Work advice for those leaving the forces

By Nottingham Post  |  Posted: June 01, 2015

How transferable are skills from the armed forces?

How transferable are skills from the armed forces?

Performance and careers coach Penny Strutton has some work tips for those leaving the forces.

So Prince Harry is leaving the forces; a big decision even for someone with extraordinary career prospects such as HRH.

The forces is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle, so it’s no wonder a life on civvy street is met with trepidation by many who opt out. I have personally worked with a number of ex-forces folk, and it has always surprised me the lack of confidence they have with finding a new and prosperous civilian career.

The forces, like many industries, has a language all of its own. It can be challenging to relate military skills and job functions to those on the general job market; however, once this barrier is removed it is startling how much experience and achievements these individuals have.

Growing up and qualifying in the forces develops skills such as discipline, determination, personal belief, team work and risk management- just to name a few. They know what it means to be held accountable and take ownership for their actions.

Skills such as this are everything as desirable on civvy street, but often employers are put off by poor translation and fail to see how these individuals can add tangible value.

If you’re planning your exit from the forces, take a look at the following tips:

1. Identify your transferable skills. Your skills drive your ability in everything you do. Start with identifying different job functions then break down how you went about delivering them. This should help you identify individual skills which you utilised to make a success of your role.

2. Change the language. Once you’ve identified your list of core skills, double check that they have the same meaning in the civilian job market. A great place to start is the internet, but don’t hesitate in contacting a recruitment agency for help too.

3. Know and grow your network. You will know people who have left the forces; try and get in touch and build your knowledge of the challenges and opportunities ahead. Build your network database on LinkedIn and work with them to connect you to others, raise your profile and keep you in mind for relevant vacancies.

4. Write your story. Your skills need to be brought to life with stories, so ensure you have identified a solid bank from which to draw. For each skill you identified write up an example – make sure to demonstrate the impact you personally made on the situation.

5. Remain confident. You have a lot to offer so try and not let the new start get you down if you don’t find work immediately. Take a systematic approach to your job search by planning your weeks effectively and learning from your experiences along the way.

If you are leaving the forces and need some support with the transition, please do get in touch at

If you’re looking for a new job get in touch 0797 1979541