Secrets to transitioning from the Australian Defence Force to the Resources Industry

The resource sector is a popular and logical choice for many Defence personnel transitioning out of the ADF and looking for an alterative career, and correspondingly many resource-industry HR Managers and recruiters look for Defence personnel during their recruitment drives. So how can interested ADF personnel find and transition to these potential roles?

Step One:  Understand your Options. If you think the resource sector is an area you are interested in start by familiarising yourself with how the industry operates and what options the industry may present to you.

Speak to as many people as possible who have experience working in that industry to determine what working conditions are like; what a day in the life of a resource industry worker usually looks like; and what challenges the industry may present to you.

Read and visit industry sites such as The Resource Channel, Mining Council Australia, This is Our Story, Mining Australia etc., and assess, absorb and digest as much information as possible.   Knowledge is power, and before making any move to a new area it’s important to understand what the move may mean to your life, your family, and your career.

A good tip is to set up a Google alerts for industry news or posts using terms like Australian Mining Industry, Resource Jobs, Mining Jobs Australia etc. so you can remain abreast of changes or opportunities.  You will also want to set up job alerts with major resource industry job boards such as

Step Two: Identify Suitable Roles.  A common mistake for a lot of Defence personnel trying to enter the industry is to send a generic resume with a letter saying, “I’ll do anything”. Whilst there is a great volume of work available in this industry, because of the potential income levels it is highly attractive to many individuals and can be very competitive to get into.  Trying to enter the industry without ensuring you have the relevant skills and qualifications, and promoting these skills effectively is likely to lead to job application rejection.

Before you start applying do your homework about where the skill shortage areas are. Next, ensure that any potential areas you identify as interesting to you, are going to be a fit with your needs, personality, capability, family circumstances and work style.  The money seems attractive but a role that is in conflict with your working style, personality or values can lead to burn out.  Identify roles that will meet your needs and skill set over the long term and are a match with industry opportunities. Once you have this you can then work towards positioning yourself effectively for these roles.  


Step 3. Build Your Case. Once you know what type of role you want to apply for the next step is to ensure you have the relevant requirements for the role. Read the job advertisements and familiarise yourself with the required credentials.  If there is required training, make sure that you investigate available courses carefully to ensure the training provider is credible and that the work opportunities will be there once training is completed.  Many people have burnt their money doing courses only to find there were no job vacancies.  Another good strategy is to look at career pathways such as trade apprenticeships.  A number of sites offer information on career pathways including and The Resource Channel.



Step 4: Assess your transferable skills and value offering.   When it comes time to prepare your resume and application make sure to identify what you offer of value in terms of skills and strengths gained from your life and Defence career that will be relevant to the role before beginning to build your resume.

Common Defence-developed skills that may be relevant and valuable include:

  •  Procedural Compliance – The ability to follow work instructions accurately and to the letter.
  • Safety & Risk Management – Assessing and reducing hazards and risks in the work environment and following safety procedures effectively.
  • Team Work – Operating successfully in team based environments and supporting strong levels of cooperation and morale
  • Performance – Delivering consistently high levels of concentration and performance whilst working under tough work conditions
  • Leadership – Managing and supervising teams to deliver on operational objectives.
  • Physical Fitness – Trained to maintain peak physical fitness,  and experience in remote and shared living environments. Success working in environments demanding clean physical health record. Commitment to EEO and ethical work conduct.
  • First Aid & Emergency Response: Trained in First Aid and Emergency Response

Step 5. Build a resume and application letter that sells your skills and capability.  Once you know what Resource Industry recruiters and HR staff are looking for, and have a strong understanding of what you offer and your transferable skills the next step is to market this in your resume.

Visit our site to read the full article Secrets to Transitioning from the Australian Defence Force to the Resources Industry

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