Bridging the Gap: Transitioning from Military Service to Civilian Roles
Transitioning from military service to a civilian role can be a challenging process. Despite the vast skill set that veterans bring to the table, making the leap to a 'civvy' job involves manoeuvring through a new landscape of CVs, interviews, and workplace culture. This blog post aims to bridge that gap and guide you through the essential steps to successfully transition into a civilian career.
Identify Transferable Skills
Before you even begin the job hunt, take a step back and consider the various skills and competencies you've gained in the military. These could range from hard skills like engineering and equipment operation to soft skills like leadership and team management. Understanding how these skills can be applied in a civilian context is the first step in your career transition journey.
How to Translate Military Skills to Civilian Language
Often, veterans face the challenge of translating their military experience into terms that civilian employers can understand. Work on 'demilitarising' your CV by converting military jargon into civilian terms. For example "logistical support" can be termed as "supply chain management."
Leverage Networking Opportunities
Networking is an invaluable tool in any job hunt, but it can be especially useful for military veterans. Reach out to your military contacts who have successfully transitioned to civilian roles for advice and possible job leads. Professional platforms like LinkedIn can help you connect with industry professionals, and there are various job fairs held throughout the UK which are dedicated specifically to veterans.
Where to Network
Veteran-Specific Job Fairs: These are great opportunities to meet employers who are specifically looking to hire veterans.
Online Communities: Websites and forums dedicated to veterans offer a platform to share experiences and tips.
Education and Retraining
Depending on your desired career path, additional education or training might be necessary. Mst people leaving their Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force careers are entitled to some level of resettlement training, helping you to improve existing skills or learning new ones to help you secure a role in your desired industry. Before committing to training, ensure the course aligns with your long-term career goals and make sure that it is valued by a potential employer. One source of guidance would be to approach an established and reputable ex-military recruitment age, like Demob Job, see www.demobjob.co.uk.
Prepare for Interviews
Interviewing for a ‘civvy’ role is likely quite different from any promotion interviews you've had in the military. Research common interview questions and practice your answers. Focus on relating your military experience to the job requirements.
Conducting mock interviews with a friend or mentor can help you get comfortable with the interview process. Take their feedback seriously and work on refining your answers and improving your body language.
Adapt to Civilian Workplace Culture
Once you secure a job, the next challenge is adapting to civilian workplace culture, which may differ significantly from what you are used to. Observe how your colleagues interact, how conflicts are resolved, and how projects are managed, then adjust your behaviour accordingly.
Transitioning from military to civilian life is undoubtedly a challenge, but it's one that can be managed with the right preparation and resources. By identifying your transferable skills, leveraging your network, and being open to retraining and continuous learning, you're setting yourself up for a successful new chapter in your professional life.