Military spouses are a vital part of the Army Family and Army Community Services wants to provide every opportunity to seek and find employment on or off post. Unfortunately, it's a changing labor market. There are not as many federal jobs available as there had been. Job seekers are then forced to look outside the gates for jobs, thus shrinking the labor market in the local areas.

What can a military spouse do to obtain viable and gainful employment in an ever-changing labor market?

One avenue to gaining federal employment is by utilizing special hiring programs and authorities. One hiring authority is Presidential Executive Order 13473 to assist spouses, who PCS with their active-duty sponsor, with gaining employment with DOD/DA agencies.

Also, if the spouse has a subject matter expertise, they can be enrolled in the Military Spouse Priority Placement Program. There is a 2-year statute of limitations on the EO 13473 and PPP and then it expires. Interested spouses can contact the Fort Leonard Wood Civilian Personnel Advisory Center concerning EO 13473 and PPP or employment counselors at ACS.

Another way a spouse can gain employment is to utilize the "hidden labor market." These are the jobs which are never advertised or posted because the jobs are being filled two different ways. They are being filled either through employment networking contacts or by making direct contact with the employer.

Networking contacts include friends, relatives, acquaintances, business contacts, using social media, etc. Most people we encounter have jobs and know other people who have jobs or need additional employees. The spouse needs to let them know she/he is seeking employment and be specific about what kind of job they are looking for.

Direct contact with the employer means just that, contacting the employer directly, either by telephone or in person, inquiring about open vacancies in one's occupational area, and then advocating for one's hiring for this position. A spouse can find occupational lists of employers in local phone directories, online, or in directories published by local chambers of commerce.

More than 80 percent of vacancies are filled in this way. Networking contacts or direct contact with the employer takes preparedness, courage, assertiveness and confidence, but it is one of the most effective ways of gaining employment.

Another avenue for spouses is by utilizing transferrable job skills in other employment areas. No positions may currently be open in the primary occupational field; however, many have job-related skills which can be applied elsewhere.

As with all successful job seekers, spouses need a professional resume and cover letter as well as polished interviewing skills.

ACS Employment Readiness can assist with all avenues of employment seeking. ACS Employment Readiness is located at 14060 Replacement Ave., Building 486, and can be reached at 573.596.0131, ext. 60212.

(Editor's note: Daniel Danzo is an ACS employment counselor at Fort Leonard Wood.)