By Jean-Claude Hedouin.

We’ve all been there, even me when I left the Royal Signals. There are a million things you have to remember and it’s impossible to do them all, so if you make sure you do the big ones the small ones will take care of themselves.

With so many things to do for ex-military personnel when they transition from the armed forces, it’s hard to know where to start – so we’ve created this quick guide of what we feel are the key things. It’s by no means everything, so if you feel there are more then let us know and we’ll do a Part Two!

You can also read the official MOD guide to leaving the military by clicking the link below:

1. Skills & Experience

Before you start applying for new roles, it’s very important to write down all your key skills and experience and how they might make you the best candidate for a civilian role. Ex military personnel are highly sought after in numerous sectors and functions, for good reason. It might be because of our additional training in such areas as time management, project management, planning, communication, teamwork, leadership, emergency planning and so on. Whatever your military role, you should be able to create a strong list – with details for each – which can act as a cue card on your CV, in cover notes and in interviews. Then once you get the job, put them into practice!

2. Suitable Companies

Rather than just waiting for jobs that may or may not require ex military personnel, try to work out which sector you want to work (Logistics for example) and which function (Operations perhaps). Then draw up a list of the companies in that sector and see if you can find anything on each to do wit ex military recruitment. Some might have suitable information on their careers page or if you google their name + military you might find an article where they discuss their preference for service personnel. The ones that come up positive, simply send them an email with your CV and cover note and their HR team will get back to you – sometimes companies will create a role for a standout candidate!

3. Ex Colleagues

Speak to as many ex-military people as possible whom you already know on civvy street – it might take a while but it’s worth writing down a list and contacting them all. Ask them what they found hard, what they found easy, what they would do differently, how they found their first job and any other golden pieces of advice they might have. These people have all seen it and done it so their insight will be invaluable – it’s highly likely you’ll find a manageable number of common themes in their responses, which will be easy for you to replicate.

4. Additional Assistance

There are so many different ways you can receive assistance during your transition that you’d be a fool not to explore all of them. Most might not be for you but it’s worth the work to find the one that ultimately proves successful. Depending on how long you’ve served, you can call on the Service Resettlement Advisor (SRA), Future Horizons Programme, Career Transitions Partnership (CTP), Resettlement Information Office, Employment Support Programme (ESP), Full Resettlement Programme (FRP), RightJob – you get the gist! Additionally, there are numerous charities which offer support, assistance and most importantly training and education – if you want a bright future you need to invest in it!

5. Get your house in order – literally!

Last but by no means least, you’re about to leave a world where an awful lot of things are done for you: healthcare, doctor, dentist, housing, bills and to an extent finances. Searching for a job is a full time job which is why ex military candidates register with Ex Mil and recommend it to others, so that we can do the searching on your behalf. If you do decide to go solo, make sure you have no distractions that mean you give anything less than 100%. Get it all sorted before you leave so you can hit the ground running on day one.