09 Oct 17:00 by Alejandro Rodriguez Garcia


Occasionally a vacancy comes along that really catches your eye. You see the details and decide, "This one's for me."

You apply and sometimes you will get it - congratulations! But sometimes, mysteriously, you won't even get a reply to your initial application, and you'll be left wondering: "Was I really suited for it, or was I chasing a fantasy of my own making?"

The fact is, job spotting is a bit of a science. Some vacancies that initially capture your imagination may, on further investigation, not be worth your while applying for at all, simply because you don't really fit the bill.

Here's a list of questions to ask that will help you spot the right jobs.

1. Have I got the skills? Read the full details of the vacancy and list the required skills. Can you put a tick next to all of them? Be prepared to show in your application how your forces skills can be transferred to the commercial world.

2. Have I got the experience? If it asks for five years’ experience in a commercial setting and you don't have it, think twice. However, experience of a similar job in the forces may give you a strong case - but stress in your application how similar your experience is to that required for the same job in Civvy Street.

3. Do I have the qualifications? If the answer is no, you may have to rule this job out. Sometimes regulations mean the qualifications are essential; sometimes you just need the know-how that they bring. If you are really keen to get into this line of work, consider taking a training course – check out the full range of courses we have available

4. What's the pay like? Work out in advance what your outgoings will be. If the job will not pay your bills, you have to either pass it up or devise a way to meet the shortfall. No pay rate given? Research rates for similar jobs on the net.

5. Where is it? No point in applying if you don't want to move there.

6. Do you really know what it involves? Don't fall prey to popular fantasies about jobs - the happy, whistling postie, the fitness trainer who gets paid just to work out. All jobs have their less attractive side. Research what is really involved - ideally speak to someone doing the job.

Answer these questions and you'll know you are applying for a real job, not a fantasy.