Being a military spouse, we’ve all heard comments like, “Isn’t it hard to find a job when you move every few years?” PCSing is a common part of the military lifestyle, so there are plenty of resources to help transition you, your family, and your household goods. But what about your career?
Start your job search before you move!
Don’t wait until you arrive to start looking. As soon as we found out we were moving to Hawaii, I began browsing job search engines for a new position. Take advantage of online resources, too. Many search engines allow you to set email notifications for listings from your field in your new area. You can adjust the frequency of emails with potential matching job listings to suit your needs (i.e. daily, weekly). Begin familiarizing yourself with major cities in the state so when you search for jobs you will recognize their locations.
Do your research!
Check licensing or certification requirements in your new state before arriving. For many spouses, their jobs require state licensure or certifications, and many of those are not reciprocal from state to state. Make sure before moving you research and find out if your new state will accept an out-of-state license. This is the best-case scenario but not always possible. If the license isn’t portable, you may need to complete new requirements for in-state credentials. Sometimes these include additional college courses/credits, paying fees to the new state, or sending exam scores and/or college transcripts. Always check and never assume that your credentials from another jurisdiction will be valid in your new one.
Hopefully legislation, like this bill introduced by Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, will take some of the burden off military spouses in this area.
Network with your colleagues!
Join professional organizations in your new location and connect with others in your field. Organizations, such as National Association of Social Workers, American Nurses Association, and the Association of American Educators are prime examples. These groups have chapters all over the country and can provide you with networking opportunities, local job listings, and upcoming community events and conferences.
Tell potential employers you are moving!
Make sure to inform them of your impending relocation. After months of submitting job applications, I realized employers could not tell from my application that I was a soon-to-be Hawaii resident because of my California address listed on my resume. In order to make yourself comparable to local job applicants, notify employers in your application or resume where and when you are planning on moving.
Scholarships aren’t only for those in school taking courses!
Use your resources. Don’t miss out on opportunities to help cover the costs of relocating with professional licenses and degrees. Scholarships are available to those who are looking for assistance with fees associated with licensure, continuing education credits, certifications, or taking licensure exams. Last year, NMFA awarded more then $600,000 in funding to military spouses pursuing education and career goals, and many receipients used the money to help offset licensure fees. Now there are multiple times per year you can submit your application to receive a scholarship. What are you waiting for?
Have you had success finding a new job after PCSing? What tips would you give other military spouses? Leave a comment with your job-hunting secrets!
Posted by Jessica Pierre, National Military Family Association Volunteer, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii