5 Resume Tips – When Leaving the Defence Force

Monday, August 4th, 2014

A career in the Defence Force can equip you with a lot of very marketable skills, but the idea of finding civilian work is still a daunting prospect.  If you have worked in the military for several years, you may not have a lot of experience in presenting your skills in a resume. You have a lot to offer an employer, however you will need a strong resume if you want to get an interview. Grab a recruiter’s attention with these five resume writing tips if you intend to transition from the Defence Force.

Make your career intentions clear

A lot of ex-military people struggle to decide which career they want to aim for. A recruiter will not want to interview somebody who doesn’t appear to know what he or she wants to do, so it’s really important to make this clear in your resume. Start your personal profile or summary with a strong statement about your career intentions, and make this as specific as possible.  Think carefully about the sort of jobs that you would like to do, and research the opportunities that are available. Tailor your personal profile to each role that you apply for, making it clear to the recruiter that this is something that is really important to you.

Don’t clutter the document up

You may have collected several awards, distinctions and qualifications during your military career, but they may not all translate well to civilian life. It’s vital that your resume demonstrates that you have the right experience for the role that you are applying for, so keep the document concise, and focus on the important facts.  It’s also worth remembering that the details of combat experience may not appeal to civilian employers. Focus on your core skills and talents, and leave out unnecessary details.

Focus on transferable skills

Ex-military people often struggle to see how their experience in the armed forces fits with the outside world. In fact, many aspects of military life translate well to the workplace. People with military service generally have excellent team work skills, and can make hard decisions in challenging environments. A military career often provides evidence of strong leadership and the ability to adapt to very changing situations. It’s important to demonstrate these skills in your resume. Focus on what you did, and the skills you needed in each situation.

Describe accomplishments in detail

Civilian employers focus on results, so it’s vital that you can describe your accomplishments. It’s always useful if you can quantify what you have done. For example, talk about how many people you were responsible for at once, or the percentage by which you improved something. Numbers make it easier for a recruiter to understand the scale of your achievements, and this detail also shows that you know how to measure success.

Make it easy to understand

Military life is full of technical terms and acronyms, which may not make much sense to a potential employer. Remove acronyms from your resume, and explain things clearly to the reader. Don’t rely on people understanding what a particular military job title means. Describe your responsibilities in the role, and show how your experience relates to the job that you are applying for.

Remember you must develop your resume with a recruiter in mind; this will assist a potential employer to fully understand the value of your skills and experience.

Do you feel daunted by the prospect of apply for roles outside of the Defence Force? Then contact the highly experienced Career Consultants at Resumes for Results to find out about our full range of Australian Defence Transition services.

If you would like to know more about the writer, Jeanette Hannan [click here].