Looking for a job

Regardless of the level or type of job, the most successful job seekers use a variety of job search strategies. Success in competitive labour markets requires the ability to spot opportunities and the know-how to get yourself there. Whether you are seeking part time employment while you study, course related experience, or graduate roles, the following information is for you.

The best way to plan your job search strategy is to gain some industry information before you start. Research and gather information about jobs and possible careers by talking to people who already work in similar jobs. You can do this over the phone or make an appointment to meet for a chat. In some circumstances, email or other online conversations might be the best option.

What you are seeking is an understanding of the type of work, how people are typically recruited, what employers are looking for, and any tips that will enhance your success. This approach is effective for two reasons: you gain important information that will help you gain work and a potential employer knows who you are. You are effectively networking, which is one of the most successful strategies for job searching.

You can find people to interview by:

  • asking your family and friends (or ask if they have any family and friends) who might know someone
  • checking job search engines for organisations recruiting in your field (even if the jobs are out of your range at this point, you have the organisation's contact)
  • ringing the human resources department of organisations  you are interested in and ask them if they can assist you
  • linking with the University's Alumni
  • contacting relevant professional associations who could connect you with one of their members
  • searching industry news sites, online journals, blogs or sites like myfuture forum for likely sources of potential contacts in your field
  • your lecturers and tutors may be able to refer you to the appropriate person within an organisation or assist with strategies to track down a contact
  • attending an employer event on campus
  • booking an appointment with the Careers Service to explore other strategies

Tips and career boosters
  • Always be clear about your intention to interview for information only.
  • If you are meeting with the person dress as if you are attending an interview and arrive and leave on time.
  • Prepare a list of questions before the interview like responsibilities, opportunities, their own career path, how vacancies are advertised etc.
  • Thank the person for their time.
  • Summarise your findings and keep records so you can go back to them.

Networking involves making connections with people, then building and maintaining good relationships with them. Most of us already have a network of family, friends, acquaintances, fellow students, academics, and university staff. You might find that some people in your existing network have useful advice or information for you while you're looking for a job. Or they might lead you to someone in their network who can help you.

Sometimes a job lead can come from someone you play sport with or someone you meet at a party. The trick is to let people know that you are job searching. Be clear about the information you are looking for, so that your contacts can help you or refer you on to someone else.

Don't be shy about networking, be curious. You simply start by showing an interest in another person's field of work. Be prepared to help others in your network; this will strengthen the quality of your network.

Tips and career boosters
  • Networking becomes easier if you participate in a range of activities and groups (including online).
  • Attend employer events on campus.
  • Tap into networks on campus – academics (check your school seminar series), student groups and societies such as iLEAD.
  • Investigate the University's Alumni group.
  • Attend the Networking workshop run by the Careers Service or check out the information sheet on CareerHub.
  • Book an appointment with the Careers Service to run through some ideas and practice your approach.

Up to 70 per cent of the jobs available in the workforce are never advertised. This means that if you rely only on advertised jobs to find work, you're potentially missing out on 70 per cent of the action. One of the best ways to improve your employment chances is to access the hidden job market. You can do this by going directly to your preferred employers.

Through your career research you should have found companies that interest you. Make a shortlist from this by selecting the organisations you really want to work for based on what is important to you. It could be things like location, travel, work hours, salary, opportunities for promotion, culture etc.

Once you have your shortlist you can contact these companies to see if there are any opportunities available.

Tips and career boosters
  • Before you contact your shortlisted companies it helps to do a little more research into things like who the company is, how it is structured, future prospects and if it offers a graduate program. This way when you contact them it will look like you have made an informed decision about wanting to work for them.
  • Be open to work experience and short term projects as it can help get a permanent position.
  • Check out the Job Search, Cover Letters, and Resume information sheets on CareerHub.
  • Target your cover letter and resume to fit the type of work and organisation you are approaching – get your application checked by the Careers Service.

Organisations advertise vacancies in a variety of places. When you're looking for work you need to regularly check as many of these different sources as possible:

Tips and career boosters
  • Check out the links in the Resources section on CareerHub where you will find graduate job search sites, professional associations and other useful leads.
  • Have your application reviewed by the Careers Service.
  • Sign up for alerts on relevant job sites.
  • Check various sources regularly.

With access to job boards, employer websites, industry forums and careers advice, the internet is an excellent tool for job seekers. As you use the internet for research, employers may also be searching to see if you are a suitable candidate for a position within their organisation.

You must take control of your online brand and ensure it is not impacting on your ability to secure a job.

Tips and career boosters
  • Create a LinkedIn profile to advertise your skills, experience and network. See the Social Media information sheet in the Resources section on CareerHub.
  • Protect your online presence- opinions can be formed from your blog comments, tweets, snapshots, videos and links. See Microsoft Safety and Security Centre for tips and advice such as thinking before you comment or share information and removing detrimental information.

Some large organisations have specific employment programs for current university students and recent graduates. These opportunities are often advertised Australia wide and in some cases internationally. Depending on your field, these programs may be a good option for commencing your professional career. The programs are very competitive. The application process is often involved and lengthy and requires time to prepare. Many of the applications are due around the same time, while you are in the middle of your studies. Early research and preparation is essential to be competitive.

Graduate recruitment programs

Graduate recruitment programs are run by many organisations in both the public and private sectors. They involve either a permanent or short term job providing you with on the job learning and development in a particular organisation or industry. Most usually involve a thorough selection process. Graduate programs are usually advertised during your final year of study to start in the following year.

Closing dates can be as early as March/April. Organisations offering graduate programs will have information on their websites.

Learn about 2018 graduate programs and graduate jobs from around Australia in the newest edition of Graduate Opportunities. This ebook is jam packed full of career advice, stats on Graduate employment and all the latest job opportunities for graduates to apply for this year.

For more information, see our What are Graduate Programs information sheet on CareerHub.

Vacation programs

Many of the organisations that offer graduate programs will also offer vacation programs aimed at penultimate year students. Because of the competitive nature of graduate programs, vacation programs are often used by employers to identify potential graduate program candidates.

For more information , see our Finding Professional Experience information sheet on CareerHub.

Tips and career boosters
  • Attend the annual graduate employment expo on campus to meet with some of the employers offering grad and vacation programs.
  • Use the careers service for help with your application, resume and interview skills.
  • Attend a workshop on application and resume writing, assessment centres, and interview preparation.
  • Thoroughly prepare for interviews and other selection stages by going over practice questions in the resource section on CareerHub.

If your career plans include working outside of Australia, learn all you can about the prospective labour market of your intended destination. Each country will have unique and different:

  • workplace laws, foreigner working rights, industry practices
  • job seeking methods and job application styles and preferences
  • cultural practices that need to be understood and respected
  • economic conditions.

Research and effective pre-planning can alert you to opportunities and issues that can significantly impact on your chances of success, and can inform your choice as to where you go and how you organise your journey.

A good starting point is GoinGlobal, an online career information and job search site that can be found on CareerHub. The site is free to all our students and graduates who access it via CareerHub. GoinGlobal includes:

  • country career guides developed by local career specialists
  • Global Key Employer Directory - 25,000 country-specific company profiles
  • job Postings and Internships.

More than 35,000 resources for finding international employment.

Each country segment contains recommended web sites, detailed resource descriptions, insider tips and professional advice on:

  • job search resources: general and specialized job sites, job fairs, newspapers, government-sponsored employment offices, head-hunters / recruiters, internship programs and temporary staffing agencies
  • information on employment opportunities and trends
  • industry-specific trade and professional organization information and links:  issues of special concern for foreign professionals, education requirements, trade associations, publications, and industry web sites
  • business resources:  Trade Councils, Chambers of Commerce, and other professional networking organizations
  • work permits and visa regulations
  • finance and compensation information:  taxes, cost of living, medical insurance, vacation/leave, etc.
  • resume/CV writing guidelines
  • cultural and interviewing advice
  • embassy listings with key contact information and links.

You can also get help with your off-shore research through the Careers Service.