A resume is a one to two page document that summarises your work experience and qualifications. It is an important marketing tool that job seekers use to communicate their value to employers.

One of the hardest things about preparing your resume is being able to translate ADF specific capabilities into civilian skills. You can use our core skills identifier to get a better understanding of what skills you have to offer an employer.

It’s important to use your skills and experiences to demonstrate your strengths and the unique skills that make you an attractive applicant. Try to include your experiences both in and out of the ADF.

The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business has some good resume templates on their Jumpstart page to get you started.

What to include in a resume

Personal details

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number (with voicemail)
  • Residential address
  • Level of security clearance

An introduction

Opening introduction that gives a high-level overview of your key skills and experience as it relates to the particular job you are applying for.

Work history overview

  • List your most recent position first and then work backwards. This would include the different positions you held throughout your military career.
  • For each position include the dates you were in that role, and a brief overview of responsibilities.
  • Consolidate information wherever possible. Doing this will prevent your resume from becoming too long – the ideal length is one to two pages.
  • If you have relevant experience in volunteer roles, include these as well.

Education and Training

  • List any formal qualifications you have, starting with your highest level of achievement. This can include educational qualifications, professional accreditation, licences or certificates.
  • Include the full name of the qualification and the institution that awarded it, as well as the date finished.


You need at least two referees for every job application. Ideally referees should be people you reported to in your most recent positions.

Always ask permission before including anyone as your referee. It is totally acceptable to protect the privacy of your referees by writing "Referees: available on request".

Additional Information

Target your application

Tailor your resume for each job and take into account the needs of the organisation. Review the job description carefully and make sure you have outlined how you meet the job criteria.

Make sure your previous ADF positions showcase your achievements and don’t only list your duties. By highlighting your key skills, you will be more likely to get to the interview stage.

Check your online presence

Hiring managers and recruiters will often research your social media presence. Make sure the information on your resume and social media are consistent. Also consider how you represent yourself on social media on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Ask for help

Do some research to find out what support is available to help you with your application. Is there someone who can act as a mentor and provide useful tips on how to present yourself positively?

It is also worth asking a few non-ADF friends or family to read and comment on your resume. They can tell you if they understand the way you have expressed your skills and experience from what you have written and point to areas that require clarification.

You can also access professional assistance from a number of ex-service organisations. You can find a list of these on the Department of Defences' Engage Portal.

Quantify your ADF experience

The best resumes include specific and measurable achievements. Use actual examples to outline the contributions you have made in your previous roles. For example, consider the value of any equipment you were responsible for, or the number of people you managed. Explain how you achieved your successes and include any recognition you received.

Demonstrate evidence of your abilities

Focus on how you will show the employer that your skills are relevant to what they are looking for. Review your experiences and think about how they can be used as examples of transferable skills, such as teamwork and organisational abilities.

Rewrite ADF jargon into everyday language

Think about the language you use and how it will be understood by a civilian employer. Translate any jargon into language that the employer can understand and revise any sections of your resume that lack clarity.

Delete anything irrelevant

It’s important to showcase your skills that are marketable in today’s employment market, so delete any references to obsolete technologies. Also omit any unnecessary or controversial information as this is irrelevant to your ability to perform in the new role. Remember that you cannot include classified information.

Check for errors

Carefully check your resume for any typing or formatting errors. Ask someone you trust to proofread the document before sending it to a recruiter or employer.

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