Employers will not hire Veterans, employers hire well prepared candidates, who add value to their company.
More and more companies are committed to hiring people from the Armed Forces Community (AFC). This doesn’t provide the AFC with an advantage over other candidates applying for the same job, it does mean you are going to get the same opportunity, go through the same application process.
In the Forces we are provided with the same training and it’s natural for some to succeed better than others, which is the same in all walks of life. Those that do succeed are the ones able to make their military experience relevant to employers and are able to quantify their accomplishments and keep away from the uses of military-slang and acronyms.
Prepared and Ready
You have completed your resettlement. You have a decent CV that’s been checked by someone who has never served, and it makes sense to them. The CV has done its job and managed to land you an interview. You get a haircut, you wear a clean suit that has been ironed the night before, clean shoes and you showed up on time because you carried out a recce as soon as you got the amazing news. You give the interviewer a firm handshake, and smile because you have done your due diligence and you are feeling confident.
You both sit down and THEY ask, “what did you do in the military?”
You sit up and your chest swells, because you are proud of your service in the RN/Army/RAF. You look them in the eyes and tell them you were a Nuclear Specialist, a Recce Mec, part of psyops team, or whatever your career specialty was. The look on their face says it all, you’ve already lost them because you may as well have replied in a different language.
Only a small proportion of population has ever served in the military! When we talk about our past service, we talk about our military job titles, because most of us in the military understand what they mean and do. The interviewer doesn’t understand your job title or what it entails and may even think your experiences are unique to the military, and irrelevant in the real world after all.
Start defining and explaining your careers based on your accomplishments, you are not defined by your job title but rather by the sum of your experiences and accomplishments. You must learn to develop a pitch that explains your military career while simultaneously putting into terms the interviewer will understand.
“I served 22 years in the RLC as an RQMS, blah, blah, blah”, and the interviewer will start thinking about lunch!!
“During my military career, I participated in transportation and logistics operations supporting an organisation of over 600 personnel. I helped maintain a fleet of vehicles and equipment/stores worth well over £25M and supervised teams of up to 100+ people. I received commendations for cost cutting measures and process improvements that I implemented whilst here in the UK and serving overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq. Due to my demonstrated management and leadership abilities, the Royal Logistic Corps promoted me on multiple occasions. I finally retired from the Army as a senior manager and am now looking for a career within the civilian world in which I can fully utilise my leadership skills to help the right company reach its goals.”
Interviews are limited mostly by time so you must be able to sell yourself right away and as often as possible. From the example above, a senior NCO is able to describe their military career in under 20 seconds in a manner that employers will understand and appreciate. You can highlight you career sector, supervisory/management and leadership experience, value of assets managed, accomplishments and the type of environments these were achieved in.
You have also given the interviewer leads for follow up questions that would highlight your experience and ability to do the job they are hiring for.
- “Tell me about the cost cutting measures and process improvements that you implemented?”
- “Can you give me examples of your management and leadership abilities?”
I will leave you to answer those questions, because no-one knows you better than you. Adapt your pitch and then practice again and again so it is second nature.It will be easier to learn than the Marksmanship Principles.