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7 tips for first responders before starting a job search

If you’re considering a transition out of first responder employment, our latest expert insights are for you.

Professor Neil Curtis spent six years in the Australian Army before transitioning into Victoria Police, where he worked for 13 years. Following that, he spent some time moving into the cybersecurity industry. Having transitioned twice, Neil is aware of the challenges and opportunities that exist for those who are moving into new career paths. He is now a senior executive with DXC Technology, a Fortune 500 global IT services leader, delivering IT services that modernise operations and drive innovation.

DXC Technology is also a proud Fortem Australia Pledge Partner, who are committed to supporting the employment of former first responders.

Neil offers these pieces of advice for first responders who are considering their next path:

Think a step ahead. “Look at what’s ahead of you. Even if you’ve got a great job, always look on the horizon at the next thing. That doesn’t have to mean the next job, it could be the next project or the next technology. Have a think about where you are today, and build your brand for the next move.”

Be active on LinkedIn. “Put yourself out there: connect and reach out. And then you can use LinkedIn to shape how you’re perceived. Build yourself a profile: look at my profile, look at other people’s profiles and their posts, and start to see that as a marketing opportunity.”

Create an online presence. “Google yourself and see what comes up about you. If you’re not there, you need to get there. You need to be recognised and known. It’s a digital world, and you need to have a personality on digital platforms.”

Ask lots of questions. “Don’t be afraid to question the questioners. They are interviewing you, but you are also interviewing the business. The more you learn in the interview, the more you can be comfortable that this is the position for you.”

It’s definitely okay to ask about the salary. “Before you invest a lot of time in resume shaping, interviews and polishing yourself up, you want to question the contact person about the role. Making contact with them helps to break the ice with some banter, shows your genuine interest in the role, and gives you a chance to ask the salary range. This is information that you need to know.”

Be true to yourself and your values. “The best thing is to find something you love to do. That can be a hard ask – if you like to fly fish, no one’s going to pay you to do that – so that might be about finding a balance. I do lots of volunteer work in the not-for-profit space, which fills my need to help out. Be very true to yourself – and that might mean not taking the first role that comes up.”

Reaching out for support is important. “It’s time to be brave. If you’re going to move out, move out with confidence. And if you need help, reach out.”

Learn more about Fortem’s Transition & Employment Program here