Please allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Mike Neary, former SNCO in the RAF Regiment. I served for 22 years and retired from military life in 2003, I was fortunate that I had a plan. I joined the Regiment with no educational qualifications, I left with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Education (BA Hon’s) as well as a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE). I got my dream job working in a College of Further Education delivering the Public Services course, preparing young people to join the armed forces, fire brigade and so on. It lasted 3 years. Why, you might ask? It was simple, I realised I am not manageable – my standards, as yours will be, are extremely high. People simply didn’t live up to what I was expecting them to be, Managers! Or were they?
I would say this: remember your skill base, if you’re a JNCO you are very capable of applying your managerial skills to middle management. If you’re a SNCO then middle management and above. You need a well written Curriculum Vitae (CV) that explains your military skills in civilian speak, e.g. I was a Platoon Sergeant; I was a middle manager responsible for managing the welfare of 30 or more people. Don’t under sell yourselves, you are incredibly capable people, civilians like to employ ex forces people, why? Because we are reliable, prompt, honest, we have a great sense of duty, my whole team are ex-military bar 2. One of them is the other Director whom I am married to.
I have owned my own business for 13 years, my company is called Managing Excellence Through Training Ltd, this means I have to go out networking. Learn the civilian language, if you think we use a lot of jargon; they are really bad for using acronyms , especially if you will be dealing with technical people. If you are looking at being recruited, get your profile on Linked IN, go to job fairs, outside of the military ones, connect with ex- military people on social media. We know the pitfalls because we’ve already made the mistakes and hopefully learned from them. If you’re offered training take it, the company are paying for it, it can always be used if you move jobs. Your next job is not a job for life, keep training and developing your skill base. Join membership bodies like the Institute for Leadership and Management. You will more than likely have 3 to 4 jobs before you settle into your ideal role.
Lastly, life in civvy street isn’t that bad, we do need to learn how to adapt, you won’t get a response to an email within the hour, sometimes it takes days. What I have found is there is no sense of urgency, it also takes a while to calm down. I often hear this from other ex- military people ”civvies don’t understand me, that’s why I can’t get a job”. We were civvies before we enlisted, they understood us then. I am most certainly not saying let your standards drop but do expect the unexpected. Remember organisations are out there looking for what you have got to offer. You can connect with me on Linked In if that helps.
Good luck to you all
Mike Neary BA Hon’s PGCE MInst LM
Managing Director of METT Training Ltd
Vicki and I will be there to give FREE CV, CAREER & INTERVIEW advice to service leavers, veterans and their families. We look forward to meeting you!
May is mental health awareness month.
Take a look at this short but powerful video made by my lovely friend’s daughter about her inspirational dad’s struggle with mental health and his message; ‘It’s not weak to speak’.
Andy is a former Royal Engineer and now spends time sharing his story and mental health journey to help others. Listen to Andy. He makes sense.
I’m honoured to have been giving CV & Careers advice at the BFRS National Careers Events held around the UK for the last 5 years or so.
Yesterday, we were in Catterick Garrison and what an amazing day it was! There was a real buzz about the place and I overheard lots of attendees – service leavers and veterans – say how much they valued the advice and information given by exhibitors, whether it was from training companies like NUCO or employers such as BAE Systems.
It was great to meet so many skilled and talented service leavers and veterans, from Transport Managers and Supply Chain specialists to HR Managers and Quantity Surveyors. However, I was struck by the fact that I see the same issues cropping up when it comes to their CVs. So I’ve listed a few of the main stumbling blocks below:
- CVs which are not targeted to a specific type of job – the CV is your marketing document! Do you meet the role criteria?
- Skills sections at the end of a CV on page 2 – show-case your skills on page 1!
- Career History too task-oriented – breath some life into it with strong examples of how you used your core skills in past roles
- Nothing to differentiate your CV from others – why should they interview you? What have you done to add value and how well have you performed?
- Too much text – make it easy for people to see key information. Don;t hide it with too much content in the wrong places
There are many more points but these are key areas I focus on when writing interview-winning CVs.
The next BFRS careers event is in Stafford in May. I hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it and would still like an expert opinion on the quality of your CV, you can request a CV Health Check via our online service at www.forces-cvs.co.uk.
Forces CV Services
Your Complete Guide to a Successful Interview
Sian Richardson, Director of Forces CV Services, has a long and successful history of preparing candidates to fulfil their career ambitions. As a former HR Manager and Recruitment Specialist, she is a specialist in the field.
How you present yourself before, during and after interviews is crucial in determining whether or not you secure the job you want in Civvy Street. The objective of this guide is to provide some best practice advice and guidance on how to undertake a successful interview.
STEP 1 – PREPARATION
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
I cannot stress strongly enough how important this step is. The more prepared you are before the interview, the more confident you will feel and the better you are likely to perform on the day itself.
Before the interview
- Check the exact time, location, route, transport options, parking and journey time
- Find out the interviewer’s name and title
- Research the company online or by talking to connections who work there – know the facts about its history, position in the market, mission, competitors, products, services, and any latest news or new contracts
- Understand the job they want you to do. I wish I had a pound for every candidate I’ve interviewed who did not understand the basic job requirements! Read the job description thoroughly, pick out key requirements and prepare strong examples of when you have delivered similar work in past roles. Remember to consider the results you achieved
- Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer. An interview is a two-way process. Use the opportunity to determine if the Company would be a good fit for you. Some questions you could ask are:
- Why has the position become available?
- How does the position fit into the company structure?
- What plans does the company have for future development?
- What motivated you to join the company?
- What training and development opportunities will be available?
Make a good impression. Dress like a professional. Wear a smart suit or matching trousers with blazer/jacket, a clean, ironed shirt and tie or blouse. Even if you think it may be company policy, avoid wearing casual clothes.
If applying for a manual job, still dress smartly and take a change of clothes with you in case you are asked to complete any technical work or tests.
Step 2 – The interview
First impressions count!
- Arrive a few minutes early, but not too early. Unless there has been a major disaster, arriving late for an interview is inexcusable.
Body Language & Interview Etiquette
- Smile and be friendly to everyone, from the receptionist to the CEO. You never know how influential they might be in the application process and it’s highly likely their opinion of you will be sought to see if they thing you’ll fit in.
- Shake hands firmly with the interviewer – but not too firmly! J
- Wait to be offered a chair before sitting
- Your job description may demand it and your CV may claim you have great interpersonal and communication skills – now is your chance to demonstrate them
- Build rapport with the interviewer – interviews are just two-way conversations
- Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Listen carefully to questions before giving your answer
- Smile and maintain eye contact – without looking like a crazy person! J
Marketing Brand You
- They wouldn’t be interviewing you if they didn’t think you were a strong contender, so be quietly confident
- Describe your achievements and how they apply to the role, in a clear and concise way
- Give specific examples of past situations or when you’ve demonstrated particular competencies.
Structure your answers. Use the STAR method:
S – Situation, background set the scene
T – Task or Target, specifics of what’s required, when, where, who
A – Action, what you did, skills used, behaviours, characteristics
R – Result – Outcome, what happened?
I also suggest to clients that they may like to strengthen their answers further by explaining what they learned, what they’d do differently next time, or how they followed up on the situation.
- Be prepared to answer non-competency based questions such as:
- Why did you choose this particular career path/field?
- Why would you like to work for this organisation?
- What style of management gets the best from you?
- What are your major strengths or weaknesses?
- What does ‘teamwork’ mean to you?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Here’s a short video I wrote for BFRS which will give you some of my top CV hints and tips to help make your CV stand out from the crowd and secure those all-important interviews.
If you’d like a FREE CV HEALTH CHECK to assess if your CV would be likely to beat the ATS bots and get through the sift to the interview short-list, upload your CV today at https://forces-cvs.co.uk/free-cv-health-check/
Are you a qualified and experienced technician from the aviation sector, leaving or left the RAF, Navy or Army and worked on Fixed wing, Fast-jet or rotary wing aircraft?
BFRS will be hosting recruitment events with BAE Systems as they are are actively recruiting suitably qualified and experienced technicians to fill positions in Saudi Arabia, in support of their Aircraft Maintenance & Support contracts.
To support this, they undertake UK-wide recruitment campaigns and are staging a recruitment evenings in St. Athan, Lincoln and Swaffham.
Thinking of leaving the forces, going for a promotion or changing career?
Get your free 10 minute CV health check at the event next week.
We will assess your CV and offer some constructive feedback about its chances of beating ATS bots and getting through the application process to the interview stage.
Is your CV well presented?
Does it sell your relevant skills and expertise strongly enough for the job you want?
Is it likely to secure interviews?
Will it beat the ATS bots and get through the initial sift?
How can the CV be improved?
What can you do to get the edge over other candidates?
Can’t make it on the day? Don’t worry!
We’d like to wish all of our clients a very successful 2019!
If you need our help to secure your next career move, please contact us today.