Moving Forward –>

When I first started out writing this blog it was all about trying to help others that were leaving the Military by documenting my resettlement journey. Being in the AGC(SPS) (Military HR Admin & Finance) there were things that I probably knew that others didn’t…The feedback that I have had from the blog is that people found it very interesting & extremely helpful especially the posts around job searching. The number of visitors and views it’s had would also indicate that it was well received, that and the invitations to write columns and articles for a number of magazines and organisations! Unfortunately I had to turn these amazing offers down as at the time as I just didn’t have the capacity given the enormity of the change I was going through. I am very proud of the blog and would go as far to say it’s one of my greatest achievements.
The thing is, I’ve been out of the military for around 3.5 years now and feel as though I’m relatively well settled in Civvy Street and my ‘new’ life in general. I can’t just keep writing about the Army and all the highs and pitfalls that come with that as that’s all in the past now – no new material will ever come of it. Yes there is a lot to share about my life whilst in the Army and the crazy experiences that it gave me so I’ve decided to try and put that down in an autobiography which I will hopefully publish on Amazon by the end of the year. 
Anyway, enough of that for now. So much has happened to me in the 3.5 years since I left the Army…I have had a promotion and change of role within my Company (Cummins Turbo Technologies), I’m now in a different, much better relationship and I am a mother. I know it’s not Forces related anymore but I don’t want the blog to stop as I just enjoy writing it so bloody much! So I’ve been thinking about the way to progress the blog and rather than keeping looking back I would like to just use it to record the life and times of a thirty something HR professional mother, wife, daughter and friend. I’m not trying to be another ‘Unmumsy Mum’ or anything like that although there will no doubt be shades of that at times but I want it to focus on me as a motivated, ambitious woman who is also a mother and wife in the hope that it can help or inspire other people out there (both male and female) that you can have kids and try and kick on in a career. I hope to cover things from things of interest I do at work, any personal or professional development and my professional journey wherever that may take me…I can’t promise that it will be exciting or as niche as before but it will be written as openly and articulately as I can manage with hopefully some humour thrown in.
Thanks again for reading and for your messages of support, Lucy 🙂

Interview as an internal candidate…

So the time has come when my 12 month fixed term contract is almost at an end (just over 3 weeks to go to be precise) and I essentially need to be looking for another job.

Now I know that you might be thinking that I have left it too late and potentially I have but I just don’t feel the same level of anxiety about maybe being jobless that I did when I left the Army. Rightly or wrongly I am quietly confident in my own knowledge, experience and ability to believe that I will get a job when I start applying.

 In the mean time the position that I have been employed in for the last 12 months has now been added to the Company headcount but to ensure fair process the job had to be advertised, hence I have essentially had to apply for my own job! So ok, it’s not exactly the same role – there are new responsibilities added into the mix but the bulk of the role is what I’ve been doing for the last 12 months. So, like any other applicant I filled out the application form, revamped my CV and submitted them to my current manager. The deadline passed and thankfully I was invited to an interview.

 Interview day came and strangely I found that I was more nervous than I was for the initial interview. The interview panel consisted of my current team leader, my current supervisor and an employee from Corporate recruiting who I have sat opposite for the last year – all people I know not only professionally but personally and socially. I decided to play it as professionally as I could given that I knew everyone on the panel as friends not only as colleagues. I did the same amount of prep, wrote notes, took all my certificates etc exactly as I did the first time. The interview started a bit tentatively for myself but as I noticed my voice wobble after question number one I kind of just told myself to ‘get a grip’ and that ‘I knew these people and not to panic!’ One of the biggest difficulties I faced came when answering their questions – I knew that my Team Leader and Supervisor know what I’ve been doing for the last 12 months because they have been there doing it with me but you HAVE to act as if they don’t and tell them all the necessary details as if they are total strangers. There was also the reluctance to ‘blow my own trumpet’ about things I’d done to my current Managers for fear of sounding arrogant….but I blew it anyway!! After a few questions I felt myself (and them) relax and the interview began to flow. It lasted an hour and half and I felt relieved when it was over.

 I still haven’t had the outcome of the interview so can’t say it went fantastically, the interview could’ve gone terribly for all I know but I didn’t get that vibe…even if I haven’t got the job I know that I did my best and I just wasn’t the right person for the job.

 Another part of the situation that was bizarre and another first for me was that the only other applicant / interviewee for the position was my best friend in my team and we both knew each other were applying from the off. It wasn’t like in the Army where they keep everything a secret from you and you have to keep it from each other – we had complete transparency. It was initially a bit awkward between us but we’re both grown ups (just about!) and after a little chat one lunch time about it all was normal with us again…The fact that each of us genuinely wanted the other to do well was probably the main reason for that.

 All in all it was quite a unique experience that I’m glad I’ve gone through.

Network, network, network….Professionally!

So I had decided that I was going to leave the Army and many people had said to me ‘Network as much as you can’ when it comes to finding employment.  Well, I kind of knew that but how?!  Did they mean knocking on Companies doors with CV in hand….Well, possibly but this is how I viewed it.  We live in a digital age and employers are so easily accessible these days, how is best to promote yourself to these Companies/Organisations without spending a fortune…? 

So where to start?  The first place I suggest you start is Linked In.  This is a professional networking site where you can connect with people you know professionally.  It is free, it’s very  easy to build a profile if you have a CV concocted already (it will take a little bit of time if not) and all you need to get going is an email address.  Linked In then allows you to give a Employment Title, a personal statement, your employment history and it allows you to showcase any qualification/key skills that you have.  You can also give and receive online recommendations from people you have worked or trained with.   This site also has Groups for like minded people, allows you to follow individual Companies you have an interest in, advertises jobs to suit your profession/location and gives you the opportunity to ‘Update your Status’ to let people know what you have been up to Professionally.  There is also the option to upgrade your account which gives you a lot more access to other peoples profiles, you can see the salary of the jobs advertised and it lets you see (in full) who has looked at your profile.  This website is very, very good and allows you to completely separate your personal and professional life online which is VERY important when job searching these days.  There are tons more benefits to having an account on here and one that I have personally taken advantage of is putting the link to my Linked In account on the top of my CV, therefore allowing future employers see a full, in depth, extended profile of me! 

The next thing is make a professional Twitter profile….Now, I know a lot of people out there have tried Twitter in the past and have said ‘I just don’t get it’ or ‘it’s not for me’ but trust me, there is so much going on, on there at the minute that you simply cannot afford not to have an account.  Like Linked in, its free and all you need is an email to start.  Lots and lots of Companies now advertise jobs via their Twitter accounts as do Recruitment Agencies, you can keep abreast of any recent developments within your chosen profession and you can also follow training providers to see what courses they are running –  I’ve even seen Courses advertised at reduced rates due to lack of attendance.  Take the opportunity on Twitter to advertise yourself by uploading a good head and shoulders profile pic (nobody likes to follow an egg) and write a short, sharp and effective bio.  Also on your bio add a link to your Linked In profile, that way anyone that is interested in what you tweet can then be wowed by your amazing Linked In profile!! 

The next one is Community Sites – These are sites that are run by particular Companies or Organisations for their delegates and clients.  An example of this is as follows:  I am enrolled on a CIPD Human Resources qualification that is being run by a Training Provider called Development Processes Group.  They have a Community site where people that are undertaking their training can come together and chat, blog, share experiences and generally network….I’m sure there will be some discussion about the courses too eventually but it’s a great environment where engaged professionals can come together informally.  A big thing that they hold on these Community sites too are Webinars – Online seminars about a particular subject and you can contribute as much or as little as you like, free, low stress and extremely educational. 

Another thing that I have found useful is to make an about.me profile.  This is just a webpage about you! You can choose your own background, font, colour of text, size of text, upload a picture and write a small bio.  You can imput where you have been educated or trained and also put links on there to websites of your choices.  The main thing I have found this handy for is housing all my professional networking profiles under one roof so to speak as from here people can access my Linked In profile, professional twitter account and my blog.  This one I would say isn’t necessary but is more of a nice to have! Definitely worth a look, especially with the death of the CV looming – be creative and set yourself apart from the crowds! 

Now, just let me stress to you that simply having these profiles is not enough…You have to go on your accounts regularly and be active within groups, conversations and forums.  For example.  One week I didn’t go on my Linked In account at all and I received around 3 views to my profile, the following few weeks I was on there around an hour a day and my profile received over 50 views.  Don’t fear online networking, most platforms have an Android or Apple application which makes it easier to access – make it work for you and as long as you allow time for your Networking you will be successful at it!

www.linkedin.com

www.twitter.com/career_woman

www.about.me/lucysaunders83

 

Where next…..?

So I’m not really too sure where this little post is heading but I felt kind of compelled to type up something…Days to do now with the Army are getting very few (as it goes I am actually de-kitting tomorrow!) and I wanted to document these feelings I’m experiencing.  Just thinking about the mixed feelings I have, even to do with my kit!  I mean, I have whinged, bitched and moaned about carrying that stuff around with me Posting after Posting for the last 13 years and now I’m coming to get rid of it makes me feel quite sad because some of that ‘stuff’ has been with my entire Army career and has looked after me in some of the scariest, most dangerous places on earth…and tomorrow I’m giving it back to the Army and it will be gone.

Another thing is that I have been quite ill the last few days and even though it was a complete ball ache driving 63 miles to Catterick to see a Dr, then having to drive into work to drop off my sick chit and then drive 63 miles home I thought about the alternative is on Civvy St.  I’ll simply phone up my Line Manager and inform them I wont be in that day BUT also, then be worrying that that period of absence could go against me if they decided to do job cuts and also I could not be paid for that time.  Now, I’m not saying that I’m changing my mind about getting out because this is 110% the right decision for me and my family but maybe now the time is getting close its hitting home that after 4 more wages I am out on my own, in that big wide world as a Civilian. 

Its very exciting but also leaving the Army is the single most frightening thing I think I have ever faced in my life and as much I’m worried I’m going to fall flat on my face and fail miserably, I know that the Army has instilled some amazing things into me and this is possible – I mean, people do it all the time right?!  (Pep talk coming up) I’m positive, pro-active, hardworking and intelligent and there is no reason why I wont get a job.  I’ve attacked my resettlement with vigour and enthusiasm and I fully intend to carry this on into new life in the same vein.

Anyhow, I wont subject your eyes to my rambling thoughts any more!

Peace Out  ❤