When it comes to work life, as a military spouse (depending on what you do) you might change jobs with every PCS. Your new job can be a great way to meet, connect to and network with others. Starting a new job is also a great way to grow personally and professionally and shape your career. Let’s be honest though, changing jobs can also be a challenge. Yet as with all things involving a PCS, research and preparation will see you through.
It is helpful to keep your resume and/or employment history and certifications up to date. I review my resume yearly and make sure that I add anything relevant. As your career grows, your resume needs to change too, and it is smart to ask for help. As a military spouse, you can have a SECO career coach review your resume with you for free. The coaches are not just for people who are early in their careers but are also able to help mid-career and executives break through to the next level.
Any specialty licenses and/or certifications should be current, and you should have hard copies and know where they are kept. Any continuing education should be accounted for and have documentation for all of it. Staying on top of this type of paperwork makes it easy to simply fire off your qualifications to potential employers as soon as you are ready. Also, keeping these files handy will help you in securing reimbursement for transferring your licenses over state lines, which you can do through your service branch. They reimburse up to $500 per PCS.
Once you find out where you will be moving, you can start researching the job market in that area. As soon as I found out we would be moving to New Orleans, I started looking for gyms and Pilates studios where I might work. Research the companies you are looking at and see if their values, philosophy and approach to your chosen field align with yours or are of interest to you. Once I identified places, I thought might be a good fit, I reached out to the appropriate people via email explaining that I am a military spouse, when we expected to move and to see if they were hiring. If they were, they got a resume. During your search, don’t forget the power of the military life network! Reach out to your military friends and family to see who they know and how they can help you.
When the time comes to set up interviews, if you have permissive temporary duty to find your new home or scout out the area, try to schedule interviews during this time. I did for this move and it worked out beautifully. We were in NOLA house hunting for four days and I had two interviews in that time. Alternatively, if you will be interviewing after the move, be sure to schedule interviews for a time when you know you will be able to focus on them – not the day right after the movers come! When interviewing, keep in mind that you are interviewing your potential employers just as much as they are interviewing you. Ask questions, stay calm and be confident. Before you know it, you will be starting your new job and building your career!
One more note on planning. It is never too early to begin thinking about transitioning to civilian life after your military journey comes to an end. It can be hard to keep track of all the resources and benefits that are available to you as a military spouse. If you want to get ahead and be on top of everything that is available to you, check out MySTeP, which is a new video-based, self-directed program designed to help military spouses take advantage of all the MilLife benefits in order to be ready for transition to civilian life.