Job Search Strategy: How MOAA Can Help You (or Your Spouse) Find Success

Job Search Strategy: How MOAA Can Help You (or Your Spouse) Find Success
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More than 8 in 10 military families have discussed leaving the service, according to the 2017 Hiring our Heroes military spouses in the workplace survey, with the availability of career opportunities for both spouses cited as one of the top deciding factors.  


The coronavirus pandemic, and the efforts to contain it, have severely limited such opportunities, but the labor market has shown signs of improvement. On Aug. 7, the U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported the unemployment rate declined by 0.9 percentage points to 10.2% in July, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 1.4 million to 16.3 million.  


The unemployment situation can vary widely by location and by industry. In July, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, government, retail trade, professional and business services, other services, and health care.  


[RELATED: MOAA's Transition and Career Center]


Hiring practices also vary – not just by location and industry, but by company size, state of the economy, and many other complex factors. It is critical you educate yourself on the various job search strategies and create a personalized plan which works for you and your career and employment situation.


There is no single way to job search, but most successful strategic job searches start with research. To understand the big picture, answer these three questions concerning your potential fields of interest.

  1. Are employers hiring in this field?
  2. What skills are needed to thrive in this field?
  3. How is the current pandemic situation affecting the industry?


Once you gain a better understanding of the big picture, you can research specific companies and opportunities through networking, career events, and local job centers. And you can go online to access employer websites, alumni associations, social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook) and job boards. 


(Your first job board stop:, where MOAA has partnered with on a new job board experience to help connect servicemembers, veterans, retirees, and military spouses with more than a million employers offering all levels and types of positions.)


The best strategy for applying online – or any application method, for that matter – is to tailor and target your application to the specific needs and interests of the employer. Include relevant information to communicate your qualifications, and articulate your value in a concise and complete way by populating your résumé with keywords from the vacancy announcement. 


[RELATED: Upcoming Transition and Career Events From MOAA]


Need help with your résumé? Premium and Life Members may use MOAA subject-matter experts as resources and guides as they embark upon the next part of their career. One-on-one interview preparation and résumé critiques allow job seekers to get the most out of their search. Members also may access exclusive publications as they chart the course toward their next endeavor. As a reminder, military spouses are afforded the same level of personalized career transition services and membership benefits as the member.


Although résumés are an important and necessary part of the job-search process, your ability to market yourself will be the most important part. So after you have developed your strategy to approach your target employers and prepared your self-marketing materials, it is time for you and your military spouse to get out there and network, network, network to land your respective positions!   


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About the Author

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)
Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)

Anderson joined the staff of MOAA's Career Transition Services Department in August 2011. He served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force in a wide range of command and staff assignments. Connect with him on LinkedIn.