The most difficult barrier after leaving the military is getting that first job. Read this guide for tips on making a successful job application.

Many ex-military personnel make the mistake of thinking their experiences are irrelevant and that their skills will not translate into a civilian job application. This is not true; today’s market is constantly changing. Most regular applicants will not have work experience that is the obvious predecessor to the vacant role.

Translating your military experience into a job application

Many young people will work in a number of varying occupations. Getting the right job for you is about translating how that myriad of experiences can be transferred to specific settings.

Furthermore, adaptability in the world of work is an essential skill that every employer now looks for. Skills gaps are emerging in almost every UK industry, so to demonstrate your ability and desire to work in a drastically different environment could be your greatest asset, not your greatest weakness.

As such, we have compiled a few general tips for applying for your next job:

Finding the right employer

There are an increasing number of employers who value ex-military personnel as employees. You can find out which employers are right for you in a number of ways.

The most reliable is through your own network, seeing who of your colleagues has found quality employment in a company that really values them. Indirectly, you can see certain companies advertising their openness to hiring ex-service people by promotions with charities or listing on our directory.

Finding the right job

Just like anyone going through a significant career transition, you have to consider what skills you are best at and enjoy the most. By identifying what skills you liked using in the past, you can see what jobs will work best for you by pursuing those skills.

For example, if you enjoyed researching for a plan of action, you may be best suited to some sort of project management role.

Interview tips

First and foremost, preparation is essential. If you are going to talk about all the ways in which you have self-discipline, a good problem solver and communication, showing up late because you didn’t do your research undermines everything you say.

Take the time to know where you are going, what the role is and who the company is. Having all of this in your mind will allow you to tailor what you say to the job.

Nearly all companies in the UK are small-medium enterprises (SMEs) that will love you taking an interest in your work. You can show this by knowing a bit of history about the company, and by having at least two questions for the person conducting the interview.

Talking about your experiences

Once you know what you want to do and who you want to do it with, you should have a good grasp of the skills you need to get the job. In turn, consider which experiences you have had whilst in the military that demonstrated those skills.

Often, ex-military personnel think their experiences are not appropriate for civilian life. This is completely false, and your ability to be adaptable will serve you well. For a more in depth discussion of highlighting your transferable skills, read our dedicated guidance on the topic.