While there is plenty of excitement that comes when your spouse accepts overseas orders, there can also be a lot of uncertainty. You might even be asking yourself, “Can military spouses work overseas?” After all, if you’re a dual-income household, how can you be expected to financially contribute without a job? Luckily, you’re not alone and there are plenty of resources for finding jobs overseas.
Below, we will take a look at some of the best ways you can find a job overseas and suggest common flexible jobs for military spouses.
Job Hunting Resources
Like we mentioned above, you’re not alone in your job search. The US government and the military base that you’ll be stationed at will have a plethora of resources at your fingertips to help you discover a new and flexible job.
1. Local Human Resources Office
Also known as the HRO, the Human Resource Office can be an invaluable resource for finding a local job. The HRO on your base is responsible for filling the local US Federal Jobs, so they will have a regular advertisement for open positions.
If you don’t see a job that catches your eye, consider scheduling an appointment with one of the Hiring Representatives. As with any job hunt, connecting with people in person can give you an edge and will ensure you’re top of mind when the Hiring Representatives are looking to fill positions. The HRO can also provide additional advice and resources for finding a flexible job overseas.
2. The Family Support Center
The Family Support Center (also known as the Airman and Family Readiness Center) will have an installation at your new overseas base. Every Family Support Center will have an employee—known as the Family Employment Readiness Person—to help service family members find local employment opportunities. You can connect with your appropriate Family Readiness Person before you move via email to hopefully line up a position.
If they don’t have a job opening available right away, they can at least provide information and advice on local employment opportunities and the local application processes. Not only will the Family Readiness Person have information on Federal and MWR jobs, but they will also have local contractor contacts who work on base and who have job openings.
3. The Base Newspaper
Similar to job postings in American newspapers and online on websites like Craigslist, many base newspapers will advertise local job openings. The base newspaper is unique in that local jobs are often advertised here, as opposed to worldwide sites like USA.jobs.
If you’re not finding anything using a higher-level search, go local and take a look at the base newspaper. The base newspaper will not only have job listings, but you might also learn of local contractors working on the base that you can reach out to and connect with individually.
Flexible Careers for Military Spouses
While the job hunting tips and resources above can provide more unique job opportunities, below we will list some common flexible job options that can work no matter where your family is stationed.
1. EFL Teacher
EFL, or English as a First Language, is a valuable skill to have. English is an incredibly popular language, and it’s popularity only continues to grow. As an EFL teacher, you will have the opportunity to teach local adults how to speak your native language.
To qualify as an ESL teacher, you need to have an associate or bachelor’s degree. Additionally, you’ll need to pass the CELTA course. CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults and is usually an intensive four-week (but often part-time) course that will teach you how to properly explain and dissect the English language for your adult students. Once you’ve passed the CELTA you can start applying for ESL teaching jobs!
2. Federal Civil Service
The United States federal civil service is the non-military public sector employees of the US government’s departments and agencies. There are three categories of federal civil services:
- Competitive Service: The competitive service encompasses the majority of civil service positions. Candidates are hired based on merit after they’ve gone through an extensive and competitive hiring process.
- Senior Executive Service: Also known as the SES, these positions are non-competitive and are filled by senior career employees or by political appointment.
- Excepted Service: The excepted service is also referenced as unclassified service and includes non-competitive, high-security jobs like the CIA and FBI.
Almost every job available to military spouses overseas is going to fall into the Competitive Service category, but it’s helpful to understand the distinction between the three groupings when applying for jobs.
3. Service Jobs
Because bases have their own service programs, they will need employees to help them function. Examples of service programs include Morale, Welfare, Recreation, and Marine Corps Community Services. To apply for one of these positions, check your base’s website for a listing of available jobs.
4. Exchange Jobs
Similar to the United States exchange and commissary job availability, the international locations will have potential job openings as well. Of course, job availability will depend on supply and demand, but they’re a great place to check—especially if you have previous or applicable experience.
The best part of job hunting as a military spouse working abroad is that because there is such high-turnover on these bases, the chances of you finding an available job are fairly high. There is also less competition for these jobs (as opposed to jobs on US bases), so you don’t have to worry about your application standing out in a sea of others. Just use our tips and resources above and you will be well on your way to a new job!