When it comes time to leave the Australian Defence Force a lot of Ex-Defence members struggle to know what to write about.

At first glance it may initially appear that your background appears non-relevant to the civilian sector making it difficult to know what to put down in your employment section.

The good news is there are usually a lot more relevant experiences and contributions hidden in your background than you think if you know where to look. Try these options to help build strong resume fodder.

1. Revise your job target.

Resumes need to be relevant to the position you are applying to so it’s essential to read relevant job advertisements to identify the types of skills they are looking for. When you have done this you can then assess your background to see if you have used any of these.

Many positions list in their criteria list skills that are likely to be directly transferable from your Defence background ie teamwork, technical skills, leadership, communication, ability to adapt to change, safety compliance etc. The advantage of these is that they are already in civilian terms and you can use these as a starting platform to build your content from. This will give a resume that will resonate with relevant skills.

2. Map the specifics of your role.

When looking for content for describing your roles in your employment section it can help to begin by listing your core responsibilities. Eg. Worked as part of a 20-member specialist team; Led 30+ cross-disciplinary personnel; Managed multi-million dollar asset and equipment base; Oversaw personnel across 3 sites; Controlled supply budget of $XM.

3. Revisit what you did on a day-to-day.

Reflecting on your day-to-day can help you brainstorm key skills you used regularly. ie.Did your role involve planning; risk management, resource management, analysis of information; rapid decision-making or decision-making under pressure; reporting or briefing; consulting with other areas; negotiation etc.

4. Use job descriptions to build your wording.

Sites like Defencejobs.gov.au provide overviews of many positions and can be helpful for mapping your duties and core skills.

 5. Review your PAR documentation to help develop your achievements. 

These documents often give a good snapshot of both what you were doing and your key accomplishments. Use these to help identify and build your achievement section of each position.

Through brainstorming and revising job specifications and other relevant documentation you will be able to build a resume that is powerful and relevant to potential civilian employers.

I wish you health, happiness and buckets of career satisfaction for your future.