DOD Priority Placement Program for Military Spouses

military spouse priority placement

A federal program exists to help military spouses with priority placement for federal jobs.  Learn more about the DOD Priority Placement Program for Military Spouses (PPP).

As a military spouse, a move to a new duty station may be in your future. How will this move affect your job options?

Many military spouses seek federal employment, because a federal job can offer career stability that survives relocations. The federal job path might not be the right choice for every working military spouse.

If you choose to look for a federal job, you need to know about the Priority Placement Program for Military Spouses.  This program for military spouses is an important benefit that might be available to you.

Here are the basics:

What is the DOD Priority Placement Program?

The Priority Placement Program for Military Spouses allows military spouses preference for federal jobs within CONUS (the continental United States).

How The Military Spouse Preference Works

The military spouse preference doesn’t guarantee you a job, but it increases your chances of being hired for the right job. The PPP gives a best-qualified military spouse hiring priority over other best-qualified job applicants.

How to Take Advantage of the PPP Benefit

There are some basic steps you need to take in order to benefit from the military spouse preference.

1. Be sure that you fit the preference category.

In order to be eligible you must meet one of the following:

  • Spouse of an active-duty service member, including Coast Guard or full-time National Guard
  • Moving to a new duty station with your spouse
  • Were married before your spouse’s reporting date
  • Applying for a federal job within commuting distance of a new duty station
  • One of the best-qualified candidates for the job you want

2. Register for the DOD Priority Placement Program.

Contact your local Civilian Personnel Office (CPO) to register no earlier than 30 days before your spouse’s reporting date.  You can also contact your CPO any time after relocating.

You will need to present your marriage certificate and a copy of your spouse’s PCS orders to register.

Other documents that may be needed

  • copy of your SP-50
  • a copy of your most recent performance appraisal, if you’re a current or former federal employee
  • copy of your DD214, if you’re a former service member

3. Be sure that you’re qualified for the job you want, and be ready to prove it.

In order to qualify for the military spouse preference, you must be well-qualified for your job you want. You must also be able to prove your qualifications to the computer that scans the applications. Here are some tips for submitting your best application:

  • Read job announcements and included questionnaires carefully. Pay special attention to key words and phrases when you look over the job posting.
  • Give yourself enough time to build a well-written resume and cover letter, and to complete the application process. The Resume Builder on the USAjobs.gov is a good resource for crafting a strong federal resume.
  • Be clear, specific, and accurate with the information you submit. Work history should include salary, hours per week you worked, and references. If you have a degree, you will need to upload your transcript as proof.
  • Make sure that your resume accurately reflects your qualifications, so that you will be rated at the appropriate General Schedule (GS) level. The GS rating will help determine your level of qualification.

4. Use your available employment resources to help you through the process.

Job seekers may find the federal employment process complicated. But policies can change.  As an example a law was signed in 2016 to simplify the military spouse preference hiring process.  As a result, changes are coming.

Fortunately, military spouses have many free resources to help them with the job search process. Take advantage of resources such as Military OneSource to find your installation’s civilian personnel office or human resources office, or your installation’s Employment Readiness Program at your Family Support Center.

The Job Search Process Might Take Awhile

Don’t be discouraged if the job-seeking process seems to take forever. Well-qualified candidates can take months to find a federal job, even with the military spouse preference. Persistence and preparation are key. Good luck!

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