The transition from military to civil life can be difficult. Read our dedicated guide about how you can show employers your applicable skills.

Ex-military personnel often have long and successful professional careers after leaving the armed forces. However, many often struggle getting over the first barrier of finding their first job after leaving.

This results from a number of circumstances, including employer perception of how transferable your skills are to a civilian occupation. Although we are doing a lot of work to challenge that misconception, this guide will help you prove your skills are transferable yourself.

Competing in the job market as an ex-military member

Today’s market is moving faster than ever. That means that many employees have had a wide variety of roles and so their adaptability is becoming one of their essential assets.

As such, you shouldn’t think your time in the service is irrelevant or should not appear on your CV. As with someone who hadn’t served in the military, you should highlight the relevant skills within your roles. For a more in-depth look into applying for jobs, see our page dedicated to job applications and CV writing.

Roles within the military develop a lot of skills desirable to civilian employment. Here is our list of top transferable skills that you can discuss with your future employer:

Adaptable

As aforementioned, adaptability is essential to modern jobs. Talk about when you have quickly adapted to a new situation with little preparation.

Problem-solver

Your time in the military will have involved being thrown a number of problems that require you to remain on your toes to find a solution in the moment. Explain to an employer how being able to quickly work your way through an issue could save them time and money.

Leader

The strict and disciplined nature of the armed forces means that you require a significant leadership ability to ensure that those under your command will keep in line. Today’s market has a leadership gap, especially among young candidates, so if you have ever led others during your service make sure to mention it.

Composed

A workplace can become a stressful place. Those who are able to keep their head despite any added pressure will be the most valuable members of the team. Give examples of where you have stuck to and completed your tasks despite being in a high-pressure situation.

Technologically proficient

The main driving force behind the speed of change in today’s market is the rapid growth of technology. Working in the armed forces means you have had access to some of the most technologically advanced equipment in the world.

Although it may not be the same technology, demonstrate to the employer that you are proficient at learning how to use complex technology. Additionally, remind the employer that there are always new things emerging that require someone comfortable with technology to use.

Team player

There is more to work than qualifications. Having a successful company requires the staff to be able to work together, despite vastly differing personalities and characteristics. Identify how your time in the military saw you work with a diverse team and that you were able to proficiently operate with them.

Good communicator

Communication is key. In a military occupation, an important part of the role is being able to communicate with several different groups in a way that prevents hostility or disrespect. Knowing when and how to speak to others is essential to the smooth operation of any organisation.