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Resettlement success

Tony B
Forces: Ex-Army

Tony B - MPGS

"Think carefully about what area of employment you want to be in but never be afraid to change direction, and spend as much time as you can working on your CV and Cover Letter."

Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I previously served in the Royal Engineers from 1976 – 1994 then took early redundancy and spent 9 years working as a postman. I then decided to join the MPGS (Military Provost Guard Service), in which I will have served just less than 12 years by the time of my departure. I am currently in my last 3 months serving with the MPGS; my main role is a Section Sergeant, which basically entails supervising and managing a section of soldiers in the carrying out of security tasks in and around my site (MOD St Athan).

When did you start thinking about resettlement?

When I came up to the two years pre-discharge point, the first thing I did was to register with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) and get myself booked onto a Career Transition Workshop (CTW).

What did you learn during the CTW?
The main thing I took away from the workshop was the importance of preparation when entering the civilian job market.

A good, targeted CV is vital; I rewrote my CV loads of times over the course of 18 months - sometimes changing just one or two words can make a difference. Always get other people to read it as well - sometimes what you are trying to say will make sense to you but may not be understandable to others.

I also learnt the importance of a strong Cover Letter in order to sell yourself before the prospective employer even looks at your CV; you need to catch their imagination there and then. Find out what is important to them. As with the CV, get your career consultant, friends, family or colleagues to read and add their comments.

You should also consider attending an Interview Techniques workshop - like me, I would guess that a high proportion of Service leavers have not been in an interview situation for some time.

Top tip: don’t forget about your online profile – try Googling yourself and see what comes up – is it suitable viewing for a potential employer?

How did you research the job market?
Having decided that I wanted to work in security (I had been doing it for 11 years) I paid particular attention to the security section of CTP RightJob. I suppose I was lucky because I was willing to move anywhere to achieve employment (make sure you put this on your CV and Cover Letter if it applies to you). There are hundreds of jobs advertised on RightJob, added daily, and I used to look forward to sifting through all the jobs to see what was out there.

Top tip: your CTP Employment Consultant can provide local job-finding advice and connect you with employers in the area

When did you start applying for jobs?

When I reached the 3 months pre-discharge point, I was confident I had all the qualifications (SIA & CCTV Courses) required for the work I was seeking and started the job-finding process in earnest, applying for 18 jobs. I didn’t have to wait long for a response and within 5 days of starting to actively seek employment I had received 8 offers to attend interviews. Wow. It was then that I realised all the hard work on my CV and Cover Letter had paid off.

Top tip: remember some employers will require applications via an online form, rather than a CV – ensure you draft and proof-read your answers thoroughly before submitting

What was your experience of the interview process?
I attended two interviews for a Security Supervisor role with Jaguar Land Rover; the first took a competency-based format and the second was slightly more in-depth: the first question they asked was ‘tell me what you know about the company’. I had researched so well that they had to tell me when to stop!

Did you get the job?
Yes! I believe all the preparation with my CV, Cover Letter, interview techniques and the guidance and activities on the CTP website helped me to get a job at the first interview.

What advice would you give to other Service leavers?
Attend the CTW and Interview Techniques workshops and make use of the CTP website ( Think carefully about what area of employment you want to be in but never be afraid to change direction, and spend as much time as you can working on your CV and Cover Letter.

My main advice would be to start planning early for your resettlement - your discharge date comes around really quickly and there is no better feeling than knowing that you have a job to go to when you get out.

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