How I got my first job in Australia.

‘After recently arriving in Australia with my husband and spending six months in Canberra, we moved to Geelong in October 2016.  My professional background is in Sales and I worked in a marketing role for three years in Mumbai, where I also completed a Master’s degree.

I came across the Skills and Jobs Centre (SaJC) when I was shopping at Westfield late last year. I was curious and I wanted to find out what the Skills and Jobs Centre did.  I approached the reception and chatted to Lucinda about my situation.  I explained I was new to the country and needed assistance to understand the job market and how to get a job.  Lucinda made an appointment for me to see her to discuss what types of employment opportunities were in Geelong, the types of industries and what employers are looking for in regards to qualifications, experience, skills and soft skills.  We also discussed job search strategies and Lucinda provided information and tips about how to market myself and develop a good resume and cover letter.  Lucinda also provided lots of resources including job websites, tools and information to assist me in developing job search skills.

I started looking for a job with my updated resume and I was invited to my first group interview.  I made another appointment and we practiced possible group interview questions and things to practice – tips and advice on what to expect at a group interview.  I wasn’t successful in this instance, but in the meantime I secured a job at a jewellery store as a casual sales consultant in November.  After gaining some initial advice, my strategy was to work casually while looking for more relevant opportunities with my marketing background.

I continued looking for opportunities, and in February I applied for a role with K-Rock as Sales Coordinator.  I applied and was invited to an interview.  I was successful and offered the job.  I was very happy.  I couldn’t wait to tell Lucinda and she stayed in touch to ensure I was settling in well.  I started work at K Rock and have been very well supported and trained in my role.  It is a very friendly team and a very positive and supportive environment to work in.  I really enjoy my job and I feel part of the team.  I am looking forward to growing and succeeding in this role and looking towards future opportunities.  I am a member of the K Rock Social Club and we enjoy lunch, dinner or a movie each month.

My experience with the SaJC provided me with confidence and I was given lots of support from Lucinda, such as learning important things about Australian culture and what to expect in a workplace.  I wasn’t sure how I would settle in but Lucinda provided lots of support and reassurance during my job search and transition into a job.  Now that I have a job, I feel part of the Geelong community, I am making friends and enjoying weekends with my husband.

My advice to anybody who is looking for their first job in Australia is to try and find a suitable opportunity and take it, even if it’s not the ideal role.  While doing this, continue to look for the job in the industry that you would really like to work for.  If you are feeling lost, try and find someone to talk to about how to find work, culture or support.  I would recommend coming to the Skills and Jobs Centre for support and to learn about new skills to apply for jobs.  Try and maintain a positive attitude and be open to learning and understanding the new ways in Australia.  Talk to as many people as you can and network so that you can learn about Geelong and the job market.’

My tip: “Think good, do good and speak good” – Lubna

Careers in Community Services!

Recently, the Skills & Jobs Centre hosted an Industry Q&A on the Community Service Sector in Geelong.

Panel members included:

  • Tara Lodge – HR, Barwon Child, Youth & Family
  • Toni Gauntlett – Manager, Family & Community Services, Barwon Child, Youth & Family
  • Christine Brooks – Networker, Barwon Network of Neighbourhood Houses
  • Cathy Walker – Community Development, City of Greater Geelong

EMPLOYER SNAPSHOT: BARWON CHILD, YOUTH & FAMILY

  • 315 employees in Geelong and Colac
  • Only 15% of workers are male
  • Merged to include a breadth of platforms to deliver services to families
  • Focus on prevention and early intervention
  • Early education, including at home care, foster care and residential
  • Youth space includes justice and homelessness
  • Headspace came on board last year
  • Lots of different opportunities
  • Roles are based on funding, so don’t be put off by contract positions.
  • Family friendly employer, including the following options, which can be discussed at interview:
    • Job Share
    • ADO’s
    • Purchased Leave
    • Negotiable start & end times/hours worked
    • School Hours
    • Time in Lieu options
  • Professional development & training calendar with lots of opportunities. Study leave is offered to continue study and upskill.

Key Attributes

  • Teamwork – supporting each other.
  • Emotional Intelligence – working with people to empower them, not doing but helping, working through it with them.

Job Opportunities

  • From Childcare to Mental Health Nurses, Support Workers
  • Bus Driver vacancy currently advertised
  • Offers student placements
  • Volunteering – Coordinator will match with areas in need.
    • Home tutoring
    • Supporting refugees
    • Foster Care Program
    • Volunteers to offer mentoring to help with homework or to take on outings e.g. fishing.
    • Contact Janet Mannix, the Volunteering Coordinator
  • Alcohol & Other Drugs
    • Headspace
    • Youth Program in AOD
    • AOD Unit – Specialist Services
  • Casual Jobs – advertised the same as ongoing positions and often based on funding.

How to apply

  • All vacancies are advertised on the website.
  • Also advertise on Facebook, LinkedIn, SEEK, Ethical Jobs and Deakin Jobshop.
  • Email your resume.
  • Must address Key Selection Criteria and it needs to be relevant to the Position Description.
  • Outline what you can bring to the role.
  • Need to have volunteer experience if you have no experience.
  • Spell check and proof read.
  • Can only apply online.
  • Read the instructions.
  • For Youth Services, need a Cert III or IV in Youth Services.
  • For Childcare, a Cert III in Children’s Services.
  • Looking for the right candidate, rather than hours you can commit, so contact them as they may be flexible.

Helpful Tips

  • Volunteer if you have something to offer.
  • Think about your life experience and how that might help someone else.
  • Can’t teach you to be a good person, so present your personality in all stages of recruitment (telephone call, interview etc.)
  • Looking at the person, rather than the qualification.

EMPLOYER SNAPSHOT: NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSES

  • 27 Neighbourhood Houses in the Barwon Region
  • All Neighbourhood Houses are very different, as they respond to the needs of the community, ‘If you’ve been to 1 Neighbourhood House, you’ve been to 1 Neighbourhood house!’
  • For example, Queenscliff offers specific Arts programs.
  • Neighbourhood Houses are a central place to go for whatever you are interested in.
  • Offers a central location to search all of the neighbourhood houses.
  • All Centres run youth programs.

Key Attributes

  • Flexibility
  • Responsive to needs
  • Open
  • Approachable
  • Welcoming & Inclusive
  • Adaptable
  • Professionalism
  • Personality

Job Opportunities

  • Co-ordinators to run the houses – 3 or 4 houses will be advertising for Coordinators in the next few months.
  • Tutors run classes in a range of areas, including:
    • Technology, iPads
    • Cert III, IV & Diploma courses
  • Volunteer opportunities – members are encouraged to volunteer and also become tutors. If you have an interest or skill, go to a Neighbourhood House to offer your skills. Also advertised through Volunteering Geelong and Give Where You Live.
  • Childcare – both volunteer and paid positions. The Lorne Neighbourhood House is currently advertising for a Childcare Assistant.
  • Gardeners – volunteer or paid positions.
  • Reception/Administration.
  • Wide variety of opportunities – make contact with your local Neighbourhood House to find out about opportunities.
  • Help with resume writing, interview skills and gaining employment.
  • Youth Programs – always looking for volunteers.

How to apply

  • Need to address Key Selection Criteria (won’t interview if not addressed).
  • Advertise in the Geelong Advertiser, Colac Herald and local papers (e.g. Echo & Surf Coast Times).
  • Advertise on Ethical Jobs and sometimes on SEEK.
  • Ads will also go out through the Neighbourhood House network.
  • Posted on Social Media, including Facebook.

Key Tips

  • Personality is more important than qualifications.
  • No matter what your experience, think about what skills you learnt in that experience. For example, if you worked at KFC, think about the skills and qualities – customer service, team work etc.

EMPLOYER SNAPSHOT: CITY OF GREATER GEELONG

  • 2nd biggest employer in the Geelong region
  • Employs 2,500 people
  • Community Development area includes:
    • Case Management.
    • Supporting communities in need with a focus on Whittington, Corio, Norlane and Grovedale.
    • Developing Drug & Alcohol and Gambling Policy.
    • Promoting Diversity in the Community.
    • Police Based Team – works on the principle that there is nothing wrong with people, but that the system has gaps.
    • Working with services, like neighbourhood houses, on social enterprise and training.
    • Digital Inclusion Project in 3219 postcode – looking at the issue of low socio-economic areas having less digital inclusion, was previously externally funded but has now been funded by local council.
    • Understanding local and national policy and how that impacts on people.
    • Advocating to get change.
  • Flexible employer, including options for:
    • Weekend work – festivals, events etc.
    • Working from home
    • Co-working spaces
    • Communicating in a variety of forms

Key Attributes

  • Non-judgmental
  • It is your whole life, not just your 9 to 5
  • Passionate
  • Fresh perspective
  • Commitment to social justice

Job Opportunities

  • Volunteering
    • L2P
    • YouthCan
  • Student Placements
  • Employs students and casual workers
  • Youth Work
  • Roads, Rates and Rubbish
  • Casual opportunities in the youth area
  • Traineeships

How to apply

  • Advertised on Social Media & Online.
  • Advertised in CAOS – weekly newsletter in Norlane/Corio that reaches 500 people.
  • Advertised online on SEEK, Ethical Jobs and Info Exchange Jobseeker website.
  • Need to have a Working with Children Check and Police Check
  • Looking for who you are and that you have an understanding of what’s required.
  • The contact name is always listed, so make contact with them, and ask 3 relevant questions, so they can look out for your name.

Helpful Tips

  • Networks are fundamental.
  • Work to build your reputation.
  • Subscribe to council newsletters from the website.
  • Don’t necessarily have to have the qualifications. Apply anyway if you have the skills and make the phone call to clarify with the hiring manager.

Industry Tips

  • The industry is short of people, with a particular shortage in male role models.
  • Casual and contract opportunities are ok as they can lead to more permanent work and get your foot in the door!
  • Recruitment is more focused on who you are and what you are passionate about, rather than qualifications. You need to be the right type of person.