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Finding a job

The 10 step job search plan

Here is the 10 step job search plan which will help in your search for work or an alternative career. Having a plan helps you to have goals and stick to them. It also really helps you to be organised and effective in your search for work.

10 step job search plan

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1 Type of work

Decide what kind of work you are interested in and how far you will travel for work. Decide on the types of work that interest you most and keep your options open but be realistic.

Find out more about jobs that interest you by going online or talking to people in the industry. You will find this will either add to your interest or you may decide ‘it’s not for you after all’.

Consider what work pattern you are open to; full time, part time, casual, contract, or self employed.

Consider making an appointment to see someone and discuss your options. Free and objective training information and career guidance services are available to you via the Training WA Career Centre and Workforce Development Centres.

Stay open to new opportunities and possibilities.

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2 Set timeline

Work out a 'job search timeline' and set up an email account.

There is a saying; "by failing to plan, you plan to fail".

This can also be true for your job search process. Be organised in going about your challenge in finding work and you will find it a lot easier to succeed.

Below is an example of how you can use this ‘job search plan’ to create your own timeline.

Week one:
Job search plan steps 1 and 2

Week two:
Job search plan steps 3 and 4

Week three:
Job search plan steps 5 and 6

Week four onwards:
Job search plan steps 5 and 7 — 10.

Regularly review all steps.

Ensure you set up an email account. Most employers these days require you to email your job applications. If you are applying for jobs online, you will also need an email address. Try to use an email address that is professional and suitable for work purposes (do not use inappropriate or silly nick names). If it is possible to use your first/last name, then this is ideal.

Free email accounts are available from providers such as and

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3 Get organised

Get organised. Gather your supporting documents together electronically on a USB stick and in hard copy format.  Call it 'Employment file'.

Organise your:
• resume;
• referees;
• written references;
• school certificates (if you are a young person); and
• qualifications, skill certificates and awards.

Many employers now receive your details via email or they are uploaded online, so it would be wise to scan all of your hard copy documents and save them on a USB, disk or your computer.

Make multiple copies of all the items as you may need to provide them in person to an employer. Also, safeguard your information by storing in at least two electronic formats (USB and your PC). Always keep the originals in plastic covers and in a safe place. It’s a good idea to keep them all together in your 'Employment file' which you can take with you when approaching employers or going to interviews.

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4 Resume

Prepare or update your resume.

The importance of a good resume cannot be underestimated. Your skills need to be highlighted and tailored to each job you apply for so the employer really wants to see you in person.

A resume is a very important tool in your job search. It is your advertising brochure and you need to be well prepared.

The way resumes are put together has changed, so don’t use that old one you had five years ago. Resumes need to be continually updated and written to suit particular jobs and employers.

The most effective way to prepare your resume is to store the Word version electronically (USB, PC or disk) so it can be easily modified or updated.

Consider researching some styles and templates available on the internet to get you started. Make sure your resume reflects the skills the employer is looking for.

Go to the Resume Builder tool and use the resume formats included in the Job Search Guide or to design and build your own individually styled resume.

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5 Shortlist of jobs

Prepare and maintain a 'job search contact List' to place in your 'Employment file'.

Keep a record of all of your contacts and job search details. It helps to organise these into a job search contact list.

Record all telephone contacts with dates, numbers, times and outcomes so you can track your efforts and organise your follow-up.

If you are computer savvy, you may like to use Outlook or a similar program to record your efforts, set tasks, timelines and flag yourself for 'follow up'.

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6 Agencies help

Register with Centrelink and other employment agencies.

Organisations such as Centrelink and Job Services Australia have various free facilities to assist job seekers. They also employ people who can assist you to find work if you are claiming Centrelink payments.

Also register yourself with agencies like your local Career Centre and utilise the support and assistance they can offer you. You don’t need to be registered with Centrelink for these services.

Look up ‘recruitment agencies’ in the Yellow Pages or online at to find some that are in your local area or that specialise in your interest areas.

There are also agencies funded to assist people with disabilities into employment, email Disability Employment Services for more information.

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7 Online vacancies

Register and search for vacancies advertised online.

The Australian Job Search is accessible to anyone via the address:

There are also many other job search sites on the internet that are worth checking. Many will email you when jobs come up that may interest you. To do this, you need to register yourself by creating a profile. Some may also require that you send in your resume.

Some popular sites are listed below:

• (government jobs)

There are many more ways to search for jobs online by specific industry areas, for example health, mining and IT. By using, you can search for industry specific job sites and for companies with their own online application processes in the career section on their website. 

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8 Newspapers

Keep a watch on advertised positions in newspapers, journals and noticeboards.

Check for job vacancies several times a week. Work out specific days that you can set aside to do this and stick to them. See your job search as a job itself.

Look in the daily newspapers (particularly Wednesday and Saturday) and also look in your local community newspaper.

Most newspapers are now also available online, including some community papers.

• The West Australian:

• The Australian/Worldwide Newspapers:

When you do apply for a written advertised position, make sure you complete the application correctly.

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9 Contact employers

Get out there, approach potential employers and use your networks - people are your greatest resource.

Ask your friends and family for possible job leads and be sure to follow up. This is one of the most effective methods of finding work and involves 'selling your skills' through your social and business contacts. As the saying goes; "it's not what you know, but who you know!"

'Cold canvassing' involves working out what employers you would like to work for, what areas of work you would like to be in and then approaching those employers. Don't wait for them to advertise, get in there first. Believe in your skills and be organised. Wherever possible, talk to the Human Resources department. Offer them your resume, contact them regularly and ask them about who else you should approach if they aren't able to help.

Be well presented, persistent, polite, and creative. Use and the Yellow Pages to find businesses in the industry sector and locations that you are interested in. Detail the business name, address and any other important points in your job search contact list.

After you have selected a dozen or so, decide whether you will canvass in person, ring for an appointment or write a letter of application. You may set yourself a goal of trying five or six each day. Do some research into the business you're approaching, so you can show yourself to be knowledgeable and prepared.

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10 Work experience

Seek opportunities for work experience. Work experience can be a very effective job search tool.

It is an opportunity to:
• learn and develop new skills;
• get to know a potential employer and become known by them;
• an opportunity to experience a job and see if it suits you;
• obtain some current references; and
• help you to get back into the swing of working if you've been out of work for a while.

Plenty of jobseekers doing work experience have ended up being offered a job by the employer. They value your time and attention in their business.

Work experience employers can also make good referees. Your recent experience there is also a valuable addition to your resume.

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