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Q. I’m preparing to move to Japan to be with my fiancé, who is in the Navy. (We will be married this year before I move there.) I currently work full time in the information technology arena.

What resources would you suggest accessing to obtain employment, preferably on the base? I’ve found several links via my Internet research, but there is so much out there that it can be overwhelming and difficult to determine the viable options.

I am confident in being able to secure a position. I just have to get the right résumé in the right hands.

— Melissa

A. Two things are in your favor already as you begin your adventures as a military spouse: You have confidence, and you are planning ahead to meet your goal.

For additional expertise on your career questions, I contacted Janet Farley, who writes the “Job Talk” column for Stars and Stripes. She is also the author of several books about careers for military spouses.

While you are more likely to find a job after you arrive in Japan, laying the groundwork before you get there is an excellent idea, Janet said. You can do much of the research online, but it is also important to talk to real people at your future assignment.

As a first step, Janet suggested that you contact the family support center. In the Navy, this is called the Fleet and Family Support Center. The staff there can direct you to the employment readiness manager for your base.

“Ask for suggestions, leads and additional contacts from that person,” Janet advised. “This will give you a good idea of the employment situation on the ground. Continue your own internet research, incorporating online networking with other spouses who may live there already or who may have been there.”

As you would with any job search, Janet said to be sure your résumé is up to date. You will also need to fill out a federal employment application if you seek a government job.

You can see these forms and create a federal employment resume at www.usajobs.gov. Click on “Forms”.

Taking a look at these will give you an idea of the information required, but you’ll need to find out the specific forms required for the positions you seek.

To make contact with other spouses in your new location, Janet suggested visiting www.cinchouse.com. At that site, in the CincHouse Café, you will find discussion forums from various locations and can connect with spouses stationed in Japan.

Here are some other good sites for job information and connections:

USAJOBS at www.usajobs.gov. In addition to necessary forms, this government site has a worldwide search engine for jobs.Naval Services Family line at www.lifelines.navy.mil/FamilyLine. Click on the name of your base to find spouse organizations there.Military Spouse Career Center at www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil. Here you can find information about jobs as well as a link to “Spouse Community,” which has message boards by subject and location.Navy Human Resources Operations Center: www.hrojax.navy.mil. This resource offers step-by-step instructions for finding and applying for federal positions.Janet suggested this online tool to see if you qualify for hiring preference as a military spouse. This preference is not a guarantee of a job, but gives spouses stationed overseas an edge in some government jobs.You can find these links and more information on the Spouse Calls blog: http://blogs.stripes.com/blogs/spousecalls.

Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She lives and writes in Germany. Send questions or comments to spousecalls@stripes.com.


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