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Four ways to make yourself more marketable after the military

Leaving the military is never easy.

From finding a new role, to resettlement into civilian life, plus the hassle of finding accommodation if you have been living in army housing, it can be stressful. You may even be wondering about the type of jobs for ex-military personnel for when you’ve left the forces.

Don’t let the stress of logistics get in the way of a fantastic opportunity to take your career in a new direction or offer your family a more stable way of life. Here we list four ways to make yourself more marketable after leaving the military.

4 ways to make yourself more marketable after leaving the military.

1. Update your CV

During your time in the military you’ll have no need for a CV, as all of your postings, qualifications, experience and promotions will be kept on file with JPA (the military HR system), but after leaving you will need to write your own CV to outline your relevant skills, qualifications and experience.

It’s important that you keep it up to date so that you are as marketable as possible to employers: having a well written and up to date CV helps potential employers to see that your experience is right for a role, and that you’re motivated to do all you can in the search for employment.

If you obtain a new qualification, or more experience working on different or more technologically advanced equipment, for example, it’s a good idea to update your CV as soon as possible.

In a competitive job market, showing that you have the most recent experience is what will help to give you an edge over other applicants.

If you’ve never written a CV before, it can seem daunting. However, when you compare it to other challenges you may have been faced with in your military career, for example serving in a conflict zone, it is a very simple task.

Once your CV is complete, you don’t need to think about updating it again until something changes, like moving roles or gaining more experience. For more hints and tips for writing the perfect CV, read our recent download on selling yourself to potential employers.

2. Take extra courses to broaden your skill set

To increase your chances of getting a fulfilling job after the military, you can take additional courses to boost your experience. This is particularly useful if you feel that your CV may be lacking and will help to make yourself more marketable to employers.

If you are in the process of leaving the army, you can even take courses as part of your Graduated Resettlement Time; alternatively, you can take courses with City & Guilds from a local higher education facility.

If you are just starting out it’s also an idea to consider an apprenticeship with a larger employer: this is great if you haven’t had much experience in civilian employment and can give you qualifications and experience while you earn.

There are a number of organisations that can help you gain more experience within the civilian working world, such as Civilian Work Attachments.

You can use some of your resettlement time to complete trial work periods with a civilian employer, to gain insight and experience within a particular role or industry.

Having a course or work attachment on your CV demonstrates to employers that you are willing to learn and shows that you are actively trying to improve your chances of getting the job you want.

3. Work overseas in a contract role

If you aren’t decided on your future career but have the right experience, working overseas in a contract role is a great way to get your foot in the door of the civilian world.

Typically contracts last six to 12 months or longer, giving you a great chance to gain perspective of a different work environment before committing to a future career.

If you have the appropriate skills and experience it can be an excellent fit for ex-military personnel and having contract work on your CV shows that you have experience outside of the military.

It’s also a great compromise between military and civilian life: you can transition easily as you will usually find yourself working for a prestigious military client in a similar environment, with a comparable group of people.

If you’re curious about what it’s like to work in a military environment as a civilian, take a look at our recent blog.

4. Highlight your transferable attributes

It’s not just your skills as a mechanic that potential employers are looking for: many of the skills that you will have gained in the military are attractive to employers.

Whenever you write a CV or job application, or attend an interview, you should also highlight all of these additional skills to boost your chances of employment.

Those with a military background will have had to develop and improve upon their communication skills, whether they have worked on the front line or in logistics or administration.

It’s an essential part of being in the military that you are able to communicate clearly and efficiently with everyone around you, regardless of rank.

Your attention to detail and organisation skills will also be highly sought after too, showing that you are able to work precisely to tight deadlines when under pressure.

Being promoted to a higher rank also demonstrates your leadership and if you have had an important role in any exercises this will demonstrate your ability to lead from the front, where excellent teamwork is vital for success.

During your time in the military you will have been required to maintain a high standard of fitness and dress too, two further things that will serve you well in a future role.

Having a good standard of physical agility is always a bonus on civvy street when working in a manual role, and it’s a well-known fact that military personnel have an outstanding level of fitness. Plus, the ability to shine your shoes and press your smartest clothes before an interview doesn’t hurt either!

Are you looking for ex-military personnel roles?

If you are looking for jobs for ex-military personnel, consider applying for a role with M&E Global. We have a range of different contract roles at various levels that are suited to people transitioning from the forces to civilian life.

And from helping you write the perfect CV to coaching you through interview questions, we can help you with individual guidance as you progress your career journey.

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