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Looking for a defence contract role? Here’s how to tailor your CV

The defence sector is an exciting industry that provides thousands of jobs worldwide and the UK defence industry is one of the most innovative in the world.

As a result, working in defence is an exciting and varied career that can provide skilled workers with excellent opportunities in land, sea and aviation-based work, in both the UK and in defence contract roles overseas.

So, if you are currently working in defence and are looking for a new challenge or if you are keen to make a change in your career and find out more about defence contract roles, read on to discover how to tailor your CV accordingly.  

How to make sure your CV gets noticed 

Having a strong CV can make all the difference when it comes to landing your dream defence job. In fact, because your CV is the first thing your potential employer will see, and may be one of many they are reviewing, it can be the deciding factor as to whether or not you progress to interview stage. After all, first impressions count - and a well-presented CV can hugely improve your chances.

If you’re looking for defence contract roles, not only does your CV need to highlight your skills, experience and knowledge, but it should also be specific to the field you are applying for.

So, whether you are looking for heavy vehicle mechanic positions, an aviation contract role, or even a job in supply and logistics, your CV needs to demonstrate you have the appropriate experience and that you’re the right person for the job.

Here’s how to do it...

6 ways to get your CV noticed:

1. Make sure your CV is up to date

First things first, you need to make sure that your CV is completely up to date. Having a well written, up-to-date CV is the best way to show potential employers that your experience is right for a role.

As such, you should make sure you update it regularly, whether you are currently job hunting or not. Whenever you obtain a new qualification, gain experience working on a certain piece of equipment or technology or learn a new skill, make sure you add it to your CV as soon as possible; after all, the more relevant experience and skills you have, the more you stand out over other candidates! 

If you are considering making the move over to the defence industry after leaving the military, it’s even more important to update your CV.

During your time in the armed forces, you’ll most likely not have had any need for a CV as all of your qualifications, experience and promotions will have been kept on file on the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA), the military HR system, so it’s really important to update your CV as soon as you can to make sure you outline all of your relevant skills and experience.

Be sure to translate everything into civilian terms, too! 

2. Highlight your transferable skills

This leads us onto our next point - make sure you shout out about your skills! Your CV is the first thing potential employers will see when you apply for a role, so make sure you highlight your skills and don’t sell yourself short.

From organisation skills to the ability to communicate well and work as part of a team, there are a number of transferable skills that are integral to a successful career in defence. Good communication skills are essential, whether you are working in an administrative, mechanical or engineering role, whilst attention to detail is another really important skill that can help you get ahead. 

So, whatever your experience and your employment background, make sure you promote your transferable skills. For a full round up of skills essential for the defence industry, read this blog.

3. But make sure you get specific

Whilst it’s important to showcase your transferable skills, you also need to highlight specific skills that prove you’re right for the job. Make sure that you include specific industry experience - for example, you might have three years of CH-47 Chinook general maintenance experience, or you might have worked as a mechanic on an M1 tank.

Whatever your niche, be specific about the equipment types that you have worked on and the systems that you have used.

You should also be sure to include any licenses you might have and the country they were issued in, for example, if you have a forklift license. In addition, could you list some specific tasks that you have carried out? Or highlight when you’ve successfully solved a problem and how you did it? 

All these things count and can set you apart from the competition - just make sure you back up each skill or strength with evidence.

4. Be clear and concise

Your CV may only have around 10 seconds to capture a recruiter’s attention, so it’s important to be clear, concise and get straight to the point.

Highlight your key skills and experience right at the top of your CV under a heading such as “Personal Profile” for example, and instead of creating a long and uninspiring list, use a short and sharp description, or bullet points in a prominent position. You should also clearly list all your certificates and qualifications, starting with your highest.

If you’ve been in the game a while, start with specific qualifications followed by your most recent experience that’s relevant to the job; keep things brief and to the point and remove any irrelevant information. Remember, your CV is a tool to get your foot in the door - once you’ve landed the interview you can fill the recruiter in on all the details!

5. Tailor your CV for each role

Most people will possess a generic CV, but if you want to get ahead in the defence industry, we always recommend that you tailor your CV to the role you are applying for.

You should aim to highlight the skills and experience that are most relevant to the role and include evidence of how this makes you the right person for the job.

Tweak your personal profile at the start of your CV to include information about the specific role you are applying for (but aim to keep the profile fairly short - a few lines should be enough!).

Additionally, try and include keywords or industry specific terminology throughout your CV to showcase your understanding of the role you are applying for. You should also show how you meet the requirements of the job description with relevant examples.

6. Ask for expert help

If you still need more help and guidance with writing your CV, it’s time to call in the professionals! By enlisting the help of a specialist defence recruitment firm such as M&E Global, you can get expert advice on how to craft the perfect CV. And what’s more, at M&E, we will even proofread your CV and help with formatting to make sure it creates the right impression.

To sum up....

  • If you want to make sure your CV packs a punch, keep these top tips in mind:
  • Keep it simple - a good CV should be no longer than two to three pages
  • Tailor your CV to the role you are applying for
  • Market yourself and shout out about your skills
  • Be clear and concise - make sure it’s easy to pick out key information
  • Always proofread - first impressions count, so your CV should be free from errors!

Ready to land your dream defence role?

At M&E, we are experts in defence contract roles, so contact us today to find the perfect defence job to suit your skills. With more than 20 years of experience, our friendly and knowledgeable team will be more than happy to help!

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