Since leaving the Army I have had a lot of people message me saying that they are leaving the Army or thinking of leaving and what advice can I can give them. So I thought I would put my advice in a blog so anyone who is leaving or thinking of leaving this may just help.
When I started the process of leaving the Army, the first thing I did was contact the local Career Transition Workshop. They are part of CTP, The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) is a partnering agreement between the Ministry of Defence and Right Management Ltd. The CTP provides resettlement services for those leaving the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force, and Marines. Regardless of time served, all members of the Armed Forces can benefit from CTP support when leaving Service.
I had a look at all the free courses they had, they ranged from a 1-day pension brief to a 1-day housing brief to a 3 day CV writing and job searching course. After booking all these courses the next step and the most challenging was figuring out what I was actually going to do when I left. I thought about Project Management, I looked into being a female close protection officer. I spent a good few weeks really thinking about it and in the end, I decided to do a course in Chartered Institue of Personal Development Level 3 Diploma in Human Resources.
The reason being and if you have read my previous blogs I did HR in the Army but also I was moving to a new city, I at least wanted to go into a job that I knew and I was good at even though HR does not float my boat and set me on fire it would get me on my feet. I would 100% say really think about what job you want to do, I saw so many people leave the Army and spend money on courses and then regret it as it was a knee jerk decision and ended up going into something completely different.
You have to be sure what it is you want to do and you have to make sure you get on the right course to get you qualified it is so important. You are supposed to get support up to 2 years after leaving the Army and CTP were in my experience really bad, no follow ups and no help or support. That was just my experience but it really makes you realise that once you leave no one really cares and it is totally up to you to make sure you get on your feet.
I did my HR course at the Army Education Centre in Aldershot it was a 4-week course (if I had of done it in civilian street it would have been 12 months) and it was a really good course. It was very intense as I mentioned in my blog but from my point of view it was money well spent and I learned a great deal about HR and policies and procedures. I felt it was the right course and it really set me up for a Human Resources role. I felt set and ready to tackle civilian street and all it had to offer, then…………….
Once out it was a different ball game, I was applying for jobs every single day online and not getting an interview or even a response back. The best thing I did and I recommend it to anyone was I went online on looked where all the local recruitment agencies were in my area and with my list of them all I went and handed my CV out to them all.
I found this really beneficial as they got to see me (I made sure I dressed smart, first impressions last) and they all had a chat with me, asked me questions and vise verse. Recruitment agents are good but you do have to call them daily, this keeps you in the front of their mind and shows you are keen. I even went to job interviews for roles that I did not want just so I could get experience as it had been 12 years since I’d had a job interview.
If you do not call them and remind them that you are still looking for work they will forget about you. I had a couple like that but I also had two – Hays and Reed who were actually really proactive with me and sent me on interviews. In the end, it was Hays who recommended I go for an HR Role at Untied Welsh and I got it. So to anyone that may be struggling to get work the best thing I did and it worked for me was get your CV to lots of agencies.
I also recommend indeed.com, get yourself on there add a profile and save your CV on to it. Indeed is one of the biggest online job sites and the job I am currently in was with Indeed. There are others like Total job, Monsters jobs, Fish for jobs to name a few. I also got in contact with Hire a Hero, Hire a Hero is a charity that supports service leavers through the transition into civilian life they work in partnership with public, private and third sector organisations to provide a network of support and to signpost service leavers to the most appropriate resources as required.
Hire a Hero, through its network of businesses, mentors and volunteers provide a consistent source of support to service leavers. They really helped me with my CV and if anything you take from this blog is to makes sure your CV is good. Take out all military abbreviations (civilian street will not know what you mean) and military jargon. My CV if I am honest took me at least two months to get right.
It is so imperative that your CV is translated into civilian speak. There is also a big misconception that because you have been in the forces you are easily employable, I found this not to be true and quite the opposite. I have the qualification but what civilian street wanted was hands on and my HR experience in the Army was not even recognised. Get your foot in the door, show them how bloody good you are and the rest is history!
Ex-soldiers really undersell themselves, learn to realise how good you are, and all the great transferable skills you have.
By Lisa Brydon
For more information go to... http://www.justlisabrydon.com/index.php/2017/05/07/transition-from-military-life-to-civilian-life/