Maximise your Defence Experience When Transitioning
In the following article we reveal the 5 biggest mistakes made when transitioning out of Defence, and what you can do to avoid them. If you follow our advice you’ll be ahead of the pack when it comes to establishing yourself in a civilian career, and making the process as stress free as possible for you and your family.
We have heard it time and time again: “I left my documents in the defence. I can’t gain access to them now. Is that a problem?” The answer is YES. Unfortunately it is a problem. The documents that represent your service are gold in the transition process.
Leaving it too long to gather those documents leaves you at risk of getting yourself locked out from accessing the documents that demonstrate your full defence career.
This is the very first mistake people make in transitioning.
In a world where you must prove your worth, having evidence of your skills and experience is priceless. Too many defence personnel have found out the hard way - having missed the opportunity to gather their evidence. Then having to accept lower level qualifications than they would have otherwise been eligible for.
So, what are the negatives that come with not collecting your evidence?
The end result of not collecting the best evidence is that you end up with lower level, and fewer qualifications than you are worth. You can even be forced back to study for qualifications that your mates, who were savvy enough to collect their documents along the way, were awarded through RPL.
But the good news is that there are loads of positives that happen because of collecting of your evidence …
Get Collecting! It’s all about the Six Ps: Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
Collecting is a mindset. You need to always have in the back of your mind a couple of simple question. How do I show other people I am capable of doing what I am doing now?
This is because it is perfectly legitimate to use verbal conversations as evidence. We are happy to discuss your work with you and map that to qualifications. The way to get the most out of that sort of conversation is to keep hints for yourself.
Make sure you collect all the documents and examples that paint the highest level of your skills and experience in the military before you leave.
Here are the immediate steps to take:
So, that’s the most important list … sounds pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? Get collecting!
With your documents in your kit, you are ready to tackle the next stage: what to do with your life, post-defence?
Don’t leave money on the table by jumping out of defence without identifying the funding available to aid in transition to a new career before you leave.
Veterans who haven’t looked at the funding before leaving all tell us they made these three mistakes:
The end result is that you walk away with fewer qualifications, it takes longer to get the qualifications you need, you are not as well prepared for applying for jobs and completing interviews, you miss the opportunities that arise for a better paying / higher classified job and ultimately this all impacts what you can bring home for your family.
But you can have better options by simply taking the time to think about what funding is available for you and your family.
Get the cash!
There are different types of funding that you can tap into and they come with different timelines so you can start planning your transition well in advance:
Then, you can look at payment plans and Study Loans to distribute some of the investments you are making over a period of time.
By investigating your funding options you can get yourself well placed for your career ahead, with:
Transitioning a career where, for years, you have been told where to be and when, it is a big ask to walk out the door and stand looking at your future, wondering what’s next?
There are so many doors, so many turns to take, and it can feel like you are about to enter the labyrinth.
Too many people head out the door and just start running - entering the labyrinth of “what now” without stopping to make any plan at all.
When you take the approach of hurling yourself straight into the labyrinth without getting a clear plan of attack, you're going to strike these problems ...
Instead, before you start running, you want to spend some time thinking about what it is exactly that you want to do with your life.
Get Clarity! There is no point spending time or money on anything until you have a plan for where you want to head after leaving the military.
Getting clear does not mean you get every answer right - but it does mean you get a start in the first steps to taking positive action for your future.
When you get clarity, you'll find that:
So, what should you get clear on?
This is where talking to a Military Mentor can really help. The team at Churchill are always here to help with these conversations.
Start by thinking about these general questions:
This will start to give you a plan for a career after Defence.
Now, it is easy to take for granted but you have worked in the biggest training organisation in the country. You have learned things and built up a set of skills that would be an asset in a workforce outside the defence.
But too many people getting out of the defence just expect civilians to understand their defence career, and the reality is that people just don’t understand it.
They label their career in military terms: military ranks, military skills and military qualifications.
When you stick to labels that only Defence know, you’re going to strike these problems:
The end result that comes with labelling your career in military terms is that you are going to miss out on the interview for the job you are perfect for, and instead you'll end up taking a job that is below what you are worth, or even worse, end up back in the military doing exactly what you are doing now - going backward, not forward.
Instead, you want to put your defence service through a translation machine – take the defence labels and turn it into labels that make sense on Civvy Street.
Get Converting! When you convert your experience and years of military service into something recognisable and valuable in the civilian sector, you:
The end result is that it puts you in the driver's seat. After years of being told what to do and where to go, you are calling the shots. With all the best options available to you.
When it comes to converting your defence experience, there are three paths to take:
Preparing to enter a new career requires new skills - resume, applications, interviews, LinkedIn profiles and building connections in a totally different world, a civilian world.
It means building a good team around you focused on helping you transition.
When you haven’t taken the time to look at your resume, get that interviewing advice, talk to specialists who understand what qualifications are opening doors or setting standards in which industries, well, you are going to be limping out of the gate while other people run for the prize.
Not understanding how to present yourself, what the employment market looks like and lacking that career preparation means that:
So, instead, start assembling your team and head for the starters' line.
Get Career Expertise!
And there's good news ... there are some great career experts available to help veterans transitioning to Civvy Street. These services have come a long way in the last few years and even the Prime Minister has jumped behind a big push to see veterans employed in the civilian world.
It's just a matter of choosing the best providers, and we're happy to make some introductions for you. The team here at Churchill has been around since 2006 so we know the ones to work with and the boost they can give you.
The smart money is on the veterans who get help with:
You are not the first person to transition out of Defence and you won't be the last.
So, avoid these mistakes by tapping into the best support you can get.
At Churchill, we are all about giving you the best support, solutions and service available. We have a number of staff members who have made the transition themselves, so we understand where you're at, where you've come from, and how to get where you want to go.
If you'd like to speak to us about smoothly transitioning to Civvy Street, give us a call on 1300 793 002 to get the best advice for your situation.
If you're not ready to speak to someone just yet and prefer to do a bit more research on your own first, we have a range of information resources on our website which will help you understand more about the process of RPL ...