What Recruiters Look for in a Defence Industry Resume

By Kinexus on 30 March 2017

What Recruiters Look For In A Defence Industry Resume

With hundreds of resumes coming across our desks each week, we know what makes a standout resume and candidate within the Defence Sector.

If you’re looking for work and want to catch the eye of internal HR or industry recruiters, you need to know that not all resumes are considered equal.

When it comes to comparing resumes of Defence Industry candidates, there are extra details you should be adding around your skills and experience for the niche defence audience.

Here is a simple how-to guide for composing a clear and defence specific resume with all the tips from our industry recruiters.

To make it even easier, you can download the resume template in Word format here. Ready to edit, add your details to, and make it your own.



Address – At a minimum, you need to put your City, State & Postcode.
ContactNumbers – Mobile is best.
Emailaddress – Personal email address only.
LinkedIn – Hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile.
Citizenship– Most defence roles require Australian citizenship for security clearance eligibility.

Top tip 1: Make sure that your contact details are included in the main body of the text and not the document header. Some database software that many companies and recruiters use will only scan the body of the text. This means we may end up with your resume on the database but without contact info.


Provide a brief overview of your career and achievements to date. Most recruiters and prospective employers will skip this section if faced with a chunky block of text. Keep it punchy and use bullet points and sentences that highlight what is relevant to the role you’re applying for.

Top Tip 2: Use specifics. Don’t use ‘fluffy’ content, just stick to the facts. Stating that you are a “results driven project manager” doesn’t hold much weight. Instead, try a few snappy points with clear facts & figures that prove your capabilities and ensures this section has maximum impact eg:

  • 15 years + in technical project management in Royal Australian Navy

  • Managed naval systems procurement projects up to $50 million

  • Managed a team of 20 technical staff in defence sector systems integrator


This is where it is essential to highlight keywords specific to defence and defence industry. Bear in mind that many recruiters run database searches for hard skills specific to the role that they are trying to fill. Therefore, the more relevant keywords you have here, the better. If I need someone with SAP experience, and SAP isn’t listed on your resume, you’re more likely to be overlooked. When applying to a defence sector employer, don’t be afraid to use defence ranks, job titles and systems. Don’t say ‘Electronic Systems Maintenance Manager’ when your actual job was a Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer (WEEO). Generic ‘management speak’ can also hide your awesome defence specific experience!

This should be in reverse chronological order making sure your most recent experience is immediately obvious to anyone reading.

If you have an extensive work history or many past roles, you don’t have to include it all. A general rule of thumb is to go back about ten years. If you’ve not been in the workforce that long, it’s only worth including all your previous roles that are relevant to the position that you’re applying for.

You should lay out your job history as below and make sure you include the month and year in the date section.

[Job Title], [Company/Posting], [Dates]

  • This is the place for a short summary of your key responsibilities and most stellar accomplishments.

Top Tip 3: Keep the layout simple. Make sure there is enough white space to make the page easy on the eye. Keep your responsibilities and deliverables concise and use specifics wherever possible. Don’t use tables as this can cause problems with formatting once loaded on to various databases.

Top Tip 4: You may need to tailor this section for each role. Nobody wants to see lists of every system/product you’ve ever worked with. If you know a company requires you to have worked on specific systems on specific platforms, this is your chance to include those buzzwords in your resume. E.g. maintained the SPS-49 (v8) on HMAS ANZAC.


This is probably one of the most straightforward sections. Just start with your most relevant/ highest level qualifications first, and then list the rest in chronological order.

[Qualification], [School], [Dates]

Top Tip 5: As soon as you have enough relevant work experience, it’s not expected that you include all school results or extracurricular activities here. However, it is worth including if you’ve recently graduated or completed professional development courses and certificates.

Once your resume is looking good, save a copy in both word and pdf. You will need to check which format is required when submitting your application, as some companies require one over the other.

Best of luck

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