Tips to Improve Your Employment Opportunities

Current Year 12s who wish to enter the workforce as an apprentice, trainee or in a junior role at the end of 2015 or in 2016 should be making preparations for finding a job. The same applies to past students who may be on gap break and hope to enter the workforce.


Many employers of young people are starting their recruitment processes for next year’s intake of apprentices, trainees and junior staff!

To maximize your employment opportunities, it is important to understand the recruitment methods that employers use, what employers look for in job applicants and employer views on how you can improve the chances of getting a job.

The Australian Government Department of Employment conducts annual surveys of the recruitment experiences of employers across Australia. This information is summarized and added to the Recruitment Analysis section of the Labour Market Information Portal. Labour market posters and summary papers provide key tips for people wanting to improve their chances of finding employment. Slide Presentations given by Department of Employment also provide useful summary information. Some of the key findings from this research and what this means in terms of the actions you can take to improve your employment opportunities are outlined below.

  1. Employers use a range of recruitment methods.
    Actions:
    Develop a job search strategy that uses a variety of ways of finding employment. See the Job Search Plan on the Grow Careers website.
  2. At the national level, more than half of all vacancies are advertised on the internet or in the newspaper. However, this statistic varies in different regions and with different types of jobs. Employers most commonly advertise jobs in capital cities or highly skilled jobs in newspapers and on the internet.
    Actions:
    As a matter of course, search job vacancy advertisements in newspapers and on the Internet. However, school leavers and young people must also use other recruitment techniques to maximise exposure to entry-level job vacancies. Spot jobs is one job vacancy website that focuses on entry-level jobs, but don’t just rely on this site or recruitment method.
  3. About 10% of jobs are filled by private recruitment agencies, labour hire agencies or Government funded Jobactive or Disability Employment Service providers.
    Actions:
    As a matter of course, register with relevant recruitment, labour hire or employment service providers in your region.
  4. Informal recruitment methods include:
    • Word of mouth – employers ask colleagues, family and friends if they know of suitable candidates or the employer ‘head hunts’ new employees.
    • Direct approaches to employers by job seekers.
  5. Nationally, approximately one third of all jobs and approximately 41% of lower skilled jobs are not formally advertised. However, these statistics vary among regions. For example, the Department of Employment’s survey of the recruitment experiences of employers found that in Launceston, Tasmania, approximately 48% of jobs are not formally advertised.
    Actions:
    • Network with people you know and let them know you are looking for work.
    • Develop the confidence to directly approach likely employers to find work and follow up in person.
  6. Australian Employers’ Advice for Young People:
    • Tailor job application documents to the requirements of the specific job you are applying for.
    • Be mindful of spelling and grammar and appearance of your résumé and cover letter.
    • The most important qualities that employers look for are positive attitude, willingness to work, learn and take direction and motivation and enthusiasm.
    • Other important qualities include punctuality, reliability, respect towards colleagues and customers and willingness to stay in the job for an acceptable period.
    • Whenever you have contact with an employer (e.g., to hand in a résumé, follow up with an employer in person, or in a job interview), pay attention to personal presentation.
    • Know what is involved in the job you are applying for, including the work that is expected, the approximate pay level and be prepared to start at the bottom and later progress to higher levels of responsibility.
    • Get work experience, through school programmes or volunteer work, or co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
    • Actions:
    • Know the occupation you want. Being certain about the occupation you want to pursue in the immediate future may help demonstrate the enthusiasm that employers seek. Of course the world of work changes and you change, so you also need to be adaptable and be prepared to alter your career preferences to respond to changes that may occur.
    • If you are not certain about your preferred initial occupation and you are still at school, visit your school Career Practitioner who may be able to help you identify your current career preferences. You may also wish to complete some of the career assessment activities on the myfuture website to help you explore some career possibilities. If you wish to obtain the services of a professional career counsellor, you can locate one in your region from the Career Development Association of Australia website.
    • If you would like an apprenticeship, but you are uncertain of the area and how to get an apprenticeship, check out the information and links about apprenticeships on the Grow Careers website.
    • If are having trouble narrowing down the occupations that interest you and choosing your most preferred for now, check out the information on career problem-solving and decision-making on the Grow Careers website.
    • If possible get work experience in the type of job you hope to secure. This helps develop your work readiness and it is a good way to demonstrate your motivation and enthusiasm for the type of job you hope to obtain. Industry work experience also gives you industry contacts and you can include it in your résumé. Your work experience employer may even be willing to be a referee on your résumé.
    • Use the information and links on the Grow Careers website to:
      • Prepare a tailored résumé that also shows that you have the most important qualities that employers look for.
      • Write a tailored cover letter.
      • Prepare a well-presented portfolio to share with an employer at a job interview.
      • Develop your job interview skills.

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