To summarise, the entire process to target employment within Defence and Aerospace it can be divided into three circular steps:
There are 7 Steps to securing a job outside of the ADF. For more information on each please click the link below.
Step 1 Career Aspirations
Step 2 Qualifications
Step 3 Resume Writing
Step 4 Finding the right Job Opportunities
Step 5 Managing a Job Application
Step 6 The Interview
Step 7 Job Offers
Career Aspirations (Step 1)
If you are considering leaving the ADF, the first step is to assess your career aspirations.
The questions you need to ask yourself are:
What do you want to do when you leave the ADF?
What commitments do you have (family, financial etc) that may affect what you do when you leave the ADF?
What hurdles are in place in me achieving my career aspirations (formal qualifications / training)?
Tip: If you’re not sure what you want to do, write a list of your skills, what you enjoy and what you’re good at. This will give you some direction.
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Qualifications (Step 2)
In answering the questions in the first step, a hurdle often present is formal qualifications. Identifying what you want to do is one thing, ensuring you have the formal qualifications you will need to be competitive in pursuing a career in that field is another.
The ADF provides training second to none, and increasingly formal recognition of that training through TAFE and College agreements. Occasionally however, specific jobs may require specialised certification from various National Authorities. It’s important to find out early, i.e. at least 12 months prior to leaving the ADF what qualifications you will require and how long it is going to take you to achieve the award. This may involve completing a few units at TAFE or college. Beginning a degree at university or can be as simple as processing your prior learning within the ADF through a National Body, any of these paths can take up to six months to be processed and it is important to begin the process early.
It is essential to find out from reliable sources exactly what qualifications you will need for a particular job.
Sources may include
your network within the industry (perhaps former ADF members working in similar roles)
researching the internet
reviewing job ads for the type of role you want as they generally include minimum qualifications
TAFE’s, Colleges and Universities
specialist recruiters, such as Kinetic Recruitment.
Use specialist recruiting agencies to provide you with advice on what qualifications they have experienced as being the most recognisable and valued by employers. The additional background that agencies will be able to offer you are factors such as the state of the market at the moment – where there is an oversupply or where there is a strong requirement, the salary figure you should expect, predicted availability of jobs and the locations of these roles. The sum of all of this information will give you a picture of how realistic and achievable your aspirations are and whether you need to reconsider or adjust your resettlement plan to make them a reality.
Tip: Research is they key. After researching, set a 12 month plan before you leave the ADF to gain the formal qualifications and recognition you will need.
Resume Writing (Step 3)
Keep your details brief on the first page; this is your page to immediately market yourself. Many line managers within Defence spend no more than 15 seconds looking at a resume, page 1 may be your only page they will see so make it count. Spell out your skills in a quick summary. Lay out your career history and the achievements you made within those roles. Then list further personal details such as education, formal qualifications and more detailed personal information.
Consider who is reading your resume; your resume is likely to pass through a HR section before proceeding to the manager responsible for hiring an individual. Therefore spell out your achievements without excessive jargon
Tailor your resume for a specific role. Many employers within Defence will be seeking an individual that has experience working with a particular system or in maintain certain sets of equipment for example. To ensure maximum success you may need several different resumes. Have a generic document which covers all your skills and then plan to tailor the document to reflect your particular experience in the area that the job is focused. A role for an avionics instructor for example would require you to spell out not only a background in avionics but to also highlight your experiences as a workplace assessor or member of divisional staff responsible for training.
Finding the right Job Opportunities (Step 4)-
Recruitment agencies are important sources of potential jobs, especially defence industry specific ones. Specialised agencies are likely to have contacts within the field that you wish to work that lead to jobs within the hidden, market that are not readily publicised.
The Internet is a good source of jobs, the various employment sites such as Monster, CareerOne and Jobnet contain the bulk of Defence jobs. Printed media remains a source of jobs including newspapers and various trade publications and your own network and extended network of friends and colleagues that know someone that knows someone else who may be able to provide you with a lead for a job that you would be interested in.
Factors in assessing a job opportunity
Regardless of how good a role may seem initially, it is always worth researching the company and the role in detail to find out all the facts.
What sort of company is it? Would you like to work within a more personalised smaller company or are you happy to work in a large multinational with thousands of employees.
What are the career prospects associated with the company? If you are entering at a more junior level or salary, is there potential to advance in the medium term?
Why has the vacancy been created? Is it due to healthy expansion within the company or has it been developed to meet a short-term contract and is likely to be disbanded upon completion?
What is the turnover of staff in the company – is it stable employment?
What kind of training does the company provide? Will they provide you with the skills to advance within the company or will you need to make another move in the future?
Of course a very important component in the assessment will be salary and the overall package. Does the role involve a car, a phone, travelling expenses and how important are these additional benefits to you?
Manage your expectations – whilst salary is very important, perhaps the net effect of the additional considerations will make a good salary an average opportunity on the whole and a low salary a good career opportunity for the future.
Tip: Before you start your search write a list of role non-negotiables. These are job requirements which would be essential for you to accept a job opportunity. They may include salary, location, work hours and environment. This will give you a criteria to compare every job against so as to not waste time and secure the right job.
Managing a Job Application (Step 5)
When you send your resume, follow it up with a call. Whether that is to the agency you send it to or directly to the company.
Get some feedback on your resume, even if you don’t get this role, maybe the reason why they didn’t think you were suitable will help for the next role.
Manage your job search, finding a job is a fulltime occupation in itself. When you are sending out multiple applications it is important to keep track of whom the contacts are and who is likely to be calling you. Keep good notes with dates for each contact to avoid confusion and mistaking callers as working for different companies.
Maintain an open approach with the firm. Honesty is respected. Be truthful about your skills and experiences but remain confident of your ability to succeed within the role they are offering.
There are pros and cons involved in sending your resume to an agency. The pros include granting you access to the hidden job market, negotiating the best salary package for you and providing you with regular updates on roles either available now or becoming available that would be of interest to you. The con is that if you submit your resume to a broader recruiting firm lacking experience and understanding of Defence then you may run the risk of them not understanding your skills and abilities and therefore not offering you the jobs that are best suited to your background and experiences
The Interview (Step 6)
Upon securing an interview, prepare yourself prior to the event. Research the company through the media and the Internet;
Dress to Impress, a suit and tie are the standard for an interview. Some technical roles may be a little different however. For example, an engineer may be required to demonstrate familiarity with certain equipment and would need to dress appropriately. The format of the interview will dictate this and it is worth clarifying the situation if you have any doubts.
Remember the interview is a two way process, rarely will the interviewer be looking for yes / no answers. Avoid being verbose but expand upon your skills and experiences in your answers
- Be Open, Honest and Relaxed
- Keep Eye Contact
STAR – Situation Task Action Result. It can sometimes be difficult to articulate your achievements on paper or in an interview. The STAR method offers you a way to logically communicate your achievements when you are on the spot in an interview
When asked a question follow the following steps in reply:
Situation, give a
quick outline of the circumstances you were in
Example: The accident rate during the last set of field exercises was too high
Task, outline what you had to do
You were tasked to reduce the accident rate but still provide realistic training for the troops
Action, outline what you did
Example: You set up a team to review initial training and the currency of instructors and the documentation upon which their lessons are based
Result, describe the outcome of the action
Example: During proceeding exercises, the accident rate was reduced 50% and the unit was awarded a commendation for efficiency in the field
You may also hear this method referred to as behavioural interviewing.
It is one method you may wish to employ in highlighting your achievements to a potential employer
Be prepared for some of the ‘Standard’ Questions
“What are your strengths/weaknesses?”
“What are your biggest achievements?”
“ What was your biggest mistake – what did you learn?”
Be positive – look at your achievements
It is not uncommon during the interview for the interviewing team to conclude that whilst you may not be right for the particular role you have applied for, you may be right for another position within the company. Be prepared to discuss other opportunities at the interview if they arise. This is where your previous research into the company will help you to think on your feet if required as the surprise opportunity is put to you.
Salary – It is probably not best to raise salary at the initial interview. If you have applied through a recruitment agency then the figure you have discussed with them as your goal is likely to be similar to the one the employer has in mind. Try to focus the first interview towards letting the interviewer know how keen you are to work with the company and why you would be good for the role. If the employer raises the issue of salary then be realistic in your expectations. An agency will be able to give you advice on the likely figure that is on offer to match your expectations with the employers
Closing the interview – Try to leave the interview on a positive note that will reinforce your skills to the interviewer. Often at the conclusion of an interview, the interviewer may have a reasonably good impression of you but still harbour some minor doubts. Perhaps they have quizzed you on your ability to repair or maintain equipment but they are after someone that also has experience in teaching those skills to others. You may well have done that but for whatever reason neglected to put it in your CV and it didn’t come up during the interview. One way to eliminate such doubts in the interviewers mind is to close with a line such as “is there any further information that you would like, that may support my application” or “do you have any reservations regarding my skills and experiences?” Their response may be - “well to be honest we were really looking for someone that can teach others how to maintain this equipment as well.” This opens an avenue for you to expand on your additional experiences and eliminate doubt from the employers mind.
Try to fit into the interview a response such as “Look I’d just like to say that I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen here today, it looks like a great team of people and I would really appreciate the opportunity to work in your organisation”
Tip: Be prepared!
Job Offers (Step 7)
What happens when I receive an offer? The final stages of the entire process are the actual offer of a job and final acceptance. An offer is a contract and may arrive via mail, email or via a recruiting firm. There are different kinds of offers. An offer for a permanent role within the company is the norm. Recently within Defence however some roles are offered on a contract basis – entailing employment for a fixed term, you must be prepared to weigh up the pros and cons of each offer on a case-by-case basis. As mentioned previously, prior to accepting an offer, ensure that you have taken due consideration of the job opportunity as a whole:
Assess Prospects and Training –
The skills you are likely to gain during your employment
and the Salary package as a whole.
If upon due consideration, you have decided that the entire package is unsatisfactory then asking for more money may be an option. It may be best to ask this question via a third party, a recruiting firm may be able to negotiate on your behalf. Bear in mind however that this is not an easy process and negotiation is required on either side to arrive at a mutually agreeable figure.
Tip: Don’t rush in and accept a role, make sure it is the right role for you.
TS Security Cleared Professionals for an SOE Roll-Out Project
The Challenge: We were assigned the task of delivering TS (Top Secret) Security Cleared professionals for an SOE roll out. The task had many challenges: we needed to find people with this high level of Clearance, who were willing to work in such a remote location, and who were willing to work some very out-of-the-ordinary hours across short-term bursts of durations!