Top Tips for Writing an Ex-Military CV
When preparing to leave the forces, creating a strong and relevant CV is a vital first step for ex-military personnel looking to transition into civilian life with a new, commercially focused career.
A well-written CV is important for making a good first impression to a prospective employer, so time and consideration are vital when creating this. It is also important to ensure your CV conveys your skills and experience effectively.
At Demob Job we want to help all our candidates reach their full potential, below we have outlined our top tips for a successful CV.
It is important to provide up to date contact details and personal information on your CV so that employers can get in touch.
This includes correct contact numbers, a professional email address and a home address. If you feel uncomfortable fully disclosing this information, then listing your town and county should be a minimum.
It is important that prospective employers know your location, so they can determine your proximity to the vacancy. If you are applying for a job that requires relocation, your willingness to relocate should also be included on your CV. This could be referenced either below your name or within your profile summary which highlights key relevant information matched to the role you are applying for.
For a successful CV, the presentation is key. The length of a CV should be kept to a maximum of two pages, with the information presented concisely and work experience listed chronologically.
Although you may wish to make your CV stand out, it is advised that a profile picture or company logo are not included. The imagery on a CV can look unprofessional and allows prospective employers to make assumptions based on how you look, rather than your skills and capabilities.
This may seem a basic point but checking your CV for spelling and punctuation mistakes is highly important. A CV littered with errors can indicate a lack of care and attention to detail and can potentially weaken your application. Asking a friend to proof your CV is a great way to ensure it makes sense and is free from mistakes.
Highlight your transferable skills and qualifications
Although civilian candidates can easily link their work history and adaptable skills to a commercial job role, it can be slightly more difficult for ex-military candidates to establish an obvious connection.
That is why it is important that your CV establishes how your military experience and qualifications are relevant to the role you are applying for.
For example, if you are applying for an engineering role such as a mechanical engineer and have experience of this in your time within the military, you should ensure that you provide examples of projects you have worked on which highlight your responsibilities and achievements and list any civilian recognised qualifications obtained.
As an ex-military candidate, you will also have a number of cross-functional skills that are considered highly valuable in a commercial work setting. According to research by Bitc.org, organisations that employ ex-forces candidates report that they exhibit much needed cross-functional skills, such as team-work, motivating others, communication, problem-solving, organisational skills and strategic thinking. It is therefore vital to highlight these skills on your CV and any other skills that are relevant to the role you are applying for in your profile.
Speak the employer’s language
There are many differences between military and civilian life, so when writing a CV, it is important to remember that a prospective employer will have a limited understanding of military terminologies and abbreviations. For example, do not presume the reader knows what ‘Sgt’ or ‘Sergeant’ means and how it reflects a person in a management position. Likewise, abbreviating job titles can leave the reader confused.
If there are some military terms that can not be so easily translated, make sure that they are explained in full.
It is important that you include at least two reliable references that can vouch for your experience and qualifications. Prior to listing your references, make sure they are aware that prospective employers will be getting in touch and that they are happy for you to include their email addresses and contact numbers on your CV and provide statements and testimonials where necessary.
Further advice and help
For help making the transition from the military into civilian employment, contact a member of the Demob Job team today on 0333 3445577.