Defence family with moving truck and packing boxes

Work when your spouse is in defence

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Postings are a normal part of life for many Australians and their families who work in the defence force. There are many positives to postings such as exploring new parts of the country and meeting new people, but also exposure to different types of work when your spouse is in defence.

For new players, postings are when a member in defence relocates for service requirements, skills development and experience. A posting is generally between two to four years and can be anywhere in Australia where a defence base is located.

Postings involve change, not only for where you and your spouse live and who you know but also for your own employment. Finding yourself another job when moving with your spouse for a posting takes planning, promotion and perseverance but the good news is you’re not alone.

Work and planning when your spouse is in defence

Planning anything when your spouse is in defence is part hurry up and wait and part chaos.

Person underwater poking hands out with two thumbs up showing good job.

Preparing for new work depends on where defence will be posting you to with your spouse because location really matters.

When you move for a defence posting, some points to consider when planning work in a new location include:

  • who you will have for support
  • what jobs will you consider – are you flexible or bound to a profession
  • when are you available to start
  • where will you look for work and how far will you commute
  • why you might need flexible work arrangements
  • how you will facilitate interviews if you’re in a different state

If you want to escape the cycle of finding work whenever you move, a job where you work from home gives portability and flexibility.

Depending on where you post to with your defence spouse and what your job preferences are, seasonal work might be an option to include in your planning.

Pineapple representing seasonal job as possible employment when your spouse is in defence.

Promoting for employment

Jobs and employers are literally at our fingertips on sites like jobactive, Seek, and LinkedIn, so marketing yourself online is key.

In a report by a defence spouse, she highlights critical social skills to include when promoting yourself for work:

” Military spouses embody the type of skills … sought after by employers: they are organised, flexible, adaptable, and … successfully manage and prioritise multiple tasks.”

Tyrion saying 'i see that you also know things' about employment soft skills for military spouses

If you have moved with your spouse in defence, you’ve no doubt picked up new skills and built resilience. You can use these to promote yourself to employers when looking for work.

For example, you have probably learned to:

You can use these skills to give examples to employers for why you would be a great fit for their organisation. For example, you can draw on your experience to demonstrate how you are able to quickly build rapport.

Remember to reach out to your professional networks and ask about current and upcoming job vacancies in the location you’re posting to.

Perseverance and work as a defence spouse

Trying to find work when posting with your defence spouse can suck, but perseverance is worth it because your polite persistence will pay off.

When you see a job you really want, call the contact person in the vacancy to introduce yourself. Prompt conversation by thinking of a few relevant questions to ask about the role.

Submit your CV with a bespoke cover letter to the contact person so they make a connection between the delightful person they spoke with and the professional but faceless resume they are reading.

Follow up with a phone call or email after you submit your application if you haven’t heard back after about a week. Hiring managers get swamped, so a quick and polite phone call to touch base is worth your time.

Finally, remember you don’t have to do it alone when looking for work because you are moving for a defence posting.

Support services for defence members and their families ranging from job seeking support, through to personal support are available.

If you need more information, there are lots of online resources such as:

Carousel on fire representing in jest  what it is like to find work when you have a spouse in defence.
Friend: what’s it like being with someone in the military?
Me: it’s kind of like a merry-go-round…
Friend: that sounds fun!
Me: I’m not done…

If you have tips for finding work when your spouse is in defence, please share in the comments section.

To the serving members and their families, thank you.

images: meme-arsenal, iStock

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