Sylvester is a former Detachment Commander in the Army and is looking for work in the information security sector and is also interested in pursuing roles in project management. He spoke to SaluteMyJob about his career aspirations - and offers advice to ex-military jobseekers on how to make a successful transition into commercial employment.
SMJ: What was your role in the military?
Sylvester: I was in the Army for seven years and my role when leaving was Detachment Commander.
SMJ: What could this be best compared to in civvy street?
Sylvester: Project manager - in the sense of I managed people, managing people to deliver a certain project, within a specific time frame. For example, I managed mini projects on a tour of duty, for six to seven months, where I had assignments, projects or different operations to manage and work towards. My military role could also be compared to a commercial operations manager.
SMJ: When did you leave?
"I have been spoilt. Everything is personal - you really feel like someone cares. They really want to help you - they want to look at you as a bigger picture. I think SaluteMyJob is the first place that have looked at ‘this is what you could do’ - rather than ‘this was the rank you had - so you should do this’."
SMJ: What did you do to best prepare yourself?
Sylvester: One of the things I did to prepare was to take an apprenticeship course and I am now qualified as a project practitioner. I also trained myself as a security manager to help with future information, cyber-security roles, which is sector I hope to get into. I have also put myself through a number of other courses to help me in the future with my career aspirations - including the Agile Project Leadership Course ran by SaluteMyJob - which was really good. To prepare yourself you really need to have an open-mind - do not say, ‘this is the only thing I can do’.
SMJ: How did you hear about SaluteMyJob and what have we done to help you with your job search?
Sylvester: I heard about SaluteMyJob through the Career Transition Partnership (CTP). With Jo (one of our expert employment consultants) I have been spoilt. Everything is personal - you really feel like someone cares. They really want to help you - they want to look at you as a bigger picture. I think SaluteMyJob is the first place that have looked at ‘this is what you could do’ - rather than ‘this was the rank you had - so you should do this’. Jo looked at my CV extensively which was so helpful, taking the time to really help me.
SMJ: What work are you doing at the moment?
Sylvester: Previously worked as a change and release coordinator, supporting different projects specifically around compliance and auditing for 18 months. Currently working at BAE in a similar role.
SMJ: What other industries or roles are you interested in pursuing?
Sylvester: I am really interested in getting into the information security sector or project management - I would like a role with career progression where I can challenge myself and progress.
" We gain great organisational skills from the military, we have a can-do attitude. We also cope well under pressure and will thrive where most would struggle. "
SMJ: What skills do you think you have gained in the military that may help with these roles?Sylvester: In a project management role - I think it is my can-do attitude and my experience in managing people and projects while in the Army. For example, I was the first person in my unit at the time, to come up with the idea to put up monitors in offices and use them as dashboards. I delivered the project on time, my Commander saw it and thought it was impressive. I didn’t necessarily have to use a project management tool to do that - it was my can-do attitude that helped me come up with the idea - and successfully complete it.
SMJ: What have you found the most enjoyable part of your career transition journey?
Sylvester: It’s the whole experience really - it’s so different, it may not be everybody’s cup of tea but it is mine.
SMJ: What have been the challenges with transitioning?
Sylvester: Getting used to the culture - the people, the difference between the military and the commercial environment. In the past, I also found people judged me on what I could do, just because of my military background.
SMJ: What advice would you give to people going through the transition phase?
Sylvester: Be open-minded - don’t just think about one job you want to do, there are many opportunities out there. Talk to people who have left, ask them for advice, find out what the job market is like before you leave. Also do training courses, further your skills if you can.
SMJ: If there was anything you could advise corporates who want to employ Armed Forces candidates, what would it be?
Sylvester: Look beyond what you see - and what you expect from the person - that’s the main thing.
SMJ: In your opinion, what training and experience from your Armed Forces career has made you more competitive than other candidates from the commercial sector?
Sylvester: We gain great organisational skills from the military, we have a can-do attitude. We also cope well under pressure and will thrive where most would struggle. Personally I find it funny what is being defined as 'stressful' out here. We have good management skills and we are used to talking to people from all walks of life.
SMJ: What do you enjoy doing in your space time?
Sylvester: Martial arts, driving, enjoy meeting new people.
Sylvester is SC cleared to 2021 and has ISO 27000 experience and training.
If you are interested in getting in contact with Sylvester or other veterans with similar experience, please contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.