Date: Monday September 24, 2018 at 3:47pm
Help! I’m leaving for Civvy Street!
So you’re ready to cast off the comfort
blanket of military life, move back to the civilian world and take the next
step in your career.
You’ve probably decided where you and the
family want to settle, you may have even bought or rented a house, but when it
comes to applying for jobs and writing a CV to get you those all-important
interviews, do you know where to start?
How confident are you in selling your
skills and abilities to show how you can really add value to a company? If this
isn’t something you’re used to doing and you’re feeling like a fish out of
water, here are my Top 10 Tips:
- First things first – decide on the type of job you want: There’s no point spending days, weeks, or months desperately trying to
write your CV if you haven’t even decided on the type of job you want to
target. You’ll just end up with reams of information which may not even be
- Generic CV's don’t work!: Having assessed and short-listed more CVs than I care to remember during
my years as an HR Manager and recruitment specialist, the last thing I would
want landing on my desk would be a CV which didn’t very quickly make an impact.
It’s critical to get steer away from the usual clichés and get across why you’d
be the ideal candidate and how you meet the role requirements, in the first
half page of your CV. Fail to do so and you run the risk of your CV coming face
to face with the shredder.
- Presentation, presentation, presentation!: Nobody wants to read a poorly presented CV. Imagine reading a book or
report with a small, badly chosen font, fancy borders, misaligned text and poor
spelling. A concise, well-written, well laid out CV where the information flows
well and key details are easy to find and you are more likely to grab attention
and get the recruiter on your side.
- Write for your audience: Tell
the reader what they want to know – no waffle and definitely no flowery
language. Make sure the CV flows and
builds a clear picture of the skills, capabilities and experience you have
which is relevant to the role and sector for which you are applying. If it
isn’t relevant, leave it out.
- Mind your language: We’re all familiar with the terminology
used in the military to describe certain jobs, levels of authority, departments
and equipment. Try not to use these unless you are sure the reader will
understand what you mean. Your CV says you have great communication skills –
use them! Write about your work in a way which paints a clear picture about
what you do, where you work and what type of environment in which you work.
Avoid mentioning rank. A civilian wouldn’t put in their CV that their job is a
Level 4C Project Manager. They’d call themselves a Senior Project Manager. If you are an SQMS, you are a Warehouse
makes you so different? I remember once recruiting to fill a part-time Customer
Service role. I received 300 CVs. Yes 300! So, any CVs which were poorly
presented, had spelling or grammatical errors, or just didn’t hit the mark in
the first 30 seconds went straight in the shredder! Recruiters and HR Managers
are busy people. They just won’t have the time or inclination to read the whole
CV and hunt for that snippet of information which shows how brilliant you are.
They aren’t mind readers either. It’s
your job to make it crystal clear what sets you apart from all the other
candidates who want the job.
the Bots. Many of
the larger recruitment companies and employers use ATS software to sift and
select CVs. So chances are, if you’ve uploaded your CV to a jobs board or when
applying for a job, it will first be
scanned, parsed and sifted by ATS. When searching for suitably qualified and
experienced applicants to fill a vacancy, or when sifting applications, they’ll
use keywords. CVs which have the right keywords in the text are the ones which
will usually come to the top of the search results.
is King! If I had a pound for every CV I’ve read which started with ‘I am a
highly motivated…..’. Avoid the usual expressions, never start a bullet point
with ‘Responsible for…’ and don’t copy and paste from a job description. Bring
your CV to life. Use active language and write about how you used the skills
the employer is seeking and how YOU made a difference.
about what the company is really looking for in their ideal applicant and show
how you can add real value. Think your achievements and successes are just part
of the job? Well think again. They could just be the very thing that gives you
the edge over another candidate with the same qualifications and a similar
background, and be the deciding factor when it comes to being short-listed for
interview or offered the job.
will survive! There
is life outside the military. It may be different and you may take time to
settle in, but it will all be ok. It will take a great deal of pre-planning and
preparation, but you will find the right job for you. You are employable and
you have lots to offer. I work with clients every day who left the military
fold years ago and are now enjoying successful careers, and also some who left
recently and have just secured their new jobs. When my own husband left the
Army years ago, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do and was like a fish out of
water after going from having a place in an organisation, responsibilities, a
team and a job title to nothing in a matter of weeks. So he enrolled in an HND
course at the local college. Thankfully, the lecturer saw that he had lots to
offer and persuaded him to start the degree course instead. He went on to get a
first class honours degree and then a PhD. He is now a senior university
lecturer, a job so far removed from his Army career and not bad for someone who
left school with just 2 CSEs to his name.
Sian Richardson is an ex-military wife
and founder of Forces CV Services which provides CV and Careers Forces CV
Services works with leading organisations such as BFRS (www.bfrss.org.uk)
to help to service leavers and veterans from the military and uniformed
emergency services. If you need help to
market your skills and abilities to future employers, visit www.forces-cvs.co.uk
or contact Sian direct: firstname.lastname@example.org
©Copyright Forces CV Services 2018