the spouse in the military goes overseas for a year or more.
- Non-portability of state licenses required by professions like cosmetology and teaching.
How to Find Military Spouse Jobs and Take Control of Your Career
Being a military spouse doesn’t have to mean becoming a stay-at-home spouse. Here is a roadmap to finding and keeping jobs as a military spouse.
- Make a list of your skills, experience, and interests that would be useful in a job.
- Decide if you’re most comfortable working at a location off-base, at home, or for yourself as a business owner.
- Research portable jobs or businesses to make a match.
- Take advantage of military resources that help spouses find jobs.
- Apply to jobs at companies that hire military spouses.
- Get ready to apply for military spouse jobs!
1. Make a List of Your Skills and Professional Experience
Not sure what kinds of jobs to target during your job search? Sit down for a good brainstorming session with yourself. Write down:
- projects you worked on in previous jobs
- tasks you completed for charity or volunteer work
- your education and any licenses and certifications you have
- your hard skills, like software you know how to use and other technical skills
- your soft skills, like being meticulous with written communication
Need help? Here is how to perform a skills assessment in six easy steps.
2. Decide if You’d Rather Work From Home, Off-Base, or for Yourself
If you're unsure what your "office" should look like, make a list of pros and cons for remote work vs. an on-site workplace. For example, a pro for working from home is no commute time. A con for home work might be too many household distractions.
To help with this step, Monster has lots of articles about remote work at home. Whether you’ve worked off-base before or not, this is a good reminder about what office life is all about. And finally, if you’ve considered being your own boss, think about what businesses you would be interested in starting.
3. Research Jobs That Can Be Portable
Since you know there’s a good probability you’ll be relocating at some point, perhaps multiple times, you may decide to try to find a job that moves with you. Remote work has become common, so there are many positions you can do from anywhere you have internet service.
Here are some examples of common remote military spouse jobs:
- Computer support specialist jobs
- Home health aide jobs
- Freelance writer jobs
- Freelance photographer jobs
- Social media jobs
- Virtual assistant jobs
- Customer service jobs
- Market research jobs
- Insurance actuary jobs
- Web developer jobs
- Graphic designer jobs
4. Look Into Government Support for Military Spouse Employment
The U.S. Department of Defense has created several programs to help you find military spouse jobs and give you counseling about seeking work. The Military Spouse Employment Act of 2018 This legislation created several benefits for military spouses. It helps speed up the federal hiring process, so spouses get first dibs on federal jobs near military installations. It also put programs in place to help spouses start small businesses. It provides increased access to childcare by granting subsidies to childcare centers and clears more childcare providers to care for military children.
FCC Family Child Care
This is a two-pronged program created for military families. The first part provides home-based childcare for children four weeks to 12 years old on Army bases. These flexible childcare centers offer full- and part-day, overnight, weekend, and hourly care.
The Army also provides training and certification for those who want to become FCC providers who care for children in their own homes. This is a solution that creates childcare jobs for military spouses and helps you find daycare for your children so you can go to work.
Employment Resources on Military Bases
All five branches of the U.S. military have military spouse employment centers to help military spouses with job searches.
One of the programs administered by the Navy’s Fleet and Family Support Program takes spouses through the entire job search process, from career planning, resume writing, interview tips, and federal employment facts.
Every Air Force Base has an Airman and Family Readiness Center to help find military spouse jobs. Along with helping you put your application package together, the Centers are familiar with the local community and its employers.
The Army provides spousal job assistance on every base through its Army Community Services office. Along with a host of services for military families, the ACS helps military spouses find jobs on- and off-base.
The Spouse Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) is the Coast Guard’s resource for military spouses seeking work. Each SEAP has a Work-Life Transition and Relocation Manager to answer employment questions.
Each Marine base has a Career Assistance Branch or a Career Resource Management Center. They offer workshops, job search assistance, and resume services. Additionally, Marine Corps Community Services is a clearinghouse for civilian jobs on a Marine base.
Hiring Our Heroes
Hiring Our Heroes is a website sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. It links to virtual events for anyone in the military community. These include virtual career summits, a program that connects you with companies that have pledged to hire military spouses, and much more.
Veteran’s Employment and Training Service
Moving out of state may affect your career if you work in a job requiring a state license. Some states automatically accept out-of-state licenses for military spouses. The Military Spouse Interstate License Recognition Options website helps you identify whether your license is transferable between states. You’ll also see step-by-step instructions for license transfer.
Boots to Business
Also sponsored by the Veteran’s Employment and Training Service and the U.S. Department of Labor, Boots to Business supports military spouses if you’re considering starting your own businesses.
5. Reach Out to Companies Who Pledge to Hire Military Spouses
Companies have joined forces to start the Hiring 100K Military Spouses Employment Initiative. Ten of these companies with military spouse jobs are:
- Booz Allen Hamilton Strategy & Technology Consultants
- Capital One
- Comcast NBC Universal
- Hospital Corporation of America
Read our article on companies that have pledged to hire more military spouses to find out more.
6. Get Your Application Paperwork in Order
When was the last time you updated your resume? Your resume is your calling card, so let’s make it shine. Monster has a library full of resume advice and sample resumes. You might want to check out this article that addresses what to do about employment gaps and job-hopping when putting your resume together.
Step Up So Monster Can Put You on the Front Lines to Find Military Spouse Jobs
We know there are great job candidates in the military spouse ranks. Launch your job hunt by completing your Monster Profile. This will put you front and center of recruiters and employers. If you select remote jobs, we can even deploy remote job postings to your inbox, so you can stay on top of your job search.