Get a job
You've chosen your path, you're all skilled up – Getting a job is the next step in your career path.
So all your preparation has led to this point – time to get a job! This is the stage where you need to gather everything together – your thoughts, ideas, contacts, documents and energy – you're ready to get out there and sell yourself.
When you’re ready to start your job hunt, it’s a good idea to get organised with everything you’ll need to apply for jobs.That way, when the right job comes along, you’ll be ready to go for it.
Being organised – get your stuff together
Read through the information in the slideshow to find out about some of the documents and other information you might need during your job hunt. Use the numbered buttons or the arrows to move through the slideshow.
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
CV stands for Curriculum Vitae which is Latin for ‘course of my life’. It’s basically a description of everything you’ve done in your life so far that an employer might want to know about – things like education, awards, hobbies and employment.
It might be several pages long and is usually written in chronological order, starting with the most recent and working back from there.
A resumé is similar to a CV but shorter. It generally includes only the information that relates to the job you’re applying for. It is usually only one or two pages long and focuses on your most recent or relevant experiences.
When you’re applying for jobs, read the job advertisement carefully and make sure your documents are correct. For example, if the advertisement says ‘Submit a CV/resumé of no more than two pages’ then you know they only want a resumé, not your entire life story.
CV or resumé?
In Australia these two terms – CV and resumé – generally mean the same thing. Your resumé is a really important part of your job hunting kit, because it's like a two page snapshot of who you are and what you can offer the employer.
If you're not confident about writing a resumé yourself, talk to us and we would be happy to help you develop a great resumé that you can use for your job applications.
A portfolio is like an album that visually demonstrates your work or learning experiences, and gives a potential employer physical proof of your skills and abilities. It is used when you apply for a job where the employer wants to be able to see what you can do – for example, graphic design, photography, music or artwork.
Your portfolio could be in electronic format if this shows your work better. For example, if you're into software applications or website development, then being able to show those things via a website or somewhere online would be a great way to showcase your portfolio. Remember, you can always come in to your local Jobs and Skills Centre to use our computers with internet access.
You need to be able to provide proof of anything you say in your resumé, such as school results, certificates, qualifications, licences or awards.
Make copies of these to include with your job applications. Never send the originals, as you may not get them back.
Referees and references
Referees are people who can describe your skills and experience to a potential employer. It's good to list two referees on your resume – ideally one should be your current or most recent employer or manager who can talk about your work related skills. The other can be anyone who you think would be able to give a positive account of you, such as a teacher, colleague or coach, but try to avoid using family members or mates. Sometimes referees might provide this information in a written document – this is called a reference.
If you're going to use someone as a referee, always ask them first. You want to be sure they're ok with doing it, and OK with taking phone calls or answering emails if an employer wants to know more. You should also check what they're going to say about you, for example; if someone asked them about your communication skills what would they say? Are they able to speak about you in a positive way? If not, ask someone else!
Email address and/or phone number
Your resumé should include at least two ways that employers can contact you; an email address and phone number are the best ones to provide. Make sure your email address sounds professional and is appropriate to send to potential employers.
Keep a contact list that includes the name, organisation, position details and contact details for any jobs you apply for. You never know when you might need them.
You could also add to this list any contacts, including people or organisations, that you might want to get in touch with during your job hunt. This could include agencies who help jobseekers, mentors or individuals who you can turn to for support, as well as people in charge of hiring in areas where you’d like to work. Always keep us on your contact list!
You’ll need to save or store all these documents so they’re safe and easy to find when you need them. If you have access to a computer, you might be able to save them in electronic format. Otherwise you’ll need a filing system, or at least a box or folder to keep paper copies of them all.
It’s also a good idea to save copies of any job applications you submit, as these can be used as starting points for later applications. With just a bit of editing, you might be able to use them again.
How we can help
Need a resumé? We can help! Come and visit your local centre and we'll work with you to put together a deadly resumé that will help you get that job.
Need somewhere to store your job documents? Our jobs board gives you an online storage space for your resumé, job applications, portfolio and other things you want to keep safe.
Register with AWDCContact AWDC
Finding a job
There are many different places you can look for work, including private and government run employment agencies, online jobs boards, newspapers and social media, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. You can also visit employers face to face.
And remember that we have our very own Aboriginal Services jobs board, where we hand-pick the best job opportunities we can find for Aboriginal people. Once you're registered on our jobs board, you can set up a profile to receive emails about job opportunities that match what you are looking for. The jobs board also gives you an online space where you can save all your jobseeking documents. If you haven't checked it out already, select the 'jobs board' tab at the top of this page to take a look.
Where to look for jobs
Check out the following information to find out more about where you could be looking in your search for a job.
Aboriginal Services jobs board -
jobactive – a government job search website with job vacancies, information about finding work and support hotlines.
– this website lists jobs that are advertised by the West Australian government.
– the GenerationOne website offers a range of information and support for jobseekers, as well as a list of available jobs.
– the Salvation Army’s Employment Plus can offer support to help you find and keep a job.
– these are commercial online job search services, but they're both free to join.
Online tools and help
Have a look online for tools to help you build your resumé. The websites listed below are good places to start.
The Jobs and Skills WA Career Exploration Resumé builder
How to write a resumé
Apply for a job
Once you have found a position you’re interested in, it’s time to go after it. You need to read the advertisement carefully to determine what you need to do to apply. Pay attention to:
- how to apply;
- the closing date; and
- what you need to provide.
It’s really important to read the ‘How to apply’ instructions very carefully. If you don’t submit your application the way the advertisement asks you to, or you don’t include everything they request, your application might not be considered by the employer.
Have a look at the following information to find out more about applying for a job. Use the numbered buttons or the arrows to move through the slideshow.
How to apply
There are several ways to apply for a job. These include through online applications/forms, by email, in person, by phone, or by mail. You’ll need an email address to submit applications online or by email. After you’ve applied online, you should receive a receipt or acknowledgement by email, telling you that your application has been received. If you don’t, it’s a good idea to contact the person listed in the advertisement and check they’ve received your application.
Read the advertisement carefully to find out when the closing date is so you have plenty of time to complete your application and submit it. Never leave it until the last minute! Your internet might go down, you might have a problem with your printer, or just get busy or distracted. Most employers will not accept late applications, no matter how good your excuse is.
The job advertisement will usually tell you what you need to include with your application, such as the documents described earlier in ‘Getting organised’. However, there are some extra documents you might be asked to provide that you’ll be able to write only when you have a specific job to apply for.
What you need to provide – the cover letter
The cover letter introduces you to the person reading your job application and provides a summary of the information in your resumé and written application, but it should never be longer than one page. A cover letter should be part of any job application; the only time you wouldn’t include a cover letter is if the advertisement specifically says not to.
A good cover letter should:
- be directed to a particular person, addressing them as Mr, Mrs or Ms;
- introduce yourself and provide your contact details;
- state the job you are applying for;
- state the skills and experience you have that match those required by the job;
- encourage the employer to read your application and resumé; and
- end with a statement inviting the employer to respond – such as that you look forward to meeting them or attending an interview.
What you need to provide – response to selection criteria/work-related requirements
Selection criteria and work-related requirements are statements that describe the qualifications, knowledge, skills and abilities a person needs for that job. ‘Selection criteria’ is the term most often used in adverts for government jobs, larger organisations or professional roles, whereas ‘work-related requirements’ is the term you’ll most likely see in non-government job adverts.
When a job application asks you to ‘respond to the selection criteria’ or ‘address the work related requirements’, it’s asking you to describe how you meet the requirements of the job. You should support this description with examples that show you’ve done what you say you can do. In many job descriptions, the selection criteria are divided into 'essential' and 'desirable'. You must be able to demonstrate that you meet the essential requirements, and you should also try to respond to the desirable criteria where you can.
Some common examples of selection criteria include:
- demonstrated capacity to communicate effectively;
- proven ability to work as part of a team; and
- well developed customer service skills.
The Jobs and Skills WA Career Exploration website
has some information on how to address selection criteria and respond to work-related requirements.
Use the STAR model
The STAR model is based around a four step approach to describing your skills, knowledge and abilities in a way that demonstrates what you can do. It's a great approach to follow when writing your application, and it's easy to do – just write one short paragraph for each of the following.
Situation – outline a specific circumstance where you developed the particular experience or used the required skills or qualities. Set the context of the situation, tell the story.
Task – what was happening? What was your role? What did you have to do?
Action – what action(s) did you take? What did you do and how did you do it?
Result – what were the results of what you did? What did you achieve?
As an example, using the STAR model might look something like this.
"When I was working as a sales assistant in a fashion store, we had a huge sale starting the next day and the signs for the windows hadn't arrived (situation). I was responsible for doing all of the window displays (task) so I had to find a solution. I ended up going down to the local newsagent and getting some big sheets of red cardboard paper and made up some big 'SALE' signs myself (action). The window display ended up looking great and the sale was a huge success (result)."
A closer look – Maya’s documents
Maya is applying for a job as a trainee customer service officer at Stones River Council. She found the job advertised online. Maya has taken a good look at the job advertisement, and now she's going to start getting an application together.
Have a look at the steps she takes to complete her application. Use the numbered buttons or the arrows to move through the slideshow, and select the documents to have a closer look.
The job advertisement tells Maya:
- about the job role;
- about the required qualifications and experience;
- how and when to apply; and
- what to include with her application.
After reading the advertisement carefully, Maya is confident she is well suited to the job. She also downloads the employment application package, including the position description document, to read about the job in more detail. Select the pictures to take a look at the ad and the position description.
First up, Maya begins by drafting her cover letter. This is a requirement of the application and requires Maya to outline her suitability for the role.
In her cover letter, Maya briefly introduces and then describes herself, her skills and experience, and why she is applying for the job. She aims to sound confident, capable and professional, but also friendly and keen.
Select the picture to take a look at Maya's cover letter.
Next Maya needs to compose a written application addressing the work-related requirements of the job, as described in the position description.
Noting that the written application is to be no more than two pages long, Maya knows she needs to keep her responses brief and to the point.
Maya ensures that she describes her skills that are relevant to the work-related requirements and includes examples of when when she has used those skills. She uses the STAR model to address some of the work-related requirements, which gives her an opportunity to showcase her skills and experience. Select the picture to take a look at Maya's written application.
The last piece required for the application is a current resumé. Maya has being keeping her resumé up to date, so she just needs to quickly check it and adjust any sections that particularly relate to this job opportunity.
Maya's resumé includes a career objective, which expresses her desire to work in local government and contribute to her community – a great match for the job she's applying for. It also details her work history, starting with the most recent and working backwards.
Using dot points through her resumé has helped Maya keep it to just two pages. Select the picture to take a look at Maya's resumé.
Maya reads through all her documents and checks them against the job advertisement. She needs to make sure she has included everything that was asked for and that the documents are the correct length. She also runs a spell check.
The job advert stated, ‘Year 12 standard of education is desirable’, so Maya decides to include her WACE certificate along with her application.
The ad asks applicants to apply by email or mail. Maya chooses email as this saves her printing out all her documents, plus it’s faster.
A closer look – Tony’s documents
Tony has been told that it might not be easy for him to move into working on different machinery and equipment so he decides to get some help from the local Jobs and Skills Centre with his job hunt. He gives them a call and makes a time to go in for a chat the following week.
To take a look at how things turned out, use the numbered buttons or the arrows to move through the slideshow.
At his appointment, Tony tells them about his work experience and skills and what he’s hoping to do next, including that he has been told he may need to be willing to work with some different machinery.
The people at the Jobs and Skills Centre are really friendly and very understanding about what he wants to do, and also about his concerns. They explain all the things they can help him with, including updating his resumé, finding job opportunities and writing job applications.
Rachel shows Tony the Aboriginal Services jobs board – an online job search website that lists job vacancies across WA.
Registering on the jobs board lets Tony search for suitable jobs, upload his documents, save and view any applications he sends, and apply for some jobs online. It also sends him an email whenever a new job comes up that matches what he's looking for.
Tony registers on the jobs board so he's all set up.
Once he’s all got himself organised on the jobs board, Tony takes a look at his resumé. It’s been a while since he wrote it, so he goes through it with Rachel and together they get it up to date. Using the computers at the Jobs and Skills Centre, and with Rachel's help, Tony is able to freshen up the layout and content of his resumé so that it looks and sounds professional.
Once he’s happy with it, Tony uploads his resumé to his new jobs board account so that it’s ready to be used when he goes to apply for a new job. Select the picture to check it out.
Getting a job can take a bit of time and preparation, but there is plenty of help along the way. You can do it!
Employers review all the applications they receive and choose the applicants they think are most suitable. These chosen applicants will then often be invited to interview. Employers use interviews to meet the person behind the application face to face, confirm you really are as good as you say in your application, and determine if you will be a good fit for their organisation.
Interviews can take several formats including a one on one chat with the boss or person doing the hiring, a panel interview where several people ask you a range of questions, or perhaps a role play where you have to demonstrate your ability to perform the skills required in the job, such as answering the phone or dealing with a difficult client.
Preparing for the interview
If you didn’t do any research about the company when you were writing your application, do it now. You need to go into an interview knowing as much as possible about the company and the job/role, because not only does that show the employer you're interested but also helps you show them you’re the most suitable candidate for the job.
Review the advert, the job description, the selection criteria and your application so that you’ll be able to confidently talk about your strengths in relation to the role. Think about any extra skills or experience you might have that could put you above other candidates, and be prepared to talk about these.
When you respond to the invitation to interview, ask if you need to take anything with you. Check where you need to go and when, who to ask for when you get there, and what the dress code is. If you're driving, check your directions and where to park. If you're using public transport, check the timetable. Leave yourself plenty of time to get there!
At the interview
Be yourself. Be polite and respectful but don’t be shy. Remember the interviewer needs to get to know you to be able to decide if you are suitable. Be confident – you wouldn't have been asked to come in for an interview if they didn't like you already, so feel good about yourself.
If there are things you want to know about the job, or the company, it's ok to go ahead and ask but it's best to wait until the end of the interview for questions.
The JSWA website has some
great information about job interviews
How we can help
We can help prepare you to get that job!
We can help you prepare for a job interview, or get yourself organised for a job interview.
Register with AWDCContact AWDC
If you’re ready to move on, check out the next part of this jobseekers section –
Information and resources – which lists lots of resources including websites that may be useful to you.