If you have been in the workforce for a long time, it is likely that you found your job in a newspaper. While traditionally, newspapers were the main way employers advertised, today, national and local newspapers are just one of the many different places to look for work including jobs websites, company internet pages, facebook, LinkedIn, in shop windows or by contacting employers directly.
You can also tap into the hidden job market by networking or talking to people you know about job leads.
Below are a few of the methods that you could use to find a job.
Jobs websites are useful for searching for advertised jobs in a particular location, industry or role. If you don’t have access to the internet at home, your local library will usually have computers that you can use.
Make sure you are searching a reputable site. A few examples of websites that may come up are:
Some websites have a job matching/job alert service. You can set up an email alert based on key words for jobs that match your skills. The job site will send you an email when a new job that matches your key word description is posted.
Company websites and Facebook pages
Company websites will usually have a separate jobs page, which might be called something like: “Join the team”; “Jobs”; “Working for us”; “Careers”; or “Current vacancies”.
- Write down the web address and closing date for applications for any jobs you think sound suitable. This will help you find them again later and not miss the application deadline.
- Check the instructions on how to apply and follow them carefully.You may have to send an email with your résumé or some sites let you load your résumé directly into their system.
- If they just ask for a résumé and cover letter, make sure you tailor these to the job. Refer to the improve your cover letter and improve your résumé pages for further advice.
You can also expand your job search to include websites and Facebook pages of companies you would like to work for; job listings on speciality websites and social media platforms such as LinkedIn; industry news sites; trades and industry association websites; and "staff wanted" signs posted by local businesses.
There are some jobs you can only find out about through employment agencies. Agencies regularly contact employers to ask about job openings, and employers place vacancies directly with agencies.
Agencies offer different services: some specialise in one area, others in several related areas. Some specialise in entry-level positions, others in executive searches. Make sure you know what type of agency you're approaching.
To get a job through an agency, you will need to register with them. Usually this means completing a registration or application form. It might involve a skills test for certain jobs like computing or administration. You may also be asked to show proof of your qualifications.
Remember that you can register with more than one agency. Some agencies offer training to upgrade your skills and make you more employable.
You may be able to receive help from jobactive, the Australian Government's free national employment service network. Read more on the support for retrenched workers page.
Labour hire and temporary agencies
Some employers use labour hire and temporary agencies to trial workers before offering permanent employment. Labour hire and temporary agencies match workers to available jobs. The agency becomes your employer, assigning you to different jobs.
The hidden job market
The hidden job market refers to jobs that are available but aren't advertised. To find out about these jobs you can ask people in your personal network or contact employers directly.
Your personal network
Your personal network consists of people you know: your family, friends, neighbours and local people, previous employers and co-workers, or people you play sport with.
- Talk to the people in your network and let them know you are looking for work. Ask them to let you know if a position comes up.
- Be as specific as possible. Talk to your network about your skills and what type of position you are looking for.
- Your network may be able to put you in touch with possible employers if they know about upcoming jobs.
- Services like LinkedIn can be great for keeping in touch with your network.
Contact employers who you are interested in working for and ask if they have any jobs available. You can do this via phone, email or in person.
- Do some research so you know about the business and the jobs that interest you.
- Prepare and practice what you are going to say about yourself and why you want to work for them.
- Make sure you speak with the right person – for larger companies this will be someone in the Human Resources (HR) department, but in smaller businesses it might be a manager or the owner. If in doubt, ask to speak to the person who handles recruitment.
- Choose the best time to call or drop into a workplace. If mornings are their busy time, try later in the day. Be prepared if the owner/manager is too busy to talk. Ask when would be a better time to contact them.
If sending an email:
- Make sure your email address is professional sounding and includes your name.
- Your email should be polite (use appropriate titles and greetings), to the point and explains the type of role you are looking for and why you would be suitable for the business.
- Attach a clear, short résumé and a cover letter if necessary. Refer to the improve your cover letter and improve your résumé pages for further advice.
If contacting the employer via phone:
- Make the call from a quiet place free from distractions and background noise.
- Take care to be polite with everyone you speak to, talk clearly and with confidence.
If approaching an employer in person:
- Dress well - first impressions count. Think carefully about the types of clothes that would be more appropriate.
- Take copies of your résumé with you so you can leave a copy with them.
- If they have a vacancy, you could have an on-the-spot interview. Be ready to answer interview-style questions confidently.
- Stay positive but be realistic. Not all employers will be interested in what you have to offer. Try not to take rejection personally and take as much information from the experience as you can. For example, does the employer prefer to use labour hire companies to fill vacancies? If so, find out who they use.
- The Australian Apprenticeships Pathways website provides a range of resources to help you research particular jobs, including job descriptions, job pathway charts, and quizzes to test your aptitude for specific occupations.