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Get A Job Series: Part I

Federal Opportunities

By Janet Farley

A professional career and a military spouse! No, it’s not the opening line to a bad joke although once upon a time it could have been. Fortunately for all of us, times have changed for the better. Many opportunities to build and grow a career while still remaining happily married to the uniformed love of your life peacefully coexist today. Welcome to this first installment of a three-part series, written especially for the NMSN with content adapted from my book, The Military Spouse’s Complete Guide to Career Success: Finding Meaningful Employment in Today’s Global Workplace (Impact Publications, 2008). In part one, we will examine federal employment opportunities while part two takes a closer look at the job market outside the main gate. Finally, part three discusses self-employment as a path to career success. Let’s get started, shall we? Part I: Federal Employment Opportunities Your significant other works for Uncle Sam; maybe you should consider it too. There are definite pros and cons to a career as a federal employee. Let’s examine a few of them here: Pros: • • • • • •

Salary levels are competitive with private industry. Civil servants with career status receive excellent benefits to include annual leave, sick leave, medical, vision, dental and a retirement savings plan. You may not have to start over every PCS move. In most military communities, you are likely to find federal opportunities available there too. As a military spouse, you may use a Military Spouse Preference or the Executive Order 13473 giving you priority over others in the hiring process. Getting fired from a federal job is difficult. Over time, you can work your way up from administrative jobs to management levels positions, even without a college degree.

Cons: • • • • •

Visit USAJOBS, the official website of the Federal Government and create an account for yourself or begin searching for jobs right away. You can also download the Ipad and Iphone versions to your mobile device giving you the chance to look for a job from anywhere - except from the car when you’re driving. To apply for jobs online from that site, however, you will need to have your USAJOBS account up and running. Once you’ve created an account, you can request specialized job alerts be emailed to you on a routine basis, saving you valuable surf time. You can build or upload your resume to the program in order to apply for specific jobs. Once you’ve applied for a job, you can access the status of the recruitment process from USAJOBS as well. Tips for Success • •

• •

Despite ongoing efforts to improve the hiring process, it can still be a lengthy ordeal from the time you apply for a job until the time you actually start one. Like it or not, it is still often the “it’s who you know” situation. Federal employees having a good job will often homestead there until they die making it harder for new blood to come on board in preferred jobs. You may have to start out in a job for which you are vastly over qualified or work for someone who should be working for you. Many times, spouses are hired for temporary, part-time or sesonal jobs not having benefits.


Applying for Federal Jobs

Don’t limit your federal job search to USAJOBS alone. Network face-to-face with employers in your community and with colleagues to get your name out there. While most federal job opportunities are posted to USAJOBS, some never make it there. Be sure you also check out military branch specific federal opportunities at the sites below. You can also use their unique site resume builder to apply for jobs, too. Army - Navy & Marine - Air Force Volunteer in your community and get your face known to those who may have job openings. Networking, on-line and off, is crucial. Use keywords when applying for federal jobs. What keywords you ask? Read the job vacancy announcement and highlight the key words you read. Use those words in your resume as well. Don’t forget to quantify your past accomplishments and keep the narratives as short, sweet and relevant as possible. Read the vacancy announcement carefully. Make sure you are eligible to apply before you waste your time. Note the closing date and meet it. For individualized assistance, visit the family service center’s employment readiness manager on the installation nearest you. Or take advantage of Military OneSource counselors 24/7/265 who can direct you to more resources.

Janet Farley serves as a NMSN subject matter expert and she is the author of The Military Spouse’s Employment Guide: Smart Job Choices for Mobile Lifestyles (Impact Publications, 2012). For more military spouse employment tips and thoughts, follow her @Smartjobchoices on Twitter.


National Military Spouse Network Magazine  

We are the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN) - the pre-eminent networking, mentoring and professional development organization committ...

National Military Spouse Network Magazine  

We are the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN) - the pre-eminent networking, mentoring and professional development organization committ...