Civil Service employment opportunities are some of the best jobs out there today. Also known as government jobs, civil service jobs are fantastic places to look for work if you are a military spouse.
As the spouse of an active duty service member, you have hiring preference for these jobs under the Military Spouse Preference Program (MSP) and the Family Member Preference Program. Moreover, once you have worked for one section of the civil service, you have two Civil Service hiring preferences on your side: you are a former employee and also a military spouse. Only promotion or reassignment of existing federal workers can trump the hiring preference if you are a military spouse and a former employee in good standing. What does this mean? Lets say you take a job as a VA nurse in San Diego and then you PCS to Florida. When you get to Florida you can probably get another job working as a VA nurse fairly quickly because of your Military Spouse and Former Employee preferences. You can apply for new positions near your new duty station 30 days prior to your spouseâ€™s reporting date. Plan it right and you can PCS without even missing a paycheck!
There are also many part-time jobs available through the Civil Service. One of these might fit your needs if you are going to school or donâ€™t have time for a full time job right now. Student jobs and temporary student employment are also available. A part-time position will still get you into the system and this is a good idea if you ever want to consider working for any branch of the Civil Service in the future. A good place to start your civil service job search is: http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/
MSP applies to two types of Federal employment within the DoD known as Appropriated Fund (AF) and Non-Appropriated Fund (NAF). These two sections have different hiring offices and requirements just to keep life interesting. They are the Civilian Personnel Office (CPO) and the Human Resources Office (HRO). Both offices are usually on base. Spousal preference applies to most positions that are grades GS-15 and NF-3 or below or the wage equivalent.
The people at the CPO and HRO are your new best friends if you are looking for Civil Service employment. They can direct you through the process and help you find appropriate jobs to fit your qualifications. Also get to know the people over at your Family Member Support Center.
To apply for Civil Service jobs you will have to create a Civil Service Application and this is different from your civilian resume. You must also be eligible for the Civil Service System (which you are as a military spouse) and you must register for MSP under Program â€œS,â€ the Priority Placement Program for Military Spouses to use MSP for AF jobs.
You can only use your MSP preference once per PCS when you accept a â€œcontinuing position.â€ These are jobs without time limitations, like a full-time civilian job where you might work for years and years. If you accept a â€œnon-continuing position,â€ you wonâ€™t forfeit your MSP at the current PCS. If youâ€™re not sure about life at your new PCS, this might be the way to go until you get settled in and decide what kind of permanent job will best suit your needs and qualifications.
Having a career as a military spouse comes with a unique set of challenges. Civil Service Employment and MSP can make finding work much easier. Despite the difficulty of the application process, the Civil Service offers military spouses some of the best jobs and career opportunities and it is worth your time to take advantage of them while your spouse is on active duty.