How to: apply military skills to a civilian career

The military are a remarkable group of people. The reality is that the training received by the military is first class and teaches hugely transferrable skills, which can be applied to your career after you leave. It is great to be told these skills are transferable, what does this actually mean?

Experienced with pressurised situations and armed with excellent decision-making skills, you already have two very important skills that are transferrable to a civilian career.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

What are my core transferrable skills?

You have core skills – like being able to communicate clearly (orders process), knowing how to allocate resources (stores, logistics, even friendly forces consideration during orders) and the ability to use your initiative (mission command structures).

Why military skills are so valuable to employers

On top of that, each service, and unit within, develops unique skills within its members to sit alongside core skills. These include negotiation and conflict resolution skills learned for non-warfighting missions. You also have outstanding problem-solving skills testing during responses to natural disasters. The military are trained to act quickly, calmly and decisively and to apply judgement and discretion to achieve the right outcome.

These skills are developed from basic training, through ‘to-arms’ courses and then enhanced and maintained during promotion, refresher, and specialist training.

“The amount of investment in development an individual service person receives is staggering and it compares very favourably to that of their civilian counterparts.”

Allied to these formidable skills is a set of personal qualities that every employer is looking for:

  • Patience
  • Persistence
  • Determination
  • Motivation
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Discipline

Present from the start of their military careers, these qualities are honed and sharpened through both the training undertaken and through the unique context of serving in the military. Call it history, esprit de crops or camaraderie, the bond shared by servicemen shapes their outlook and approach.

It creates an individual for whom service is almost always a critical part of their psyche.

What industries could my army skills transfer to?

Everyone’s skills vary, but as ex-military personnel looking for a new job, you are ideally suited to roles where you are required to work to certain processes, where teamwork is incredibly important and where quick decision-making is vital.

Let’s look at some of the roles you could be working in.

Enforcement agent: When working on orders for the courts you are required, typically as an enforcement agent, to follow court order instructions to the letter. The legislation is succinct and you’ll need to act within the prescribed procedures only, leaving nothing to chance. These roles suit ex-military personnel who can follow instructions and processes and transform information into acts and deeds routinely, accurately and on a day-to-day basis.

Read our series of a ‘day in the life’ of an enforcement agent blog to see if the role suited to you.

Ministry of Justice project management: The justice system is made up of all manner of unique moving parts. Each part has a role to play in the process. Think offence, to detection, to charge, to a court hearing. Then you have sentencing and ensuring compliance with that sentence, be it a prison sentence, a fine or a community order. All are owned by different organisations.

At some point, those agencies have to work together to ensure the greater outcome is achieved. It’s called teamwork. The military get this. They are not bound by a siloed mentality or ownership issues. Getting to the final destination correctly and fairly is the target. This helps in all manner of roles, where you need to see the bigger picture. Project management roles are perfect for the ex-military, building component parts of a process to ensure a final outcome is achieved.

Does this sound like you? Read our blog on roles at the Ministry of Justice.

Judicial services – enforcement and customer care: Court processes and proposed processes bring into a system some of the most vulnerable in society. The basic principles of doing the right thing are ingrained in the military psyche. Judicial services cover the front line (enforcement) to the infrastructure elements (customer care and complaints) and through to ensuring justice is done, is paramount.

Enforcement roles require you to have patience, persistence and determination, alongside the ability to take your own initiative every day. In customer care, where you may come across complaints, your skills in negotiation and conflict resolution are very important.

You have the skills, now find your career

Servicemen and women should revel in the transferability of their skills and experiences and have confidence in what they have to offer. Ready to use them in a civilian setting?

Get in touch to talk about your skills and where you’d like your to career to go.

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