Job seeking at any time can be stressful and sometimes lengthy process. To give yourself a head start, make sure you have realistic expectations about your career goals and the path you may need to take to get there.
Be honest with yourself about what you have to offer and what its worth to a civilian employer. Understand that while you are highly qualified, you should not necessarily expect the same rate of pay when you first leave the ADF. Recognise that military pay rates include allowances to compensate for hardships and the unique nature of ADF service.
The first step is to determine what type of work you would like to do. Consider the skills you have gained during your time in the ADF as well as what you have an interest in and where you want your career to take you. You may even like to brainstorm different industries that interest you and do some research about roles within this industry. Think about asking family and friends for their input, as they may have ideas that you hadn’t considered.
Once you have an idea of what you would like to do, research the qualifications and skills someone in this field/industry requires in order to perform their role. This will allow you to identify any gaps or areas where you may require further training.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If there currently is not a demand or opening for the type of work you really want to do, you may be able to plan an alternate pathway to your preferred job.
You may also consider speaking to a career counsellor or a recruitment specialist and get some feedback on your chosen field/s. You should ask questions such as:
- Are jobs in my chosen field/industry in high-demand at the moment or is it a competitive environment? What skills or qualifications will help to set me apart from other applicants?
- What qualifications do I need to obtain or training do I need to complete in order to be considered for this industry or career pathway?
- What skills that I have gained through service will be of most relevance in this field/industry/role.
- What are salary like in this industry/role and how are salary packages generally structured?
Self-Employment and Starting Your Own Business
You may also be considering self-employment (a contractor or consultant for example) or starting your own business. The previous steps of doing your research and speaking with career specialists still apply, and there are a number of additional resources available to people who are considering this path.
- Business SA has some great resources that can take you from conception of an idea through research and set up of a new business.
- ‘Enterprise for Veterans’, run by The Princes Trust Australia runs workshops and boot camps that promote enterprise skills and help military veterans to transition in to self-employment.
Build your networks
Whether you are looking to start your own business or enter paid employment, it’s a good idea to start building networks that align with your career goals.
Networking is about building relationships by establishing and interacting with people to exchange information and develop professional and social contacts, whether defence or non-defence. Your networks will be able to assist you with information and advice to assist in your job search.
You can meet people through ex-service organisations, sporting or other interest groups or even through your existing social networks. If you are unsure of where to start, try speaking to your Transition Coach, visit The Partnerships Hub, contact a recruitment specialist, such as OnMe Careers, or attend a StoryRight workshop.