Tell your friends and family you are looking for a job
In 2018, National Skills Commission employer survey findings indicated more than a quarter (27%) of employers filled a job with someone they knew, directly or indirectly. This rose 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. 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. Good old-fashioned knocking on doors can also help – consider dropping off your résumé to businesses in your area. Often employers don’t advertise vacancies at all and instead refer back to these résumés and ring people when an opportunity comes up.
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 will be more likely to think of you. But take care! There are scammers who target job seekers online. If the message or email doesn’t look right, or if it sounds too good to be true, delete the message.
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.
From August 2020 to June 2021, for 8% of vacancies, employers considered people who had approached them looking for work, with many employers 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!
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 appropriate for a job based in an office, it may not be suitable for a job in the Construction industry.
- 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 personal and 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 and fit with the organisation based on your real-life experiences, such as at a previous job, while studying or volunteering.
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.
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.
“[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
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 (more information on these industries can be found on pages 15 and 16). 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!
Sources: National Skills Commission, Recruitment Experiences and Outlook Survey, weighted data, August 2020 to June 2021; National Skills Commission, Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences, 2018.