How many times have you been unemployed as a military spouse?
Unfortunately, unemployment often hits the military spouse community hard. With regular PCS moves and frequent professional certification roadblocks, landing a job can be stressful and feel never-ending.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
There’s actually a lot of underused career resources provided by the military that are never taken advantage of by military spouses. In fact, one of the best spouse educational benefits, MyCAA, a $4,000 tuition assistance program, saw a 45% decline in users between 2011 and 2017.
And that’s just one resource that’s not being used.
With a little resourcefulness and an open mind, military spouses can find work.
Find a career that moves with you. Freelancing, healthcare positions, or teaching jobs, for example, makes it easier to slide into a new role. With a little research and willingness to use your resources, you can land a career you love each time you PCS.
Here’s why it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think:
When you move around a lot, it may seem impossible to find work. Sometimes you just have to look at your job approach a little bit differently. Enter in telecommuting or remote work options. A recent Forbes article reported at least 50% of the U.S. population work remotely in some way. Nurses, medical coders and billers, writers, and even customer service reps are just a few of the occupations with remote work options.
Career tip: The more specialized your skills, the more likely you can take on remote positions to work from home, meaning you can work anywhere. Experience, too, can be in your favor.
According to a recent Military Times story, only about 7% of eligible military spouses actually used their My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) benefit in 2017. That very benefit offers up to $4,000 in tuition assistance for training or education in high-demand fields like healthcare or IT. Whether you need to recertify in your field or find new skills, there’s plenty of flexible online opportunities to do so while using MyCAA.
Career tip: Look into free ways to further your education. As a military spouse, MyCAA is one of your biggest educational benefits. You lose it once your military member discharges, so take advantage while they are on active duty!
One of the biggest career perks as a military spouse is the preferential treatment you'll get if you work for the government. This doesn't mean you have to sign the dotted line to become a service member, but you can work as a civilian contractor. Shipyard workers, daycare employees, cashiers, clerks, etc. are usually civilians — and, more often than not, they are military spouses.
Career tip: Military base jobs for spouses are available. Since military families move so often, you'll likely find an open spot quickly upon moving to your new location. Check out websites like usajobs.gov to apply in a non-competitive process.
If your spouse will be in the military any length of time, there’s a good chance you’ll be moving again. Don’t let that discourage you from getting a job or keeping your career, though. The above resources are just a snippet of the connections you can use to find rewarding work.
If you enjoy working, keep doing it.
There's no reason a military lifestyle should keep you from pursuing your passions. It may take some legwork on your part, but securing a job won't take long if you put your best foot forward while using the best resources available to you.
Happy job hunting!
Are you a military spouse who needs career pointers? Check out our recent post 4 Career-Boosting Tips for Military Spouses!