Transitioning to Civilian Employment

Thanks to your Defence background, you bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, skills, and qualifications to the workforce. To ensure the most seamless transition into civilian employment, you need to be able to translate your military training into civilian skills.

Marketing yourself

It can be difficult to see how your NZDF skills can be transferred to the civilian job market after you leave. However, during your military career you will have acquired a range of technical and non-technical skills that are applicable to a non-Defence role. These benefits you bring to any employer are a core component of being a Defence Person.

Learn more about the benefits your bring to any employer.

Employers often cite ex-Defence employees as being flexible and having a positive attitude. Marketing your Defence skills is a skill in itself. Is your CV full of clichés that recruiters have learnt to take with a pinch of salt? Does it contain the information required to get you quickly noticed (bearing in mind recruiters take seconds to review a CV) and helps you stand out from your competition?

Service transition pages on The Hub will be able to provide service specific advice for you when moving into civilian employment. 

Find the NZDF transition page on The Hub. (external link)

Translating your military skills

Some examples of how you can translate your NZDF experience include:

Former Supply Technician applying for Warehouse Manager role
Significant experience in managing cost-effective inventory and materials control functions in a fast-paced, customer facing organisation
Key skills in budget management, warehouse processes and stock control
Former Mechanical Engineer applying for a Project Manager Role
A proven background of project managing hydraulic systems engineering projects
Responsibilities included financial reporting, team coordination, auditing and technical review
Former Military Police Officer applying for a Security Operations Manager
Highly experienced enforcement officer specialising in the establishment and enhancement of large-scale security systems
Key skills include strategic planning, logistics management and delivering key projects within strict deadlines and tight budgets

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Find more inspiration by browsing online job boards and exploring what skills are required for your target jobs. Remember to use a broad range of job titles, for example IT coordinator and telecommunications manager could mean the same thing. 

Find the NZDF transition page on The Hub. (external link)


Interviews are one of the most important stages in a job application. Once you get to this stage it is very important that you portray your service in the NZDF in a positive manner. This will impress upon your future employer that you bring motivation and strong core values from the NZDF into your new role.

For any other support DESC can offer you, please feel free to get in contact with us.