Tag Archives: Defence Resumes

Common Defence-to Civilian Resume Blunders and How to Avoid Them

When developing your resume ready for civilian employers it is easy to fall into some simple traps that can cost you potential opportunities.  These are the easiest and most common mistakes that could cause resume rejection –

 1.  Launching into writing the resume without adequate research. Before you can sell yourself to a potential employer you need to know three things – what you want, what they need, and what you offer.  Without this knowledge your resume will lack substance and focus.  Find the answer to these questions before you lift your pen then use this information to build a compelling case for your alignment with the role.

 2.  Hiding Your Defence Background rather than Demystifying It. Many well-intentioned people will tell you to hide your Defence background as some employers may not understand Defence careers but ADF experience and training is second to none! Instead of hiding it demystify it! Translate your skills and experience into terminology employers can understand. Put the emphasis on transferable skills and phrase your achievements in common commercial wording that will engage your reader.

 3.  A Lack of Substance.   A good resume doesn’t tell an employer just what you did, but also includes more importantly how well you did it. Make sure to take the time to write and hone examples of the value you brought in each role.   Look for opportunities to show employers the value of your skills.  If you managed teams, don’t just tell them that but instead showcase how and where you were able to improve productivity or performance. If you moved materials and stores, showcase how you consistently delivered them on-time despite tough, uncompromising timeframes and rapidly shifting delivery parameters. Remember results talk!

 4. Too many (or any) Acronyms and Defence Terminology.  Next to IT resumes, ADF resumes are the second most likely to be filled with acronyms normal people won’t understand. If it won’t make sense to your mother or non-Defence friends then don’t include it.  Recruiters will not usually be an expert in your area so keep your resume simple so anyone who reads it can understand the context.    

 5.  Developing a resume only a human will love. Today resumes are read by computers just as often as humans so it’s important that your resume is scanner-friendly.  In the machine world – simple is good. Avoid graphics or shading, use common fonts in 10-12 point sizing, keep your resume in a Word format and remember to include the keywords relevant to the industry you are applying to.

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Job Search for Ex-Defence Personnel – LinkedIn, Job Boards and everything in between.

If you’ve been in the Australian Defence Force for a large portion of your career, the job market can seem like a foreign territory.   “Whatever happened to reading the newspaper classifieds and sending in your resume?” one ex-ADF member asked me.  It’s true, job search has changed and successful transition demands that you adapt too or be left behind.

So what do you need to know and where do you start?  The following are my top three tips for adapting your job search methodology to today’s market.

  1. The traditional resume is dead.  Gone are the days of a typed resume that was a simple transcript of your employment history.  Today’s resume is a sophisticated document that requires a great deal of forethought and preparation. As many resumes are now read by employer and recruiter scanning software it’s important that your resume is scanner-friendly and targeted closely to the advertised position.  Read the full article Job Search for Ex-Defence Personnel

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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 http://www.miningoilgasjobs.com.au/.

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 miningcareers.com 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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