How do you get your tech career started after military service?

How do you get your tech career started after military service?

Meredyth Grant

Ben Shorter from Ex Mil Recruitment takes us on his journey to creating an agency that exclusively helps ex-military professionals find jobs after their service. 

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From a young age, Ben Shorter was immersed in the world of recruitment, thanks to his father’s agency which had a dedicated ex-military team. His early exposure, including a stint of work experience at the agency, shaped his career aspirations. Post-university, Ben chose to delve into recruitment, a field often perceived as challenging but one he found approachable compared to many military roles.

Unique Insights into Military Recruitment

Ben’s close connections with military families and friends provided him with a deep understanding of the challenges service-leavers face when transitioning into civilian roles. This insight became instrumental in his approach to recruitment, particularly in recognising the distinct work ethics of ex-military personnel.

Unlike some of his early experiences in recruitment, where he witnessed unethical practices, Ben has always strived for integrity. He observed a stark contrast in commitment between military and non-military personnel, with a significantly higher attendance rate for meetings among military individuals. This observation, coupled with his understanding of their unique needs, led Ben to focus exclusively on service leavers.

Recognising the Diverse Skill Set of Veterans

Ben emphasises the often-overlooked diverse skill set of military recruits. From technical expertise to fast adaptability, he believes veterans possess a wide array of transferable skills that make them ideal candidates for various roles, especially in tech.

Understanding and empathy are key to Ben’s approach. He recognises how military roles, from risk management to technology expertise, can translate into valuable assets in the civilian job market. His insights have also highlighted the advantage of security clearances that many service leavers hold, opening doors in the tech industry.

Addressing the Needs of Ex-Forces

Understanding a recruit’s skills is one thing, but aligning them with the right environment is another. Ben acknowledges the desire for stability among many ex-forces personnel, often wary of contract-based jobs. To address this, he has initiated monthly webinars to ease the transition into new employment forms.

Sometimes, the needs extend beyond the job. Ben recalls instances where finding accommodation was as crucial as employment, a situation where partnerships with organisations like Techvets become invaluable.

Challenging Stereotypes

Ben confronts the stereotypes often associated with military backgrounds, like PTSD and a perceived lack of job dedication. He argues that these outdated perceptions, influenced by old war movies, do not reflect the reality of today’s veterans, many of whom bring exceptional skills and characteristics to the table.

Advice for Ex-Forces: Networking and Upskilling

Ben’s advice for ex-forces is clear: start networking on LinkedIn, attend career events, and continuously upskill. His team encourages recruits to highlight their skills and further develop them through webinars and courses, ensuring they stand out in the civilian job market. Keeping an up-to-date CV is also crucial in this journey.

In Ben Shorter’s career, blending recruitment expertise with a deep understanding of military skills has created a successful pathway for service leavers transitioning to civilian roles.

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