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Getting a job

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Tips + tricks for getting a job

So you wish to find a job – casual, part-time, full time – what can you do to achieve this? Canvas businesses in an area of interest to you, provide your resume and apply for advertised positions.

Applying for a job

Make sure your resume is up to date and reflects the requirements of the job. Write a cover letter that ‘sells’ you to the employer. You should find out as much as possible about the potential employer. Most businesses are on the internet, maybe newspaper articles or newsletters, or phone the contact number on the ad for the position and ask. 

Here are some sample entry level resumes to modify below:

Get started with these cover letters below and customise to suit your needs: 

Leaving your resume or canvasing employers

Make sure your resume (no more than 2 pages) reflects your interest in the area of work or specific job, demonstrate your employability skills, don’t just list them. Have at least 2 referees.

When approaching a business, present as if you are going to be working there, be enthusiastic and ask questions, you are more likely to be remembered.

Follow up with a phone call or another visit.

The interview

Attending an interview

Make sure you are on time (even a little early).

Presentation is key, most interviews are won during the first 3 – 5 minutes. Make sure your hair is clean and tidy; hands must be clean; have clean teeth and use deodorant. Limit piercings. Clothing style at a minimum should be smart casual – dress pants, or skirt collard shirt, clean and ironed. Clean lace-up shoes or low heeled covered-in shoes, optional tie and jacket, neutral colours best. Avoid jeans, t-shirts, low cut tops and short skirts. Practice a good handshake and eye contact.

Come prepared to respond to key questions, examples below.

Making the most of an interview opportunity

It is useful to assemble a portfolio (plastic sleeve book) with the following included:

  • Copy of resume and cover letter
  • Copy of the job description and any other information you have gathered
  • Any relevant Certificates such as First Aid, OHS and/or Academic Transcripts
  • Any written references
  • Birth Certificate
  • Tax File Number

Remember to turn mobile phone and devices off – can be a distraction and rude.

Some common general questions and suitable responses

Tell me about yourself.
This is mostly an ‘ice breaker’ question. It can be a good idea to write down some points. This should not be more than 3 minutes and should be job-relevant. Mention how much you enjoyed some work experience in a similar area, what subjects you might have liked at school/university, sport, if you like to help out at home, a couple of interests/hobbies. Chance to refer to things like honesty, integrity, team work, determination

Why do you want to work with this business and what does the job involve?
This will reflect your research on the business and the job.

What do you know about our organisation?
This will reflect your research on the business and the job.

What 5 words best describe you, or how would someone else describe you?
Eg. ‘a good team player’ ‘works hard to achieve goals’

Why do you think you might be the best person for the job/ how would you be an asset?
This answer should be short and to the point. Recap the interviewer’s description of the job, referring to any skills you have in relation to the position. Use your resume as a base to start from.

What are some significant accomplishments so far?
You could say that you feel your biggest achievements are still ahead. Otherwise outline an achievement at school, sport, in the community or volunteering or in your casual job.

Describe a situation in which your work was criticised, and the outcome/ Tell about a time you might have had to make a difficult or unpopular decision.
In answering this focus on how you solved the problem and lessons you learnt. This is to show how you are at problem-solving, clues to answering this effectively can be found in the position description and key competencies required for the job

What are your long term goals/where do you see yourself in 5 – 10 years’ time?
Realistically no-one expects you to know exactly, it is more to get an idea of your general long term career plan, it gives an indication of your motivation and ability to grow personally. You could start by explaining why the job will help you develop your desired skills. The research of the business will help you see what you could say about further responsibilities/career you could aim for in the future, this shows the interviewer/s that you want to succeed.

What is one of your strengths?
This would be something like commitment, punctuality, attention to detail.

What are your weaknesses?
This is generally asked to find out how you manage these rather than be critical. Emphasise your skills, don’t say you have no weak points. example, if you say that your weakness is that you are a perfectionist, then you could explain how you are overcoming it by developing your organizational and prioritizing skills.

Give a non-sport related example of when you have worked in a team – role & outcome?
This could be part of your part-time job, a school assignment where you work with other students or if you are part of the College’s leadership team. Any time you have worked with a group of people.

Questions to ask

Do you have any questions? Make sure you have at least 3 good questions, such as:

Why is this position available?

What type of training will be offered?

What obstacles must be overcome for a person to succeed in this position?

What are your goals for this position?

How will my performance be evaluated?

What opportunities are there for growth in the future?

Could you please provide more details about what the job involves, including hours of work?

What not to do
  • Chew gum during the interview
  • Use slang or words such as ‘like’, ‘you know’ excessively
  • Be overly familiar or impolite
  • Give rambling answers
  • Discuss personal issues
  • Be critical of former employers or colleagues or teachers
  • Discuss salary or benefits, unless the interviewer brings it up
  • Have your mobile device/phone switched on and beeping

Gap year

Gap Years are becoming increasingly popular choice at the end of your school education. It’s an opportunity to discover a range of industries, meet new people, learn new skills and get paid.  

There are varied opportunities to work locally in your Gap Year: apply for a vintage jobs at one of over 15  wineries in Griffith and Leeton – applications open in October. Follow a Riverina harvest trail in areas such as citrus,  grain, grapes, nuts and check out your hospitality & tourism options at one of NSW’s premier regional agritourism businesses the Whitton Malthouse. Check their websites or look for their advertisements in the newspapers and social media recruitment sites in your region. Cold  canvas retailers, restaurants and professions such as solicitors and accountants. 

Contact your school careers adviser. They will be contacted by employers seeking gap year students for roles such as medical receptionist, and for traineeships in retail and administration. 

Consider doing a GAP year in an industry you are interested in to try it out before commencing tertiary study. 

Career services

Access career advisors, employment agencies and the classifieds for more information.

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