Finding work is often a job in itself. There are a number of steps involved in finding work which may take some time and effort to complete and it is important to remember that it is not always possible to get your dream job straight away but any job is a step in the right direction.
Some things to consider
Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and do work that is different to anything you’ve done before. It is easier to get a job if you already have a job and if you can take that initial step into the workforce, even on a part time or casual basis, you will be much better placed to find the long term job that is right for you.
Understand the different steps involved in searching for a job and develop a plan or strategy around how to best tackle these. Remember, your plan is not set in concrete – you can update or change it at any time.
If you’ve been applying for jobs for a while but not getting many responses or you are making it to interview but are yet to be offered a job then it could be time to brush up on your techniques, including writing your cover letter and résumé and tapping into the hidden job market.
My job search priorities
Look through the checklist below and consider your job search priorities.
I want to:
- identify the skills and experience I have to offer employers
- get a better understanding of what employers want
- update and improve my résumé
- improve my cover letter
- find advertised vacancies
- find unadvertised job vacancies
- improve my job interview skills.
Job search preparation tips
Match your qualities with job ads
Once you have decided on your job search priorities, it’s a good idea to spend some time looking at job ads to identify the skills and the qualities an employer is looking for in a job applicant. Some employers ask that you have particular experience but many are looking for employees that can supervise staff and have good communications and time management skills. A willingness to learn new skills is also an important quality in an employee.
Consider your qualities, skills and experience and find examples from your work history, volunteer work or life experiences that demonstrate your strengths that best match the jobs on offer. For more information on assessing your skills visit the Identifying your skills page.
Update and improve your résumé
A résumé is a document that outlines your background and skills. A typical résumé contains a summary of your relevant job experience and education and lists your referees. It is usually one of the first items, along with a cover letter which a potential employer will read to see if you are suitable for employment.
Is your résumé up to date? It may have been some time since you were last employed, or you may have changed employers recently. If so, it’s important to update the information on your résumé. You should ask for a record of attendance and your work performance from any work experience placements or volunteer roles you have completed. Make sure you add all your courses or relevant placements to your résumé.
Improve your cover letter
A cover letter is a short letter to an employer which introduces you and sets out your skills and why you think you are suitable for the position. Each time you apply for a job, you need to adjust your cover letter and résumé to demonstrate that your strengths best match the job on offer.
You will also need a reliable person (a referee) who can vouch for your experience and the types of skills and attitudes you’ve shown in your previous work. A referee can be a supervisor or manager who you have worked with. If you don’t have a current referee, work experience or volunteering can help you secure new referees.
Contact your referee to confirm they will be happy to talk about your skills and experience and let them know the types of jobs you are looking for.
Look in different places for advertised jobs
Major job websites such as jobactive are useful but expand your view to include websites and Facebook pages of companies you would like to work for; job listings on specialty websites and social media platforms like LinkedIn; industry news sites; trade and industry association websites; and “staff wanted” signs posted by local businesses.
For more information visit the where do I look for work page.
Tap into the hidden job market by networking
“Networking” is just another way to describe talking to people you know about job leads. Your network includes family, friends, former co-workers, fellow members of sporting and community clubs and those working in businesses you frequent such as clubs, cafes, retail stores and even the receptionist at businesses you visit.
Get ready for job interviews
An important step in preparing for a job is to think about you ‘work’ self. We often have a “social self” for friends and family and a “work self” for employers and those playing a role in your employment future.
How will you present your ‘work’ self during a job interview or to a new employer? It’s a good idea to choose suitable clothes to wear to an interview and to take some time to practice speaking clearly and confidently.
Ensure you have done some research on the employer before attending an interview. Find out what products and services they offer, who you’ll be meeting and their role within the company. Make sure you know where the company is located and how you are going to get there.