Holding down a job while your spouse is in the military is easier than you might think. While the military will always throw a monkey wrench in any best-laid plans, your career doesn't have to be one of them.
Military spouses are making a go of their dream jobs across a wide range of fields. You can too.
Step One: Look for the Right Job
Many spouses tell us that they feel like they have to take jobs of "last resort." Jobs that will hire anyone, that won't care that they're a military spouse, and will never ask more of them than they can do in a regular eight-hour shift. Jobs that won't grow them. That won't help them build a career. That won't help them fulfill their own dreams.
You don't have to do that.
Many other military spouses work remotely or launch their own businesses. Whatever path you choose, starting your career, returning to work, or expanding your professional experiences all start with a very smart search. Luckily for you, there are plenty of resources for military spouses to help you find the right job.
Step Two: Use Your Resources
This one is key. Military life presents challenges at every turn. But it also throws out lots of career resources.
For even more help, head to your local installation. All branches have resources to help you launch your job search and get your job-hunting ducks in order. Find our rundowns for your branch here: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy.
Step Three: Use Everyone You Know
Military spouses are primed to do one business activity better than just about anyone else: network. And networking is how you're going to find, get and keep a job as a military spouse. And when you PCS, it'll be how you do it again.
Networking by any other name is just being friendly, and you do that with every move already. Learn how to leverage those skills for a job.
First, you'll need how to learn how to turn that stranger you've just met into a career connection. Then, you'll need to learn how to move from a simple connection to something more -- to actually sit down and talk or, in business parlance, "take a meeting."
You'll also need to figure out how to do all of this online so that you can get a headstart on making connections at your new duty station before you even PCS.
For some spouses, this is easy. For others, it's more difficult. If you're working in a very narrow, specific field, you might find networking in your industry from inside the confines of the military community to be even harder -- but we've even got a plan for that.
Take Advice From Someone Who Has Done It
No matter what you do or want to do, nothing is as helpful as listening to the advice of other military spouses who have been there, done that.
That's why we have a series called Real Spouse Employment, in which we profile military spouses across the age and education spectrum who have been able to find and keep jobs that have turned into careers for them.
Interested in reading more? Start here.