Military spouses face significant employment challenges when they are subject to frequent moves. Trudging through websites on a mission to find your next employment opportunity can be draining. But with a little luck—and understanding of the ins and outs—you’ll be able to navigate theses military spouse job search websites.
Recent research has indicated that for those military spouses with higher education, unemployment and underemployment are even more common. Some data show up to 49% of active-duty spouses hold Bachelor’s degrees and 22% have obtained a Master’s degree. Military leaders, civilian workforce stakeholders, and policymakers have all brought this issue to the forefront of their decision-making. As of January of 2019, Forbes reports that active-duty military spouses face a 24% unemployment rate and more than 31% are working part-time, even if they would prefer full-time work.
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Top Military Spouse Employment Challenges
As a seasoned spouse and Managing Owner of The Write Approach, LLC, I assist veterans and military spouses every single day with professional resume writing. There are some roadblocks that I see in military spouse employment challenges: interview bias, resume gaps, exclusion from veteran hiring programs, and work/family life struggles.
It is far too common for military spouses to be subjected to unethical and illegal interview questions. Often, interviewers will ask specific questions about why the candidate moved and when they will move again. The reality for most spouses is that frequent moves are an inevitable part of military life.
It is important for spouses to remember that you do not have to answer these questions. You can answer in ambiguous terms like, “we moved for my spouse’s job” and “this is our permanent home until further notice.” Both of those answers are true, but they also show the interviewer that you are not allowing personal biases to shadow your qualifications.
Resume gaps are a part of life whether you are a military spouse or not. Many parents take time away from their careers when they have children and those years create “gaps” on resumes. Military spouses who live overseas or who are living in a location for short periods may not be able to work. Regardless of reasons, both military-related and not, resume gaps can look unprofessional on paper.
One strategy for tackling this issue is to format resumes in a way that highlights your qualifications and skills at the very top of the resume. Using this technique, the reader can easily see a candidate’s potential before screening them negatively because of gaps. If a spouse has continued their education, earned professional certifications, or volunteered in the community it is important to emphasize that to mitigate focus on the career gaps.
Exclusion from Veteran’s Preference Programs
Spouses often become disillusioned with veteran’s preference because countless companies do not include military spouses in their veteran’s hiring initiatives. With federal employment, military spouses can only qualify for spouse preference under a small number of circumstances. If you do not use your preference in that time frame you lose eligibility. If a military family moves and two years later the spouse decides to re-enter the workforce, they are competing for federal positions like any other candidate with preference or consideration as a military spouse.
Balancing Military Life and Careers
Military life adds many layers of employment challenges for spouses because of the nature of the service member’s work and schedule. If a military couple has children and the service member is regularly working long hours or is deployed, the spouse may find it difficult or even impossible to work the standard 9 – 5 schedule.
The military spouse community is a huge proponent of remote flexible work schedules. When our spouses are away for military obligations we are able to continue our work schedule around the needs of our family. That is not to say remote flexible work is easier. It takes an incredible amount of discipline to work an irregular schedule and sometimes it means utter exhaustion. Some spouses get up early in the morning, work through naps, and then continue working after the kids go to bed. It’s not ideal, but if we want a career bad enough, we push through.
13 Military Spouse Job Search Websites to Try
What began as a professional networking social media platform has evolved into the #1 online job board. The search filter allows candidates to choose from experience level, education, location (including remote work), salary, and types of employment. With a detailed profile, candidates can apply directly through the site.
This online job board pulls open positions from various other websites and compiles those for a master list. The data analytics gathered from location, company, and job title allow the website to give a pretty accurate salary estimate when a company has not listed one.
Aside from the thousands of remote flexible positions listed on the website, the database includes positions that offer specific military spouse-friendly jobs.
This website is from the U.S. Department of Labor and offers a full spectrum of employment resources to military spouses.
Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families provides programs and services to military families, as well as job opportunities and resources to spouses.
Hiring Our Heroes
This program assists military spouses and veterans with connecting to job opportunities from 2K+ employers who have military spouse and veterans hiring initiatives.
Military Spouse Corporate Career Network
This is a nonprofit organization that provides job placement employment readiness training programs and job search resources that support spouses entering the corporate sector.
This resource is self-described as a “boutique recruiting agency” that targets its services towards military spouses. They match job applicants with potential employers in the civilian and private workforce.
Squared Away was founded out of the military spouse employment crisis, and they work to place educated and ready to work spouses in administrative assistant positions remotely.
Boldly is a subscription staffing company with team members in North America and Europe. They place qualified and competent candidates into remote positions across various industries.
Virtforce specifically targets active-duty military spouses to reduce military spouse unemployment. They place spouses in virtual positions with the aim to provide tangible economic growth for spouses.
As a military spouse hiring platform, Instant Teams allows companies to post project-based or ongoing remote work so that a pool of highly qualified military spouses can respond and take assignments as needed.
Rat Race Rebellion
This virtual/work-from-home initiative began in 1999 and works to match qualified candidates with legitimate virtual opportunities.
A Few More Job Search Tips
As 21st Century economic demands continue to rise, more and more families are choosing dual-income options. Military spouses face many challenges in finding new positions when they move, but it is not impossible. Here are a few more tips to help in your search:
- Get connected with veterans and military spouse resources at each duty station.
- Become active in your community and installation to bridge your resume gaps.
- Search for non-traditional remote jobs that you can take with you from one duty station to another.
- Remember to advocate for yourself in interviews and do not feel obligated to answer intrusive or unethical questions.
- Consider flexible schedule positions that allow you to work around your family’s needs.
We hope these tips, the list of favorite military spouse job search websites, as well as the number of companies and organizations that are working to solve the military spouse unemployment crisis, are helpful to you. Let us know of other resources you want to share with the community.
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