The Skills & Jobs Centre hosted the employer panel and were fortunate to have four experienced professionals talk about the types of opportunities available for new graduates looking for roles after completing two qualifications including Certificate III in Individual Support and Diploma of Nursing. The panel discussed what they are looking for in potential graduates, relevant information about the application process for their workplaces, possible opportunities within their workplaces, and specific tips and tricks for job seeking and interviewing.
The panel provided valuable information, and our four presenters were very generous with their time, sharing their unique insights into this growing sector.
Mercy Health – Jonelle Mais (Recruitment Adviser) and Melinda Stasiuk (Clinical Placement Coordinator/Clinical Nurse Educator)
Absolute Care & Health – Jo Rajan (HR Administrator)
Manor Court Werribee Aged Care – Frances Fraser (Director of Nursing)
Mercy Health (Werribee Mercy Hospital)
Mercy Health is a values-based Catholic organisation, with services across Australia. In the Wyndham area, the Mercy Hospital provides comprehensive services, including surgical, maternity, emergency, mental health, aged, palliative and home-based care. The hospital is currently undergoing a large redevelopment in order to improve its critical care services.
How to apply
- All vacancies are advertised, usually on seek.com.au. Set up a Seek profile and job alerts
- Research Mercy thoroughly and understand their values
- Read the job ad carefully and don’t rush your application – there’s no advantage in being the first to apply
- Selection criteria – Mercy isn’t strict about layout, but do incorporate in cover letter
- Cover letter – an opportunity to make yourself stand out, by highlighting relevant skills/qualities/experiences. Tailor letter to the organisation and address it to person listed in job ad.
- CV/resume – approx. 2 pages, and up to date. If young and lacking work experience, focus on behavioural qualities (ie ‘soft skills’). No special requirements for format, but make sure most relevant info is highlighted and sequenced on first page (e.g. placements).
- Professional email address
- Volunteering is relevant, but not Hobbies.
- Be on time (but not too early!).
- Preparation and research is crucial. This will help you think on your feet, as question wording varies
- Mercy questions go deeper than standard ‘strength and weakness’ questions – prepare a list of scenarios to use for ‘tell us about a time when’ questions, including from placement. Use STAR and be specific about situation and outcome
- An interview is also an opportunity to see if job is right for you!
Absolute Care & Health
The organisation was started in 2011 and provides in-home care to residents in metropolitan Melbourne and areas of regional Victoria. Clients include people with home care packages funded by government, as well as clients of schemes with NDIS, TAC and Worksafe.
The advantage of working as a caregiver is being able to develop long-term 1:1 relationships with clients. Caregivers need to be flexible and prepared to travel. The organisation is also flexible and offers family-friendly shifts and a full induction program for new staff.
How to apply
Currently its staff consists of 350 personal care assistants and 20 nurses, but Absolute Care expects to double these numbers by the end of the year so is actively recruiting now. Vacancies are advertised on au.indeed.com/ and the organisation’s website at absolutecarehealth.com.au/careers/positions-available
- Applying is competitive, i.e. 50-60 applicants, so recruiters won’t spend much time on each resume
- Relevant skills may include manual handling, other languages, Working with Children and Police checks, driver’s license, first aid
- ‘Career snapshot’ intro section can be useful
- Cover letter needs to convey who you are as a person, i.e. your personality, soft skills – matching the job values
- Manor uses phone screening as next step after reading resume. If phone call comes at a bad time politely make a time that better suits you
- Allow plenty of time to get to interviews. If running late, show your communication skills and call to let them know
- Dress appropriately. Bring your documents with you.
- Interviews are not a cross-examination – try to be the best, authentic version of yourself.
Manor Court Aged Care
Manor Court is a stand-alone, not-for-profit organisation, run by a board with representatives from Mercy Hospital and the community. Frances’s career path started as a registered nurse in emergency, followed by midwifery and community nursing, then aged care. At Manor Court there are various job titles, but the team has shared organisational values and outcomes. Having a caring quality is the main prerequisite for a job in this field.
How to apply
- Manor Court advertises on Seek for specific vacancies and also has rolling recruitment
- Don’t include age or marital status on resume. List last 3 employment positions only
- Less interested in personal qualities, though volunteering is relevant
- Include short cover letter, addressed appropriately, spell-checked, with cultural differences adjusted to Australian context
- Have resume ready for placement to leave with the organisation at the end – when staff still remember you!
- Be familiar with Aged Care Standards
Responses to audience questions:
- Life experience can be relevant, e.g. care of elderly relatives (but not ‘travel to Bali’!)
- Mercy and Manor both offer volunteer opportunities. Mercy only offers behind the scenes roles, not clinical. Manor’s opportunities are coordinated through Matchworks.
- For referees (references) use placement coordinators, Gordon teachers – not friends or family members. Preferably someone in senior role. Always ask permission first.
- If you don’t have PR, then you need to demonstrate that you have Australian work rights and show your long-term plan.