Employment and Education Planning

It is not unusual to see people changing careers numerous times in their lifetime. A part of the career path changing process involves assessing the transferability of skills and competencies towards a new career field, as well as achieving certification through continuing education.

The following are important considerations when weighing the option of continuing education:

  • What are my second career goals?
  • Considering the financial and personal investment required, are my second career goals realistic?
  • Did I have my experience, training, and skills assessed towards Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition accreditation (PLAR)?
  • Am I prepared to undertake an intensive academic program?
  • Is my spouse/partner also contemplating going back to school?
  • Will my family support me in my desire to go back to school?
  • Would our financial situation allow for the tuition fees and books?
  • Do I wish to attend school on a part-time or on a full-time basis?
  • What is my learning style? Would I be comfortable with online learning or a classroom environment?
  • What are my job prospects once I have completed my program?

In considering a career path and the prospect of going back to school, the following questions will help families in their planning:


  • How prepared are you for life and work-life change?
  • Do you know what motivates you to work? What is it?
  • Do you know what you want to do when you leave your current position?
  • What are your skills and competencies?
  • Can you describe your military skills to a civilian employer?
  • Do you know your value in the job market?
  • Do you have a resumé that will get you an interview, or a business plan to market your products?
  • Do you know how to succeed in an interview?
  • What is your preferred work style?
    • Semi-retired;
    • Self-employed;
    • Employed by another organization or company;
    • Full-time or part-time;
    • Studying, either full time or part-time;
    • Consulting or contracting;
    • Volunteer work;
    • Adult apprenticeships; or
    • Turning hobbies into profit

Questions to Think About

  • Retiring: Do you really want to retire, or are you going to take a break or be semi-retired?
  • Self-employed: When considering full-time, part-time, buying a franchise, or creating a business:
    • Have you got the emotional, physical and financial ability, and commitment to do this?
    • Are you passionate about your product or service?
    • What do you know about business?
    • What do you know about risk?
    • Are you good at making decisions?
    • Have you got the management skills to manage a company, or even yourself?
    • Will you be able to avoid burn out?
  • Employed by another: Do you want to work full time, part time, casual, or temporary?
    •  Do you want to work for someone else? Would you enjoy it?
    • Do you want to work full time?
    • What sort of company do you want to work for?
  • Study: Do you want to study full time or part time? Is now the right time to study for the qualifications you’ve always wanted?
    • Can you afford to study full time?
    • Have you got a career plan in which you will use this qualification?

Job Preference

Identify the parts of your job that you like and dislike, such as: the people, the sense of belonging to an organization you respect, the frustration of not getting things done quickly, the processes, the challenges, salary, and so on. Then identify, from this list, the “must haves” for you to be happy in a role.  If you don’t have them now, you will need eventually to put them on the list – items such as: “security industry; minimum of $70k per annum plus superannuation; work in a team”, for example.

Next, identify the “prefer to have”: items such as responsibility and accountability; work nationally and potentially internationally; manage staff.

Finally, identify the “don’t want” – extended absences from home; live south of the Bombay 


Job Search

You need to consider the following:

  • Where are the jobs these days?
  • What are the industries providing the best opportunities?
  • What types of jobs are available?
  • Where are jobs located?
  • What are salaries or remuneration packages like?
  • What are employers’ expectations of their staff?


What are employers looking for? Consider the following:

  • Candidates with a proven and stable background: are you one?
  • Employers may be cautious about candidates who seem to have moved jobs regularly.
  • Part-time, full time, apprenticeships, casual, temporary, contractual workers.
  • The value you bring to their organization.
  • Positive, proactive, can-do attitudes.

Taking Charge

When it is time to leave, you need to take charge and commit to it:

  1. Be clear about what you want to do, and understand yourself and what you can do.
  2. Understand how to job search, research, and connect to employers of interest: create a list of recruiters, mentors, networks, recruiters, and career practitioners.
  3. Get transition skills and a resumé, with help from the people above, if necessary.

Be completely prepared: the best prepared candidate is often the most successful.

Skills Commonly Sought by Recruiters

Decision-making: Identifying options, evaluating them, and then choosing the most appropriate course of action.

Problem-solving: Identifying and using an appropriate method or technique to arrive at a solution.

Planning: Working out how to schedule available resources and activities, in order to meet an objective.

Oral communication: Using speech to express ideas and give information or explanations effectively.

Written communication: Producing grammatically correct, well-expressed, easily understood and interesting text, in an appropriate format.

Negotiating: Holding discussions with people in order to reach a position of mutual satisfaction and agreement.

Adapting: Changing or modifying your behaviour in response to the needs, wishes or demands of others.

Leadership: Being able to lead and motivate, set direction, and win the commitment of others.

Business awareness: Interest in and knowledge of the commercial environment.

Researching information: Finding information appropriate to an issue from a variety of sources.

Flexibility: Being able to change plans and respond to new information and/or situations.

IT literacy: Understanding and being able to use a range of software such as word processing, spreadsheets, and databases.

Time management: Ability to manage personal tasks effectively and to meet deadlines.

Numeracy: Ability to use and work with figures.

Working well in a team: Your ability to work effectively with others to achieve objectives.

Ability to prioritize: Being able to decide priorities for achieving targets.

Personal Qualities

A personal quality may be described as a “way of being” or a person’s distinguishing characteristics or personality traits, which can make them stand out in a crowd. Individuals often take these qualities for granted and do not appreciate the interest and value an employer places on them. Awareness of these personal qualities and their importance needs to be understood early in your military career so they can be developed and evidence recorded. Examples of some personal qualities which you may use to describe yourself are listed below:

  • Calm
  • Goal Focussed
  • Persistent
  • Creative
  • Energetic
  • Resourceful
  • Confident
  • Networked
  • Self-aware
  • Decisive
  • Flexible
  • Risk-aware
  • Pragmatic
  • Reliable
  • Determined
  • Visionary
  • Collaborative
  • Committed
  • Sensitive
  • Organized
  • Self-confident
  • Intelligent
  • Intuitive
  • Motivated
  • Punctual
  • Enterprising
  • Self-disciplined
  • Versatile
  • Conscientious
  • Adaptable
  • Articulate
  • Inspirational
  • Practical
  • Quick Learner
  • Team Player
  • Professional
  • Courageous
  • Sincere
  • Logical
  • Tenacious
  • Responsible
  • Enthusiastic
  • Loyal
  • Accountable
  • Perceptive
  • Imaginative
  • Balanced
  • Analytical
  • Trustworthy
  • Intellectual
  • Time
  • Management
  • Dynamic
  • Resilient
  • Supportive

Finding Evidence of Your Skill Rather Than for Your Skill

Transferable skills are skills that have been acquired through learning or life and employment experiences, which can be applied to a wide range of different jobs or industries. These skills become a part of an individual’s “tool kit” that enables them to get things done and are highly valued by employers. They tend to be useful in contributing to a process rather than delivering a final product.

If presented well they can reinforce a candidate’s suitability for a post. It might also inform a potential employer what added value an individual can bring to an organization and indicate their full potential. Often, these skills might be taken for granted, or their long-term value is misunderstood (and is therefore neglected) by job seekers.

A useful technique to evidence your skills is by using the STAR acronym. This stands for:

Situation: Think of a situation where you had to use/demonstrate a skill.

Task: What was the actual task you had to carry out?

Action: What did you actually do (focus on what YOU did.)?

Result: What was the result/outcome?


A competency is a group of related skills, knowledge, and behavioural attributes defined by an employer that are needed if an employee is to succeed in a defined role. Competencies can vary between industries and at different levels of seniority. An employer will normally build a job description and job advertisement by listing a number of competencies (sometimes called key skills). A potential employee will have to demonstrate that they have the skills and experience required within these listed competences when submitting a job application, resumé, or during job interviews.

Competency-based interviews are fairly common. The interviewing panel asks questions designed to test whether a candidate has the required experience and skills within the desired competencies. These questions may take the form of: “Describe an occasion when you…”. It is important that you develop competencies as it demonstrates a broadening experience or competence base. A broad and diverse competence base increases your potential and choice of career or employment. Examples of some competencies are listed below.

Competency description

Fairness, inclusion and respect: Contributes actively to a working environment that recognizes, responds to, and values the contribution of every individual.

Works collaboratively: Works in a positive manner, sharing knowledge, good practice, and experience.

Drives for results: Develops the dedication, motivation, and personal commitment to achieve results that make a difference to the business.

Working with courage and integrity: Acts in a principled, open, and conscientious way, consistent with their values; challenges unacceptable behaviours and poor performance, and keeps promises and commitments.

Increase capability: Develops their personal abilities and helps others to do the same, to improve the service to the customer.

Innovation, change, and agility: Welcomes opportunities for change and identifies opportunities to improve performance.

Communicating with impact: Uses appropriate, clear, and effective communications to achieve results.

Customer focus: Puts customers first, understanding their needs, and delivering a consistently high standard of service, which exceeds expectations.

Lead by example: A constant source of energy, support, and encouragement. A visible role model.

Effective decision-making: Analyzes relevant information, seeking guidance when appropriate, explores options, makes timely decisions, and stands by them.

Tools to help you in finding employment (Checklist)

  • A successful job search strategy;
  • Job application process skills;
  • A well-presented, convincing resumé;
  • A targeted cover letter;
  • A strong, credible, and convincing interview;
  • Well-chosen and managed references;
  • Successful job search strategy networking;
  • Recruitment firms;
  • Responding to advertisements;
  • Professional associations; and
  • Social media knowledge

Military Occupational Structure Identification Code (MOSID)/National Occupation Code (NOC) Equivalency Tool (MNET)

The CAF Transition service has developed an online tool that can assist in translating your military occupation into the equivalent civilian occupation, linking directly to the national Job Bank database. It is a “Military to Civilian” or “Civilian to Military” job translator.


Military Occupational Structure Identification Code (MOSID)/National Occupation Code (NOC) Equivalency Tool (MNET)) data is based on the CAF job-based specifications and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) list of civilian occupations, known as the National Occupation Classification (NOC) catalogue. The NOC catalogue is the official resource on job information in Canada, providing a standard catalogue of more than 30,000 job titles into 500 unit groups, organized according to skill levels and skill types. All military jobs are cross-referenced against each NOC for the purpose of defining related civilian job fields.

By associating your MOSID to civilian NOC, it will help you translate knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA), gained during your military career, to civilian terms. Some MOSIDs may have several NOCs associated with a military occupation. This reflects a variety of tasks and duties that a CAF member may perform or acquire within an occupation.

Military years of service will also define the level of leadership experience, time management, supervisory, and organizational skills needed. These are other KSAs common to all military jobs and are directly translated to the civilian labor market.

Veterans Affairs Canada Education and Training Benefit

The Education and Training Benefit helps you achieve your education and career goals. You may be eligible to receive up to $80,000 in funding. Whether you are furthering your education journey or beginning a new one, this is the perfect place to start.

Veterans will not be limited to formal post-secondary training. The benefit may also be used for career or personal development courses that give Veterans purpose and help them feel satisfied with their main post-military job or activity.

There are two eligibility factors:

  • Release date: you must have been honourably released from the CAF (Reg F or Res F) on or after April 1, 2006, and;
  • Length of service:
    • Those with at least six years of service are eligible to receive up to $40,000; and
    • Those with at least twelve years of service are eligible to receive up to $80,000.

Note: Currently, this benefit is not available to members who are transferring to another component, such the Primary Reserve, Supplemental Reserve, and Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service (COATS).

More information, including how to apply for this benefit, is available at:


Veterans Affairs Canada Career Transition Services

Currently serving members of the CAF are entitled to use some of the VAC Career Transition Services (CTS):

  • If you are a serving CAF member (Reg F or Res F), you have access to career counsellors, who can provide information about the civilian labour market.
  • If you are a serving CAF member who is in the release process, or a spouse or common-law partner of a CAF Veteran who released within the last two years, you have access to:
    • Information about the civilian labour market;
    • Career counselling; and
    • Job search training.
  • If you are a CAF Veteran, or a survivor of a CAF Veteran, you have access throughout your lifetime to:
    • Career counselling;
    • Job search training; and
    • Job-finding and job placement assistance.

To be eligible for CTS, you must be:

  • A still-serving CAF member or Veteran who completed basic training on or after April 1, 2006; or their survivor, spouse, or common-law partner; or,
  • A Veteran or survivor who is entitled to the Canadian Forces Income Support Benefit.

Other eligibility requirements:


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