Getting your foot in the door..

How do I get my foot in the door you may ask?

Many of us have secured a job by connecting with a prospective employer – maybe it was tapping into an existing network, maybe it was cold calling, maybe it was through volunteering or social media…

It all takes courage, a plan and persistence!

Tapping into your network

Don’t be afraid. Remember, you’re asking for advice to assist you in job searching, not asking for a job, and most people will be flattered and supportive.  Your network can assist you in your job search by providing some really important information regarding current industry knowledge, skills and qualities the employer values, as well as referrals and linking you to possible upcoming opportunities.

You could start by reaching out to those people who know and respect you, including past colleagues or employers, family and acquaintances, as well as using any online professional networks you may have to make sure they know that you are genuinely looking for a new job or even a new career.

This is where planning and researching becomes oh, so important.

  1. Create a list of past employers, suppliers, personal and professional contacts.
  2. Ensure your online profile (if you have one) is up to date and reflects that you are in the market for a new career opportunity.
  3. Be prepared – modify and showcase your resume to reflect your skills and experience to match the organisations and industries you are interested in.

Cold Calling

Cold calling is another way for you to contact employers directly.  This may be over the phone, by email or in person.  You need to research a company or organisation thoroughly to ensure you are identifying employers relevant for your career needs and aspirations, and ensuring your skills and experiences are a match. Again, if you are planning to send or provide a cover letter and your resume, it should be professional and tailored each time you contact an employer.

And finally, I would recommend taking the time to develop a script for yourself to ensure you are confident when you introduce yourself. Prepare and practice, then follow up.  Here are five golden tips for cold calling.

Written by Lucinda, our new Networking Superstar. If you need help with getting your foot in the door, make a time to talk to Lucinda or any of the Skills and Jobs Centre advisors. 

I can’t get a job because I have no experience..

Transferable Skills – You might have more experience than you think!

Are you always feeling somewhat under qualified, or can’t find any evidence of how your skills or experience may fit the job criteria?

Do you think you have little capacity to fit the bill every time you search SEEK online?

Well it’s time to change your thinking.

If you start to dig below the surface of how you perceive your personal and professional experience, you may find a few hidden gems just waiting to shine.

Whether you haven’t worked for a very long time, you haven’t worked at all, or you have been trying to change careers for a long time, there are always some valuable skills and qualities you have earned from your life experience. These skills sets and qualities are called Transferable Skills and they can be fundamental to finding work.

So what interests an employer besides my current work history?   

Employers can be persuaded by a variety of things other than just an obvious skills match. Admittedly getting past the strict parameters set by recruitment companies and HR Teams can be nigh on impossible, however some workplaces may want more than just a list of responsibilities from your latest job profile.

This is where your TRANSFERABLE SKILLS may come in handy.

Transferable skills, sometimes known as Employability Skills, are the skills we acquire as a result of life experiences, employment and in many cases roles or responsibilities we have undertaken outside of the work environment.  This could be parenting, coaching, volunteering, managing, mentoring or assisting in community events, families, sports or schools.

Identifying your transferable skills is one of the most important steps in the job-seeking process and often overlooked by those who feel they have no relevant experience.

For example a job may advertise for a receptionist who is;

“A friendly professional who can utilise organisational skills and bring a  high level of motivation.”

Your organisational skills and motivation may not come directly from a reception role but could be transferred from experience doing book work for your partner’s home business or from volunteering to coach and manage your child’s sports team.

Generally speaking the eight transferable or employability skills are thus;

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Initiative and enterprise
  • Planning and organising
  • Self-management
  • Learning
  • Technology

When you identify how you utilise these skills in your daily life, it may surprise you how frequently or how expertly you do them. These skills may encompass your general capabilities, your qualities, your technical abilities and reflect your values and attitudes.

It’s true some employers may only be interested in your “relevant experience” but some may prefer a less experienced candidate who has great attitude and leadership skills than one who has all the right skills but is dull as dishwater and very robotic.

It is quite well known in the hiring and firing industry that managers may in fact prefer to  “ Hire for attitude not for skill”.  There is a general consensus that a number of job skills can be learned, but personality and motivation cannot. Aside from jobs that require purely technical expertise, your personal attributes and qualities may unearth a very viable candidate. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to identify and sell your transferable skills on your own, so asking for assistance can be a great idea. The career consultants at the Skills and Jobs Centre are experts at being able to listen and identify skills you may never have recognised, or had thought were irrelevant. They can also help you contextualise your soft skills and life experiences within a resume.

I strongly recommend a face to face consultation with a career counsellor, as this gives you the time to share your story and  experiences so your advisor can capitalise on all you may have to offer. Sometimes this can feel overwhelming or a little like putting yourself up on a “pedestal”. However, in this competitive job market you have to put your best foot forward and selling all of your skills and abilities is vital.

And remember,

 “Company knowledge and job-specific skills can be learned, but you can’t train a personality.”

Source: Richard Branson on hiring Virgin Staff.

Written by Erika, our Workshop Wizard. If you would like to talk to someone about your transferable skills, book a one-on-one appointment with Erika or any of our advisors.

Picture credit: London Permaculture

The Ford Transition Project

As part of the Ford Transition Project (FTP), Auto Skills Australia (ASA) has established an Outreach Centre to provide support for exited Ford & supply chain workers in Geelong at the newly opened Skills and Jobs Centre. The Centre will be staffed by an ASA representative.

The Outreach Centres will operate from November 7, 2016, through to April 30, 2017, and will provide exited workers an opportunity to speak to ASA and ensure that they are connected to relevant support services such as Outplacement Providers, jobactive providers, Skills & Job Centre, Training Organisations, Finance & Superannuation Services, Health & Wellbeing, Government Services and Community Networks.

Geelong ASA Outreach Centre:

  • Location: Skills and Jobs Centre, Level 1, Westfield Centre, Corner of Malop & Yarra St, Geelong, Store number 2254-2255 (Located near Big W)
  • Contact: Bob Hope, Mobile: 0419 271 835, Email: rhope@autoskillsaustralia.com.au
  • Times: Monday – Friday, 9.00am to 4.00pm

Your ASA outreach Centre will assist you in the following:

  • Connection to your selected outplacement provider
  • Government support services
  • Connection to training organisations
  • Health and well being programs
  • Superannuation funds and financial planning
  • Community networks and services
  • Continuation of case management
  • Advocacy support
  • Referrals
  • ASA gap funding up to 31 March 2017
  • Advice and support
  • Other services as required

Please see your ASA case manager for more details.

Written by Bob Hope, Ford Transition Program Area Coordinator – Geelong. Bob will be sharing his insights as a guest blogger during his time at The Gordon Skills and Jobs Centre. 

 

Job hunting got you down??

Unfortunately, for the majority of people rejection and unsuccessful applications are part and parcel of the job hunt. If you add some life stress on top of that it is easy to become disheartened and negative, but staying positive is a very important key to your job hunt success.

Here a few tips on how to keep positive.

  1. Preparation

One step to feeling positive is having confidence in your preparation, in particular your resume and cover letter. Your resume and cover letter are the first contact point for most job applications.

Make sure you to take the time to provide correct information and give details of the duties involved in your work history, any training and your personal attributes.

  1. Never dwell on rejection

It is important that if you’re unsuccessful you move on as quickly as possible and do your best not to take it personally because EVERYONE goes through the same rejection at some point in their job hunting experience. This can be hard for some but try to see every application or interview as a learning experience that will make you more confident for the next one. It also doesn’t hurt to ask for constructive feedback as to why you were not successful i.e. how you can improve your chances with future applications. Take that input and focus your efforts into other opportunities.

  1. Be your own biggest fan!!

Lastly and most importantly, value your own abilities and skills and be confident in knowing what you can bring to any organisation. This can be your training, your experience or even your personal attributes.

Don’t be afraid to use your life experience or achievements as transferable skills in the workplace. You may not have the training, but you may have natural ability dealing with people, time management skills as a parent or mechanical aptitude by fixing cars for your friends.

Ask friends and current or ex work colleagues what they think your strengths are too and this can give you extra insight and an added confidence boost.

Believe in yourself…Sounds corny I know, but it works!

Shai has a wide range of industry experience to help you in your job search, our King of Industry.

Written by Shai, our King of Industry. For help with finding a job, book an appointment with Shai or any of our helpful advisors.