Where do you look for a job?

Where do you look for a job? Jon Wundersitz Mon, 11/23/2020 - 13:50

The first step on the road to employment is finding a job. But where are jobs listed? Employers often use a number of methods to find candidates and below are some of the most common methods used.


Many employers use the internet to advertise jobs. This includes their own company website, or job search websites like Australian Job Search.


Tailor your résumé and application for each different job you apply for. This helps you stand out from others who may use the same résumé and application every time. 

Social media

More and more employers are using social media to hire workers. Look out for ads posted on business pages, or in Facebook job groups. 


Don’t forget about the humble newspaper—many employers still advertise their job openings in in the classifieds section. 


Word of Mouth

Employers often ask people they know to ‘spread the word’ about an available position, or even ask current staff if they know someone who would fit the role. 


Approach employers

Many job seekers approach employers to ask if they have any jobs open or to drop off their résumé. Employers often consider these job seekers for current or future opportunities. 


What employers are looking for

What employers are looking for Jon Wundersitz Mon, 11/23/2020 - 14:19

As the jobs market becomes more competitive as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to understand what employers are looking for. Even before the pandemic, employers received an average of 21 applicants per vacancy. With many more people now unemployed, the competition for the available jobs will be greater.

Generally, employers are looking for someone with the whole package: the right educational qualifications are essential and work experience is often a pre-requisite. Also, do not forget your employability skills! Employers may be willing to compromise on some aspects, depending on the type of job, but not on others. For example, an employer may hire someone as a Checkout Operator without any work experience, but will insist on good team work and customer service skills.

Education and training

Overall, work is becoming more skilled. The majority of jobs created in the future will require a Vocational Education and Training (VET) or university qualification. The workforce has also become more skilled, with nearly two-thirds of the working age population (aged 15 to 64 years) in 2019 holding a post-school qualification (up from 51% in 2014).

Completing Year 12 (or equivalent) is the minimum requirement for most employers, however, many are seeking people with post-school qualifications.

University is not the only pathway to a good job. Apprenticeships, traineeships, diplomas or certificate III or IV level qualifications will also set you up for a stable and rewarding career.

If you are considering a VET course or qualification, the best type of training is related to the job you want to do. But don’t do training for the sake of it! For example, Personal Carers often require certificates in food handling and first aid, but one certificate I (or several) may not help in the long-term. A certificate III or higher qualification will likely include the relevant training, along with a range of other units important for this occupation.

In response to COVID-19, new short courses, or ‘micro-credentials’, are also available to help you upskill (check out courseseeker.edu.au for available courses). These short courses can be a good way to gain new skills relevant to the jobs in demand.


Workplace experience is another important quality that employers look for. All jobs will give you valuable experience and help you develop vital employability skills. Regardless of the job, you will gain an understanding of what is expected in the workplace and be able to demonstrate to employers that you are committed to work, reliable and trustworthy. Most importantly, it gives you a foot in the door and provides you with an opportunity to build your network and gain referees.

Experience can be gained through part-time, casual, or temporary jobs, work experience placements, internships or even by volunteering.

What if you do not have any work experience?

If you don’t have any work experience, think about other ways to demonstrate your transferable skills. You could provide examples from your school activities or work on group projects, working with your local sports club, even participating in debating, theatre or dance performances or chess competitions. Employers are also very encouraged by young people who participate in community or volunteering activities.

There are also some jobs for which employers are more likely to consider someone without previous experience, such as Fast Food Cooks, Packers and Pharmacy Sales Assistants. Research conducted by the NSC indicates many of these jobs have been in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as General Sales Assistants and Checkout Operators.

Sources: ABS, Education and Work, Australia, May 2019; National Skills Commission, Jobs in Demand Employer Survey; National Skills Commission, Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences.

Finding a Job

Finding a Job Jon Wundersitz Mon, 11/23/2020 - 14:22

Employability skills

Employers often place a high value on employability skills as they want someone who will be a good fit for their business. While you can gain these skills through work experience, they are not job-specific, cover a range of personal qualities and skills, and transfer across different occupations and industries.

Core Skills

People skills

Communication skills

Work ethic


Problem solving

Ability to work in a team

Personal presentation

21st Century Skills

Problem solving

Digital literacy


Presenting skills

Critical thinking

Financial literacy

Recent research by the NSC highlights the importance of these skills, showing that three quarters of employers consider personal qualities at least as important as, if not more than, technical skills.

It is important to take the time to think about the employability skills you have. It will then be easier for you to tell employers what you can offer, but also help you think about what skills you can develop to improve your chances of getting a job.

While some employers will compromise on education or experience, most will not compromise on employability skills. Feedback from employers shows that they can teach someone to use a machine, but they cannot teach someone to be reliable or polite to their customers.

You need an excellent résumé and job application

Your résumé and application are often your first chance to market yourself to potential employers.

To improve your chances of reaching the next stage in the recruitment process, your application will need to stand out.

How do you do this?

  • Research the business and job. This will help you tailor your application and show your interest in the position.
  • Ring the employer and ask questions about the job and the business. Doing this demonstrates your enthusiasm and the employer will remember you and look for your application.
  • Be succinct. Your application and résumé should be around 1-2 pages each.
  • If possible, include examples from your current job, work history or extracurricular activities and explain how these directly relate to the position on offer.
  • Double and triple-check that there are no spelling or grammatical errors in your application. Also consider asking someone to review your application, to help pick up any mistakes you may have missed.

Tailor your application to each job

Every job and business is different, so write your application specifically for each job. Do not fall into the trap of using generic applications. Imagine what an employer would think if they receive an application better suited to a role as a sales representative when their position is for an apprentice refrigeration mechanic.

Employers want the right match for their business, and showing that you have read the job description carefully and researched their organisation will help set you apart from other candidates.

More advice on writing résumés and job applications can be found at jobsearch.gov.au.

Digital job applications 

Applying for a job has changed—many employers are using new technologies in their recruitment processes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, some employers are using software to scan résumés to shortlist candidates who match their needs.

Here are some tips that may help you land a job online:

  • make sure you read all instructions carefully so you don’t miss any steps
  • check that all information and responses for online applications are well thought out and don’t have any spelling or grammar mistakes
  • make your résumé software friendly by using a simple format and clearly addressing any selection criteria and required skills
  • some employers will do an online search for your name or look at your social media profile, so consider reviewing your digital presence to ensure it is appropriate
  • be prepared for video interviews—know where to find a good internet connection and professional backdrop, and make the most of the time available for each question. Also dress professionally—a good rule is to dress as you would for an interview in-person.

Source: National Skills Commission, Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences.

Winning a job

Winning a job Jon Wundersitz Mon, 11/23/2020 - 14:25

Get ready for the interview: Prepare, Plan, Practise and Presentation

The interview is usually the second stage of marketing yourself and landing a job. Interviews can be nerve wracking, but some preparation beforehand can really help you stand out.

  • Practise interview questions with a friend or family member.
  • Prepare some questions about the job and business to ask at the interview. This demonstrates your interest and shows that you are prepared.
  • Think about your presentation and what you will wear. Remember, first impressions count! Dress appropriately for the job. While formal business attire may be fitting for a job based in an office, it may not be as suitable for a job in a fashion retailer.
  • Don’t be late! Find out where you need to be, plan your trip and aim to arrive at least 10 minutes early.
  • Explain the skills that you would bring to the job, and talk about your employability skills. Employers want to know who they will be working with and the interview is your opportunity to demonstrate this.
  • Prepare examples to demonstrate your skills based on your real life experiences, such as at a previous job, while studying or volunteering.

Tell your friends and family you are looking for a job

More than a quarter (or 27%) of employers fill a job with someone they know, directly or indirectly. This rises to 39% of employers in regional areas. It is common for employers to hire someone who is:

  • personally known to them, such as a friend or family contact
  • a professional contact (for example, a previous co-worker)
  • recommended by someone they know.

“I’m more likely to employ someone who is not experienced if they come looking for a job… it shows initiative” Accommodation and Food Services employer

Depending on what job you are looking for and how affected it is by the COVID-19 pandemic, there may not be as many opportunities available at the moment. By telling friends, family contacts, school teachers or neighbours that you are currently looking for work can help improve your chances of hearing about a job opening, or even being recommended for one when an opening occurs.

Don’t forget that social media is a perfectly good way to contact people too! However, don’t ask for a job straight away—send a simple message with what you have been doing, that you are looking to start working or move on from your previous job, and ask for some advice or insight. This way, if whoever you tell does become aware of an opportunity, they are more likely to think of you.

Get out there and talk to employers

If you don’t have a wide network of people, or if you have already told people you’re looking for work and haven’t heard anything, don’t be discouraged! Remember that approaching employers directly to ask if they have any positions available can also lead to a job.

In fact, for 11% of vacancies, employers consider people who have approached them looking for work, with many employers actually hiring them. Approaching employers lets you show your communication skills, initiative and motivation—traits that many employers are looking for.

This can be a daunting prospect for many, however, make sure you use it as an opportunity to have a conversation and make a lasting impression—this will make you stand out amongst other job seekers who just drop off their résumé. If an employer doesn’t have a job available at the time, but suggests you get in contact again at a later date, make sure you follow up. It shows initiative, that you were listening and are keen. You could just be in the right place at the right time!

What if your approach is not working?

You may need to consider:

  • whether your expectations are realistic. It is unlikely that you will start at the top and you need to show you are willing to work your way up from the bottom
  • widening your search to different types of jobs and locations
  • applying for contract or casual work, part-time or shift work.

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback if you are unsuccessful. Many employers will tell you why you didn’t get the job. With each application and interview you gain experience that you can use to improve your job search skills. It is all part of the job search experience.

Looking for a job is hard work. Depending on where you live, there can be a lot of competition for jobs. It can take a while to secure a position and you may receive knockbacks in the process, but if you keep trying, your efforts will pay off.

Remember, while some industries may take time to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be opportunities across many sectors, such as Construction and Health Care and Social Assistance. COVID-19 may also speed up other trends, such as the move to online shopping. To boost your chances, you need to be flexible and look widely for opportunities – your first job may take you to the warehouse floor, rather than the shop floor!

“[The job seeker]… asked if we had any jobs going. We didn’t actually need anyone at the time, but she had good qualifications and a good personality so we added her” Property and Real Estate Services employer

Remember that all jobs can open doors to something better and give you valuable experience and skills — don’t just wait to land the perfect job.

Source: National Skills Commission, Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences.

Skills for the future

Skills for the future Jon Wundersitz Mon, 11/23/2020 - 14:26

Skills are key

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused large-scale disruption to Australian businesses, workplaces and jobs. Even as the Australian economy recovers, we are likely to see more workforce transitions due to increased digitisation, technological adoption and ongoing structural changes.

In these times of global uncertainty and change, skills are key. The Australian Government, through the NSC, is providing a range of job matching tools and resources to help young people and existing workers skill and reskill themselves for jobs and careers that are in demand. More information can be found at yourcareer.gov.au

What types of skills will be in demand?

When applying for jobs, remember to emphasise your employability skills, rather than just the technical skills you may have. Communication, reliability, team work, patience, resilience and initiative are required for all jobs, and this will continue to be the case in the future. These skills are also highly valued by employers. A 2019 survey conducted by the NSC asked employers about the importance of these sorts of skills. Some 75% of employers considered employability skills to be as important, if not more important, than technical skills.

We also know that it is important to have the skills that will help you work with technology. Almost all jobs will require the use of at least one technology tool. A technology tool is software that enables a person to perform tasks related to an occupation. We use technology tools to perform many tasks in our daily lives including using the internet, sending emails, texts or instant messages, and connecting remotely with video conferencing.

For example, the most used technology tools for a Truck Driver are shown in the illustration. Even though the primary task is driving a truck, technology tools support drivers to perform other tasks, such as managing inventory and route planning, more efficiently and effectively.

Technology tools used by Truck Drivers

  • Inventory management software
  • Data base user interface and query software
  • Industrial control software
  • Materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software
  • Office suite software
  • Route navigation software
  • Spreadsheet software

Source: National Skills Commission analysis

Can skills gained in one job be transferable to another job?

Many jobs have similar skill sets. If you are looking for work or facing a change of job, the good news is that you’re likely to have many transferable skills. Identifying your transferable skills can open up a broader range of job opportunities—see diagram below.

For further information on the skills employers will need into the future, please visit the Your Career website. This website provides clear and simply career information and is designed to help people of all ages and circumstances better plan and manage their career. It has resources on training options, information and services to support career development.

Jobs with similar skills

Retail Assistants

  • Motor Vehicle and Caravan Salespersons,
  • Customer Service Managers,
  • Call Centre Operators

Café Workers

  • Baristas, Waiters,
  • Bar Attendants,
  • Kitchenhands,
  • Cashiers

General Clerks

  • Receptionists,
  • Admission Clerks,
  • Data Entry Operators,
  • Transport and Despatch Clerks

Builder's Labourers

  • Excavator Operators,
  • Wall and Floor Tilers,
  • Railway Track Workers,
  • Freight and Furniture Handlers

Machine Operators

  • Painting Trades Workers,
  • Furniture Finishers,
  • Panelbeaters

Source: National Skills Commission analysis

What new opportunities might be created by technological change?

The COVID-19 pandemic may speed up workforce transitions already underway due to technological change. Some businesses could move their business online and adopt new ways of working.

In order to provide up-to-date and accurate information about these new opportunities, the NSC has undertaken work to identify the occupations that have emerged from this period of transition. Examples include Social Media Specialists and Wind Turbine Technicians. See here for more information on these emerging occupations.

As the Australian economy recovers, the jobs created may not be the same as those that were lost. Technological change may also change some jobs and their skills requirements. For example, school teachers are engaging with online learning and using technology to apply multiple teaching methods in class.

While some workforce disruptions have been challenging, technology is creating new opportunities. For example, there may be more opportunities to enjoy a regional lifestyle while working remotely. In turn, regional population growth could create more local job opportunities, strengthening those communities and economies.

Will training and qualifications be necessary?

There are many pathways to work, and it is important to make decisions based on your own strengths. In a competitive labour market, training and qualifications matter. It also helps to understand the skills you acquire through your education, training and work experience.

You can use the Government’s resources like Jobs Hub and Skills Match to identify your transferable skills and address skills gaps. These resources also identify local labour market trends and opportunities—so you know your training and qualifications will lead to ongoing work.

Skills development and lifelong learning will expand your opportunities as some jobs change, new jobs emerge, and technological progress continues.