The Best Career Options for Former Military Service Members

Leaving the armed forces isn’t an easy task for many people. Whether your formal engagement has come to an end, or your time in the forces has been cut short by a health issue or other circumstances - a return to civilian life is a big adjustment for many veterans.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone; around 15,000 military personnel leave the forces each year, with the majority rejoining civilian society each year. While everyone’s struggles are different, one of the key concerns for ex-military personnel is finding jobs for veterans in the UK.

Transitioning into a brand new job with a different structure and new responsibilities can feel like starting your life all over again. However, with the right career move, you can make the whole process much less of a dramatic shift, easing yourself into your new role. A veterans career fair could be a good place to start your search.

At SecurityClearedJobs we specialise in careers for people with a security clearance, meaning you can find employment in an area that makes the best use of your existing skills. We know exactly what employers are looking for, so we help connect them with ex-military personnel in search of a new career.

Types of jobs for former military members

What types of jobs are appropriate for people once they have left the armed forces? Anything is theoretically an option, especially if you’re willing to take on an academic or professional qualification, but are there any careers for which ex-servicepeople are particularly well-suited?

Soldiers down

To understand this, it is a good idea to understand what skills veterans have that employers can make use of. You might be surprised at what the armed forces taught you that can help you out in civilian situations. Of course, your military experience is also a valuable skill in itself.

What do civilian employers look for in ex-military applicants?

Civilian employers in a range of different industries can benefit from the skills veterans develop during their military careers. Most industries are facing significant skills gaps that can be addressed with your talents and experience. Research by the Royal British Legion found that skills related to IT, engineering, security, transport and logistics are some of the most in demand right now.

Mind Trust study found that employers are particularly interested in six skills that are often gained by military personnel. These are:

  • Active listening

  • Time management

  • Critical thinking

  • Speaking

  • Judgement & decision making

  • Complex problem solving

What jobs are available for ex-military?

If you think about the skills you have gained in the military, you might be surprised at how qualified you are for a wide range of ex military jobs. While working as a contractor within the wider military sphere might still be an option, there is a plethora of other career paths available to you.

For example, someone who was in the army might have gained skills in transport, logistics, construction or medicine. They could find work managing similar projects in the civilian world. Someone from the navy could continue to work offshore in the oil and gas industry, or even use their experience in intelligence to work in research or market analysis. 

What skills does military service teach you that can be applied to civilian jobs?

In addition to the skills mentioned above, military service can teach you a wide range of useful abilities. For example, most veterans will have plenty of experience with teamwork and working under pressure. You might have developed strong IT skills, or have leadership experience.

Then there are the personal qualities a military career can bring out in you. Reliability is one that is often mentioned, and many ex-servicepeople have reputations for being dependable and keeping a cool head in a crisis. Think about all the different things you learned in the military and how they could apply to civilian life.

How to use free career placement services for former military officers

Ex-military officers have a few options available to them that can help with finding jobs after the armed forces. One of these is career placement services, which temporarily pay the salaries of ex-officers to give businesses an incentive to take them on.

There are several different types of this service. One of the most common is civilian work attachments, which can be undertaken at any point in your last two years of service. Talking to your chain of command is a good way of getting this process started.

What are the special hiring options for ex-military?

There are a few options available to you as an ex-serviceperson. Civilian work attachments, for example, can be undertaken through the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), an organisation formed through a partnership with the Ministry of Defence and Right Management.

Other organisations can also provide help and support. For instance, charities such as the Royal British Legion run programmes specifically designed to help, from general career advice to financial support to help with retraining. Make sure you take all of your options into account to ensure you’re not missing out on any potentially helpful programmes that could ease you into civilian life.

Where can you get help looking for a job as ex-military?

Before your career in the armed forces ends, you will be able to access support from the military in the form of Transition Individual Planning and Personal Development, or IPPD. This programme exists to provide veterans with support so the move into civilian life doesn’t happen too suddenly.

Army Picture

Completing IPPD is ultimately your personal responsibility, and you should be undertaking it throughout your military career. Of course, there are plenty of other options once you leave the armed forces, such as specialist recruitment sites. SecurityClearedJobs can match you up with jobs looking directly for people with the kind of security clearance you will have.

Why should you use career placement services for ex-military officers?

While many employers would love to hire ex-military personnel, often the barrier to this is the officers themselves. Years or even decades spent in the military can leave you with little experience of the world of civilian jobs and you might have to relearn things like how to put a CV together or interviewing skills.

Career placement services can help you with this, as not only can they provide support in areas with which you might need help, but they also provide a direct line of communication between employers and ex-members of the armed forces. For example, at SecurityClearedJobs.com, we specialise in providing employers with candidates who have a security clearance, so you can find companies looking for someone with your exact skills.

Best ways to find jobs for ex-military

Once you leave the armed forces, what are the best options when it comes to finding employment? You will have plenty of useful, marketable skills and great experience in a career for which people have a lot of respect. How can you transfer all that into the perfect civilian career?

There are a few steps that can make the hunt for the best jobs for ex military in the UK easier. Veterans should consider their career options as early as possible, so they don’t end up reaching the end of their term in the military without a good idea of what to do next.

How can you make your transition to civilian life and employment more seamless?

As mentioned above, IPPD is one excellent way to ensure your transition into civilian life goes smoothly. The armed forces should support you with the move away from your military role, and IPPD is one way it does this. Career placements are another option, providing you with valuable civilian work experience before your term in the armed forces ends.

It’s a good idea to get as much done as possible before your military service ends. For example, creating and updating a CV is a good idea, as well as researching the career areas you would like to go into as a civilian. This will enable you to hit the ground running as soon as you leave the armed forces.

What are some tips for getting better results from job postings for ex-military?

When applying for jobs as an ex-serviceperson, you will need to think about what employers are actually looking for. While many businesses are interested in taking on veterans, some still struggle to understand what transferable skills ex-military personnel actually have.

Something as simple as listing your main skills on your CV can go a long way towards providing you with better results when job hunting. Using simple terms like flexibility, reliability, IT skills or good communication can help employers understand exactly what you have learned from the military and why it makes you qualified for the role.

You should also think about listing your security clearance, as this can give you an advantage over other candidates, particularly in some sectors. Industries as varied as security, finance and petrochemicals require employees with security clearance, so this could be a great opportunity for you.

What next steps should ex-military personnel looking for employment take?

The clear next step for anyone either approaching the end of their military career or having passed that milestone is to create or update a CV. Once at this stage, you can upload it onto a specialised jobs board such as SecurityClearedJobs.com, which is designed for candidates with a security clearance.

Security Clearance

We can help get your CV in front of the most relevant businesses that are looking to hire people with your experience. You can also sign up for job alerts, newsletters and career fairs, all designed to help people with a security clearance find the right career for them.

How to apply to jobs for veterans

Applying for civilian jobs as a veteran can be a nerve-wracking process. However, it usually involves a few simple steps. You will need to create a CV (or update an old one), upload it to a jobs board or hand it to a potential employer, and hope for an interview. The only difference for members of the armed forces is the skills and experience they will want to mention.

What can ex-military personnel list on their resumé?

As a member of the armed forces, you will have amassed some fairly unique skills and abilities. Some of these have been mentioned above, but others could include proficiency with vehicles, project management, health and safety credentials or more. Anything you think is a relevant skill can and should be listed on your CV.

You should also make sure you’re including any qualifications or credentials you might have gained. This includes security clearances, which not only show you are responsible and trustworthy but also are major advantages for certain careers.

Security clearances you could list on your CV include:

  • Developed Vetting (DV)

  • Security Check (SC)

  • Counter Terrorism Check (CTC)

  • Recruitment Vetting (RV)

  • Management Vetting (MV)

  • Non-Police Personnel Vetting (NPPV)

What are some tips for applying for civilian jobs as ex-military?

One of the most useful things ex-servicepeople can do when looking for jobs is to choose specialist recruiters or job boards, such as SecurityClearedJobs.com, to find the most relevant opportunities. Without doing this, you could find yourself trawling through irrelevant jobs for hours.

Specialist job boards not only will provide you with the most relevant positions to apply for, but can also give you useful information about how to apply and inform you of new opportunities in industries looking for people with military experience. They are a great way to give yourself a leg up above the competition when applying for civilian jobs.

Where can you find job postings specifically for veterans?

One specific job board for veterans is SecurityClearedJobs.com. It is the largest job board in the UK that caters for vacancies with a level of security clearance. We specialise in matching up employers with experienced candidates from fields such as the military, who have the skills and security clearances needed to undertake some of the most exciting jobs around.

You can view our latest jobs here or find out more information on how we work at www.SecurityClearedJobs.com. Visit our current jobs to find your perfect new position following your military service.