By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMay 31, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Applying for a federal job is different than applying for work in the private sector, and Army Community Service is doing its part to make sure military spouses have a leg up when searching for meaningful work in the federal job market.
Fort Rucker ACS hosted The Stars are Lined Up for Military Spouses May 23, a federal job workshop aimed at teaching military spouses how to navigate the inner workings of the federal job market, which Bobbi Rossiter, Ten Steps to a Federal Job Program manager, said can be difficult for people to do if they don't know the right steps to take.
Applying for a federal position is different than applying for work in the civilian market, so those who are looking to do so need to know how to navigate the proper channels in order to get their applications noticed, said Rossiter.
"It is very different," said the program manager. "One of the tips that I always give to military spouses is to apply for positions (you don't really want) before you even think about applying for one seriously -- just do a couple of test applications. That way you get familiar with the experience because it's nothing like you've ever had to do before."
Rossiter, a military spouse of 10 years, has gone through the process multiple times, and having had the opportunity to adjust, said she wanted to share her knowledge with others to be able to showcase the opportunities that could be open to them, as well.
"I talk about Military Spouse Preference (within the federal job program)," she said. "What I get into is how they use their (MSP) to apply for federal jobs. (The program) is governed by Executive Order 13473, which most spouses don't really know about, so I'm essentially spreading awareness and empowering them with more information."
Throughout the workshop, Rossiter speaks to spouses about how to use the MSP, as well as how to write a résumé to fit the criteria for the job they are applying, which she said is a vital part of the application process.
In addition to learning how to write a proper résumé for the federal job market, she also hits on the importance of networking and making connections at each duty station.
"Networking is a big part of it," said Rossiter. "We have so many people who have worked their way into positions just by finding out ahead of time that these positions were out there, so I'm very much pro networking.
"I encourage spouses to join military spouse groups on (social media) -- anything to help network their way in," she said. "Military spouses helping military spouses is how we stay informed. It's about knowing when the opportunity is there and then presenting yourself as the right candidate for that opportunity."
Shelley Hansen, military spouse, attended the workshop and said although she's worked in the federal government before, she wanted to learn how to get herself noticed since she's been out of the federal job market for some time.
"It's just kind of a conundrum for me in trying to figure out how my résumé needs to look because it's so different from the traditional résumé," said Hansen. "I just wanted to know how I can be competitive in that market and learn how to make my résumé fit the criteria of the job that I'm working for."
Being able to provide that kind of knowledge is the reason that Mike Kozlowski, ACS Employment Readiness Program manager, said the workshop was necessary.
"For a long time, many military spouses have been clueless about how to apply for federal jobs by using a preference and how to best look at creating an impactful, winning résumé for a federal job," said the ERP manager. "This is a useful tool for them, and most of my clients are military spouses, so that's why I want to be able to offer this for them."
The workshop for spouses was the first of its kind offered on the installation, but with the need for knowledge apparent, Kozlowski said he will continue to offer the program geared toward spouses.
"This was just the first class and I want to keep this going," he said.