How can I find my first job in these challenging times?
Let’s not sugarcoat the situation. When it comes to finding a job in Australia right now, it is not the easiest time, but there are jobs out there. Amidst challenges like this, there are always opportunities if you think creatively and get proactive. In this article we are going to explore some simple tools for getting you on the right path to landing your first job. Let’s start with the basics.
Get your CV and cover letter templates shining
To apply for any job, internship or even volunteering position you are going to need an up-to-date, clear resume and cover letter. Both of these will need to be adapted to the job you are applying for, but first start by creating a strong template that you will be able to adapt to different roles. We always recommend sharing your template with 2-3 trusted and knowledgeable people once you believe it is complete, as they will all likely notice and help you to improve different parts of your resume. If you haven’t even started this process, you can click on the following links to download our cover letter template, to get tips on how to improve your resume and also to learn about all other aspects of the job application process.
Clean up your social media
This is an easy task to do as you sit at home. Any employer who is thinking about hiring you is likely to go onto your visible social media accounts. You have two choices when it comes to cleaning up your social media. You can either make all of your accounts private so that your latest party photos are invisible to your next potential boss or, you can go through your accounts and delete, hide or untag any content that is likely to make a potential employer believe that you are not the right fit for the job. To learn more about some of the social media fails that will stop you from winning the job click here.
Get clear on who is hiring
In a time when many industries are temporarily shutting up shop and others can’t keep up with the demand, being smart about where you go to look for work is key to the success of your job search. In your local community, spend time researching online, asking local job providers and most importantly asking as many people as you can which businesses are looking to grow their teams and are in need of entry-level workers. Getting this step right will save you hours of dead end searching and will sky rocket you into a better position.
Be open and seek help from your network
Your network is the gateway to a large percentage of your future employment opportunities. Start by sitting down and writing as clearly as you can your key skills and experiences and what type of job opportunities you are looking for. If you are not sure of the type of job you are looking for or are quite flexible, you might even ask for advice on where you might be a good fit. Practice saying this out loud and once you feel confident it’s time to share this with two groups of people.
The first are your champions and close community. These people are your support crew and will be the most eager to help you to find job opportunities. Think family and extended family, teachers and lecturers, close mates and their parents. This group of people is a great place to start in asking for help as they can also provide feedback on what you are looking for in a safe and constructive way.
The second group of people worth considering in your career search are what’s called your ‘weak ties’. These are people who you might have met only once or twice, or friends of friends. These people are really helpful because they sit right on the edge of your network and are likely to have access to new and different circles of people and possible job opportunities.
To think more about how to tap into your job network click here.
Be open to a range of industries and roles
They say happiness = reality – expectations. In times where finding a job is more challenging, it is worth considering bringing an open and flexible mindset to what opportunities could be a good fit for you. Getting access to your first job is likely to land you somewhere that might not be perfect, where you aren’t that excited by the industry or by the exact role, but it could be a great gateway opportunity into what’s next, build your resume and extend your network.
While we don’t discourage you from looking for your dream job, this might be a time to lower your expectations and to enjoy trying something different or even something that feels too familiar or easy. Try to just focus on the skills you are learning and how you can make the most of wherever you land. It could even be that while your exact role doesn’t fire you up, you can ask for new opportunities to extend yourself in the business, or to learn something new about the role or industry.
If you want some assistance in opening up your mind up to new opportunities a great place to start is with the CareerHQ Compass. This is our 6 module interactive online tool that can help you to match your interests and skills to career options you might not have considered before. This tool is linked to over 900 different jobs and job descriptions to help you to expand your understanding of what jobs and careers exist.
Get creative & entrepreneurial
Forced times of change, like the current situation, can encourage incredible creativity and thinking that is outside the box. As businesses are changing how they connect with their teams and clients, and people are having to rethink their priorities, don’t be afraid to try new things. Are there any creative or entrepreneurial ideas that jump out at you? You might even want to spend a couple of hours considering how you could contribute to the current COVID-19 challenge in a new and innovative way. This might be just the right set of ingredients for you to test out that business or social idea you have been thinking about for a while.
Look for volunteering, internships or upskilling opportunities
This might be a luxury and impossible in your context, but if you can survive a couple of extra weeks or months without paid work, looking for volunteering, internship and upskilling opportunities might be the best fit for you. Upskilling your technical knowledge or gaining experience in an organisation can be a great way to make you more employable in the future and at times can even lead to direct job opportunities.
You can access opportunities like this online or through talking to different businesses in your community. Don’t be afraid to take your resume and a cover letter into a business that you are interested in working for. In your cover letter make sure that you are clear on why you are interested in supporting the business through this time, what skills you can bring and what skills you are interested in learning. This level of initiative is likely to spark an employers interest! Once the status quo returns to normal, having something on your resume such as volunteering will really make it stand out.
Tap into your courage and creativity and ask for help
Times like this, more than ever, require for you to be bold, creative and to seek out new opportunities. All job searches can be daunting (especially your first), and it can be really challenging to continually put yourself out there and to ask for help. We recommend that you also have some friends and family who you can chat with about how you’re coping through the job search process. We all need a support crew to help us as we step out into the world.
Good luck and your first job is just around the corner!