EXPLORE AND UNDERSTAND YOUR TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
Do some honest self-analysis and write a list of all your hard and soft skills. This should be your start point. Try to come up with around 10 hard skills and 10 soft skills. Remember, your skills don’t always come from your jobs - you may have developed skills from additional courses you’ve done or activities that you do in your spare time, such as leading or participating in sports teams. Look back over your work, studies or leisure activities and think about the tasks you completed in each. This helps you identify the skills you've learned. If you are able to recognise your skill set, you'll find it much easier to work out what you want to do.
If you’re struggling with this step, use our personality assessment tool to help you work out what your skills are, and where they can take you. It will also help you to understand your individual working-style so you can gain an understanding of the roles you might be naturally well-suited to.
Ask yourself these questions:
What am I good at? How can I evidence that?
What are my strongest attributes?
How can I demonstrate them?
What do I enjoy doing?
What do I dislike doing?
What geographical constraints apply?
When am I realistically available?
How adaptable to change am I?
What is my minimum salary target?
Are you process or personality driven?
Translate your military skills
Working out the relevance of your military skills for a civilian job and then translating them into the language of a civilian employer can be one of the most challenging parts of your journey into civilian employment. We have found a number of veterans who believe that they don’t have the right skills and experience for a certain industry - when in fact, they are a perfect fit. The non-technical skills - the ‘soft skills’ - are seen by many employers to be a real strength of ex-military people and are just as important as technical skills or ‘hard’ skills.
For further guidance on choosing your career after the military, download our toolkit for free
WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL JOB?
Write down a list of 10 key elements you believe would be the perfect job for you that encompass your own skills, experience, ambition and values. Now you’ll need to try to focus your job search on industries and roles that include at least 7 of these elements.
WHAT JOBS ARE IN DEMAND IN 2021?
IT, cyber security and other ‘digital’ jobs
Construction and engineering
Operations and project management (including IT project management)
Transport and logistics
Data analysis and data scientist
IT, Cyber Security and Other ‘Digital’ Jobs
Cyber Security, fraud and financial crime and ‘governance, risk and compliance’ are all fast growing sectors and one to which your military security skills and experience are very well aligned. Most people think cyber security jobs are very technical and require IT skills and qualifications. However, while some roles are very technical, your general military security training and experience are highly transferable to information security - where there is a huge shortage of quality people. Employers are urgently seeking people for jobs such as Security Operations Centre (SOC) analysts/ managers, incident response managers, security consultants or in policy, risk or compliance roles, all of which are very well suited to military generalists.
If cyber security is an industry of interest to you, then you should check out our handy ‘get into cyber’ article which details a step-by-step plan to help military veterans get into the cyber security industry.
Construction & Engineering
During any recession, the government uses infrastructure projects to aid recovery. Brexit will also impact heavily on the construction sector by reducing the number of jobs available to foreign workers, especially in lower skilled roles.
The construction industry also recognises the value of ex-military employees, so the sector is a good one to target - once you have your basic ‘cards’ and qualifications, you can progress quickly into well paid and relatively secure jobs. Organisations like Buildforce will help you target the right job and advise on qualifications etc. And the HS2 project offers great opportunities, especially for those living within the corridor 50 miles either side of the proposed route.
The UK is prepared to invest £640 billion in roads, railways and housing over the next five years, while the equivalent global forecast is a staggering $50 trillion. Already faced with an immense skills shortage, delivering this ambitious programme will involve an entire rethink of the way the industry has traditionally gone about attracting talent.
Currently, a large percentage of construction labour comes from Europe. Take London as an example, where, according to ONS figures, non-UK nationals accounted for 40% of workers in building construction in the capital.
Operations and Project Management
Operations and programme/ project managers are always in demand. The great advantage of roles of this type is that they exist in every sector. No matter what the industry, qualified professionals are always needed to plan and provision the work.
Project managers are needed in a wide variety of industries. Although quite common in the IT field, project-oriented work is also common in business services, oil and gas, finance and insurance, manufacturing, construction and utility industries—all over the world. There are plenty of opportunities for advancement. Highly experienced, specialised, certified project managers can expect to see double the entry-level salary—or more.
A PMI report claims ‘Demand over the next 10 years for project managers is growing faster than demand for workers in other occupations. Organisations, however, face risks from this talent gap.’
Transport, Rail and Logistics
Companies in the transport, rail and logistics have traditionally recruited strongly from the Armed Forces. Many will help jobseekers gain relevant qualifications or pay for training to complete modules to gain licences. Companies like Kuhne Nagel, DHL and Jewsons have been recognised by the MOD for their work to support the Armed Forces and have specific programmes to help ex-military jobseekers into employment.
Similarly, most of the rail operating companies recognise the value of ex-military employees and offer both secure jobs and attractive salary and conditions.
TARGET SECTORS AND JOBS BASED ON YOUR SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE
Now that you have a better understanding of the sorts of jobs you want to work in and have identified your transferable skills and experience, you can start the important task of narrowing down the options. We recommend targeting no more than 2 or 3 job roles in 1 or 2 sectors and focus your energy and effort on them - don’t make the mistake of taking a ‘spray and pray’ approach to your job search, which simply doesn’t work.
Next, take a look at job descriptions of your target roles, especially the ‘essential’ or ‘required’ skills and experience sectors, you can start to identify any gaps in your skills and experience - and how to fill them.