Giles O'Halloran believes that while the resettlement process may seem like a long time, the more you do now and the more you invest into the opportunities below, the more you will get out of the experience...
The time has come. It is time to move on from the Services and for you to consider your next steps or new career. The whole experience and prospect can be both a harrowing and exciting time for anyone going through the process. However, you need to remember that you are never alone and there is lots of support out there.
Do not be scared to start applying for roles, developing networks and engaging with people who might be able to help or influence your job search. The more time you have to do so, the better the chance to extend your reach and therefore the opportunities open to you. More often than not, if you are successful in being offered a role, the military will allow you to leave early.
Get your CV updated
Your CV is your passport to success in the current working world. You need to ensure it is up to date, accurate, and that it reflects your skills, knowledge and experience to potential employers or recruiters out there.
Integrate Social Media
Once you have your CV updated and ready for sharing, you need to get it out there. Whether you use Facebook to engage with people, Twitter to source recruiters and jobs, or create a professional profile on LinkedIn, make sure you integrate your social media so it sends a continuous and consistent message to the online world about you.
Contact the RFEA and OA
When you start to speak to the agencies out there, always consider talking to the OA and the RFEA. If you are a serving officer or ex-officer, you can speak to the OA about career support, networking and potential opportunities that they may have available. In the same light, the RFEA has a national presence and works closely with local and national employers to help Armed Forces leavers of all ranks.
Contact your Regimental or Service Association
Most Corps, Arms and Services will have their own service association. They exist to support and allow both current and ex-members to stay in touch. More importantly, amongst the services they may offer, most will have an employment or resettlement cell that acts as both a conduit and liaison with potential employers.
Take time to find recruiters who operate in your skills or knowledge space, and build a relationship with them – it allows them to understand more about you and what you are looking for. There are a number of Forces-dedicated agencies, of whom FRS are they longest established and they do a great job helping military leavers find their next role.
If you are given the time, the funds and the opportunity to get externally recognised qualifications that will help you going forward – take that opportunity. Qualifications take time to complete so factor that into the time you have available. Similarly, if you have the opportunity to take part in a Civilian Work Attachment, do so - this can provide you with commercial experience, as well as the chance to gather intelligence.
Throughout the process, you need to keep developing, engaging with and leveraging your network. Talk to other people leaving, people you meet on courses, people you meet through the process, connect with those who have recently left, speak to friends, family, get them to recommend you to their networks and then keep a finger on the pulse.
About The Author
Giles is an experienced HR and Recruitment professional who works as a freelance consultant, strategist, writer and coach. He also spent 12 years as a reservist with the UK's Reserve Forces, serving first with the TA and later with the RAuxAF.