If you find frequent relocations are getting in the way of advancing your career, you might investigate the Military Spouse Preference Program.
Military relocations are a part of the package deal when married to someone in the military.
However, because you have options, keeping your career and advancement on track might be easier than you think.
The Military Spouse Preference Program’s design helps spouses remain or gain employment when you move.
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1. What is the Military Spouse Preference Program?
The Military Spouse Preference Program is a hiring authority that allows spouses first consideration of federal job positions without extra competition.
This program came to be because of a public law in 1986 that said that spouse of military members must have a preference for employment when relocating.
This program helps to ensure there is less of a career interruption.
2. Military Spouse Preference Program Benefits
The Military Spouse Preference gives you an advantage over other applicants.
Also, there are many benefits of a federal job, including a competitive salary.
You can expect medical benefits such as health insurance, vision, and dental coverage.
Also, you have access to other insurances, such as life and long-term care.
3. Who is eligible for Military Spouse Preference?
To qualify for the Military Spouse Preference Program, you must:
- Relocate to a new duty station with your spouse.
- Be married before your partner’s date to report to the new duty station.
- Have a spouse with active-duty status or full-time National Guard, or
- Be the spouse of a member discharged due to a 100 percent disability or a service member who died during active duty.
- Be qualified for the position you seek.
- The position you seek must be within commuting distance.
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4. How do Spouses Sign Up for Military Preferences?
To use your Military Spouse Preference benefit, you must go through a process.
This process changed recently.
In the past, a spouse reported to an office to register for the program.
At that point, spouses received a designation that matched with specific types of jobs.
Now, spouses register through the application process itself.
Skipping the trip to the local office is helpful because spouses can apply for jobs before the move date.
Also, spouses are not tied to just one occupation series or job type.
Instead, consideration is flexible for many positions as long as the spouse is qualified for the work.
5. Applying for Military Spouse Preference Jobs
After you have a login setup, you must create your USAjobs.gov profile and build your resume and include all essential documents.
Next, apply for positions in your occupational series.
When you are searching through work in USAjobs.gov, look for a green icon with a wedding ring. This icon indicates the job is eligible for the Military Spouse Preference program.
When you fill out your profile, you need your documentation showing proof of marriage.
Also, it would be best if you had the active-duty military orders for your spouse.
If your spouse is discharged due to a 100 percent disability or retired veteran, you will need the DD-214.
The DD-214 document is proof of service.
If your spouse is deceased and you have not remarried, you can set up your profile along with the DD 1300, which is the Report of Casualty.
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6. How Many Times Can You Use Military Spouse Preference?
You can use the Military Spouse Preference once at each duty station.
However, if you take a job considered non-continuing, you do not use your one-time Military Spouse Preference.
Non-continuing means jobs that do not have a fixed work schedule and are temporary, or permanent but with a sporadic schedule.
Also, if you receive a job offer and you turn it down, you cannot use the Military Spouse Preference at that duty station again.
7. What Are Some Common Jobs?
The list of jobs and possibilities are robust.
Also, the program helps spouses with a pay grade up to GS-25.
Spouses who have jobs that require credentials and licensing, there is help to sort out which states have comparable licenses and who to contact for transfer.
Furthermore, there is access to resume help and career coaching to help develop your career.
As long as you are qualified for the job, you are eligible for consideration.
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Holding down a job is a challenge when moving every few years.
Therefore, the Department of Defense has a system in place to help meet the employment needs of military spouses.
The Military Spouse Preference Program gives hiring preferences to spouses to ease the burden of finding work after a move.
The recent changes to the program make it even easier for spouses to set up their profile and apply for jobs before the move.
This flexibility is more streamlined and helps military families face fewer disruptions.