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Ask Rob: Tips from a recruiter on securing a job after the ADF


By Rob Kyte


So, the decision has been made. You are leaving ADF and you are now asking yourself: What do I do next, and who will be my next employer?


The first thing you need to know is, that as an ex-ADF member, you possess invaluable skills from your time in the service, but you’ll need to learn how to present them so that your future employer understands what you have to offer. They my not understand much about what it means to be a key member of a fighting force, or even what responsibilities you might have had as a military team leader or commander. In some cases, they will be sceptical about how you will fit in.


Your biggest challenge will be to communicate with them in a language that they will understand and reveal to them the special qualities you possess. In every step of the job-hunting process, you may need to join the dots for your prospective employer.

Remember, most employers have never worked in defence. It is therefore up to you to explain your expertise and how you will contribute to their business or organisation. If you sense that the employer is unsure about the relevance of your skills to the role, have a story or a scenario at hand to help them visualise what you can do for them.


As a recruitment consultant, some of the generic skills I would like to hear about when interviewing an ex-defence candidate include:

  • Your leadership training and experience

  • Your value as a team member in a high-stakes environment

  • Your initiative and the ability to think and act under enormous pressure

  • Your trustworthiness and ability to work independently

  • Your ability to use technology and maintain complex equipment

  • Your discretion and loyalty

My experience as a recruiter is that some ex-ADF people have a great deal of difficulty in ‘translating’ their experiences and constructing a resume. You will need to spend considerable time on this, and always, I'll say it again.. always a get a second opinion.


While some defence terminology might sound impressive, using it in your resume might work against you. It may give the employer the impression that you might be better suited for another job in defence rather than with them. Again, getting a second opinion from a civvy mate is a good option.


Everyone’s circumstances and challenges are different, so rather than just offering generic job hunting tips I would like to answer your questions in the ASK ROB forum so that you and others might benefit from my outsider's perspective as non-defence related recruiter.


My final, and probably most important piece of advice is for you to believe in yourself. Your confidence in your own ability will encourage employers to invite you in for an interview.


Even though it’s a challenging employment market just now, many businesses are still hiring and jobs are being filled on a daily basis.


All the very best in your search.


Robert Kyte is the director of Kyte Financial Recruitment and recruits staff nationally, primarily for superannuation funds. The tips above apply for all sectors



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