However many years military service you have under your belt, no matter how highly decorated you are or where you have served, it is likely that making the transition between a military life and ‘Civvy Street’ is going to be one of the most daunting things you will ever do. The seemingly mountainous task of adjusting to a new, civilian life can be compounded by the fact that you will also have to find a new job outside of the service. To ensure this transition goes as smoothly as possible, it is worth taking the time to polish up your CV when it comes to job hunting which will display your wealth of skills and show prospective employers how your military experience translates well into a civilian job. Follow our tips and hints to show you how to put together a top class CV, which will help create the impact and impression you want.
What is your civilian goal?
Your life in the service may have been clearly defined for many years but it is likely that you will have gathered many skills during that time. In this respect, the diverse background military training and service can give you can actually confuse matters when it comes to writing a civilian CV. With this in mind, it is worth sitting down and thinking what your aims are now. Talk to friends, colleagues and utilise your local resettlement service or transition office to help you define and shape a specific career objective. You may end up with more than one path in mind to a suitable career and that is OK, but if this happens remember that you do not need just one CV. Instead, tailor each CV to highlight skills and experiences which are relevant to the job or jobs you have in mind. It is a good idea to create more than one CV meaning that you will not over generalise, which could lead to you missing all your prospective target roles completely.
Remember where you are
A CV is a short statement and history of your training, qualifications, skills and experiences which will help your prospective employer decide what it is you can do for them that no one else can do. Like any CV, yours needs to emphasise the facts relevant to the position for which you are applying. To do this effectively, research your target role and ask yourself what skills, experiences and aspects of your background are the most relevant. The CV needs to be kept to a maximum of 2 pages so discard any information that will not be of interest to the employer and only include pertinent facts. During the course of your military training, it is likely that you will have gathered together a whole bunch of qualifications and decorations while undertaking more training than most civilians will ever see in a lifetime; but do not allow your target employer to be confused and not see the wood for the trees. Certain things do not belong on a civilian CV so there is no need for you to include awards which have no relevance to your new career goal or at the very least deemphasise them.
Remember that ‘transferable’ is the buzz word here and your new manager needs to know that skills picked up during your military career can make a smooth transition into civilian life. In addition, most civilians do not understand the language used amongst service personnel so take a firm line and demilitarise your previous job titles and responsibilities. Leave military jargon and language at the door when you undertake the task of writing your new CV and if possible, show your CV to a friend who has no military background and test drive it on them and ask their opinion on how it reads.
Your achievements during your time in active service will undoubtedly be varied but use this as to your advantage. Military training in the UK is some of the finest in the world and many skills you learnt are fully transferable to the job market. It is likely that your prospective employer will not understand the relevance of some training you will have had, but this can be fitted to different scenarios with outcomes that can be measured. Most employers will recognise that veterans will have very useful skills which were honed during their time in active service and it is worth placing the emphasis on team cohesion, decision making, leadership skills, use of state of the art IT and communications equipment, practical, multi faceted or cross over skills.
Be proud of your military history
A career in the military is one of the most admired out there, so place this in the forefront of your mind when you start your search for a new role. You have marketable skills as well as a whole host of other experiences to lead with. That said, it is worth remembering that most civilians can be, understandably, reluctant to talk to you about any actual live combat details. Tone this down or remove it entirely from your CV to decrease the ‘squeamish’ factor many civilians may feel when faced with this reality.
The last word
It is worth asking for any feedback from jobs you were not invited to interview for. In this way, you can polish and hone your CV with more clearly defined objectives.