Having a sense of purpose is integral to well-being. For many, the sense of purpose and fulfillment is attained through employment, but other meaningful activities (e.g., volunteering, hobbies, pursuing education) can have the same impact. Participating in fulfilling activities contributes to your health, social integration, fundamental sense of meaning and identity, as well as a similar protective effect. Stable, well-paid employment has the added benefit of contributing to financial security.

Participating in fulfilling activities contributes to your health, social integration, and fundamental sense of meaning and identity, as well as providing structure to day to day life.

Given that many CAF members transitioning from military to civilian life are still of working age, civilian employment is critical to the well-being of this population. There are many potential issues facing transitioning members including: unemployment, underemployment, translating military skills to the civilian labour market, entering an unfamiliar civilian job market for the first time, and adapting to the civilian workplace culture and leadership style.

Employment is an especially important factor for transitioning members to consider because it has a significant effect on a person's physical, mental and social health. Paid work provides not only money, but also a sense of identity and purpose, social contacts and opportunities for personal growth. Conditions at work (both physical and psychosocial) can have a profound effect on people's health and emotional well-being. Participation in the wage economy, however, is only part of the picture.

Ultimately, CAF member whose transition is characterized by engagement with a new and fulfilling job, finding enjoyment and meaning through volunteering, or simply spending more time with their family will have a much easier time finding purpose after service.

The most important aspect of this domain of well-being is to be engaged in activities that are beneficial and meaningful to you.

Some things to consider

  • Did you carefully consider what to do after transitioning from military to civilian life? Have you developed a plan that balance and integrate work, study, community engagement and/or retirement options?

  • Do you have several interests, outside of your career, which you are looking forward to pursuing after release (such as hobbies, volunteer work, personal growth, learning, travel, family, etc.)? Do you envision your days being rich with experience and meaningful? If not, what changes can you make to achieve this?

  • Do you know how your military credentials translate into civilian job classifications, skill and authority levels? Are you able to explain that to a potential employer?

  • Did you assess and summarize your formal, informal and experiential learning to ensure that they will be recognized after my military career (e.g. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR))?

  • Do you know the civilian workplace culture is different? Are you prepared to adapt successfully?

  • Will your spouse/partner be able to find appropriate post-transition employment (if applicable, if moving, if looking for work)?

  • Did you assess your education/training needs and interests and identify an appropriate school or learning institutions?

  • Did you prepare yourself for civilian job interviews, including learning about different types of interviews and understanding how to communicate your key strengths to a civilian?

  • Did you investigate civilian salaries and know how to explain your competencies and expertise, and learn how to negotiate a satisfactory offer?

  • Did you develop a civilian résumé that summarizes transferable skills, accomplishments, strengths and management/leadership ability in terms civilian HR personnel can understand?

  • Did you look into today’s best job search techniques and have you begun to build a solid network of contacts to help?

  • Did you investigate civilian careers that fit your training and experience and identified a realistic ‘second career’ option that will provide the personal fulfillment and meaning you need?

  • Did you look into labour market trends and have you done a job market analysis (formal or informal) based on your qualifications and career aspirations?

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Canadian Armed Forces Career Transition Services and Education Upgrading

The purpose of the CAF Career Transition Services (CTS) is to assist military personnel and their families in planning and preparing for their transition from the CAF to civilian life. These services include:

  • Second Career Assistance Network (SCAN) seminars (General and Medical);

  • Long Term Planning (LTP) seminars;

  • Career Transition Workshops (CTW); and

  • Individual career and education counselling.

In addition to those services, three education reimbursement programs are available to you during your career, if you require educational upgrading.

Second Career Assistance Network (SCAN) Seminars

A two-day General SCAN Seminar provides a broad range of information on major transition topics including, but not limited to, topics such as: pension benefits, VAC benefits, services and entitlements, administration procedures on release, SISIP coverage after release, family services, education benefits, career interests inventories, and job search tools, as well as networking opportunities. In addition to the General SCAN, if you expect to be release medically, you may also attend the one-day Medical SCAN Seminar, for more detailed information of interest to medically releasing members.

These seminars are conducted by your local Formation, Base and Wing PSOs. All CAF members are encouraged to attend a seminar at least five to ten years prior to the potential transition, and again during their final 12 months of service.

Second Career Asistance Network Online

If you or a member of your family are unable to participate in a SCAN seminar, you can still access the much of the information presented at the physical seminars through SCAN Online platform. SCAN Online can be accessed in both official languages.

Canadian Armed Forces Career Transition Workshops (CTW)

These workshops are held on Formations, Bases and Wings across the country and are free for all CAF members.

There are four modules covered over a two-day period focussing on the following areas:

Module 1 Self-Assessment for Interests and Skills;

Module 2 Resumé Writing;

Module 3 Interview Techniques; and

Module 4 Job Search Techniques.

The goal of the workshop is to provide additional information and knowledge about these subjects and to assist you in having a seamless transition. You may register by contacting your local Formation/Base/Wing PSO office.

Canadian Armed Forces Long Term Planning (LTP) Seminars

CAF members are provided with the opportunity to participate in long-term planning as it relates to their education, CAF career, and retirement goals.

These seminars are designed to engage the CAF in topics that usually include, but are not limited to:

  • Financial and budget planning;

  • Home purchase and mortgages;

  • Wills and estates;

  • CAF pensions and benefits;

  • SISIP; and

  • Education upgrading for CAF career development.

All CAF members are encouraged to attend within the first 10 years of military service. They are conducted in some local Formation/Base and Wing PSOs.

Individual Career and Education Counselling

Your local Formation/Base/Wing PSO provides one-on-one counselling and expertise on the following topics:

  • In-service selection such as Occupation Transfer and Commissioning plans;

  • Education upgrading;

  • Information on education reimbursement benefits;

  • Assistance with job search techniques and tools; and

  • Recommendations to assist with your vocational rehabilitation plan, if applicable.

Canadian Armed Forces Education Reimbursement

There are three Education Reimbursement (ER) programs with different objectives, each is designed to support self-development of a different subset of CAF members throughout their careers:

  1. The Education Reimbursement for the Regular Force provides financial assistance to Reg F officers and Non-Commissioned Members (NCMs) who, through part-time study, wish to upgrade their educational or professional qualifications in the interests of the CAF. More information is available in the CF Military Personnel Instructions (CF Mil Pers Inst) 17/04 and CANFORGEN 046/19 - 041536Z APR 19.

  2. The Education Reimbursement - Primary Reserve provides financial assistance to officers or NCMs of the P Res who wish to obtain a degree or diploma at a university, college, or other educational institutions. Additional information is available in the CBI 210.801.

  3. The Skills Completion Program (SCP)- Regular Force provides financial assistance to Reg F officers and NCMs for education and certification expenses to upgrade their military skills and experience to a civilian equivalent or to obtain a certification level, or both, for post-release employment. Additional information is available in the CBI 210.802.

Individual Learning Plan (ILP)

To be reimbursed, you must have a registered Individual Learning Plan (ILP) approved prior to the commencement of each course. To submit an ILP, you will need to complete an online request (DWAN Only) through Military Personnel Generation (MILPERSGEN)

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Enhanced Transition Training (ETT)

All CAF members with a date of release will be required to complete online training through the DLN which covers a range of essential information related to your transition out of the CAF. Although only members with a date of release are obligated to complete this training, it is available to all CAF members at any time and it is highly recommended as the information contained within each module can assist in deepening your understanding of transition and developing your transition plan.

Click here to access the DLN

The training is designed to empower CAF members to have a successful and seamless transition. This training is mandatory and the proof of completion will be required and presented to your CoC to be considered ready for transition.

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Military Occupational Structure Identification Code (MOSID)/National Occupation Code (NOC) Equivalency Tool (MNET)

The CAF TG has developed an online tool that assist in translating your military occupation into the equivalent civilian occupation. This is done through a direct link with the national Job Bank database. It is both a “Military to Civilian” and “Civilian to Military” job translator. Military Occupational Structure Identification Code (MOSID)/National Occupation Code (NOC) Equivalency Tool (MNET)

MNET data is based on the CAF job-based specifications and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) list of civilian occupations, known as the NOC catalogue.

The NOC catalogue is the official resource on job information in Canada, providing a standard catalogue of more than 30,000 job titles into 500 unit groups, organized according to skill levels and skill types. All military jobs are cross-referenced against each NOC for the purpose of defining related civilian job fields.

By associating your MOSID to civilian NOC, it will help you translate knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA), gained during your military career, to civilian terms. Some MOSIDs may have several NOCs associated with a military occupation. This reflects a variety of tasks and duties that a CAF member may perform or acquire within an occupation.

Military years of service will also define the level of leadership experience, time management, supervisory, and organizational skills needed. These are other KSAs common to all military jobs and are directly translated to the civilian labour market.

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My Skills and Education Translator (MySET)

The CAF TG has developed an online system that translates military skills, education, and training into civilian education/training credits or qualifications.

MySET aims to assist CAF members in a career transition by providing a centralized resource that can be used to identify which Post-Secondary Institutions (PSI) recognize prior learning for military skills and education. This may be in the form of a civilian equivalency, accreditation of specific occupation training, education, experience or a combination thereof.

MySET provides a centralized digital platform that allows PSI to present their academic offerings for recognition of your military training and education.

Each academic institution within MySET provides offerings for the qualifications and training that CAF members receive during their careers. As academic institutions are independent from one another, they have separate assessment processes for credit recognition that is unique to each institution. As such they may not offer a credit for the qualifications that you seek. While you may not have found a specific credit offering related to your qualifications, we recommend that you still contact the academic institution of your choice and ask if they will recognize or offer a credit for that qualification itself.

Each academic institution on MySET was brought on individually, but the current list of academic institutions for MySET is not final! MySET is a “living tool” - it will continue to grow as time goes on. More academic institutions will continue to on-board onto MySET in the future, which will provide a more robust and complete recognition of military training and qualifications. In the meantime, we strongly encourage you to reach out to the academic institution that you want to have your qualifications recognized, and introduce them to the MySET tool.

For additional information on education funding for current serving military personnel (Reg and Res F), or Veterans, visit the MySET resources page, where you will find a link that directs you to the CAF ILP, or VAC Education and Training Benefit (ETB).

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Veterans Affairs Canada Career Transition Services and Education and Training Benefit

Veterans Affairs Canada Education and Training Benefit (VAC ETB)

The Education and Training Benefit (ETB) helps you achieve your education and career goals. You may be eligible to receive up to $80,000*. Whether you are furthering your education journey or beginning a new one, this is the perfect place to start.

Veterans are not limited to formal post-secondary training. The benefit may also be used for a career or personal development courses that give Veterans purpose and help them feel satisfied with their main post-military job or activity.

To be eligible for the ETB you:

  • Must have been honourably released from the CAF (Reg F or Res F) on or after April 1, 2006, or be a member of the Sup Res and;

  • Must have a minimum amount of CAF service:

    • Those with at least six years (2191 paid days) of service are eligible to receive up to $40,000*; and
    • Those with at least twelve years (4382 paid days) of service are eligible to receive up to $80,000*.

*Indexed annually according to Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Note: Except for members of the Sup Res, still serving CAF members are not eligible to receive this benefit prior to release.

An application for a still-serving member will not be processed until they officially release, or transfer to the Sup Res when information on their release date, final paid days of service, and release status are available to support a decision by VAC.

If funding from the ETB is a requirement for you to go to school, we do recommend that you plan your program start date in order to give VAC time to provide you with a decision. We will need approximately 8 weeks – 4 weeks for an eligibility decision and 4 weeks to review and make a decision on your Education Plan.

If you’re not sure what education to pursue, consider applying for VAC’s Career Transition Services (CTS) first. CTS provides access to a trained Employment Coach to help you find your best educational or training path based on your career and personal goals They can also help you identify an appropriate start date for your program based on your release date and the time it will take to receive a decision from VAC on your eligibility for ETB and your program plan.

VAC's website for information on the benefit, including how to apply for this benefit can be found here

Veterans Affairs Canada Career Transition Services (VAC CTS)

The goal of VAC’s Career Transition Services (CTS) is to help members and their families understand the civilian labour market and identify the best career option before you decide to release.

CTS are available to any member who completed basic training, and the program is designed to provide you with increased services as you approach your release.

Once approved for CTS, you will begin to work with VAC’s National Service Provider to build an individualized Career Transition Services plan. Qualified counsellors will work collaboratively with you to identify your post-service employment goals and will work with you to help you achieve those goals. CTS provides the following services delivered virtually to you:

  • One-on-one career counselling;

  • Help with resume writing;

  • Interview preparation;

  • Job-searching; and

  • Job development services.

As a serving CAF member (Reg F or Res F), you have access to:

  • Career counsellors who will help you develop an individualized Career Transition Plan that will address career exploration. They will work with you to figure out your current and future path;

  • Online, self-directed CTS modules covering topics such as: self-assessment, interest inventory, resumes, cover letters, job banks, self-marketing and interviews to help you understand and prepare for job searching in the civilian sector; and

  • Labour market information services to help you understand the current job situation in the civilian sector

As a CAF member who is intending to release, your access increases and includes:

  • Development of an individualized Career Transition Plan which will focus on your career, employment and personal goals;

  • Educational counselling;

  • One-on-one career counselling to help you identify and achieve your personal career goals; and

  • Job development services which can help identify and match you with employers who have jobs suitable to your skills and background.

Once you release, as a Veteran you have access to the same services noted already but you are also ensured:

  • Increased support for job finding assistance and job development services; and

  • Lifetime access to return for services at any point that you are experiencing a transition in your civilian career.

Survivors and Spouses/Common-law Partners of Veterans can also access CTS.

  • Eligible Survivors have lifetime access to the same services that would have been available to the Veteran.

  • Eligible Spouses/Common-law partners can participate in the program for up to 2 years after the Veteran’s release. This provides support when settling in to a new community and career when the Veteran has completed their military service. Note that there is no requirement for the Veteran to apply for CTS in order for the spouse/common-law partner to participate. However, both the Veteran and the spouse/common-law partner can be in the program at the same time.

To be eligible for CTS, you must be:

  • A still-serving CAF member or Veteran who completed basic training on or after April 1, 2006; or their survivor, spouse, or common-law partner; or,
  • A Veteran or survivor who is entitled to the Canadian Forces Income Support Benefit.

Other eligibility requirements:

  • You must live in Canada; (Still-serving members posted outside Canada are eligible to participate);
  • You require assistance in making the transition to the civilian labour force; and
  • You are not receiving VAC Rehabilitation Services or Vocational Assistance.

For additional information, including how to apply for this benefit, visit the following link.

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Tips for Employment and Education Planning

It is not unusual to see people changing careers numerous times in their lifetime. A part of the career path changing process involves assessing the transferability of skills and competencies towards a new career field, as well as achieving certification through continuing education.

The following are important considerations when weighing the option of continuing education:

  • What are my second career goals?

  • Considering the financial and personal investment required, are my second career goals realistic?

  • Did I have my experience, training, and skills assessed towards Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition accreditation (PLAR)?

  • Do I need to upgrade my qualifications by completing some academic courses?

  • Am I prepared to undertake an intensive academic program?

  • Is my spouse/partner also contemplating going back to school?

  • Will my family support me in my desire to go back to school?

  • Would our financial situation allow for the tuition fees and books?

  • Do I wish to attend school on a part-time or on a full-time basis?

  • What is my learning style? Would I be comfortable with online learning or a classroom environment?

  • What are my job prospects once I have completed my program?

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  • How prepared are you for life and work-life change?

  • Do you know what motivates you to work? What is it?

  • Do you know what you want to do when you leave your current position?

  • What are your skills and competencies?

  • Can you describe your military skills to a civilian employer?

  • Do you know your value in the job market?

  • Do you have a resumé that will get you an interview, or a business plan to market your products?

  • Do you know how to succeed in an interview?

  • What is your preferred work style?

    • Semi-retired;

    • Self-employed;

    • Employed by another organization or company;

    • Full-time or part-time;

    • Studying, either full time or part-time;

    • Consulting or contracting;

    • Volunteer work;

    • Adult apprenticeships; or

    • Turning hobbies into profit

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Questions to Consider

  • Retiring: Do you really want to retire, or are you going to take a break or be semi-retired?

  • Self-employed: When considering full-time, part-time, buying a franchise, or creating a business:

    • Do you have the emotional, physical and financial ability, and commitment to do this?

    • Are you passionate about your product or service?

    • What do you know about business?

    • What do you know about risk?

    • How well do you make decisions?

    • Do you possess the management skills to manage a company, or even yourself?

    • Will you be able to prevent burn out?

  • Employed by another: Do you want to work full time, part-time, casual, or temporary?

    • Do you want to work for someone else? Would you enjoy it?

    • Do you want to work full time?

    • What sort of company do you want to work for?

  • Study: Do you want to study full time or part time? Is now the right time to study for the qualifications you’ve always wanted?

    • Can you afford to study full time?

    • Have you got a career plan in which you will use this qualification?

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Job Preference

This process aids identifying your unique and personal job preferences. Can you identify:

  • The parts of your job that you like and dislike, such as: the people, the sense of belonging to an organization you respect, the frustration of not getting things done quickly, the processes, the challenges, salary, and so on;

  • The “must haves” for you to be happy in a role. If you don’t have them now, you will need eventually to put them on the list – items such as: “security industry; minimum of $70k per annum plus superannuation; work in a team”, for example;

  • Your preference: items such as responsibility and accountability; work nationally and potentially internationally; manage staff; and

  • The “don’t want” – extended absences from home; live south of the Bombay Hills; regular weekend work.

Work Preferences
Description of the figure

The purpose of this table is to help you identify your unique and personal job preferences. This includes:

  • The parts of your job that you like and dislike, such as: the people, the sense of belonging to an organization you respect, the frustration of not getting things done quickly, the processes, the challenges, salary, and so on;
  • The “must haves” for you to be happy in a role. If you don’t have them now, you will need eventually to put them on the list – items such as: “security industry; minimum of $70k per annum plus superannuation; work in a team”, for example;
  • Your preference: items such as responsibility and accountability; work nationally and potentially internationally; manage staff; and
  • The “don’t want” – extended absences from home; live south of the Bombay Hills; regular weekend work.

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Job Search

For a successful job search consider the following:

  • Where are jobs these days?

  • What are industries provide the best opportunities?

  • What types of jobs are available?

  • Where are jobs located?

  • What are salaries or remuneration packages like?

  • What are employers’ expectations of their staff?

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What are Employers Looking For?

For a greater success rate in job applications, interviews and job maintenance, consider the following things that employers are looking for:

  • Candidates with a proven and stable background.

  • Employers may be cautious about candidates who seem to have moved jobs regularly.

  • Flexibility in part-time, full time, apprenticeships, casual, temporary, contractual workers.

  • The value you bring to their organization.

  • Positive, proactive, can-do attitudes.

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Taking Charge

At the time of transitioning, taking charge and being committed is necessary. This means:

  • Be clear about what you want to do, and understand yourself and what you can do.

  • Understand how to search for jobs, research, and connect to employers of interest: create a list of mentors, networks, recruiters, and career practitioners.

  • Get transition skills and a resumé, with help from the people above, if necessary.

Be completely prepared: the best prepared candidate is often the most successful.

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Skills Commonly Sought by Recruiters

  • Decision-making: Identifying options, evaluating them, and then choosing the most appropriate course of action.

  • Problem-solving: Identifying and using an appropriate method or technique to arrive at a solution.

  • Planning: Working out how to schedule available resources and activities, in order to meet an objective.

  • Oral communication: Using speech to express ideas and give information or explanations effectively.

  • Written communication: Producing grammatically correct, well-expressed, easily understood and interesting text, in an appropriate format.

  • Negotiating: Holding discussions with people in order to reach a position of mutual satisfaction and agreement.

  • Adapting: Changing or modifying your behaviour in response to the needs, wishes or demands of others.

  • Leadership: Being able to lead and motivate, set direction, and win the commitment of others.

  • Business awareness: Interest in and knowledge of the commercial environment.

  • Researching information: Finding information appropriate to an issue from a variety of sources.

  • Flexibility: Being able to change plans and respond to new information and/or situations.

  • IT literacy: Understanding and being able to use a range of software such as word processing, spreadsheets, and databases.

  • Time management: Ability to manage personal tasks effectively and to meet deadlines.

  • Numeracy: Ability to use and work with figures.

  • Working well in a team: Your ability to work effectively with others to achieve objectives.

  • Ability to prioritize: Being able to decide priorities for achieving targets.

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Personal Qualities

A personal quality may be described as a “way of being” or a person’s distinguishing characteristics or personality traits, which can increase your chance of being recognized and contrasted with the competition. Individuals often take these qualities for granted and do not appreciate the interest and value an employer places on them. Awareness of these personal qualities and their importance needs to be understood early in your military career so they can be developed and evidence recorded. Examples of some personal qualities which you may use to describe yourself are listed below:

  • Calm
  • Goal Focussed
  • Persistent
  • Creative
  • Energetic
  • Resourceful
  • Confident
  • Networked
  • Self-aware
  • Decisive
  • Flexible
  • Risk-aware
  • Pragmatic
  • Reliable
  • Determined
  • Visionary
  • Collaborative
  • Committed
  • Sensitive
  • Organized
  • Self-confident
  • Intelligent
  • Intuitive
  • Motivated
  • Punctual
  • Enterprising
  • Self-disciplined
  • Versatile
  • Conscientious
  • Adaptable
  • Articulate
  • Inspirational
  • Practical
  • Quick Learner
  • Team Player
  • Professional
  • Courageous
  • Sincere
  • Logical
  • Tenacious
  • Responsible
  • Enthusiastic
  • Loyal
  • Accountable
  • Perceptive
  • Imaginative
  • Balanced
  • Analytical
  • Trustworthy
  • Intellectual
  • Time
  • Management
  • Dynamic
  • Resilient
  • Supportive

How to Highlight Your Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are skills that have been acquired through learning or life and employment experiences, which can be applied to a wide range of different jobs or industries. These skills become a part of an individual’s “tool kit” that enables them to get things done and are highly valued by employers. They tend to be useful in contributing to a process rather than delivering a final product.

If presented well they can reinforce a candidate’s suitability for a post. It might also inform a potential employer what added value an individual can bring to an organization and indicate their full potential. Often, these skills might be taken for granted, or their long-term value is misunderstood (and is therefore neglected) by job seekers.

A useful technique to evidence your skills is by using the STAR acronym. This stands for:

Situation: Think of a situation where you had to use/demonstrate a skill.

Task: What was the actual task you had to carry out?

Action: What did you actually do (focus on what YOU did)?

Result: What was the result/outcome?


A competency is a group of related skills, knowledge, and behavioural attributes defined by an employer that are needed if an employee is to succeed in a defined role. Competencies can vary between industries and at different levels of seniority.

An employer will normally build a job description and job advertisement by listing a number of competencies (sometimes called key skills). A potential employee will have to demonstrate that they have the skills and experience required within these listed competencies when submitting a job application, resumé, or during job interviews.

Competency-based interviews are fairly common, which the interviewing panel asks questions designed to test whether a candidate has the required experience and skills within the desired competencies. The questions may take the form of: “Describe an occasion when you…”. It is important that you develop competencies as it demonstrates a broadening experience or competence base. A broad and diverse competence base increases your potential and choice of career or employment. Examples of some competencies are listed below.

Competency Description

  • Fairness, inclusion and respect: Contributes actively to a working environment that recognizes, responds to, and values the contribution of every individual.

  • Works collaboratively: Works in a positive manner, sharing knowledge, good practice, and experience.

  • Drives for results: Develops the dedication, motivation, and personal commitment to achieve results that make a difference to the business.

  • Working with courage and integrity: Acts in a principled, open, and conscientious way, consistent with their values; challenges unacceptable behaviours and poor performance, and keeps promises and commitments.

  • Increase capability: Develops their personal abilities and helps others to do the same, to improve the service to the customer.

  • Innovation, change, and agility: Welcomes opportunities for change and identifies opportunities to improve performance.

  • Communicating with impact: Uses appropriate, clear, and effective communications to achieve results.

  • Customer focus: Puts customers first, understanding their needs, and delivering a consistently high standard of service, which exceeds expectations.

  • Lead by example: A constant source of energy, support, and encouragement. A visible role model.

  • Effective decision-making: Analyzes relevant information, seeking guidance when appropriate, explores options, makes timely decisions, and stands by them.

Tools to Help You Find Employment (Checklist)

  • A successful job search strategy;

  • Successful job search strategy networking;

  • Job application process skills, especially with online applications and nonstandard processes;

  • A well-presented, convincing resumé;

  • A targeted cover letter;

  • A strong, credible, and convincing interview;

  • Well-chosen and managed references;

  • Recruitment firms;

  • Responding to advertisements;

  • Professional associations; and

  • Social media knowledge

Transition to the Federal Public Service

The recent amendments to the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) aim to help transitioning CAF members and Veterans access federal public service job opportunities.

If you are thinking about applying for a job with the federal public service, here is what you should know.

Priority Entitlement

  • You may have a priority entitlement if you have been medically released from the CAF (under item 3(a) or 3(b)).

  • If you have a priority entitlement, and are found to meet the essential qualifications of a job, you must be hired ahead of other qualified persons.


  • Preference means Veterans with a minimum of three years of service who have applied and are found to be qualified for a job open to the public must be hired ahead of other qualified Canadians.

  • Preference is in effect for up to five years after honourable release, if you are not already employed in the public service.
  • Preference is given after all qualified persons with a priority entitlement are hired.


  • Mobility allows you to apply to advertised jobs that are open only to federal public service employees.

  • Serving CAF members: you must have a minimum of three years of service. You will always have mobility while you are serving.

  • Honourably released Veterans: you must have a minimum of three years of service. You will have mobility for up to five years following your release.

  • You can apply to internal jobs regardless of what is in the “Who can apply” section of the job advertisement, but you must meet any employment equity criteria (Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities or women) if it's included in that section.

    More information on priority entitlements, preference, mobility and the federal public service hiring process can be found here

How to Apply on GC Jobs

1.Create an account

  • Follow the steps to create an account.

  • If you are a veteran or a CAF member, enter your Service Number (SN).

  • If you are a person with a priority entitlement, enter your Priority Reference Number (PRN).

  • If you are a current or former federal public servant, enter your Personal Record Identifier (PRI).

2. Search for a job

  • Log in to your account and then search for jobs. By logging in, you will see all the jobs to which you have access.

  • Use the “Refine search” column on the left to narrow your job search.

  • To make your job search easier, you can:

    1. Create a saved search; and
    2. Sign up for email alerts.
  • Read each job advertisement to see if you meet the qualifications for the job.

3. Apply for a job

  • On the job advertisement, select the “Apply online” link.

  • Work your way through the list of “Requirements”, completing each section and saving the information as you go.

  • You can apply to internal jobs regardless of what is in the “Who can apply” section of the job advertisement, but you must meet any employment equity criteria (Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities or women) if it's included in that section.

4. Submit your application

  • When you have completed all requirements, select the “Submit application” link.

  • You must submit your application before the closing date and time indicated on the job advertisement.

After Applying on GC Jobs

Online process

  • Your application will remain in the “Submitted job applications” section of your account until the closing date on the job advertisement.

  • You can edit your application before the closing date by selecting “Retrieve application”. However, if you retrieve your application, you must resubmit the application before the closing date or you will not be considered for the job.

  • After the closing date, your application will move to the “Status of job applications” page.


  • If your application is selected, you will be contacted for further assessment.

  • For any questions about the assessment process or test results, use the contact listed on the job advertisement.

  • Different assessment tools may be used, depending on the job type and level. If you require accommodation under the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA), and you should make the request when you respond to an invitation to participate.

  • For example, you may be granted more time to complete a test for medical reasons; you may reschedule an interview if it falls on an important religious holiday or if a family member needs urgent care.

  • You will be assessed in the official language of your choice.

  • You must meet the official language requirements of the position before being appointed.

Security Clearance Retention

The Treasury Board of Canada is responsible for issuing policy direction and guidance on security screening for the Federal Public Service and CAF.


Valid reliability status and security clearances of DND employees can be directly transferred to other federal departments and agencies. However, due to the unique nature of our organization, it is not possible to directly transfer a clearance profile from the CAF to the federal government. Instead, the Personnel Security Screening Office will complete a process called a Reactivation.

Reactivation and Expiry

A reliability status may be reactivated within two years, and a security clearance within 12 months without the requirement to redo security screening if the following conditions are met:

  • DND employee or CAF member has terminated employment or service, or taken a leave of absence with the government and subsequently returned; and

    • There is no adverse information; or

    • There is no security waiver on file.

The military-to-civilian Reactivation process is coordinated by your new employer. They will give you the direction and paperwork that you need to navigate the Reactivation process successfully, so all you need to do is follow their instructions. The process is the same whether your employment is with another government department or as a civilian within DND.

However, the one factor that your new employer will not be able to help you with is the timeline. If you wait too long and allow your screening profile to expire, you will have to completely redo part or even all of the screening procedure. This can delay the start of a new job by several months, so it’s very important to start planning your Reactivation early. The following section will outline the different timelines to be aware of, as the different types of clearance are valid for different amounts of time.

  • Reliability: Your reliability status is valid for a maximum of 10 years during service, but can only remain valid for up to 2 years post-release. As such, the two main scenarios are:

    1. If your break in employment, meaning the length of time between your date of release and your new job, is less than 2 years, a reliability screening update will be required; or

    2. If your break in employment is more than 2 years, a new reliability screening will be required.

  • Security Clearance: Your security clearance is valid for a maximum of 10 years during service, aside from Top Secret, which is only valid for 5 years. However, your clearance can only remain valid for up to 1 year post-release. As such, there are four main scenarios that can occur:

    1. If your break in employment is less than a 1 year and your security clearance is still valid (not older than 10 years, or 5 years for Top Secret), only a reliability screening update will be required;

    2. If your break in employment is less than a 1 year but your clearance is NOT valid: both a reliability screening update and a security clearance update will be required;

    3. If your break in employment is between 1 and 2 years, both a reliability screening update and a new security clearance screening will be required; and

    4. If your break in employment is more than 2 years, both a new reliability screening and a new security clearance screening will be required.

If your reactivation period has elapsed, and if there has been no activity on your file, your security status or clearance will expire. If you attempt to reintegrate into the federal government or participate in a government contract after this period, you will have to undergo an initial security screening process to meet the condition of employment, which can take several additional months.

CAF to the Private Sector

Companies in the private sector sometimes provide contracted work for DND, will require security screening. All contracts through Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to work within a GOC Department will require the same security screening procedures as above. Contract to work in the private sector may or may not require security screening. All security screening activities will be coordinated by PSPC in both cases. If you will be working for one of these companies, simply note that your employer will coordinate your security screening with the PSPC on your behalf. PSPC may contact DND to your old security screening profile to expedite the screening process.

Finally, if you do not yet know where you will be working post-release but still want to retain your security clearance to keep your options open, you also have the option of reaching out to a private company that does business with the Federal Government, such as Calian or AGDA Group. These companies will often hold onto your security clearance free of charge, but note that this can take up to 10 months to be processed. Starting this process as early as possible - ideally while you are still in service - is recommended.

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Job Bank and Search

The Government of Canada’s Job Bank is a free, notion-wide, bilingual employment website that provides access to timely, reliable and comprehensive job market information from both public and private sector jobs to help Canadians make informed career decisions.

Job Bank advertises public and private sector jobs that enables browsing through by using filters to narrow down options and find a specific job posting and organizations to work for. Other services are also available such as career planning, skill assessment, job alerts, jobs match and resumé builders. Through this database, you are able to access thousands of jobs across the country, tailored to their specific skill sets.

The Government of Canada’s Job Bank advertise public and private sector jobs that you can easily browse through by using filters to narrow them down and find exactly what you are looking for. Other services are also available such as job alerts, jobs match and resumé builders.


To be engaged in activities that are beneficial and meaningful to you, the following considerations are proposed as they could help you to go through a seamless transition.

7-12 Month before your date of release

  • Research education options and facilitate interviews with schools, if pursuing or continuing education.

    • Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR).

    • MySet.

  • Identify second career options.

    • Participate in the Career Transition Workshops.

    • Explore VAC’s Career Transition Services.

    • Make an appointment with your local Base/Wing PSO to discuss post career options.

    • Prepare or update your résume.

    • Contact a professional group if you have skilled trade.

    • Attend a job interview preparation session.

    • MNET.

    • Plan to and apply for the CAF Vocational Rehabilitation Program for Serving Members (VRPSM).

1-6 Month before your date of release

  • Consider applying to the public service employment.

    • Consider activating Priority Entitlement (as applicable).

    • Learn about employment preference and mobility in the public service.

  • Identify hobbies.

  • Request a letter of reference.

  • Explore VAC’s Education and Training Benefits.

Within 1 Month of your date of release

  • Apply for VAC’s Education and Training Benefit, if eligible.

  • Apply for VAC’s Career Transition Services, if eligible.

After your date of release

  • Activate Priority Entitlement (as applicable).

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