By: Rose Holland
News of a PCS can bring a mix of emotions. For spouses this includes the knowledge that we are leaving yet another job and going to yet another unknown location. So, how do you keep your career moving along with your PCS? It is not easy, but you can do it and there are a number of ways.
The first thing you need to do is dust off your resume and Linked-In profile, update them with your recent accomplishments (think what you did, how and what were the results). Realistically assess your situation. What type of positions you are looking for? Are you ready for that next promotion? Do you want to change gears and go a different direction? Are you moving to a remote location or overseas where the opportunities might not be there? Start planning before you start packing up. Talk to your supervisor and ask for their recommendations.
Now is the time to start your job search. Get organized. Keep track of your efforts and come up with a plan. Your job search should have a multi-pronged approach. You do not have to wait until you arrive. Start the process now!
Contact your Employment Readiness Program at your current and receiving locations – This program exists at every family center – Army Community Service, Airman and Family Readiness Center, Fleet and Family Support Center, Marine Corps Community Service or Coast Guard Work Life. They should know the local job market and may have tips for you. They may also have a distribution list that sends out job postings. They will also offer workshops on the job search. Take advantage of these programs.
Keep your job – In today’s world it is possible to telecommute for some positions. Two spouses I know insisted their company would never allow someone to telecommute, they both are currently doing so from overseas. If your job could be done remotely, propose this option to your employer. Go to them with a plan explaining how you could manage the position.
Transfer with your current company – I am amazed at how few spouses I have worked with in the past two years have even though of asking their current employer to connect them to a branch in their new location. A direction connection from your supervisor can make all the difference. A spouse at Fort Meade asked her previous manager at an IHG hotel to contact her receiving installation’s hotel.. It was perfect timing as they were losing a spouse holding the same position. They held the position for her instead of filling it from outside the organization and she ended up getting a promotion shortly after arriving!
Start networking now – Networking is key for any job hunt. Wondering where to start? Ask your supervisors and co-workers. Think about utilizing social media. Let your friends and family know you are moving. Connect to people at your new installation through Facebook groups. Are you on Linked-In? If not, develop a strong profile and start networking.
Connect to professional organizations – If you have a profession with professional organizations become a member. The professional organization websites usually have a section with job postings. They often have groups on Linked-In. Become a part of these groups and contribute. If you have a professional license, find out how to transfer your license. Find out if there is a specific system for military families.
Connect to your school’s career center and alumni groups – Recent graduate positions are not the only positions a college career center receives. Reconnect and find out how to access these resources. Utilize the alumni network to connect to those currently living in the area you will be moving to. Few think of utilizing this resource.
Use the America’s Job Centers – the Department of Labor and Licensing has job centers in every county. Utilize these centers. See if there are special programs for military spouses. Register on the state’s employment website.
Think outside the box – do not just focus on the same job. How can you use these skills in another career field? If you are a teacher, think about working for a curriculum development company or working for a home schooling company supporting those who home school. Are you a marketing guru, think public affairs.
Remember that finding a job is a job. Have a target career field. It is actually easier to focus your job search on one to three career fields as you can filter out everything that does not apply. By focusing your search you are more likely to develop a career instead of hold a series of jobs. The more you prepare before you PCS the better shape you will be in once you arrive.
For more information and resources, check out our Career and Employment page at http://www.milspouseadvocacynetwork.org/career—employment.html