Leaving The Royal Marines

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

Yes!!! My first ever blog/story/content call it whatever you may but it has taken time and guts to do this as am not the type of person that writes or posts something for people to read about online. This is a learning process for me(please bear with me) and one that I will try and master along the way but here goes my first ever post. I am not a writer so I will just keep it simple. Will try and provide advice and links where possible on this site just to point and help service leavers in the right direction for those who may find it useful so don't forget to hit the subscribe button.

Joining the Royal Marines was one of the proudest moments and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. The values and the ethos that were instilled in the lives of recruits during those hard times endured in training will be ingrained in them for the rest of their lives no matter what path or stage of life they end up in.

Life was good with all the job security, seeing new places, being part of the brotherhood family and loving the job until injuries set in and medical discharge was on the horizon. After about 9 years of service, it was time to leave the Marines and with it came all the things that Service Leavers dread about:

  • where to live

  • which company/sector to work in

  • what role to apply for

  • costs of living

We were fortunate enough that God was on our side. When I left in July 2017, it was always my aim to move to London and for us to better ourselves there as a family with all the opportunities available in terms of securing roles. My wife was offered a role as a Building Manager which came with a 2 bedroom flat in the luxurious Kensington area. This really worked out for us knowing full well what some of my friends had been through when they left the armed forces.

Whilst networking my way around in London through attending events and applying for roles, I came across the AWS re:Start Course which is offered free for service leavers and this was the birth of my Tech Journey. For those that knew/know me, they know that I am not what they call a geek or a technical person. I know how to turn computers on, send emails, surf the web and that was about it. I was more suited to teaching as that was my profession in Fiji but never was I going to go back into the classroom so I decided to take the plunge. I will save the Course story for another time and how it helped me in securing the current role am in now as a Site Reliability Engineer. For now, I believe I will focus on the:

  • lessons learnt when leaving the Military

  • what a service leaver can do whilst still in

So here goes what I learnt and would like to share for those brothers and sisters that may need them

Lessons Learnt

  1. The life experiences and the skills learnt in service are transferrable to civilian jobs. . We are used to being team players, presentation, time management, prioritizing workload, being a leader, interpersonal skills and so much more which companies are looking for in their employees. Use them to your advantage and use them well.

  2. Your next role is not going to be offered on a silver platter. It does not mean we have served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces that we are entitled to a free job of our choice. We have to work hard, use the vast network of ex-military people who are already in civvy street, do your research and you will get there. I know this because I had to do the same to be where I am now but still a long way to go to achieve and fulfill what I want to.

  3. Keep applying even if you don't get any responses or feedbacks or did not get through that interview. I know. It sucks!!!. You just need to suck it up and crack on. The number of applications I did and the number of interviews I went to only be told I was not successful was(to be honest) SHIT!!! What I did was I never gave up. We are not only competing against qualified, experienced people but also against those who have just graduated from universities as well. Did I also mention the ATS(Applicant Tracking System)? It is the tool used by companies now to create shortlist of applicants from hundreds and thousands of applications before the recruiter actually gets to have a look at your CV. There is help out there to work around this. Treat all interviews as learning experiences which will help you out in the next one. Work on your weaknesses, regroup and keep at it. I always believe that if a door closes, there is a better door waiting to open for you.

  4. One of the most important things I learnt and which I still do - Network, Network and Network. Can't emphasise it enough. There are veterans who are subject matter experts on civvy street in their field who are always willing to help and advice on the best route to take, what to do and can introduce you to their connections which could lead to an interview (bypassing ATS) and even securing that much needed role. Try and attend networking events(that is when Covid finishes it's rounds) with an open mind, have business cards and CV to hand as you never know who you might meet in one of them. Be prepared always

  5. Treat those coffees as interviews. If someone wants to meet you for a coffee, then treat it as an interview. Research about the company the person works for and also try and research about the person. Get on LinkedIn(professional platform) as it could provide some useful intel on the professional life of the person you meeting. Important - do not turn up looking like a bag of shit. Be professional in everything you do as first impressions counts

Advice For Service Leavers

For those of you still in active service, do not leave it till you are out to network and start applying for jobs. We will not be the same. Some may serve for the full term. Others will not. If you are deciding to leave, then plan well ahead before that time comes. Work out(if you have not) where you want to live, what works well for you and your family and which sector you want to work in. There are tonnes of help out here which will be my main focus on the next piece. For now, if you still in, get on LinkedIn and try and gain some meaningful connections who are experts in their field and who can offer advice as to the courses you can take and what to do to secure that role when you leave.

Try and enroll in some courses. Look for the Free ones first and there are sites where you can get them for cheap. For the free courses being offered, use your resettlement time to do them. If you can, do some work placements as it would work well in your CV and you are still getting paid from the Military. Do not be afraid of leaving. There will be challenges but all the training, experiences and the lifelong skills that the Military has taught you will carry you through.

That's it for now. The above are what I actually went through and learnt along the way and hopefully it could help someone out there. You don't need to go through it alone. Reach out to connections if you need to. Get On Another Level to achieve that GOAL of yours. Vinaka(Fijian for Thank You) and God bless

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