Military Career Change

Military career change: How to use transferable skills and personal passions to build a new career

Whether you joined the Armed Forces because of the love and respect for your country or because it was your family tradition to do so, you have chosen a passion and not a profession.

While a career in the army can provide great perks like adventurous training and travelling the world, it can also sometimes, comes to an abrupt premature end.  Whether this is due to circumstances like health, child or elderly care, disability, government decisions, or simply because you decided to end it early, it doesn’t make the transition to civilian life any easier.

So what can one do to pick up the strings and start on a new career path? Here are six steps that will help you in this transition:

  • Accept the transition from military to civilian jobs

Transitioning from the military to the civilian world can be a challenging process, affecting your personality, surroundings, lifestyle, identity, mental health, and physical wellbeing. The first step of accepting the change will help you strategize and plan for the next steps to finding a suitable next career. Create realistic pay expectations and job search time-frames.

  • Know your transferrable skills that can be used at the new position

These are your portable skills, that can be used across a wide variety of career paths. For example, if you were able to lead and train a large group in your military career, think about how it can be used in a classroom or a corporate training set up. If you have managed operations of a military unit, see how that may fit into an administrator’s role in the company. If you have controlled budgets and helped save some money, see if you can manage a finance controller role in an organization. Play up your strengths of clear cut communication, natural motivator skills, and resilience.

  • Think about leaving military behaviour and jargon behind when transitioning to a civilian job

Let go of the ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’; most corporates use the first name to address each other. Come out of the very disciplined regimental and controlled way of doing things and ease up in your approach to new tasks. You should avoid writing or speaking in a manner that sounds like an order or instruction, and focus on communication as a two-way process. Drop the military jargon and start learning the corporate jargon.

  • Find ex-military personnel seeking companies or recruiters

Yes, some companies specifically wish to hire ex-military personnel, look up the internet for such positions. Employers who appreciate how the military functions and the value it will bring to a corporate job will be the best suit.

  • Craft your resume carefully

Your resume should not speak only about your past accolades but should be written highlighting how your existing skills, knowledge, and experience will translate to the new position and how it will add value. Contact an expert CV writer if you need support.

  • Find industry-specific mentors to guide you

A veteran mentor will help you stay focused on your chosen career path and suggest improvement areas and course work that will help you build your skills. Through mentors, you can also find the pros and cons of the career path and learn how well this career path will suit you. You may also pick up some tips in the job search strategy.

Need more inspiration for your career change? Read our inspirational military career change stories.

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