Employers like ex-forces personnel. It's a fact.
You don't have to take my word for it. Olivia Garfield, chief executive of telecoms infrastructure provider Openreach, has been quoted in The Sun newspaper as saying: “These people have served their country well and so deserve the chance of full-time employment with generous pay and pension provision. They are highly skilled, motivated and disciplined and have experience of complex engineering tasks in challenging environments.”
She's not the only one. Seamus Smith, managing director of payments company PayPoint, himself a reservist, talking about the value of military experience, said: “You get a broader and deeper experience of leadership at an earlier point in your career, which can have a positive impact when you make the transition into the commercial world.”
So don't ever be tempted to play down your forces experience when applying for jobs. Make the most of it, because employers want the skills and attitudes that life in the military has given you.
When drawing up your CV it may be tempting to focus only on the technical skills that you gained in the forces, while ignoring the general attributes that all ex-forces personnel have, because you take them for granted. However, these are often the very capabilities that employers value most.
I'm talking about attributes such as time keeping, respect for deadlines, leadership skills, problem solving, teamwork, adaptability, reliability under pressure, the capacity to plan ahead and the ability to act fast in an emergency. Make sure your CV mentions them. Include brief examples of situations where you have demonstrated these attributes, such as leadership, planning, problem solving or swift, decisive action. Be ready to talk about them in interviews.
Damian McKinney, former Royal Marine turned chief executive of business strategy and consulting company McKinney Rogers, and author of The Commando Way says: "I advise members of the military seeking civilian employment to emphasize with prospective employers the value of their military attributes."
And I agree with him. You've got a lot to offer - make sure employers know about it.