Successful Job Seekers - Advice Required

#1
Looking for advice on 2 related topics, CVs & Interviews.
Recently booted out after completing my 22(+)yrs. Still no job after 6 months of trying.
As an ex REME ASM (wpns), I am looking for jobs in engineering (Project Management, H&S etc) but no joy so far. I suspect my CV is the weak point. Having tried several different types of CV, including paying to have one written 'professionally', I am still struggling to get interviews for the jobs I want. My guess is that I am missing the mark as my CVs are not targeted at the jobs I am applying for. Trying to address this but the problem I am having also comes up at interview.
Had a couple of interviews but, as all my skills and experience were gained in a military environment I seem to be struggling to explain the relevance of things I have acheived and/or missing the point of questions asked e.g. how do I sell myself as a Project Manager when I have no experience of UK PM software? Most projects involved improving operational efficiency but how do you quantify this? Most employers see everything in terms of cost which is not the primary concern in the military.

In a nutshell, I am looking for a few key phrases to be used in CVs and in as answers to typical interview questions that sum up what we do in the military in a way that can be understood and appreciated by potential employers.
 
#2
As an ex REME ASM too I am surprised. Lucky enough to have never been out of work, even if I now have to commute a fair bit to get the wages I want. I have CVs used up until getting my current position if you feel these might be of use but surprised you never checked your CV against others during your resettlement period.

CV should have been sorted through CTW etc and all advice taken on board. All mil speak should have been addressed to convert into transferable skills and advice given on interview technique. Do you not still have access to Coutts? If so go back to them for a refresher.

If you have problems getting a job in the field/area you want then get your foot in the door with any job and then go from there. Maybe PM isn't for you and you need to divert attention elsewhere? I do loads of PM but it isn't in my job description.

In the mil it is usually about time and performance but you will find (or have already found) that the cost element is taken rather more seriously outside.
 
#3
Unfortunately I had no real contact with any colleagues who were going through the resettlement process at the same time (long & boring story) but I have compared my CV to a few mates. The diffficulty with this is they were persuing different paths (Facilities Management, Quality Management etc) so lots of stuff not relevant. Attended a CTW but only helpful in compiling my initial CV which attracted Zero interest. All the advice says to tailor the CV to the job spec for which you are applying. Makes sense but thats the bit that I think I am not doing well enough.
If I am honest, I am still lacking direction regarding job searching. All the stuff for which I am qualified is dull as ditchwater (H&S, Quality, Tech Author etc) if done as a stand alone job. I really enjoyed the variety of my military posts and would like a job that presents similar challenges. The other thing is wages. I seem to be falling into an trap where I am too qualified for 30kish jobs but insufficient industry experience for 40kish jobs.
Who or what is Coutts? Not heard of them or what they do!
Will keep plugging away.
 
#5
There's always the dark and dirty world of the Civl Service. They'd take an ex ASM on in a nanosecond. Especially in somewhere grotty like Shabbeywood.

It'd give you some cash, time and courses to sort your life out and find something better. Assuming you haven't been indoctrinated by then.
 
#6
Applied for a job at Shabbeywood in Dec '07. Passed assesments in Jan/Mar 08. Initial interview last week. If successful, aother 2-3 weeks until 2nd interview. If successful there, 6-8 weeks to get security clearance. How tf do they recruit anyone?? Although it is a 60 mile commute, it will do for now (if it ever becomes reality).
 
#7
HC, I know how you feel. Completed 22 years' service on Monday. I was in a similar boat - REME VM Artisan but became an RQMS on promotion to WO. I have been adjusting my CV for the last 6 months and think I have it at a decent level and can send it on if you wish to look at and get some ideas. In the last six months I have applied to nearly 200 jobs, the vast majority of which there was no reply, the bulk of replies were actually rejection with a smattering of invites for interview. After a consultation with an ex army lad working for a recruitment agency it seems that this is not out of the ordinary for anyone job seeking (yes there are people out there who walk staright into a job). This was quite frustrating as I know that we as ex military have so much more to offer.

When you post your CV on a site like Monster recruiters look for key words that match their requirements, you need to get the right buzz words in the CV. Your geographical location plays a huge part in job hunting. I have been offered a job from most of the interviews attended but unfortunately had to turn down as the salary expectations didn't match with the amount of fuel and travel that I would be doing.

I have settled in the North East and the papers and jobsites are always looking for people to work in the H&S and Project Management field. Another discipline that is in demand around here is for Quality Assessor. With hindsight I know what resettlement courses I would have done instead of Facilities Management!

Good luck :D
 
#8
Done Civil Service - accepted for jobs at both Abbey Wood and Andover and did the Andover job for one year.

Agree that they will accept ex-military pending interview etc but they also tend to offer wages at the lower end of the pay scales at C2-C1 level. With what you can fetch to the party that is pretty much taking the p*ss!!

After 20 plus years within the military, many of which spent working within CS and 'educating' C2-C1's how the system works, I was quite insulted with the wages offered but stuck it for a year as Andover suited me, wife works in area, kids schooling etc.

Eventually personal pride, moving to Abbey Wood on the horizon and a chance telephone call from a recruitment agency resulted in me leaving for my current position. Being turned down for bonus with no plausible reason of how to improve prospects for the next year also played a part I might add.

Are you putting your CV with ex-mil recruitment agencies etc that employers approach when looking for the attributes they know the military will provide? Also try the link in my post above as they will provide support for 2 years from when you leave.
 
#9
Lost count of the amount of agencies I have registered with (Monster, JAM Jobs & all the usual ex-mil ones). Have been updating my CV regularly with each of them in order to 'sift' it back to the top of the pile.
What would be helpful if someone is willing to PM me a copy of a CV which has been successful i.e. resulted in interview & subsequent job offer. Appreciate the interview is all down to me but cant do that unless I get my foot in the door with a decent CV first. Even a 'cut & paste' of key paragraphs outlining acheivements written in 'civvie' speak would be appreciated.
 
#10
#11
Buzzwords are the key... Unfortunately.

Look to include phrases and words like :-

"Delivered"
"Was responsible for"
"drove efficiencies through change" ( this doesnt actually mean anything specific, but it implies a sense of ownership and identification of improvements, which is what any emploer wants ! ;) )

Unfortunately it really is a case of bullshit bingo. I look at lots of CV's. It's the primary sifting mechanism for any employer, so it's important to include things that you feel will make you stand out. Personally, I'm really against the "personal statement" that lots of people seem to include on CV's these days, as it's yet more BS written by someone trying to impress me.

Best advice I can offer is this. It's better to look for a job when you're already in one. Take anything, preferably on a fixed contract basis to give yourself the time and cash to find the one you want ( appreciate you're probably already doing this so apologies... )

I've pasted a few lines from my CV below. I'm told by agencies that I have a good CV in terms of the way it's written. Happy to share it with you if you like, just PM me.

"Experience of creating international Service Processes and managing cross boundary Services."

"Responsible for the implementation of Remedy Helpdesk within XXXXXXX"

"pushed forward a culture change on the Unix Support desk to a more Customer Service oriented operation, resulting in good feedback from customer, and reduced customer issues"

" identified and implemented cost saving of circa £300K from annual engineering overtime bill by improving working practices, without impact to service levels "

Again, more bullshit bingo, but you have to play the game. I've been out a whole heap longer than you ( nearly 20 years now ) so my perspective is more civi than military. If there's any apsects of what you've done that you want help with "civilianising" then I'm happy to try and help. Just PM me.

Sammers.
 
#12
HC,
Have a look at this link it's long, I'm afraid, but it's the best advice I've seen on the internet.
Most interviews for management positions are 'Behavioural' these days, which means that you have to answer the questions giving real life examples.

http://www.businessballs.com/interviews.htm

Focus on team building, team motivation, prioritising and handling change.
My advice would be to read, digest, personalise with own examples (Lots), make little cards with key words and memorise.
Don't forget: research the company beforehand, write an immediate follow up email after interview and have your references (4 or 5) on paper and primed to be contacted.

PM me for any other info, my job involves a great deal of this stuff.

Good luck!
 
#13
Meridian, thats first class. Thanks. Really like the look of the template. Will set to work re-writing mine ASP. Thanks to all for suggestions & offers for assistance. Will keep you posted on how it goes from here.
Donation on its way!
 
#15
HomerCleese said:
Lost count of the amount of agencies I have registered with (Monster, JAM Jobs & all the usual ex-mil ones). Have been updating my CV regularly with each of them in order to 'sift' it back to the top of the pile.
What would be helpful if someone is willing to PM me a copy of a CV which has been successful i.e. resulted in interview & subsequent job offer. Appreciate the interview is all down to me but cant do that unless I get my foot in the door with a decent CV first. Even a 'cut & paste' of key paragraphs outlining acheivements written in 'civvie' speak would be appreciated.
Check your PMs
 
#16
HomerCleese said:
Meridian, thats first class. Thanks. Really like the look of the template. Will set to work re-writing mine ASP. Thanks to all for suggestions & offers for assistance. Will keep you posted on how it goes from here.
Donation on its way!
So - got a job yet?
 
#17
HC I was in the same boat as you and am soon to be again; really it is a case of 'sticking with it' and keep polishing your CV. My current contract is coming to an end and I am due to move back to Blighty next month.

I too was a ASM Wpns when I stepped off and was really peeved at the lack of response despite being registered on Jobsite, thecareerengineer and the obligatory ex-mil recruitment agencies.

RFEA have some pearlers now and again as do our very own RAJA. I flirted with the idea and very nearly rejoined as NRPS, although the Aussies and Kiwis are still interesting prospects.

Some agencies think that because you have C&G quals you are shopfloor bound - even ex-mil companies have this attitude - for some reason they miss the HNC/D with ten plus years of experience, the post grad diploma, MIET, etc etc.

Saying that I was lucky in that I was able to form my own Single Person Company and go back to the tools for a bit - was previously a VM. But the opportunities are out there and it's certainly easier getting a job when you have one than than when you are on you uppers without.

Unfortunately to the civilian masses who might employ us in our second careers have very little knowledge of how we do business in the Army never mind the Corps and therefore I take every opportunity to let them know.

Management is a big area of concern for them - they seem to think that you will, being ex Army, march around in big shiny boots bawling out miscreants on the shop floor - I tell them I didn't wear boots but a very dapper pair of brown shoes and then expalin the concepts of 'selling the shoite sandwich' to the guys who have to go and do a bit of business when the stakes are high.

PM me if you want any info - job agencies, jobs....anything!

BTW get your arrse onto RFEA and have alook at the job instructing MP5/Glock/AK repairs and maint as train the trainer 300GBP Tax free pro tag mit hotel and rats thrown in - only 4 weeks but a chance to extend if they like you - I'd have done it but haven't enough MP5/Glock/AK Experience.
 
#18
From the Interweb: http://www.rfea.org.uk/

'A NATIONWIDE SERVICE - RFEA Limited can offer a service from 24 branches because we are partly funded through an annual Government grant and donations from the Services' benevolent funds.

YOU ARE ELIGIBLE IF YOU:

~served in the British Regular Armed Forces
~were medically discharged regardless of time served
~were made redundant
~are a widow/widower, and your eligible spouse died in service
~were subsequently commissioned from the rates or ranks

This page is being reconstructed. '
 

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