Finding a Job

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

Initiative

Problem solving

Ability to work in a team

Personal presentation

21st Century Skills

Problem solving

Digital literacy

Creativity

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.

Importance of skills to employers (%)

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.