What do employers want after the military?

As a serving member of the Armed Forces one is always in transition whether to the next stage of an Armed Forces career or transitioning toward Civvie Street. Either way, professional development through academic and professional vocational qualifications are imperative to successfully proceed to the next step.


Leaving the Armed Forces is never an easy transition. The difficulties faced by ex-armed forces members are inevitable, and each individual’s transition journey is completely different to the next. When preparing for transition to employment on civvy street it is hugely important that you know exactly what it is you are preparing for and what employers will expect of you. In this blog we will highlight the key things that employers are looking for, difficulties that force leavers may face and how they can ensure that they are prepared to overcome them.


Qualifications matter
As a member or an ex-member of the Armed Forces there is no doubt that you are extremely qualified for your day to day tasks. However, this does not mean that your training in the Army can necessarily be applied to jobs in Civvy street. Consider that you may be competing for jobs against a civilian that has gained a degree through university in a specific field and perhaps achieved a work experience placement during this time. Despite these advanced qualifications which mean they are equipped for certain roles on Civvy street, it is extremely unlikely that they would be deemed fit to carry out certain roles within the Armed Forces – the same logic applies to experienced Armed Forces members who have left the military and therefore, you need to back up your experience with recognised qualifications.


Be aware of your strengths
It is safe to assume that potential employers will want to know what you can offer them, and this question can be difficult for ex-Armed Forces who have little experience in employment positions outside of the Army. In addition, even if you are confident that you know what strengths you possess, it can be hard to justify these strengths to employers without practical experience to support it. So it is important that you at least spend some time thinking about what the Armed Forces has given you in terms of skills, and how these can be applied across a variety of situations. If you can gather references to back up these statements, that would also be an incredibly useful asset for you.


Utilise transferable skills
In order to be successful in the Armed Forces, there are certain behaviours and characteristics that must be adopted. These skills are desirable to an employer providing that the candidate can demonstrate how they are able to apply these skills to a job role. In the Armed Forces, personnel develop effective leadership, clear communication and team integration skills, which are all desirable and transferable abilities to an employer working in any industry. The difficulty lies with evidence that these can be applied in different environments and situations that are more common to Civvy Street.


The main issue that Forces leavers are faced with is proving that the skills they possess can be transferred into a business, and that ex-service personnel show a willingness to adapt these skills to make them applicable in employment. SMS Training offers a solution in the form of academic qualification that runs alongside practical experience and is internationally recognised. The ‘Certificate for Higher Education Skills in the Workplace’ has modules specifically designed to upskill individuals in personal development for potential employment. This will provide insight into your current skillset, how to develop on it, and once completed this qualification will demonstrate to any future employer that you have the self awareness and drive to apply them into an industry setting.