Finding a Job After a Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

spouse with resume

For military spouses, a new set of PCS orders usually comes with an unwelcome task: finding a new job. Looking for work can be intimidating and scary – especially when you’re trying to do it in a new location. How do you know where to start?

Online and On Track
Thanks to the Internet, it’s possible to explore the job market at your next duty station even before you move. If you are relocating to a small town, it might be easy to identify the schools, hospitals, businesses and stores that are possible employers. In bigger cities, opportunities can be everywhere. Consider joining an online networking group to try to make connections and learn about openings. Some of the military spouse specific groups we recommend are the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation (BPW), InGearCareer, Military Spouse JD Network and the MilSpouse eMentor Program.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are also great places to start social and career networking that can get you familiar with your new location. Many groups exist that can tell you about local opportunities, including information on childcare resources, schools, neighborhoods, employers and local issues. Don’t discount what you can find on these resources.

Update and Verify
Once you receive your orders, start prepping the things you will need for your job search: updating your resume, getting reference letters from your employers or supervisors (even if your job was unpaid), and double checking contact information for references. If you wait until after the PCS to get reference letters and contact information, it may require more effort. To avoid the hassle, get them now and make sure that you have hard copies and digital copies of all of this information with you during your move.

Truth: It’s All About Networking
Most people do not find employment by flooding potential employers with applications and resumes, but through networking. Tell everyone you know and or meet that you are looking for a job, because you never know what or who somebody else knows. Be prepared to give a 30 second elevator pitch about who you are, what you are looking for, and why you are great for the job. Keep it simple, to the point, and practice it.

What About Licensure or Certifications?
If your career field requires licensure or certification, find out what the requirements are in your new state. Your best starting point to find this information is the state board regulating your career field. Obtaining a new state license or certificate can be time consuming, but many states have tried to streamline the process for military spouses. Check out our map to find out what changes your new state has made.

Don’t Forget Unemployment Benefits
45 states now offer unemployment benefits to a trailing military spouse who leaves a job due to a PCS. This can be very helpful in bridging the gap between jobs. Unemployment benefits are paid by the state where you left employment. Each state has its own requirements for documentation and eligibility, so you will have to contact the appropriate state office. You can find them at the Department of Labor.

Now, get moving!

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