Giles O'Halloran believes that properly planning your resettlement will arm you with ideas and ways of moving from a military to civilian environment...
For many, the prospect of resettlement is one that comes with mixed feelings. Some feel it is the right step and a positive move out into something new, but others will approach the move with a sense of anxiety. Both are natural feelings and it is not unheard of to experience a whole raft of emotions as you go through the process. However, if you have a plan and consider how you will engage your resettlement process, it really does helps arm you with ideas and ways of moving from the military into the civilian environment.
This article therefore aims to provide you with some pointers to help you plan and execute your resettlement.
Plan to succeed - forget dates, aim for milestones
If you sit down to plan what to do and how best to use your resettlement time, you are more likely to benefit from the experience. It is important to identify and achieve certain objectives, such as writing a CV, applying for jobs, completing assessment processes or qualifications etc, but you need to make time to consider what the objectives are and what you need to cover through the period.
Whilst you may also put dates into your process, remember to be flexible. It is often about what you achieve rather than when you achieve it. So think about setting milestones and objectives, rather than purely a date of when it should be done by. The quality of the result is what really matters – such as a CV, an application, a presentation, a Linkedin profile etc. These are the products of your efforts that will define your success.
Be Flexible – nothing ever goes to plan
It doesn’t matter how well we prepare or plan for things, we all know that things rarely go to plan. This can add stress to the already stressful process of resettlement, so think about building in flexibility around timings or milestones when you are planning your time. Building flexibility into your plan means that not only can you manage issues if things run late etc, but if an opportunity comes up, you can look at options and adapt what or how you need to do things. Keep things flexible and simple.
Gather vital intelligence
Use the time well to gather information and contacts that will help you through the process and beyond. Take time to plan, research options, talk to people in the know or talk to people who can help you. Think about who can help you and how you can engage them.
Not only should you make the most of the people involved with your resettlement process, but also think about using additional resources such as social media, trade press, regimental contacts etc in order to gather key information that will compliment your plans. Therefore, you should use your time well to research into the jobs or careers that interest you, build the contacts and the knowledge in those fields so that you become more confident as you approach job applications and potential employers.
Network, network, network
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know – it’s a very old cliché but one that rings true to this very day. You often find out the best leads or opportunities from friends or the friends of friends. Always remember to put the word out, ask for advice and your friends, professional contacts or colleagues are the individuals to help you do so.
Otherwise, when attending resettlement, outplacement or trade events, always take time to talk to people, exchange contact details and look for ways to help others. Doing this helps pave the way to building productive and supportive physical networks through the process and into your professional career.
You can also use social media tools to build an online presence or network. Set up and develop a professional profile, seeking advice on what to put from others, but always try to connect with well connected or well placed professionals. This will help improve your professional image, and a well formatted profile can act as a pervasive CV.
In the same light, although many use Facebook as a tool, do remember this is more a leisure and contact site, whereas sites such as LinkedIn are specifically designed for professionals, business users and its main focus now is recruitment. So it is worth taking time to plan your profile, develop the appropriate content, and gather ideas and advice from others to help create a meaningful profile. This will then build you an online presence and network that will last way beyond resettlement.
Maximise every opportunity
Whether you are meeting with consultants to discuss your CV, meeting employers at interview, attending events or seeking advice, take every chance to maximise the benefit you can derive from the experience. Never be afraid to ask questions, ask for advice or even contact details. In the same light, if you have an interview for a role and you are unsuccessful, don’t be scared to ask for feedback or how you could have done things differently.
Treat it all as a learning exercise that will help improve your knowledge and capability. No question is a dumb question and the answers could help you hone your focus and your approach to finding the right role for you.
Giles is an experienced HR and Recruitment professional who works as a freelance consultant, strategist, writer and coach. He started his HR career with IBM after first reading Modern Languages at Warwick University and becoming a successful technology recruiter He has since worked in other senior HR roles across Europe, advised at Board level, and implemented both strategic and operational HR business solutions. He also spent 12 years as a reservist with the UK's Reserve Forces, serving first with the TA and later with the RAuxAF.
Giles is a columnist with a leading, MoD sponsored, international career transition publication, and has also written blogs for a number of websites and organisations on employment and the changing nature of work.
He is passionate about technology, the value of networks and the future of work. Giles focuses on career transition support for individuals (CVs/Resumes, LinkedIn, Interviews, Networking etc.), and effective people solutions for organisations (HR strategy, Talent, HR Technology, Digital HR, HR Mentoring/Business Partnering and Outplacement services) and has worked across a wider variety of diverse sectors.