Forces Employment Charity to host flagship career event to support women from the Armed Forces community

The Forces Employment Charity will host its flagship Women into Employment event on 5th June, as part of a wider campaign series designed to develop sustainable and fulfilling career opportunities for women from the Armed Forces community.

Chaired by Sky News Anchor Kimberly Leonard, the event will enable participants to hear from future-focused business leaders. Speakers will include representatives from sponsors Centrica, Sky and J.P. Morgan, about the value and merits of hiring talent from the Military community, as well as opportunities for female talent within their organisations.

Attendees will hear first-hand stories from inspirational women like Liz McConaghy, who have successfully transitioned from military to civilian employment.

Additional speakers will also be offering vital tips and advice during sector-specific breakout sessions. These will provide an understanding of different roles, and clear pathways into each industry sector, to help attendees plan the next stage of their career journey.

Breakout sessions include:

  • ‘Women Returners’ to work
  • Getting into the C-Suite
  • Succeed in project management
  • Opportunities in tech
  • Yours’ and others’ wellbeing in the workplace
  • Finding your purpose in the public and third sector
  • Careers tackling climate change
  • Being your own Boss
  • Leading in civilian teams

As well as offering multiple networking opportunities throughout the day, attendees will also be given the chance to take part in a quick-fire pitch to senior business leaders during the final session of the day.

 

Chloe Mackay, Deputy Chief Executive at the Forces Employment Charity, says: “Women into Employment has grown in popularity, year on year, with the experiences of some attendees having been truly transformational. We are really looking forward to delivering an exceptional programme this year, at what looks set to be our biggest and best event to date.”

 

It is the third time the charity has hosted the event and the first time the charity has been able to hold the event in person since Covid.

 

Laura Blair, Head of Centrica’s Ex-Forces Pathway and a veteran herself says: “Centrica is incredibly proud to headline sponsor Women into Employment 2023; the talent and transferable skills that exist right across the Armed Forces community is exceptional, bringing significant value and diversity of experience to businesses across the UK.  In our drive towards Net Zero we are actively engaging with and hiring ex-military; they have an impressive array of attributes that we value enormously.”

 

For information regarding how to sign up to attend the free event, as well as a pre-event networking evening on May 11th, visit: www.forcesemployment.org.uk/events

The Forces Employment Charity and TechVets are delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with skills innovator Multiverse, designed to transform your career and boost your visibility as a highly-skilled veteran in the workplace.

Together, we’re thrilled to offer our fantastic community the chance to receive up to £35,000 worth of professional development, where you’ll gain essential technical skills building digital & data capabilities and learn how to apply these new skills directly to your role to maximise impact and ROI.

What’s on offer?

To turbocharge your career with fully-funded development, register for one of the incredible programmes here:

NB: Please do not try to apply for any programme via the links above, please speak with [email protected] to ensure you have the correct application link before getting started!

Who can apply?

If you’re part of the veteran community, including families and spouses, and currently in employment, you’re eligible for these fully-funded courses.

How do I apply?

Step 1 – review the eligibility criteria

Review Multiverse’s eligibility guidelines to ensure you meet their criteria.

Step 2 – register your interest in a place

Sign up for yourself, your direct report, or up to ten members of your team here. You’ll be invited to our Spotlight Session to find out more about the courses and help you start your application to join the right programme for you.

Step 3 – discuss time commitment with your manager

Introduce your manager to Multiverse and work with them on a joint success plan to ensure you’re able to carve out ~6 hours/week and have discussed how the programme will fit into your professional development goals.

Step 4 – submit your application by midnight on Wednesday 31 May 2023

Review the application guidelines to ensure you have the right documentation handy, then sign up via the programme links above, choosing ‘Veterans-Multiverse’ as your company name.

You’ll receive the application link once you’ve attended a programme Spotlight Session.

Step 5 – programme starts 26 – 30 June

Candidates will be notified of their application status prior to programme start date.

Not ready to apply?

Multiverse is running an information session for anyone who’d like to find out more:

Thursday 4 May 2023 at 1400 – https://multiverse-io.zoom.us/j/2547076820

If you are part of the veteran community, looking for your next step but don’t yet know how these programmes can support you, register your interest at [email protected] and we’ll be in touch with future opportunities as they develop.

For further information, please get in touch with [email protected] stating your current situation or speak to your Forces Employment Charity advisor.

Iconic Hollywood actor Ginger Rogers once said, “I did everything that Fred [Astaire] did, only backwards and in high heels.”

Women have the same skills, the same education, and the same training opportunities as men, and yet they face additional barriers because of their gender. When you’re a woman involved in the military, be that having served or being a military spouse, the barriers to employment are even higher.

The statistics for military women

Women make up over half of the UK’s population, and yet, as of April 2022, only 11.3% of the military is female.

Research by Cranfield University and the Institute for Employment Studies found that women have a lower employment rate (69%) compared to men (81%), after leaving the Armed Forces. Female Service leavers and employers interviewed for the research noted that women, unlike their male counterparts, undervalue their experience and may deselect themselves from roles they are suitable for.

Former army nurse and Military Women Employment Advisor Annette Berry comments, “military women are equally served, equally qualified, and sometimes even better qualified. I want us to be equally valued.”

The view from a military spouse

When you are a military spouse, employment comes with extra barriers. From gaps in employment from moving to requiring a flexible job so you can be the prime caregiver to your children, building a career as a military spouse is not an easy task.

Military spouse and Families Employment Advisor Sarah Penaluna notes, “Women wear many different hats – the professional hat, the primary caregiver hat, the spouse hat – and yet aren’t recognised in industry as working hard and getting the credit for all that they do.”

Over skilled, overqualified, yet undersold

“Female veterans, in the same way as many women, undersell themselves,” says Annette. “They don’t see their value.  They don’t recognise that they are usually over-skilled and overqualified and potentially underpaid.”

Recognising their value is an issue many women struggle with. It could be due to a lack of confidence in themselves and their abilities. It could be because they don’t recognise the transferable skills that they have. Whatever the reason, by selling themselves short women are increasing the likelihood of having lower levels of job satisfaction and are more likely to be earning less money than they deserve.

“I have clients who don’t have the confidence to apply for roles because they only tick half the boxes on the job description,” says Sarah. “But I take the time to go through their CV, make them realise the transferable skills that they have, and encourage them to go for it.”

What are your transferable skills?

Transferable skills are abilities that can transfer from one job to the next. They can be soft skills, such as communication, or hard skills, such as project management. Although related to employment, transferable skills are not only learnt from being in a job. They are also learnt by experiencing different life situations.

“Military spouses have transferable skills through being a military spouse,” Sarah notes. “They have to move every few years, and they need to have confident, open communication with people around them. When you consider what a military spouse has to do in the household on a daily basis, they have transferable skills in abundance. They have to be organised, not only for themselves but their children, if they have any, their household, and their spouse. They have to be reactive to situations, solve problems on a daily basis, planning their routine around their spouse’s leave. All these are skills that can transfer to the workplace”

Female service leavers also have transferable skills that they may not realise they possess. Employers of female service leavers have praised their abilities in areas like forward planning and preparation, administration and organisation, and gathering evidence and pulling it together in a coherent way.

“Military women’s time management is exceptional! They have multiple plates spinning simultaneously so they have to be,” says Annette. “Women, by nature, don’t want to have to go back and correct mistakes. They don’t want to give only 50%. They want to give 100% and get it right first time, every time.”

Take up space and be confident

Women have the relevant skills to find high-quality, sustainable employment, but confidence is key when finding and maintaining a job. Being confident in your skills and abilities is how you will be able to win the job that you deserve, negotiate your salary, and navigate the sometimes tricky world of civilian employment.

“Women need to be confident in themselves and know who they are. It’s important that they know their value because they are an asset to any company,” says Sarah.

Self-confidence is not something that comes easily, and there are plenty of ways that it can be tested in a workplace environment.

“There is a whole thing around the semantics of it,” explains Annette. “When women are in the workplace, they are not always seen to be the go-getters.”

In the workplace, if a man speaks up about an issue that is bothering him he may be called assertive. However, if a woman did the same thing she may be called feisty. These subtle changes in language can often be discouraging to women and prevent them from having the confidence to take up the space they deserve in their job.

“I get called forthright all the time, and feisty, and do you know what I own the space now. So when people say that I am forthright, I say yes I am,” declares Annette.

Alternative routes into employment

There is no straight road into employment, there are many routes that can fit around any schedule.

“There are a lot of ways for military women to get into employment. They can look at part-time work, which could turn into full-time work. They can look at volunteering. They can look at asking to shadow, which most people don’t consider. They can look at return-to-work programmes. Adult apprenticeships are excellent when you want to change direction in your employment,” advises Annette.

“Online classes, remote learning, remote degrees, night classes, there are so many ways that women, particularly military spouses, can upskill, but it is still them that have to adjust their schedule around their partner which is not always easy,” says Sarah.

The age barrier

The rising cost of living in the UK has prompted a rise in those over 50 re-joining the workforce. Women over 50 could encounter another barrier – their confidence.

“A lack of confidence can be amplified in older women. You’re not just being judged as a woman anymore, you’re being judged as an older woman,” says Annette. “Adding to that, they may have had knockbacks over the years and memories of the bias and sexism that existed in the workplace, especially in the 80s and 90s.”

Age should not be a factor when considering a potential employee and hiring someone older comes with an abundance of benefits, such as more experience and a greater skillset.

“A woman who is 40, for example, will have almost 30 years of working life left. She’s only worked, potentially, 22 already. The majority of her working life is still ahead of her. People need to forget the numbers, and look at the human being,” observes Annette.

Returning to work is daunting, especially if it has been a prolonged amount of time since you have worked and you have had negative experiences in the workplace. Many benefits to returning to work go beyond financial gain, including meeting new people, staying mentally and physically active, and learning new skills.

Annette’s top tips for getting into employment

1. Register with the Forces Employment Charity.

2. Sit down and think about what you are bringing to the table and what value you are bringing to the table. Remember to be kind to yourself when doing this. Reflect on what you have done in your life and how those skills transfer.

3. Look at your transferable skills.

4. Be open to change. What you think you want to do is not what you may end up doing.

5. Look at social media, look at LinkedIn, and see what people are saying about themselves. Learn to recognise those things in yourself.

Register with the Forces Employment Charity

Our Military Women programme caters to the needs of female veterans, offering them the practical tools that they need to find successful employment while helping with their emotional needs as well.

“The Military Women programme takes someone who is lacking in confidence and reminds them what they have done while serving. It’s about holding a mirror to them and reminding them how good they are and will be again,” explains Annette.

For military spouses, male or female, our Families Programme supports civilian spouses and partners of serving and ex-Forces personnel. Our team of dedicated Advisors are all military spouses themselves and have both the professional knowledge to help you find employment, and the personal experience as well.

“We have a very holistic, one-to-one approach, where we help with CVs, networking, interview skills, as well as building on confidence and self-belief,” says Sarah.

Register with the Forces Employment Charity today.

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) is working with QinetiQ and Cranfield University to learn more about Life Skills within the Armed Forces Community.

We are seeking currently serving personnel and the spouses and partners of currently serving personnel (aged 18 and over) to take part in an anonymous online survey about Life Skills.

Life Skills are skills that are useful for everyday life and for gaining employment. They include things like problem-solving, managing money, resilience, adaptability, communicating clearly, coming across well at interviews, digital skills etc.

Findings will help our understanding of the current level of Life Skills within the Armed Forces Community and the Life Skills that are perceived to be most important in supporting members of the Armed Forces and their families to make the transition to civilian life. This will inform future Life Skills programmes, practices and policies.

The survey takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. It asks you about your Life Skills and your view on which skills are most important. Taking part is voluntary. The survey can be completed at a time that is convenient for you. It is not a test and there is no time limit.

For more information and to complete the survey: https://online1.snapsurveys.com/ki13ez

Congratulations! You’ve just received confirmation that you have secured an interview for the job you applied for. Now, it’s time for the preparation to begin.

What is the purpose of a job interview?

Your main goal when attending a job interview is to secure yourself new employment. For the interviewer, the purpose of a job interview is to figure out what you have to offer. What are the skills, abilities, and knowledge that you have that sets you apart from the rest? And does who you are fit with the ethos and values of the organisation that you are interviewing for?

When being interviewed it can seem like an interrogation. But it’s important to remember that interviews are a two-way street. Your interview is an opportunity to assess whether the role, and the organisation, is right for you. Of course, before applying for the job you would have researched the company and role; however, you may find when being interviewed that the role and/or organisation isn’t exactly what you thought it might be.

Key information to take note of

It is more than likely that you will be told about your upcoming interview via email. Within this email will be all the key information that you must take note of in order to attend your interview. This information will include:

The date of your interview

It may seem obvious but noting the date of your interview is hugely important. You don’t want to completely miss the event, and it’s also important to figure out how much time you have to prepare.

What type of interview it is

You shouldn’t assume that your interview is going to be face-to-face. During the pandemic, interviews were done virtually, and many companies are continuing to interview in this way. It may be that your first interview is virtual and, if there are second interviews, the second in-person. Either way, knowing what type of interview you are having will allow you to better prepare for the event.

The interviewers

On your interview invite it will usually let you know who you will be interviewed by. It could be one person, or a panel of people, it is entirely up to the company that you are interviewing for. Taking note of who you are being interviewed by will help you in your research and preparation.

Task

Sometimes an interview will include a short task for you to complete. The task could be competency-based, a maths and/or English test, an IQ test, or a short presentation. Knowing if there is a task, and what it will be, will give you time to prepare anything that you may need.

Preparation is key

Regardless of how confident you feel about an interview, you must prepare. By getting an interview you have shown that you are a strong candidate, but you can not assume that you are the best candidate. You don’t know who else they are interviewing and how their experience compares to yours. With this in mind, be proactive and thoroughly prepare for your interview.

Preparation for an interview includes:

  • Researching the company and your interviewers.
  • Preparing for the task (if there is one).
  • Answering practice questions.
  • Preparing what you are going to wear.
  • Knowing how to get to the location (if the interview is in person).
  • Making sure that your interviewers know of any accessibility issues you may have.

Research, research, research

“It’s important to do your research before going to an interview,” says Specialist Vocational Advisor Natalie Wright. “Try researching the company and making notes on points of interest that you can bring up in your interview.”

Before your interview you want to know as much about the company as possible so that you can show your interest in the role and company to your interviewers.

There are several places that you can look to find out more about a company, but the first place should be the company website. This is the most logical place to start your research because you will be able to find out about the organisation, the work that they do, the partners they work with, and any news/updates. This will give you an excellent base of knowledge to build upon.

On the company website, you should also be able to find their most recent impact report. This will give you the latest information on how the company is performing, latest statistics, and ambitions for the future. With this information you can more clearly align your experience with the current work that the organisation is doing, and emphasise how your skills can contribute to further success.

After browsing the company’s website, have a look through its social profiles – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Not every company will have all these social channels, but they should have at least one for you to browse. A company’s social channels will give you the most recent updates, including what they are working on and recent successes. During your interview you can comment on these bits of information, letting your interviewers know that you are keeping up to date with the progress of the organisation.

Finally, Glassdoor is an excellent resource for finding out more about how a company is rated by their employees. On Glassdoor you will find ratings and comments by past interviewees, as well as current and former employees. With this knowledge you will get a more authentic look into the company and a better understanding of the morals and working ethos they have.

How do you fit into this role?

Now that you are an expert on the company that you are interviewing for, it’s time to think about how you will fit within both the organisation and the role. The best way to do this is to look at the person specification and write down what relevant experience you have. “Go over your initial application and make sure that you know your CV,” advises Natalie.

When you are doing this part of your preparation, you may find it difficult to think of relevant experience or situations that you have been in. If this is the case, think back to the roles that you had in the military and try to find suitable links. Think about what you have achieved and where you have added value. Try and memorise a few key achievements and tangible outcomes that you could mention in the interview.

The big day

Hopefully, you wake up on the day of your interview after a restful night’s sleep – you certainly don’t want to be yawning during your interview.

Regardless of whether your interview is a morning or afternoon appointment, it’s important that you eat a good breakfast to set you up for the day. You may not want to eat due to nerves, but food is brain power so it’s always best to eat something.

Then, it’s time to get ready. “I would ask the interviewer beforehand what to wear,” says Natalie. “Some potential employers may want formal wear; but some may ask for anything just not jeans, or casual.” If you are unsure of what to wear, always err on the side of caution and dress in something smart. It is important, however, that you feel comfortable in whatever you are wearing, so bear this in mind when picking your outfit.

If your interview is in person, then make sure that you know how to get to the location with plenty of time. It’s always best to arrive 15 minutes early so that you can do any check-in procedures necessary and calm your nerves before the main event. Alternatively, if your interview is online, make sure that you are in a quiet location with a strong internet connection, and that you can access the interviewing platform. Although technology issues do happen, it’s always best to be well prepared so that they are less likely to occur.

Calm your nerves

Interviews can be incredibly stressful, and it’s perfectly normal to be nervous – it shows that you care. But it is important to control your nerves so that you can show the most confident version of yourself in your interview.

Everybody calms their nerves in different ways, however, taking some deep breaths is an excellent starting point. Box breathing is just one technique that you can try. Used by the US Navy SEALS, breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds and hold for four seconds. Repeat this process as many times as you need until you feel yourself becoming more relaxed.

Putting your interview into perspective can also help calm you down. It’s important to remember that your interviewer(s) are not there to interrogate you. They want to know more about you, your experience, and how you might fit into the role and company. Remember that you are there to interview them as much as they are interviewing you.

Of course, this is an important opportunity, and you must do your best to succeed, however, if you aren’t successful this time, there is always another opportunity. “Just remember you can only do your best,” says Natalie.

Before you go into your interview, whether it’s virtual or in-person, take a final deep breath and let out all your nerves.

Five top interview tips

Listen, think, answer

It’s important to remain calm during your interview, because if you don’t then you could misinterpret a question or not give a full answer. When you are asked a question really listen to what is being asked, take some time to think about your response, and then answer. This is the most effective way to get a clear and concise answer to your interviewer(s).

Use STAR

When answering interview questions don’t forget to use the same STAR technique that you used in your interview preparation.

Avoid military jargon

When interviewing for a civilian job it’s important to bear in mind that your interviewer(s) may not necessarily have a military background. As such, try and avoid all military jargon unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to use any jargon, then make sure that you explain what it means in context.

Ask questions

Remember that a job interview is a two-way street and that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. At the end of your interview, you will be given the chance to ask any questions you have, so take this opportunity to ask anything you want to know. “During the research stage, you should get some idea of questions that you want to ask an interviewer. One of the questions I like to ask is what do they like about working where they are,” says Natalie.

Say thank you

Regardless of how well you think the interview went always say thank you at the end. It’s important to stay professional and polite whilst you are in the presence of your interviewers and members of the organisation. Firstly, because your interview may have gone well and you may be a strong contender, and secondly because you never know if another opportunity may come up at the same company.

The aftermath

Before you leave your interview, you should be given a timeframe of when you should hear back from them. Regardless of what this timeframe is, a day after your interview send a thank you email to thank the interviewers for their time. This may seem like a small gesture, however, it shows that you are polite and appreciative of the opportunity even if you are unsuccessful.

If you haven’t heard anything back from your interview after a week, or if the length of time has exceeded the timeframe given to you, then don’t hesitate to send an email or phone your interviewers with a polite enquiry into whether they have made their decision. Make sure that you don’t do this any earlier than a week, or before the timeframe they have given you, as you don’t want to pester them.

Regardless of how well you think the interview went, it’s important to continue networking and applying for jobs. This will put you in good stead in case you are unsuccessful this time, plus it is always good to have a wide range of connections made through networking.

Dealing with rejection

Dealing with rejection is always difficult, especially when it is a role that you wanted. That being said, it’s important to stay calm and not let anger drive you to lash out at the company that you applied for. Instead, stay positive. Ask your interviewers for feedback as you can put this information towards your next application and interview. “I always remind people that they have done very well to get to an interview stage and it is all practice and things to learn from,” advises Natalie.

Remember, getting a civilian career is a time + volume = success equation.

Help from the Forces Employment Charity

We are here to help you throughout your career. Our specialist team of Advisors are on hand to provide you with life-long employment support and guidance, including interview tips and tricks.

David registered with us in 2020. He says:

“The biggest challenge I was facing was my interview skills. My Advisor helped me check my CV and gave me strong advice on what to do during interviews. I don’t think I would have succeeded without their help and support.”

Once you have registered with the Forces Employment Charity we will be here for you whenever you need us. Whether you need help taking the first steps into your civilian career, or you want to climb the career ladder, we provide tailored employment advice and guidance to help.

Register with the Forces Employment Charity today.

Since October 2014, the Forces Employment Charity and Walking With The Wounded have worked together to deliver Project Nova, an initiative which provides wounded, injured and sick and other vulnerable former armed service personnel who have been arrested or are at risk of arrest, support with the intention of preventing reoffending.

We are hugely proud of what we pioneered together, supporting 6,032 clients and employing 35 specialist staff working with 22 police services around the UK.

We are entering a new phase as Walking With The Wounded steps back from Project Nova, recognising that Project Nova is a complex programme which requires the single and robust leadership of the Forces Employment Charity. Walking With The Wounded is proud to have been there at the inception, and as we jointly built the foundations with the Forces Employment Charity. WWTW looks forward to watching the future with the Forces Employment Charity as the sole operator.

The Forces Employment Charity is delighted to have been awarded the prestigious Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Silver Award.  In demonstrating our support for the military community, we have:

  • Amended HR policies. We now offer an extra ten days of paid leave to Reservists and cadet adult volunteers.
  • Supported 25,322 members of the military community into employment in 2022.
  • Advocated on behalf of Defence, collaborating with partners and stakeholders.
  • Carried out an education piece for businesses and hiring managers. We explained the employment barriers faced by military spouses and partners. In doing so, we adapted our procedures. We now ensure that we are an attractive employer for the Forces community.

A spouse’s story

“Embarking on an overseas move from Cyprus to the UK comes with its own set of challenges. Employment could be one of them. Thankfully settling into my role at the Forces Employment Charity was straightforward. Whilst in Cyprus, I applied for the role of Development Officer. I was selected for interview. The HR team understood my circumstances and arranged to interview me online. I was delighted to have been offered the role. My line manager pushed my start date back to ensure I had the time to complete my overseas move. I was able to settle into my new home and support my child with his transition into a new primary school.

From the get-go, I was supported and welcomed into the team. Having an employer who understands military life is invaluable.  I’m so grateful. Thank you for the opportunity”

Military Spouse – Forces Employment Charity.

We take our commitment to Defence seriously. We are building on the momentum, striving for Gold in future rotations.

The Awards

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) encourages employers to support Defence and inspire others to do the same. The scheme encompasses bronze, silver, and gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to Defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

  • Bronze Award – Pledging your support to become a forces-friendly employer.
  • Silver – Demonstrating your commitment to Defence.
  • Gold – Advocating on behalf of Defence.

Make a tangible difference to the military community, and see how your firm can get involved by visiting The Armed Forces Covenant website.

In July 2022, Kearney approached the Forces Employment Charity’s Executive Services team. They wanted consultative advice and support to develop a military talent pipeline for their global management consulting firm. Adam Wellesley-Wood, Manager at Kearney writes:

When challenged to focus on recruiting more veterans, there was only one logical place to talk to – the Forces Employment Charity. Their brand, database of talent and marketing access sets them above the rest. 

Our recommendation was to run two bespoke recruitment events. One event would be suitable for those seeking Senior Analyst/Associate level roles within Kearney’s MEA Aerospace, Defence, and Security practice, based in Dubai. The second would be for senior executives seeking opportunities in Defence Advisory roles within the practice.

The Executive Services team worked with Kearney to design, plan, market and, in September 2022, run the two events. This included a pre-sift of the attendees to ensure their suitability for the roles. Adam spoke about the process after, stating:

The Forces Employment Charity was integral throughout the process and a fantastic partner organisation: I highly recommend them. They supported us with wise counsel and advice and delivered to challenging deadlines, which ensured the success of the event.

Kearney flew in many of their team to attend both events. Kearney partners and AD&S practice leads Raffi Boladian and Chady Daccache presented, and a team of ex-military Kearney consultants gave an overview of the practice, roles and why military veterans make such good candidates.

Held at The Cavalry and Guards Club, 82 delegates attended across both evenings. The feedback from attendees was positive, with many commenting on how useful and insightful the event was and the great opportunity it offered for potential candidates to meet and speak directly with members of the team.

Attendees submitted their CVs in advance, and we can report that Kearney has so far hired six candidates from the 30 candidates taken forward for further case coaching and interview. In total, they received 110 applicants.

Both senior partners have confirmed that they would like to run this event annually in partnership with Forces Employment Charity Executive Services.  Together we will develop a long-term strategic partnership to raise their profile among the Armed Forces community and sustain their military talent pipeline.

The Executive Services team was a pleasure to work with and understood us as an organisation and what we wanted to achieve. I look forward to a long-term strategic partnership on the back of this success. – Adam Wellesley-Wood

Would you like to know more?

Register to find out more about how the Forces Employment Charity can support you and your company in developing and sustaining a military talent pathway or programme.

Dave Hilton, one of our Employment Advisors at the Forces Employment Charity, who served in the Royal Artillery for 22 years, explains how to get yourself ‘job ready’ this January.

With January comes a period of the year when job searching is easier, as organisations actively seek new talent. As the new year stretches ahead and organisations kick into gear post the holiday hiatus, January is the perfect time to consider your next career move and begin your job search.

However, job searching can seem a bit of a daunting process, especially if you are a Service leaver and haven’t worked in a civilian job for a prolonged period (or ever), if you haven’t moved jobs for a number of years, or if you’re planning a career change, such as seeking a different role or moving into a new industry.

When Sandra signed up with the Forces Employment Charity, the biggest challenge she faced in her job search was that she had spent ‘24 years in the same company since leaving the RAF, and for the first time ever I left a job before I had my next one.’ Sandra worked with one of our expert Employment Advisors who provided her with networking advice, introductions to organisations, confidence building, CV preparation and interview technique support, to help her find her new role.

We’ve put together some top tips to help make your job search less overwhelming, more focused and time-efficient. Job searching can be an exciting time, as you consider your next steps and see the numerous and exciting possibilities open to you.

Define what you want

‘When I started looking for a new job I really didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. Then I was introduced to Karen from the Forces Employment Charity who made me realise exactly what I have to offer and why someone would want to employ me.’ – Marsha, ex-RAF

Before you start looking, ask yourself what you want. Breaking it down can make it more manageable to understand what you are looking for in your next role.

Is there a particular industry you would like to work in? Do you want a managerial or senior position? Do you want to manage people? What are your salary expectations?

Consider your current role

Looking at your current situation and evaluating it can also be useful. Are there elements of your current role that you enjoy and would like to replicate in a new role? Conversely, what do you dislike in your current role and would like to move away from? Are there any skills you would like to explore and learn? Or do you have current skills you would like to exercise further?

Locations and organisations

Think about organisations and environments you enjoy working in, or would be interested in working in. Are there particular values or priorities within an organisation that you’re looking for? Are you drawn to working for a larger corporate company, or would you prefer to work for a smaller organisation, or even a start-up?

Following the shift in working following Covid-19, many employers are offering greater flexibility, enabling you, the candidate, to have greater choice over how and where you work.

This shift in the world of work has given rise to other practical considerations including your working requirements and environments. For Sandra, when she secured her new role with the support of the Forces Employment Charity, she found that the role had a positive impact on her life, with her working life being more relaxed with much less time spent traveling in addition to her working hours.

You may have similar considerations regarding the location of your work. Consider the environment you work best in. Do you want to work from home, or do you prefer a hybrid model? Are you seeking a more practical role that will need you at your workplace every day? Do you want to travel for work – and how does this suit your home life and other commitments?

It is also worth knowing that as an employee you can request flexible work hours, as long as you have worked for the organisation for more than 26 weeks. Although it’s not mandatory, the employer must give due consideration to the employee’s request – but if this is something you know you would like from the outset, incorporate this factor into your job searching.

Make a list

It might help to jot some of these ideas down. Consider what you’re looking for, and what aspects of a new role are non-negotiable for you. It doesn’t have to be hugely specific at this stage – this will be enhanced and may even change as you begin researching, but having some ideas about what you do and don’t want will provide you with an initial roadmap to navigate your job search.

You can contact the Forces Employment Charity at any stage in your job search for support, but if you have some ideas about what you want, convey these and your expectations to an Employment Advisor. They will be able to give you facts about employment within specific sectors or about specific roles, and will help you identify whether you require any extra training, so you can find a role best suited to you.

Research

Once you have thought about what you would like from your next role and organisation, then begins your research.

Job specifications

If you have a particular role in mind start looking at job specifications across different companies that appeal to you, to see how the role can vary between different organisations and what the expectations are. You can also speak to an Employment Advisor at the Forces Employment Charity about the variations between different roles. Understanding the job specification will provide you with a checklist of how your own experience meets the criteria, and if you need to do anything more, such as training or upskilling, in order to secure that role.

Company and culture

Whether you have a specific role in mind or not, start researching companies within the sector(s) that you would like to work in. Look at company websites to understand more about them, what they do, where they fit within an industry, and also to start learning more about the company’s culture and values, and whether these would suit you.

It can also be useful when researching specific companies to notice their industry jargon and type of language. If you are interested in a specific company, it will put you in a stronger position to work with them if you have an understanding of some of the sector and organisation-specific language.  You can also view the organisation’s vacancies online, although be aware that not all jobs are publicly advertised; if you don’t see a role that suits you, it may still be worth getting in touch with the organisation.

An organisation’s LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, also provide useful insights into what the company does and their general ethos, outlook and tone. How the organisation chooses to present itself to the world is a useful indication of the sort of company they are, and will enable you to start determining what it would be like to work there. You can also look at senior staff profiles on LinkedIn, such as the CEO’s, to see what they are posting, what they are talking about and what their online presence is.

For more statistical information and to see the company’s future goals, their positioning within the sector and their aims and scope, look to the organisation’s annual report, their strategy and their long-term plan. This will provide you with an indication of what the organisation has already achieved and what their ambitions are. The majority of good companies will have this information publicly available, and if not then this can be something you ask once you start networking.

Networking

The thought of networking can make some people feel uncomfortable. However, if you break down what networking actually is – having conversations with people in the sector that you want to work in, and asking them questions – it can feel less intimidating. The more people you connect with and talk to, the more you will understand how the sector works and what opportunities are available.

There are three main ways of recruiting. Candidates can be headhunted, they can be advertised to (for example, listings on job boards), or recruiters can go directly to candidates (and often these jobs aren’t advertised at all). The latter is all conducted via networking, and hirers are looking for people in their networks to speak to about new roles. Combine this with the surprising statistic that approximately 70% of all jobs are gained through networking, and that the more senior the role the greater this percentage becomes, then we start to draw a picture of how important creating your own network and making new connections can be. Plus successful networking can considerably shorten your job search.

There are a few ways to start networking. You can network virtually via email, telephone, or LinkedIn. You can meet new people at events, such as sector-specific business conferences, which are often advertised on LinkedIn. The Forces Employment Charity hosts a variety of events both online and in person which can help you build your network. Or you can arrange a face-to-face meeting with a new contact.

To network effectively, research the people you want to connect with. These can be people who are currently working at an organisation you are interested in finding out more about. Ask them about their organisation, particularly if you have questions that your research did not answer. If you want to find out more about the industry in general, then strike up a conversation about it. You could also start a conversation by asking for advice and guidance on your job search.

After any kind of networking, whether it is face-to-face or an exchange of emails, it is good practice to keep a record of who you met and what they do and what you discussed.

You can find out more about networking here.

Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a brilliant tool to help you network and build your community, and has become one of the main platforms for organisations to advertise job opportunities. Many hires are made directly via LinkedIn, so it’s an especially useful platform to have whilst job searching and networking, and is a profile you can keep updating and using throughout your working life.

The platform has a wealth of information about different industries, employers and trends. You can see what organisations and their people are talking about, plus you can contact people on the platform via direct message.

Here are a few tips when creating or updating your LinkedIn profile:

  • Keep your profile up to date with a recent profile picture. It is always good to have a profile picture as the contacts you make and meet through the platform are more likely to remember you, and if you do meet them face to face, will recognise you.
  • Use the experience section of your profile to talk about your previous roles. Ensure that the information you provide matches up with your CV.
  • Spend time building your network. Start by adding family, friends, colleagues. Then start reaching out to new people in organisations you are interested in to find out more about or working for.

Finding extra support for your job search

At the Forces Employment Charity, we’re here to support you throughout your career and job search. Many of our expert advisors have military backgrounds and empathise with the specific challenges that Service leavers, veterans and reservists can face when job hunting, and can provide tailored support to suit your particular job search. They will coach you through the process of job searching, preparing your CV, interviewing and accepting a job offer.

Wherever you are on your career journey, and whatever you are looking for as your next step, the Forces Employment Charity is here to support you.

‘I was amazed by the support and professionalism of the Forces Employment Charity and cannot praise them enough.’ – Sandra, ex-RAF, found a new full-time role with the support of her employment advisor at the Forces Employment Charity.

What happens when you register

  • Once you have registered with the Forces Employment Charity one of our Advisors will be in touch to find out more about your current situation.
  • Your Advisor will carry out a ‘needs assessment’ which will help them understand any barriers to employment relating to issues such as health, housing, or debt. If any additional needs are identified, your Advisor will then be able to refer you to other organisations that can provide the relevant support.
  • Our Advisors can then help develop your employability to present you to employers in the best possible way. That can involve advice on what to apply for, how to find work and develop a good CV, interview skills, training, etc.

Register with us for free today.

Who am I?

The question ‘who am I?’ is a tricky one to answer, and yet it is the most important thing to think about when building your brand. To successfully take your next steps into your civilian career you must first assess what is important to you. Luckily, a self-assessment can help you with this.

What is a self-assessment

Think about your self-assessment as a combat estimate about your transition. By answering a set of questions, you will be able to specify the factors that are going to affect your transition into civilian employment. By evaluating these factors, you will be able to narrow down your job search and make the most of your time and energy applying for jobs.

What are the questions you should be asking yourself?

To effectively complete your self-assessment these are some of the questions that you may want to consider:

What are your interests?

When considering your next career, think about your interests and what job roles corollate with these.

What are your values?

Working for an organisation that holds the same, or similar, values to you will help you transition to a civilian workplace a lot easier. Your values could be sustainability, open-mindedness, or room for personal growth. Whatever your values are, try and match them to the jobs that you are applying for.

What motivates you?

Think about what it is that motivates you to go to work. Rather than applying for jobs because you need employment, figure out what it is that motivates you and apply for roles that support your motivation. For example, if you are motivated by making the world more sustainable then you may want to apply for engineering roles.

What external factors do you have to consider?

External factors will undoubtedly influence the jobs that you apply for. External factors include family situation, relationships, area you live, and distance you are willing to travel. Considering these factors will help you to keep a realistic outlook on the jobs that you apply for.

What job would you like?

If you already have a role in mind that you would like to apply for, then that’s great! Note down all of the possible roles that you would like to try and use your other self-assessment questions, such as external factors and motivations, to narrow down your options. Even if you don’t know the exact role that you want to try, knowing the sector that you would like to go into is equally as helpful.

How much money do you have to earn?

There is a difference between how much money you must earn and how much money you want to earn. When doing your self-assessment, consider how much money you need to earn in order to survive and make this the base salary for the jobs you apply for. It’s always good to have aspirations, so also consider, realistically, how much money you want to earn. This can be a goal that you can work towards through skill building in employment, internal promotions, or sourcing new job opportunities.

How do you do a self-assessment?

A self-assessment needs to be completed by you, only you know the answer to the questions being asked. You may find it useful to talk to friends and family about your self-assessment. You could ask them what civilian roles they think you would thrive in, what external factors you may need to consider, or you may just want to ask them about their jobs.

As well as friends and family don’t be afraid to reach out to your network of ex-Military personnel. These are the people that would have had to complete their own self-assessment, or may even still be completing theirs, so lean on them for support.

What comes after your self-assessment?

Once you have completed your self-assessment you should have a much clearer idea of what type of role you want to go into, including what type of organisation you would like to work for, roughly where your job will be located, and what your base salary will be. With this information you will have a much narrower job search which is much more focused on you successfully entering a career that you like rather than just any employment.
If you are struggling with your self-assessment, or even just your job search, then register with us today for tailored employment advice and guidance.

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