Cracking into the Civvy Workforce: How to Make the Most of Your Job Search

By Rob Fortescue on 08 November 2023

Cracking into the Civvy Workforce How to Make the Most of Your Job Search

​The prospect of what you will do when you leave your role in the Australian Defence Force can be daunting, but it shouldn’t be. The experience you have is an asset to many jobs and businesses across Australia. If you are reading this for a few tips the good news is you have already started the journey, by making the decision and thinking about your future outside of the ADF.

Whether you are just starting to think about your transition or are a year or two into the journey here we share some tips and tools to help you get into the civilian workforce or indeed find your next role.

Personal and Professional Networks

The people you know through work, school, family and friends are going to be a key factor in you looking for work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice, in our experience most people like to help others. Start with ex-colleagues who have gone through the transition process, these people will give you valuable advice not only for finding jobs but the process in general. Then it’s your friends and family, it's likely they will know someone who knows someone who works at x (not Twitter but a hypothetical company called x).


The social media tool for professionals. The likelihood is if you are reading this you are already aware of LinkedIn. It is a very good tool for networking, news, and research. Start by connecting with ex-colleagues, school friends, family, friends and connections of these people. LinkedIn works by identifying your usage patterns so will come up with suggestions of people you may know or who may be useful to know. Don’t be shy on LinkedIn. Send a connection request and a reason why, that person could turn out to be influential in either a job now or in the future.

Follow companies you might want to work with, register for job alerts, join groups, and contribute to discussions.

Once you start to use LinkedIn it will start working for you, for advice on your profile Kinexus facilitates a webinar series to support veterans which includes advice on your profile – Veterans.

Other Social Media

Not quite as professional but other platforms like Facebook and Instagram can also help find work opportunities. As a Defence professional, you may well be advised not to put yourself out there, but you don’t need to share what’s for dinner every night. Many organisations have accounts and share content which could be valuable in your research. I have friends who regularly share that their company is looking for staff, so embrace the opportunity social media can provide.

Transition Partners

There are a number of highly reputable and fantastic companies that work with transitioning ADF and ex-ADF personnel to help guide them through the process of finding work, as well as a number of other key areas through the transition process. They are not-for-profit companies with the main purpose of helping people, so it would make a lot of sense to utilise their service.

Recruitment Agencies

It is the core purpose of a recruitment agency (like Kinexus 😊) to help link companies searching for employees to people looking for work. In Australia, there are estimated to be over 7,000 registered businesses, so it can be a little daunting to identify who to work with. Our advice here is to ask around and go back to your networks. Some agencies are specialists in certain areas while others cover anything and everything, so once you have an idea of the type of work you want to do find out who specialises in those roles.

Company Websites

If you have identified that you would love to work for a particular company check out their website. Most companies will have a careers section, some a lot better than others but most will give you the opportunity to send over your CV even if just as an expression of interest.

Be Organised

You will find the job hunt turns into a full-time occupation and if you aren’t careful can run away with itself. Creating a simple Excel spreadsheet can help you track what, where, when and who you have applied to. This is a great way to follow up on your job applications whether it be directly with a company or through an agency it also ensures you don’t double up on applications which is a bit of a no-no.

This is, by no means, a definitive guide, but by using all the above or just one or two it might give you the stepping stone you need to get started.

Kinexus is a recruitment agency working in the defence industry and has supported many ADF members in their transition journey. To help those beginning their transition journey we host webinars on how to get started. Visit our website for more information.

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

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