Your Career: Military Spouse Preference Part 2

This is the second in a 2-part series on Military Spouse Preference (MSP), an aspect of the DoD’s Priority Placement Program falling under Executive Order 13473 or Executive Order 12721 (for spouses of Active Duty servicemembers returning from an overseas PCS). Read Part 1 here.

You have a 2-year window from the date of your spouse’s PCS order to take advantage of Military Spouse Preference (MSP).  It is not enough to be a military spouse and have PCS orders — you need to register with the new duty station’s civilian personnel office in order to claim preference.

You can register for MSP up to 30 days prior to your sponsor’s reporting date at U.S. duty stations. However, if you are PCSing from an overseas duty station, you can register for MSP upon arrival at the new duty station in the U.S. MSP is not used at overseas duty stations.

Download a fact sheet on Military Spouse Preference here.

1. Register for MSP

Give the civilian personnel office at the military installation where your spouse is assigned a call for any specific registration procedures they may have. You will most likely need to schedule an appointment or come in during walk-in hours in order to register.

Documents you’ll need if you do not have prior Federal Service:

  • Your Sponsor’s Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders
  • Resume
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Transcripts, if you have a degree
  • Licences/Certifications (if applicable)
  • DD 214 (if you served in the military)

For those with prior Federal Service, you’ll also need to provide:

  • Standard Form 50
  • Most recent Performance Appraisal
  • Standard Form 75 (if available)

The civilian personnel office will review your documents, determine what types of jobs you qualify for, then register you for MSP.

Put your best foot forward here, i.e. make sure your resume is polished and thoroughly details your work experience, education, military experience if any, certifications, licenses, etc. If you do not have prior federal service, your resume will be picked through with a fine-tooth comb to determine where you would best fit in the federal civilian service, which can make or break your chances of landing a job at that duty station.

2. Apply for Federal Jobs

If a job vacancy comes up for which you are a match, the civilian personnel office will let you know. However, registering for MSP does not automatically get you the job; you still need to apply for the position.

In most cases, you will apply for the vacancy through USAJOBS.GOV, which lists federal job vacancies.

Download USAJOBS Tips for Military Spouses.

When applying, be sure to check the box to claim Military Spouse Preference employment category, which may be listed as “EO’s 13473 or 12721 eligible”. 

If you see a vacancy on USAJOBS that is open to the public, U.S. citizens, “status candidates” or “Military Spouses eligible under EO’s 13473 or 12721” that you are interested in, you can still apply and claim preference, even if your civilian personnel office did not inform you of it, as long as no more than 2 years have passed from the date your Sponsor’s orders were issued (3 years from the date you entered the U.S. if you PCSed from overseas).

Best of luck!

Further reading on federal employment for Military Spouses:





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