Writing about your ADF Defence skills in a resume

Are you hiding your ADF defence skills from employers

Former ADF members are great assets to any organisation. Thanks to your Defence background, you bring plenty of experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications to a civilian job. So why don’t employers know what they are missing out on? Maybe it is because your resume isn’t telling people how your Defence skills can be applied to a non-military role. Find out how you can write about your ADF experience in a resume and stand out from your competition, for all the right reasons. 

Job searching after leaving the ADF

When job searching, you can’t hide your light under a bushel. This is the time to be proud of your abilities and what you’ve achieved.

What if you’ve never had to search for a job before? Admittedly when you have not had to do it before it is hard to write about yourself in a resume, let alone market the skills you gained in the ADF in a way civilian employers will understood them.

Unfortunately most employers will have little understanding of your day-to-day Defence job. The news media or popular culture may instead influence their perception of military life. This can make your search to find employment after leaving the ADF a challenge. Your resume needs to make it clear to employers what you did and how it will benefit their organisation.

Transferring ADF Defence skills to a civilian job

During your military career you will have acquired a range of technical skills that are applicable to a non-Defence role, and which you should include in your resume. Your Defence skills will transfer to the civilian job market after you leave the ADF.

Some examples include:

  • Engineering.
  • IT and communications.
  • Risk assessment.
  • Emergency planning.
  • Vehicle and equipment maintenance.
  • Project management.

Defence personnel also possess a wide range of non-technical skills, which make them valuable assets to any organisation. These transferable skills can include:

  • Leadership.
  • Team work.
  • Discipline.
  • Decision-making.
  • Ability to work under pressure.

Employers often cite ex-ADF employees as being flexible and having a positive attitude.

Marketing your Defence skills

Marketing your Defence skills is a skill in itself.

Is your resume full of clichés that recruiters have learnt to take with a pinch of salt? Does it contain the information required to get you quickly noticed (bearing in mind recruiters take seconds to review a resume)? Does it help you stand out from your competition?

Quickly and clearly telling the recruiter or employer what they need to know is essential when applying for jobs and securing interviews. A key part of this is marketing your skills better than other candidates when writing your resume.

Writing about your Defence skills for civilian employers

Some examples of how you can translate your ADF experience in your resume include:

Former Supply Coordinator applying for Warehouse Manager role

  • Significant experience in managing cost-effective inventory and materials control functions in a fast-paced, customer facing organisation.
  • Key skills in budget management, warehouse processes and stock control.

Former Mechanical Engineer applying for a Project Manager Role

  • A proven background of project managing hydraulic systems engineering projects.
  • Responsibilities included financial reporting, team coordination, auditing and technical review.

Former Military Police Officer applying for a Security Operations Manager

  • Highly experienced enforcement officer specialising in the establishment and enhancement of large-scale security systems.
  • Key skills include strategic planning, logistics management and delivering key projects within strict deadlines and tight budgets.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Find more inspiration by browsing online job boards and exploring what skills are required for your target jobs. Remember to use a broad range of job titles. For example IT coordinator and telecommunications manager could mean the same thing.

If you are unsure how your military skills and ADF experience transfer into civilian employment, talk to one of Glide Outplacement’s consultants about how our career coaching can support your career transition or ask about our Defence resume writing service to translate those skills.