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The 5 Biggest Hurdles to Finding a Job Post Military

As we speak with Defence RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) candidates every day, we are asked what are the biggest job hurdles that will need to be tackled. When you leave the Australian Defence Force with a career’s worth of skills and experience, it’s not surprising you’d be looking for a new career which recognises that experience…. Then why is it that some struggle to find a job post-military? The answers may surprise you….

Most ex-service members have the skills and experience to make them very valuable in the civilian world, but they don’t always execute the job seeking or interview process well.

This is something to consider if you’re thinking of transitioning from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) or have already, you want to use Defence RPL and you are now preparing for the job-hunt. In this post, we go one step further than simply listing the hurdles you might face when you make the transition from Defence to the civilian world…. we also list the ways to tackle them.

Hurdle 1: You’re not sure what you’d like to do or can do after the ADF

If you’re not sure what opportunities are out there for you when you leave the Defence Force, you’re not alone. Literally. Get in contact with ex-ADF members who’ve made the transition before you. Particularly those who held a similar rank or role and see which career paths they’ve moved into and ask them for their advice on how to go about getting started. There are a variety of careers available and the more conversations you have the greater the opportunities you will be able to see.

Hurdle 2: You’re surprised to find that you’re only qualified for entry-level positions

This could be to do with what is written on your resume and how the information is presented. We’ve seen a few Defence personnel who’ve listed that they’re ‘mid-level managers’ despite the fact they’ve led a huge number of people in situations which required a great deal of strategic leadership.

The key point, just because you were a mid-level officer, does not mean you’re a mid-level manager in the civilian world. You might be surprised to find that you rank a lot higher as a leader out of the Defence Force. This is where Defence RPL can help you make the most of your military experience in a civilian world.

Hurdle 3: You’re not sure how to translate your military experience onto a resume

We have a few simple rules here:

  • No acronyms. Civilian employers don’t necessarily understand them
  • No military-specific terms. Same goes for military ‘jargon’
  • Tailor your resume. This means tweaking it and writing a different cover letter for each position you apply for. A company can tell they’ve received the stock standard version of your resume.
  • Use the help available out there. Some employment and recruitment companies offer a resume service, and there are resume tools online you can use to find out resume writing best practice.

Hurdle 4: All of your formal qualifications relate specifically to military roles

The qualifications you obtained in the military might be military-specific but they could contain core units of competency that can be transferred over to help you complete or receive other qualifications relevant in the civilian world.

Your experience and skills too can be used to obtain qualifications, as experience alone can sometimes be the best learning approach. This is where Defence RPL translates your military experience into civilian qualifications. Although mapping your military skills and past studies across to new qualifications can be a complex process, using a company like Churchill Education that specialises in Defence RPL will make the process so much easier.

And as we were going through the list of hurdles, we had one more come to mind…. so, there are really five hurdles….

Hurdle 5: You think it’s too early to worry about what comes after the Defence Force

A piece of advice we have is: the day you enter the Defence Force is the day you should also be planning your exit. Because not many personnel go on to retire from the Defence Force at the standard retirement age, they tend to go on to have an entirely new career after. So it’s never too early to plan what you’d like to do post-military.

If you would like to chat about your transition plan, what you might like to do post-military and how your military skills can be mapped across to new qualifications through Defence Recognition of Prior Learning, we’re always here to chat: 1300 793 002 or hello@churchilleducation.edu.au or fill in the form on this page.

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