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Have a plan

Having a plan will improve the chances your transition will go smoothly, be a period of growth, and be enjoyable.

You'll need a plan for leaving the NZ Defence Force. Having a plan includes having achievable goals and measures for success. These will help you figure out what needs to be done and ensure you successfully transition out of the military. A NZDF career transition coach can help you to make the transition. 

When to start and what to plan

It's important to start creating your plan as soon as you decide to leave.

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1 to 2 years before you leave
  • Get familiar with the information about leaving on the HR Toolkit and the My Career Portal (found on the intranet).
  • Make financial decisions around superannuation, insurance and savings using the Force Financial Hub.
  • Check for qualifications you may have earned with your military experience by contacting Defence Qualifications within the New Zealand Defence College (found on the intranet).
  • Update your personal information on your Employee Self Service.
  • Consider where your home location will be once you leave. Visit the HR Toolkit to check if you'll be eligible for resettlement expenses or to request a Terminal Posting.
  • Plan how you'll use your Resettlement Study Assistance if you're eligible to receive it. There's information on the HR Toolkit.
  • Establish a professional network. You can start off by subscribing to professional associations or joining LinkedIn.
  • See what skills you can learn, apply and consolidate before you leave.
  • Record the specific achievements, projects and skills you have utilised in your various roles.
  • Join ex-service groups, such as a corps or branch association.
  • Attend a NZ Defence Force Transition Seminar if you're eligible. There's more information on the NZ Defence Force Course Plan (found on the intranet).

Force Financial Hub(external link)

12 months before you leave
  • Read the Departing the NZDF information on the HR Toolkit.
  • Develop wider identity through sports clubs, your child's school or other interest groups.
  • Prepare a CV, making sure you have adequately translated your skills and abilities for the civilian workforce.
  • Book in to see a NZDF career transition coach. They will work with you to update your CV, learn and practice interview techniques, and provide job seeking and application strategies. 
  • Start learning interview techniques.
  • Consider who could be your referees—people who can speak positively about your skills, abilities and attributes.
  • Review your options for life insurance, income protection insurance and health insurance. The Force Financial Hub has a section on insurance.

Force Financial Hub(external link)

6 months before you leave
  • Consider whether to join the Reserve Forces when you leave. It can be a good way to remain engaged with the New Zealand Defence Force.
  • Plan to maximise the use of your annual leave.
  • Use your Resettlement Study Assistance if you're eligible to receive it.
  • If you're nearing retirement age, check your superannuation options. You might be eligible to receive NZ Super or the Veteran's Pension.
  • Check whether you have a Return of Service Obligation (ROSO) for any education, apprenticeships overseas course. If you have a ROSO you will need to organise for it to be paid back or apply for a waiver.
  • Talk to others who are leaving, or recently have, about other things you need to do.

Join the Reserve Forces(external link)(external link)

Information about NZ Super(external link)(external link)

Information about the Veteran's Pension

3 months before you leave
  • Complete a Release from NZDF request through Employee Self Service on the intranet.
  • Schedule release medical and dental examinations.
  • If you're dealing with a health issue, consider what your health management plan will be after you leave. Talk to you local Defence Health Centre if you're unsure.
  • Register with a civilian GP and dentist.
  • Update your personal information on Employee Self Service.
  • Payback any outstanding payments, such as those for travel, advance payments, or education.
  • Consider whether to maintain your current superannuation scheme or transfer to another one.
  • Complete any administration tasks your HRSC case manager gives you.
1 month before you leave
  • Assemble an appropriate wardrobe for your new role.
  • Make a copy of your personnel records.
  • Request your medical file from your local Defence Health Centre and Defence Dental Services. Make sure you forward these to your new practitioners.
  • Connect with other agencies, such as the RSA, ACC, or Veterans' Affairs.
  • Think about the possible psychological impact of leaving.
  • Inquire about your farewell from your workplace or mess.
  • Find out what uniform and equipment you need to return. Those joining the Reserve Force should also inquire as you may need to return only certain items.
The week you leave

Make sure you return:

  • uniform issued to you
  • equipment issued to you
  • library books
  • RAS tokens
  • your identity card (MD58).

If you're transferring to the Reserve Force, you may be able to keep some of these.