Military Spouse Federal Job Series
Jan Meert, Military Spouse and former ACS Director
PART 1: Military Spouse Preference, EO 13473 for Federal Jobs.
Many articles have been written on ways to assist military spouses with their quest for employment – How to Write a Resume; Mobile Careers for Military Spouses; Starting a Home-Based Business; Networking for Military Spouses, Volunteering and Employment – but very little addresses minimally publicized federal employment opportunities for military spouses.
Did you know that the Department of Defense (DoD) has a special hiring program for military spouses who are on PCS orders with their active duty military spouse? You have to accompany the spouse to the duty station. And you have to be married when you move there. That’s it. If you meet those criteria, you can take advantage of Executive Order (EO) 13473 and apply to federal positions as if you were a “federal employee” and get into the special PPP-S program for DoD jobs on your base.
This program is also sometimes referred to as Military Spouse Preference. It isn’t really a “preference” program, like Veterans’ Preference. But it is a special hiring program, designed specially for military spouses looking for federal jobs.
So, what’s the background? In 2008, President Bush signed EO 13473, Noncompetitive Appointment of Certain Military Spouses. This executive order mandated that federal agencies consider military spouses for Federal Employee (status) positions. In practice, what this means is that a military spouse who meets the required criteria can apply for federal jobs that are advertised internally (i.e., to current federal employees with status). You are eligible if you are the spouse of a member of the armed forces serving on active duty who has orders specifying a permanent change of station; are a spouse of a 100% disabled service member injured while on active duty; or are the un-remarried widow or widower of a service member killed on active duty.
The additional benefit is that military spouses can get into special hiring programs for DoD jobs on military bases. The DoD PPP-S program allows military spouses to be considered ahead of veterans and ahead of some federal employees for on-base jobs. The program requires registration and certification by a Human Resources Officer at your military installation.
So, military spouses should seriously consider federal positions by leveraging EO 13473 and PPP-S for your job solution! The sheer number of federal jobs acts in your favor. The US Government is the largest employer in the United States, and DoD jobs are abundant on military bases. Take advantage of this opportunity if you’re a military spouse looking for employment.
PART 2: How to take advantage of the EO 13473 for military spouses when applying for federal jobs!
We know that that thousands of jobs are posted daily on the USAJOBS website, many of which are open specifically to Military Spouses. There are great employment opportunities that come with a good salary, not to mention some terrific benefits. Certain jobs even include the opportunity to travel to foreign countries. However, before you start packing your bags, you need to be take a few initial steps.
STEP ONE: Educate yourself on the federal employment application process. You can start by researching the www.usajobs.gov website, but you might find it overwhelming, so I recommend you go to your local military support organization where there is typically an Employment Readiness Program Manager. These professionals can assist you with understanding the application process, and can provide you with books, resources, and even educational courses specifically targeted at the federal application process. I highly recommend taking one of these classes. Typically, they take you through the process of navigating, step-by-step, the USAJOBs system. It’s extremely helpful and any questions you have can be answered right then and there.
STEP TWO: Create your federal resume. This is going to be time consuming and a large undertaking, but don’t let the enormity of this task defer you from applying – you must persevere, it’ll be worth it! Don’t feel pressured to get the entire resume done in one sitting, take your time on it. Do some work, then take a break and come back to it. The typical federal resume should be 3-5 pages, in narrative form, with specific examples. Shift your paradigm, and know that you are NOT creating a civilian resume which is typically a maximum of two pages.
STEP THREE: Visit or call your local Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC), and schedule an appointment with one of their counselors to get registered. You’ll need to provide them with a few documents such as a marriage certificate, copy of military ID, copy of PCS orders, your federal resume, etc. Some counselors will conduct this meeting over the phone, others will do it in person, either way, know that it can take up to 2 hours, so if you’ve got little ones, get a babysitter so that you can take your time and focus on this important meeting.
STEP FOUR: Be patient. Applying for a federal job is normally a lengthy process that can usually take weeks, if not months. Don’t get discouraged. Continue to tweak your resume, search and apply for other jobs where you feel you’re qualified, and continue to be patient. I had a friend that had applied for over 125 federal positions, all over the world, and all which she felt for which she was highly qualified. She was referred to some, and eventually was contacted for an interview for one, then a second interview, and finally a job offer. That process took approximately 6 months, so make sure you aren’t basing your household budget on that federal job you’ll be getting any day now…it takes time. So, persevere through the challenges, frustration, and disappointment because eventually you will land that federal position, and all your hard work will have paid off!
Born into a US Air Force Family, Jan Meert has dedicated her entire professional career to serving US Service Members and their Families. Jan was recently hired as a Consultant for Ten Steps to a Federal Job at The Resume Place.
Jan comes to The Resume Place having been the Army Community Service Director at USAG Wiesbaden from 2009 to 2015. Under her leadership, USAG Wiesbaden ACS was Accredited twice with 100% score out of 208 inspected standards and awarded the IMCOM Army Community Service Center of Excellence Award in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014. Additionally, Jan was awarded the prestigious IMCOM Stalwart Award in 2015.
Prior to being an ACS Director, Jan served for 2 years as the Employment Readiness Program Manager with ACS at West Point, New York. Before joining the ACS team, Jan served in a variety of Army and Marine Corps Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation senior leadership positions to include Deputy Director Community Activities in Kitzingen, Germany; Chief of Semper Fit, Chief Operations Officer, and MWR Director in Okinawa, Japan.
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