What do you want from your next career move?

So you want a new job, either upon leaving the Armed Forces or as a Veteran, but which one? How do you go about getting the right new job for your career progression? As you’ll spend at least a third of your working week day at work, you want to make sure you get it right and can feel happy, engaged and productive in your job. A quick Google search will throw up more than 5 billion results on how to get a new job. To save you a bit of reading, we’ve distilled some of that and mixed it with our own experience and expertise to help you get a step ahead.

Step 1 – Prepare

We recommend going back and doing an estimate. Start with understanding what you really want to achieve with a new job and how a new role will fit into your longer-term career. In the military, your career was managed for you for the most part; in the civilian world, you get to do all your own career management. Some factors to consider are:

  • what motivates you – this is key to ensuring you enjoy your job. Is it money, is it being part of a higher purpose or something else
  • the type of role you want (recognising that lots of organisations call similar roles very different titles),
  • industry,
  • type of organisation,
  • where they operate both geographically and in terms of sector,
  • organisational culture

Organisations, like people, can have very different characters or culture. Making sure the culture is one that you agree with and could thrive in is crucial. At this point, you can only consider what you know about yourself and how you work. It’s important to understand that now, so when you progress to selection stages and interviews, you can start to assess organisational culture to see if you could work within it.

Step 2 – Gap analysis

Now you understand what you’re looking for, you can look at how closely you match the requirements. To do this yourself, review job adverts for the types of roles you want and chat to those in your network about their jobs. You should see requirements for the roles in terms of technical skills, experience, qualifications/certifications and soft skills. Once you’ve reviewed a few adverts, some common themes will emerge but also some key differences which you can categorise by the factors in step 1.

From this, you may see a gap between where you are now and what the job adverts want. If the gap is substantial or relates to technical skills/certifications, this is the start of an action plan for you to close the gap. If it’s about soft skills, you can practice these. Ask a mentor to assist, if you have one. Alternatively, friends and family could also be helpful.

Step 3 – Practice

Close any gaps through study and/or practice (if applicable) and start applying for those new roles.  It is likely that for any applications you’re unsuccessful in, you won’t receive much, if any feedback. However, if you are asked to interview, you are more likely to receive feedback you can utilise if unsuccessful at this stage. For interviews, remember back to step 1 about understanding what type of organisational culture you think you could operate best in. The interview is your chance to assess whether your skills, experience and work style will thrive in this organisation. An interview is a 2-way process and you are assessing the organisation as much as they are assessing you.

Step 4 – Consolidation

Now you’ve started in your new role, you want to make a success of it. Hopefully, your new manager will have created a useful induction for you that goes beyond understanding where the toilets and  fire assembly points are. Ideally your induction will let you know who your new team are, what the organisation’s big picture is and how you fit into that as well as any training to help you get up to speed. If not, you can still find that out yourself by taking the initiative. Make the effort to say hello and introduce yourself to people you’ve not met and find out what they do. Ask about the organisation’s strategy/mission/corporate plan. If you are not given objectives, generate some that link into that bigger picture. You’ll then be able to demonstrate the value you are adding to your new employer, should they ask.

Of course, if you want the quicker option, just get in touch. As the only Scottish ex-military recruitment consultancy, we can help with many of the activities listed above.

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