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​The best career options for former military service members

  • Publish Date: Posted over 1 year ago

For our brave members of the armed forces, when its time to leave, be it through natural retirement, health or other reason, it can be both difficult and traumatic. Suddenly returning to civilian life after serving King and country, is, to quote modern parlance, a big deal, requiring considerable change.

Some 10,000 service personnel leave the military annually, and while each individual will have different issues, the big one is that of finding and adjusting to a new job and career. Essentially starting out again on the employment front is very similar to a student starting their first paid job, bringing with it a set of new work structures and responsibilities. It’s all about making the correct job and career move, one that suits talents and existing abilities/expertise, coupled with a desire to learn.

What is needed is to identify employers or recruiters who have the ability to recognise and make best use of your existing skills, many of which others simply won’t have. The world of work is your oyster, especially if you are happy to undertake a professional or academic qualification. Often you can do so as you work, and there should be no boundaries as to what you can take on.

You will be surprised at how much in demand you can be!

What are employers looking for?

First of all, list what your skills are. It will surprise you at how long that list can be. Aside from your pure military experience, you will have been taught some fine skills that can easily transfer to non-military uses. Not only that, employers can be very actively interested in you as an ex-forces person.

Some of the skills that appeal to employers, are the service-person’s ability to:

  • Good, speedy decision making

  • Good judgement calls

  • Listen actively

  • Manage their time

  • Observance skills

  • Solving complex problems

  • Speak in public

  • Think critically

So, what are the jobs?

Yes, ideally, something militarily-connected would be idea, but you will find that you have many skills that you can take immediately take from your own personal skills shelf that you otherwise may take for granted. You could have expertise in transport, logistics, medicine, reliability, intelligence, IT skills, stock management, construction and more. And the Navy brings offshore opportunities, while the Air Force, aerospace.

As an ex-forces member, you are genuinely used to working both in a team and on your own initiative, as well as under pressure (deadline!), dependable and remaining level-headed in a crisis. You may also have leadership qualities. These are not just bland CV-filling empty statements. You’ve really done it all! So make use these qualities.

Other routes to employment

At JAM Recruitment we can help the ex-military find a new career. You also have the added advantage of security clearance that non-military candidates won’t have which is crucial for many jobs we recruit for. Do take into account that if you have been a career serviceperson, you may find, because of your limited experience of civilian work, you may need help with putting a CV together and how to write a CV. We can help with bridging the communication gap between you and a potential employer.

Think about your potential future career as soon as you can and prepare as much as you can in advance. Check with your local command and think ahead to the sector you might particularly like to explore as an option for employment.

Some further tips

It’s a good idea to think and research what employers are looking for. While a healthy majority of employers do like the idea of employing service veterans, there are still a third that don’t understand the concept of transferrable skills from the military which might appear to them to be a chasm away from their own business sector. Remember that list of skills we discussed a little earlier? They need to be placed on your CV.

Keep it simple. Decision making, flexibility, good communication, leadership, IT skills and reliability, while we have already said are used by everyone on a CV, the big differentiator is that you do actually have these skills. Also list the skills you may have that were mentioned earlier above, together with any qualifications you may have or gained during your service career. And don’t forget the industries that require security clearance which you have, such as Counter Terrorism Check (CTC), Developed Vetting (DV), Management Vetting (MV), Non-Police Personnel Vetting (NPPV), Recruitment Vetting (RV) and Security Check (SC).

A career in the Defence industry offers ample opportunities for ex-forces. We have numerous clients based throughout the UK who are keen to speak to ex-military candidates. Your next step is to upload your CV with JAM Recruitment where we can begin highlighting opportunities that will use your transferable skills and match your values and ambition.