Serving in the military is often a full-time job for servicemembers and their families. Between daily training for the soldier and caring for children for the spouse, there may be so many things to take care of for parents in a military family that all they can do to make it through the day is keep their heads down and soldier on.

However, when the time comes for a spouse in the military to transition to life after service, that routine can be turned on its head. Roles that each parent has grown comfortable in will no longer work in civilian life, and the sometimes troubling question of employment now looms large in both adults' minds. Millions of families have made the switch to life after the military, though, so keeping calm and thinking over options is often the best way to approach one of the biggest transitions of a military family's time together.

Thinking about relocation
When a spouse is active duty, military families are normally used to moving around. Children adapt to making friends in new cities and spouses find ways to connect with each initially unfamiliar community they find themselves members of. When the time comes to leave the a military installation, however, most families fail to think about life after service outside of the Armed Forces bubble, according to

"We weren't going to move back to the middle of Iowa, so we just stayed [in North Carolina]," Melanie, the wife of a soldier stationed at Camp Lejeune, told

Melanie believed that her family would only be compensated to move back to her hometown where her husband was initially recruited. When she and her husband compared employment opportunities between North Carolina and Iowa, the former seemed like an easy choice for them.

But with so many other military families choosing the same path, Melanie's family found the job market around Camp Lejeune clogged with job seekers with the same skills as her husband. Moreover, local businesses only seemed interested in hiring people from the area.

Rather than stay attached to the network of bases, recommended taking advantage of the service's willingness to pay a fraction of a family's relocation costs. A common misconception is that the military will only pay to move a family back to where the servicemember was originally recruited, but anyone interested in moving to a different locale – one where their job skills are in high demand – can have the mileage from their current location to their hometown applied to a different location instead. Families merely have to pay the remainder of travel expenses.

While that balance may still be a hefty sum, the overall economic benefit for a family may be a net positive if the move brings them to a city rife with job opportunities.

Networking with military skills
Even if a family moves to a new city for life after service, simply hoping for employment often is not enough. Military OneSource recommended working on networking skills through transition assistance programs. Talking to other recently transitioned families can lead to job opportunities that are not advertised through normal means, and putting a face to a name usually results in job placement at a higher rate than sending out resumes over the Internet.

However, it can be easy for a former military spouse to grow discouraged when he or she finds out that skills gained in the military are not as highly valued in the private sector as they were in the Armed Forces. On the contrary, companies prize leadership and teamwork skills just as much as technical ones, and former military members have those traits in spades.