New location. Now what? – Research, Planning and Networking!

Are you an ADF partner who has recently arrived in a new posting location and now looking for work? Or an ADF member preparing to or recently transitioned from the ADF? No matter where you are in your career journey make the time for research, planning and networking to maximise the effectiveness of your job search.


Research saves you a lot of time in the long run and makes your job search far more efficient (and reduces the risk of burnout). Research what I hear you say?

  1. Start close to home with … yourself!
  • What are your priorities?
  • How quickly do you need to secure employment?
  • Do you have the time to spend trying to find the type of work you most want or do you have an immediate need for income?
  • Are you looking for the same type of work you’ve had in the past or for something new?
  • What are your skills?
  • Do they align with what you want to do or do you need to undertake some retraining or upskilling?
  • What accomplishments and contributions have you made in previous roles? (don’t forget the unpaid ones).

Note: Employers don’t want to just know what you do but how well you do it! You need to understand and be confident in yourself if you have any hope of convincing others of your worth and to be able to stand out from the crowd of other applicants. One of the biggest mistakes I see ADF partners make is underestimating themselves. Employability/transferable skills and attributes are in high demand and, generally speaking, ADF partners have well developed skills. Think communication, flexibility, adaptability, decision making etc. Creating a hard copy or digital portfolio can help you organise this.

  • What do you enjoy doing? (The sweet spot is finding work that involves the things we’re good at and the things we enjoy doing.)
  • What are your values?
  • How important is it for you to find work and an employer that aligns with those values?
  • What are the other life factors that influence your work that have to be taken into consideration?
  • Are there workarounds to these other life factors? e.g. flexible work
  • Are you looking for F/T, P/T, casual or contract work?
  • Who do you want to work for?
  • What are your salary expectations?

If you struggle with any of these questions perhaps seeking formal career support would help. Read more about accessing career support on the Career Development Association of Australia website. Don’t forget you are eligible for Defence’s Partner Employment Assistance Program funding for 2 years from posting.

2. The local labour market.

  • What are the main industries in your new posting location?
  • Who are the main employers?
  • What are the main jobs they advertise?
  • What is the demand for skill in your area?
  • Does this demand align with your skillset?
  • What’s the local unemployment rate like?
  • What new opportunities are available in your location that you’d like to take advantage of?
  • How are jobs advertised in your new location?
  • What job seeking resources and support are available to you?
  • What are the salaries like in your new area?

The government’s Labour Market Information Portal (LMIP) is a good place to start your research. They’ve recently produced a user guide (which you can access via this webpage) to make it even easier


Job searching can be hard work so it pays to be strategic in how you approach it. Once you’ve done your research hopefully you’ll have the information needed to focus your efforts on the type of work you’re looking for and how to best go about it (don’t forget to keep an eye out for new and/or unanticipated opportunities).

There are many avenues you can use to seek job opportunities. Pick the ones you think will be most effective (based on your research) but don’t limit yourself to just one option.


  • Online job boards
  • Newspaper advertisements
  • Social media
  • LinkedIn
  • Referrals from your network (word of mouth)
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Company websites
  • Cold calling

For example, if you’ve identified companies in your local area that you are interested in working for do your research on them to understand them better (company websites are a good place to start as are annual reports) and find out who the key hiring people are. Depending on what you’ve found out about them follow the companies on social media (especially LinkedIn), check their careers page regularly, seek an informational interview, and send them a cover letter and a copy of your resumé.

Keep track of job application closing dates, where you have applied to, who you have spoken with at a company, and set reminders to follow up if you haven’t heard back. If unsuccessful ask for constructive feedback and use this to inform future job search tactics.


I’m sure this is not the first time you’ve heard the importance of networking mentioned. But you really can’t underestimate its value to your career. The aim of networking is relationship building and information exchange. The main thing to remember is it is give and take; not a one-way street. Networking isn’t hitting people up for a job. It’s about getting to know your industry, your local labour market, employers that interest you. It’s understanding how your skills can add value to an employer and seeking out opportunities to share those skills. Networking can provide you with job leads (including jobs that haven’t been advertised) and valuable insight into and ‘insider’ information about companies you want to work for. Your network can give you great local information on your new posting location (I know you’re all using Facebook for this!) including the local labour market. It can help you stand out from a crowd. It can put your resumé and then you in front of the right people (or people who know the right people). It can provide you with support (we can all do with the right support in our careers). And it can provide you with different perspectives and challenge your assumptions (especially around negative thoughts about whether you are ‘good enough’).

Networking comes in many forms both on and offline. Here are just some of many:

  • Friends and family
  • Previous employers and colleagues
  • Alumni groups
  • LinkedIn
  • Other social media (including Defence partner groups)
  • Professional membership groups
  • Local career and business networking groups
  • Volunteer work
  • Informational interviews
  • Career fairs and career information events
  • Social activities
  • Community groups

Putting some work in before you start submitting your resumé can save you a lot of work in the long run and lead to better outcomes.

Questions? Contact me on the form below

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