Im freeeeeeeee!!!

For two weeks, I've been a civvie.

For two weeks, I've been unemployed.

This is somewhat galling.

You must understand that I didn't leave the Army with my eyes shut. I used my Army time wisely, acquiring a professional qualification in management with taxpayer assistance. I bought my house and settled my children well before the final date. I started applying for jobs months before I was due to leave. I attended the Career Transition Workshop and enjoyed the benefit of some really strong and helpful advice. I took every opportunity to network with friends and colleagues in the hope of getting a tip-off about an IdeasFactory-shaped opportunity.

Yet, I am unemployed. I'm in the process of signing-on.

I should add that I have high hopes that this situation will be rectified in the next fortnight, but employers, I'm discovering, are predictable b*stards and, however well you perform in the interview, however much evidence of competence you can show and however much you demonstrate that you're more than just a commanding voice and a shiney pair of shoes, I keep hearing the same words, time and time again:

Lacks sector experience.

What did they fcuking expect when they read my CV? That I'd miraculously produce from my arrse a tale of my two-year secondment to fcuking Teso? I've spent my entire career in the Armed Forces! Of course I lack sector experience!

Anyhow, I thought this was a good place to get this off my chest. I'll return to this thread from time to time - as a sort of 'blog, I suppose - to vent my irritation with the slings and arrows of job-seeking. Hopefully someone might find it useful and perhaps - who knows? - I might even get a job some day.

Good luck.
You're bound to sort something out. Two weeks isn't a long time when looking for work.

What sectors are you trying to get into?
I was in the same position last year. Signing on was an incredibly patronising and useless experience. When I talked to the 'advisor' about my qualifications and aspirations all I got was a blank look and recommended to move to a better town!

Still I found work soon after. Oddly the grass does seem to be greener here.
After 24 years in, my husband had similar feedback to his cv until he basically rewrote it using civvy street terminolgy - did the trick and found a new job upon leaving.

Best of luck.
Hmm... one thing you might want to consider is rewording your resume and verbal spiel a bit. A leader in the military is not much differant from a manager in the private secter in many respects as long as you word it properly. It's all about how it is phrased. For example, rather than "I commanded an infantry squad during such and such deployment" state "I successfully managed eight employees and x number of dollars worth of equipment to complete variety of complex tasks under severe stress."

When speaking with an interviewer who lacks service experience, keep in mind that it is all to easy to go over the top and intimidate them... civilians usually have little experience with decisive and forcefull personalities.
Advive I was given at a time when unemployment was much higher than ow was to get into any sort of job that was acceptable. Lower expectations etc. The advice was based upon advisors opinion that it is much easier to get another job when in work than it is to find one from the ranks of the unemployed. I subsequently changed employment five times - always from in work. I'm sure that the advice I was given was valid. I found myself with the same 'prejudices' when it came to me doing the recruiting and interviews as I found the best prospects came from those in work.
Good luck to you but I also aree with the other posters; go for terms such as:

Team leader, project manger, strategic manager, operational manager, meeting project deadlines etc, I have been in work only 6 weeks on the outside and the work is the same - just differing terminology. One thing we often miss in the Mil is experience in budget control and forecasting so you might want to pump that up a bit.

What sector is it you want to break into? You may be amazed and find an ARRSEr that is already in it and can help

All the best and please keep us all informed - you never know who might be able to help
PS -be careful about disclosing you lump sum etc BEFORE signing on. Hide it in mums bank account and say you blew it on the horses!
My first CV was full of Military jargon and boys own on tour stuff, now its buried as one line at the bottom of the second page, its a real pain considering I did a job in Saudi for a couple of weeks which warrants a whole paragraph. In my current role I was working a good 2/3 months before anyone knew I was ex-services.

Its painful to say it but my first decent paying job once I got out was on the strength of 4 months in a .net company, not the 12 years as a regular soldier
All good advice, do you want to move into a new sector completely ie construction to education or is your military training also the civvie job you want ie truck driving???
I don't want cause a rift here or metaphorically speaking drive a wedge where it isnt welcomed or even stick the preverbial boot in.......but wasn't it the late lamented John Inman who coined that particular title phrase first?

for your info:

I have sneaking suspicion he did national service too?

are you related?
Might be an idea to post this in the "outside the wire" Forum and keep us all updated, we all get there at some point.

Good luck.
Mate, the only thing they respect about your service is that you are able to do what they tell you and you are used to responsibility. They will play you a guilt trip on that if something ain't done when they told you to do it.

Like the man said, tell the job centre you spent everything on a holiday. Ask the CAB what you're entitled to, don't be too proud.

Me, I demobbed end of 92 and only worked for civvies for about 6 months, got sacked both times because I read them the riot act; I got p!ssed off when I was installing graphics at Earls Court one day, NEC the next, they were driving round in a Merc and BMW and I had an Astra and hardly saw the kids.

So that was a good learning experience for me. I learned to never work for anyone else again :) Always worked for myself. I'm semi-retired now at 53, still keep my hand in for beer money and do what I want, when I want, for who I want, if I want.

Well done for getting your kids and somewhere to live sorted before you demobbed, wise indeed.

Don't worry mate, everything will work out, it always does, especially when you've been trained and fukced around by the best eh. Take your time, look around, think a lot, enjoy your freedom.
Felt exactly the same frustrations when I left. Looking back, blaming the job interviewers was probably the worst thing I could have done - not least for my own morale.

When the job offer eventually came (through constant and unashamed networking) it was from a direction I had not even dreamt about before I left. It ain't easy - good luck and hang on in there. If it's any encouragement all the people who left with me are in considerably more lucrative employment now than they would have been if they had stayed in - but none of us found it easy to get started and we are all now self-employed or run our own businesses.

If you have made it to SNCO level or higher you have got what it takes to make it in civvy street, believe me.
I,d agree with everything said so far. Its not what you have on a CV but how its written. I had a right load of crud on mine but after a visit to a pro CV writer it looks rather impressive to say the least. Getting that all important job nowadays means having the ability to blag it aswell as having the pro qualifications. Stick at it you,ll come good soon. Good luck.

Some points just to expand on my earlier post:

1) I haven't been applying for jobs for two weeks. It's two weeks since I became a civvie. I've had three months of leave looking for work before that, and two months before that when I was looking for work at the same time as doing my regular job.

2) Not enough service to have a lump sum.

3) I acquired a professional qualification in HR and focussed on HR-type roles throughout my career. I am looking for work in the same sphere now. I was well acquainted with civvie business speak (it's not all that different to military speak these days), and took professional advice on composing my CV which even the job agencies concede is "quite good" - high praise indeed from a sector that delights in telling you why everything you're doing is wrong.

4) My main impediment, I believe, is that I am determined - for family reasons - to take work in the North East. I have it on good authority that companies in London and the South East are much more open-minded about Service leavers. Up here, though, whilst employers are delighted to take on ex-military personnel in low-grade roles, they aren't prepared to entrust us to a management position. Perhaps I'm wrong on this, and someone can tell me that it's as bad in the South East, or tell me an employer Up Norf who value military service and training.

So are you actually getting to interview then? If so, then that is positive. I would really de-mil you mil career then and not even mention the rank thing and say you worked for MOD. Make no mention at all about Army etc and sell yourself as a civil servant (I know - how humiliating...)
Oh, I've had no shortage on interviews.

Whilst I have, indeed, demilitarized my CV (who the hell's going to understand what SO3 G3 O&D means?) I have not attempted to conceal my background. It's not the first time I've heard that advice, but it just isn't logical.

You can't conceal it in your interview. So not only do you manage to give them the impression that they've been duped (bad start), but if they would've discounted you on the basis of being ex-military on your CV they aren't going to be swayed once you're in the interview.

However, the way around this problem that I've discovered is to use a skills-based CV. After switching to this form of CV I've had far more positive responses to applications than previously. Tell them what you can do and what you've been trained in.

RMAS alone covers a huge breadth of useful management skills, from interviewing, via media skills, to risk assessment. Add in the rest of JOLP (or JOTES for my generation) and Staff College (didn't get that far), not to mention additional courses and you have a strong basic skills list. Extract additional skills from your experience (for example, any Adjutant will have dealt with multiple discipline and grievance cases) and immediately you start to look like an attractive prospect.

Tuck your actual career history in as the very last paragraph - suitably demilitarized, of course - and you'll have something strong without actually having to lie.

Of course, I realize that me saying all of that - given that I'm unemployed - isn't really an argument with stength on its side. So take it or leave it.

I managed to get employment with a company where the majority are ex-mil, however I now looking at moving on, but I'm uncertain as to wether my current CV is "civilianised" enough.
I seem to remember a few years back in soldier Mag that there were ex-officers who were doing a cv write/rewrite service. Are these still around, or does anyone know of a good company, website etc that can help.
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