When should I start?

This week I received an application from a Royal Electrical and Mechanical (REME) engineer.   

After reading his CV he seemed an ideal candidate for the vacancy; right experience, qualifications and he only lived 7 miles from the company in question.  As the vacancy also resided with one of my long-term loyal clients I already knew that there would be strong interest. 

I picked up the phone and called the candidate. 

Very early in the conversation, I asked the candidate ‘I can see that you are still serving in the Army, can I ask when you are available to start work?’ 

His response was ‘June next year, do you think your client will keep the vacancy open for me?’ 

This equated to over eight months before he could take up paid employment. 

From my experience, which spans over 10 years of working within ex-military recruitment, most companies we deliver a service to are looking for the right candidate ‘here and now’.  They would not be willing to wait for an extended period for the right candidate. 

So, when is the ideal time to start looking for work? 

Well, there is no set answer, but I think the question needs to be re-phrased to ‘when is the right time to start applying for jobs?’ 

The term ‘looking for work’ involves several activities, these include research, CV preparation, networking with previously military colleagues and developing your job search plan.  These activities can span over a number of months and eventually lead you to that all-important crunch time of applying for jobs.


So, in summary, my personal advice is that the ideal time to start applying for jobs is 8 to 10 weeks prior to leaving.


About the author:

Joanne Foster joined Demob Job in 2008 as a Recruitment Consultant and has extensive experience in helping job seekers transitioning from their military careers into commercial employment.  Joanne has progressed to become a Recruitment Team Manager.  Areas of expertise include Facilities and Field Service.


Joanne can be contacted on:


Tel: 0333 3445577


Email: joanne.foster@demobjob.co.uk