You absolutely have transferable skills. They may not be written on a national diploma but they’re the sort of thing that are interesting to real employers looking for people to get on with the job. The next time you think you don’t have anything to offer in civvy street, remember that you’re talking complete and utter B.O.L.L.O.C.K.S.
You may not know this, but being on time every single day is as rare as rocking horse shit in civvy street. They have this thing on their alarms called ‘snooze’ (I think I’ve spelt that right) and they use it all the time, even on work days. Being punctual is a skill and it deserves to go on your CV. What’s more, when a potential employer sees that you’re ex-military, they’re way more likely to believe you when you say you can stick to a schedule.
Organisation & Presentation
Before you’ve even left training you have enough self pride, that you’ll never be able to look at a civvy colleague in an un-ironed shirt with anything but contempt. Just try not losing your shit the first time matey rocks up to a meeting without a notepad and pen. Unbelievable.
Lead & Follow
You probably spent the first part of your armed forces career taking orders and later years giving them. You don’t have to have flown through the ranks to know how to give and take orders with enthusiasm. You’ve probably been told in pubs that you’re ‘way too direct’. In the corporate world that’s a ‘quality’. Just take the swear words out and add a please at the end and you’re basically management material.
Learn on the job
You learned everything you ever did in the armed forces on the job. From administrating yourself, to shooting, stagging on and marching to time. It was all new before you signed up and you learned how to be the best at it. This translates beautifully to a CV littered with words like “enthusiastic about progressing” and “eager to learn”.
Observe & Analyse
From the marksmanship principles, weapons handling, PAWPERSO and every other acronym you came up with to help retain the mountains of information you’re given in the forces, you’ve been observing, analysing and retaining data since day one. This is an incredibly useful set of skills in civvy street where most jobs require similar amounts of data to be learned. If you can revise and retain some basic company info before an interview that’d be great too. Most interviewers will ask what you know about the company, and being able to reel off a detailed understanding of what they do will make you stand out like a freshly Brasso’d belt buckle.
You know how to talk to your peers, you know how to ask for help and how to give help effectively. You know how to talk to your superiors confidently and you know how to present solutions to overcome issues. In short, you are a very effective communicator and you have no idea how rare that is in civvy street. Make sure it goes on your CV.
Knowledgeable in wide range of subjects
There are very few jobs or educational routes where your day-to-day will be so diverse. There are even fewer places where you’ll find such a wide mixture of people from different backgrounds as you do in the armed forces. How many of your civvy mates can orientate a map? Drive a HGV? Work a radio? Give an A-H? Judge distance?
You may not feel like you know a lot about ANYthing but you know a little bit about EVERYthing and that’s just as useful in a real world working environment. This isn’t just useful in pub quizzes, it makes you good in sales/people facing jobs, because you’ll be able to find something in common with almost everyone you meet.
You’ve been rewarded for a job well done (and punished for a shit job done) for your entire armed forces career. It’s made you success oriented and hungry to prove yourself. Working to targets is commonplace in civvy street and employers are looking for people who make the effort, rather than shy away from pressure. Sound like anyone you know?
So before you write yourself off before you’ve even gone for an interview, remember that while your previous work experience may not have been as academic as some candidates, you’re not without highly sought after skills.
- B – Being Punctual
- O – Organisation & Presentation
- L – Lead & Follow
- L – Learn on the job
- O – Observe & Analyse
- C – Communicate Effectively
- K – Knowledgeable
- S – Success Oriented
But where to work?
It’s easy for us to say that employers are looking for employees with a background in the forces, but where are they? Well, a great number of companies are so interested in you that they’ve joined the armed forces covenant and are actively looking to recruit you. The best way to find these jobs is a quick google of Armed Forces Covenant Jobs as this will bring up the most relevant opportunities at any given time.
We’ll also be sharing relevant positions on our Facebook Page so if you’re a recruiter or employer looking to fill positions, let us know!