How to find a civilian job after an ADF Defence career


Looking for a new job can be a tough challenge. For Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel leaving their familiar military environment, the stress of having to find a civilian job is compounded by the need to adjust to a new lifestyle and a steep learning curve in relation to civilian work. It’s a difficult task. However specialist defence transition services can ease the move into civilian employment.

Finding a civilian job after an ADF Defence career has been described as applying for a job in a foreign country, where you don’t understand the language or their customs!

Making your ADF experience relevant to civilian employers

Defence personnel can find it difficult to understand what civilian organisations are looking for. They can also struggle with translating their military skills, experience and qualifications into plain English and making them relevant to civilian employers.

Many Defence jobs appear to have little or no application to the outside world. This can lead to a resume being rejected if employers cannot understand what someone can or cannot do. Furthermore, private sector employers often don’t fully understand what a former defence member has done and how to integrate them into a commercial organisation.

Career transition can be especially challenging for those who have joined the ADF from an early age without the benefit of experiencing permanent civilian employment, or for those who want to try something completely different. Servicewomen face particular difficulties in leaving the defence force and trying to find a civilian job. Employers sometimes do not understand the role of women in the military let alone their roles and responsibilities.

These factors can prevent Defence personnel from finding jobs in the private sector. Many instead accept temporary work in related defence services industries where their backgrounds are more easily understood.

Successful defence career transitions

People can make a successful transition. Some examples of famous former defence members who have made their mark in the civilian employment sector include Patrick Snowball (CEO of Suncorp Group), Campbell Newman (Premier of Queensland) and Peter Cosgrove (Governor-General).

How career transition services can help you find a civilian job

Are you thinking of leaving the Navy, Army or Air Force? Career transition services are available for self-funded individuals or through ADF funding (CTAS) to help you find a civilian job.

Career transition coaching can help with career assessment and profiling. This will enable you to identify and map your transferable trade and professional skills and achievements. We acn also provide training recommendations and advice on minimum entry requirements.

Our ADF Defence transition team can translate your experience, skills and abilities into ‘civilian speak’ terminology that employers can understand. We can also help you to develop a resume, cover letter or LinkedIn profile that market your accomplishments to potential employers.

To ensure you make a strong, professional impression and positively promote your Defence experience, we can help with interview coaching (including simulated interviews) and presentation tips and advise on networking and self-marketing techniques.

Our consultants have up-to-date information on the current job market and latest recruitment trends and technologies to support your job search. We also have contact details of a wide range of HR managers, recruitment agencies and headhunting firms.

Find out more

Glide Outplacement offers a range of defence career transition programs and civilian to defence resume writing services for former ADF members. Whether you have one or 18+ years’ of service, contact one of our specialist defence transition consultants to find out how we can support you.