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8 Ways for Military Spouses to Find a Job

Sep 09, 2020 4 min read Ben Gran

Key Takeaways

  • It can be challenging to find a job, but there is help available.
  • Check out online career networks and supportive resources for military spouses.
  • Consider virtual work, freelancing, or entrepreneurship.


Military spouses are some of the hardest working, most dedicated, and most resourceful people in America, yet they often face challenges in finding traditional employment. The demands of being a military spouse, especially if you're also raising kids, can make it difficult to find or keep a typical steady job.


Challenges include:

  • Frequent moves — Moving can make it difficult to build a professional network and establish a career. Some military spouses feel employers don't want to hire them Opens in new window because they (unfairly) assume that military spouses will only stay on the job until their next permanent change of station (PCS) move.
  • Demanding family schedules — Deployments and duty schedules can complicate an already hectic family life of raising kids and managing a household in flux. Especially when military personnel are deployed to a combat zone on the other side of the world, their spouses may have to sideline a high-powered career to compensate for the absence at home.
  • Unworkable locations — Spouses' careers can suffer when they're stationed in a remote or isolated location where there are few jobs available in their chosen profession, or where their occupational license or professional credentials are not recognized by local authorities.


The challenges are real, but military spouses should not feel discouraged. There are programs designed specifically for military spouses to find jobs or make extra money, often while working from home or working on a flexible schedule.

Here are a few ideas for how military spouses can find jobs, or make money with part-time/flexible/non-traditional work:

1. Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP)

The MSEP Opens in new window is a program sponsored by the Department of Defense that offers more than 300,000 jobs for military spouses, with job postings from top national employers such as 3M, Accenture, ADP, Aetna, Discover Financial Services, Lowe's, Walgreen's, Walmart, and Prudential. Some of these employers offer remote work opportunities that allow you to maintain your career after PCSing.

2. Military Spouse Hiring for Federal Jobs

Military spouses who meet certain requirements can be eligible to apply for federal government jobs via a special non-competitive process Opens in new window. It does not a guarantee a job – you still need to have the right skills and qualifications and go through the job application process. But, being a military spouse can help you get noticed in the hiring process for federal jobs.

3. Hiring Our Heroes

Hiring Our Heroes is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation program that helps veterans find civilian jobs – and they also help military spouses boost their career success with the Military Spouse Professional Network Opens in new window (formerly known as “In Gear Career"). Since military spouses tend to move so often, this program is dedicated to helping them build a longer-lasting career network, with 40 locations throughout the U.S. and Europe. Use this program to get connected to professional mentors, peers, career networking, and military-spouse-friendly employers to help you find your next job or build a better career.


4. Other military spouse career networks

In addition to the Hiring Our Heroes program mentioned above, there are several other national and global networks for military spouses who want to find jobs, career ideas, and professional networking support. This article in Military Spouse Opens in new window has a comprehensive list of military spouse networks, including the Military Spouse JD Network Opens in new window (for military spouses who are legal professionals), Blue Star Careers Opens in new window (for military spouses who want to run their own businesses), and the Milspo Project Opens in new window (which helps military spouses with “turning our passions into profit").

5. Work with the Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs

The Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs (ASME) is an exclusive community where military spouse entrepreneurs can learn how to launch, build and scale their own businesses. Utilizing a hands-on peer approach, ASME provides their members with access to an online dashboard, monthly content themes, mentorship, resources and more. The virtual membership grants access regardless of where military spouses may be stationed, and the skills gained from ASME allow military spouses to achieve financial security and take control of their future on their own terms.

6. Be an online freelancer or “gig" worker

What if you don't want a full-time or even a part-time job; what if you want something more flexible, just to make some extra cash? You should try being an online freelancer. With freelancing sites, you can bid on projects and get hired to use your online skills in fields such as graphic design, writing, programming, administrative work, and more.

7. Scholarships and grants from National Military Family Association

The National Military Family Association Opens in new window offers a variety of college scholarships, career advancement grants, and business development funding for military spouses. They have special scholarships focused on helping military spouses who want to pursue a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields or in the fields of teaching, nursing, and mental health and social work.

8. Start a business

Military spouses often tend to be entrepreneurial, and they are natural networkers; the life of a military spouse is often great preparation for starting a business, because military spouses tend to be highly motivated self-starters and creative problem solvers who are adaptable to new situations. If you'd like to explore starting your own business as a military spouse, there are entrepreneurship training and resources available via the Small Business Administration's Veterans Business Outreach Center Opens in new window.


What you can do next

Sign up for an online career network and get connected with other military spouses. Consider your career goals and start trying a few things; it doesn't hurt to apply for a job or create an online freelancer profile.


Ben Gran is a freelance writer based in Des Moines, Iowa. He writes about personal finance, financial services, technology and business.


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