How to Translate Your ADF Experience into Civvy Street

By Kinexus on 20 September 2018

How To Translate Your Adf Experience Into Civvy Street Header

More has been written on the transition of ex-service men and women out of uniform and into Defence Industry (or civvy street) than you can poke a stick at.

Recruiters, hiring managers and individuals all have a part to play in the successful facilitation of this.

Some military careers prepare people for an easy transition into industry; formal engineering qualifications for example. However, what of those men and women who dedicated years of their life to more operational or less technical roles? How do they translate their skills into a way commercial companies understand?

I recently read a LinkedIn article listing The Top 5 Soft Skills Veterans are More Likely to Have’ – attention to detail, integrity, team leadership, problem-solving, and team player.

This is undoubtedly a fantastic list of attributes. The thing is, they don’t necessarily differentiate you from the person sitting next to you.

Kinexus has analysed the current top 10 skills in demand in the Defence Industry.


Infographic  Top 10 desired skills in defence


It’s clear some specific skills are in demand, notably systems engineering, project management and knowledge of information systems.  But this focus on ‘hard’ skills (skills that are easily measurable or quantifiable by qualifications) can leave some ex-service men and women feeling their experience is not valued or in demand.

But this isn’t true! ‘Soft’ skills (those less tangible or more linked to traits or attributes) can be acquired through experience or observation rather than formal training, and do appear on the list. Business management and building relationships are both top 10 skills in demand. With the skill of negotiation narrowly missing out on a top 10 spot.

Furthermore, if we look beyond the top 10 and reach further down the list we come across plenty of other softer skills that are also desired by industry, including:

  • Customer service

  • Product sales

  • Supervisory skills

  • Environmental health and safety

  • Supplier management

  • Office administration

  • Customer contact

  • Performance management

So, as an ex-ADF member spend some time thinking of the skills you already have beyond the likes of integrity and being a team player. Consider how to best highlight them to a potential Defence Industry employer. Using the soft skills above, tailor both your resume and your interview answers to what skills are in demand within the Defence Industry at the moment.

Add this to a specific platform and project knowledge that you will have undoubtedly gained, and you’ll fast find yourself an attractive candidate to Defence Industry recruiters and employers.

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