Careers in the Health Sector: Insights from Epworth & Barwon Health

As many of you would be aware, the health care and social assistance industry is Australia’s biggest employer.  We were honoured to hold the Health Sector Insight Employer Panel in March. The panel members presented an overview of their organisation and an insight into their sector as well as an outline of their recruitment process and types of opportunities available.

The panel consisted of:

  • Mick Fuller (Senior HR Manger)  Epworth Healthcare
  • Christine Shaw (Advisor – Talent Acquisition & Services)  Barwon Health

Epworth Healthcare

Background

Epworth has been around for 100 years and is the largest private not for profit hospital. Epworth moved to Geelong last year, next to Deakin University in Waurn Ponds. Had 400 employees in July when they opened and now has 550 employees. The Epworth Group employs over 6000 people with the majority of staff employed in Richmond.

Mick’s personal experience includes a transition into the Health sector from a retail and manufacturing background. He believes you need to be passionate about the organisation you work for and so was attracted to the Epworth name and the professional but diverse environment they offer. He has worked at the Epworth for the past 18 months.

The Epworth Workforce

  1. Nursing Staff
    • Heavy reliance on Nursing Staff
    • Employs Registered Nurses & Enrolled Nurses, but will only employ endorsed Enrolled Nurses
  2. Food Services
    • Primarily employs people with a hospitality background.
    • Food Service Model which involves personalised screens for patients to order meals at any time of the day, following a hotel model. Patients have a choice of when they receive the meal and what the meal is. The menu is catered to your personal needs, including medical and dietary requirements.
    • Is less to do with health and more to do with customer service.
    • Attracting and employing people from 5-star backgrounds including the Head Chef who came from the Park Hyatt.
  3. Sterilisation
    • Involves looking after the equipment and getting it ready for surgery.
    • Certified role, you need to have completed a Cert III or Cert IV in Sterilisation.
    • Well-paid
    • Good work
    • Stable employment
    • Professional roles
  4. Theatre Technicians
    • Involved in bringing in the equipment and setting up the theatre.
    • Certified role – need a Certificate to be employed.
    • Certificate level courses will allow you to be employed, so you can get up and running fairly quickly.
    • Good pay.
    • Shortage of theatre technicians in Geelong.
  5. Administrative Positions
    • Includes Reception, Personal Assistants and Ward Clerks.
    • For advertised positions, 75+ applications are received.
    • Lots of competition for a small number of roles.
  6. Traineeships
    • Not currently offered as they are not a mature organisation.
    • Will put structures in place first, then look at offering traineeship opportunities.

What Epworth looks for in an employee

  1. Technical Skills
    • Skills/Qualifications that are required for each role
    • Are tightly bunched, as lots of people will have the same qualifications.
  2. Non-Technical Skills
    • Human part
    • Customer service skills
    • Values – Epworth takes their values very seriously
      • Respect
      • Excellence
      • Community
      • Compassion
      • Integrity
      • Accountability
    • This is where people can differentiate themselves
    • Look on the website and find out about the values. If you are invited for an interview, think about how your values align with theirs.

Epworth’s Recruitment Process

  1. 2 phase interview process
    • Phone Interview – 15-20 min phone interview with hiring manager
    • Face-to-face Interview – 45min – 1hr interview with hiring manager and a representative from HR.
    • Come prepared and know about the environment. Make sure to check the website. This shows motivation, respect and initiative.
  2. Psychometric Test 
    • No right or wrong answer, but used to measure your values and behaviours.

Advertising of roles

  • 95% of roles are advertised, as they are looking for the best person for the role.
  • Advertised on:
    1. Epworth website – www.epworthcareers.org.au
    2. Seek
    3. LinkedIn
    4. Specialty Job Boards
  • Can complete an Expression of Interest on the website, indicating the roles you are interested in, and you will receive an email to notify when those types of roles are advertised.

How to apply for a job at Epworth

  1. Submit a Resume, Cover Letter and response to Key Selection Criteria.
  2. Resume
    • 4-5 page maximum
    • Don’t be distracting
    • Don’t use colour or different font throughout the document
    • Keep professional
    • Use a single font in 11 or 12pt
    • No photos
  3. Cover letter
    • Tailor your cover letter – very important!
    • Make sure to change the name of the company – this shows care and attention to detail
    • Brief and to the point
    • 1 page
    • Show what you can bring to Epworth
  4. Key Selection Criteria
    • Flexible with regards to addressing Key Selection Criteria and won’t always ask for this to be completed separately
    • Look at the Position Description and address how your skills match and how your motivation fits
    • Show that you are committed to professional development
    • Show your connection to the community. This can be through involvement with sporting clubs or coaching your kid’s soccer team. This tells about you as a person.
    • Lots of people have the technical skills, but less meet the criteria of fit, culture and personality.

Barwon Health

Background

Barwon Health is the largest employer in Geelong, employing over 7000 people. They look after people from birth through to death and have 21 sites, including the hospital, Grace McKellar Centre, a number of Aged Care facilities and look after patients all the way to the South Australian border.

Health is the fastest growing industry in Geelong and in 2016 Barwon Health advertised over 1500 roles. It is an exciting industry with new innovations and a secure future.

Christine is new to the Health Care sector and shared that it’s a great environment to work in. The people are lovely and are there to help people. Others share the same values as you.

The Barwon Health Workforce

  1. Community Sector
    • More work will involve going to the patient’s in their homes, rather than the patients coming in
  2. Aged Care
    • Increasing % of people in the older age bracket means they are desperate to get great people working in this sector
  3. Theatre Technicians
    • All start off as casuals.
    • Need a Certificate III first.
    • Will see medical procedures, so have to be ok with that.
    • Have to be able to look after yourself and deal with situations.
    • Training – might need to go to Melbourne for training, but will be rewarded for this.
    • Look at job ads and speak to the Manager listed to ask questions about which courses they would suggest.
    • Good pay & a good job.
  4. Casual Administration Pool
    • Approximately 50 casuals who work across the sites.
  5. Nursing Casual Pool
  6. Volunteers
    • Seen as internal candidates, so can apply for internal roles.
    • Allows you to connect with different departments.
  7. Traineeships
    • Offered 24 last year.
    • Mainly offered through Northern Futures, to help more disadvantaged members of the community.
    • Offered in various areas, including Admin & Stores.

What Barwon Health looks for in an employee

  • All about the attitude.
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day (If you’re looking for a Mon-Fri 9-5 position, this is probably not the area for you).
  • People who are excited about working in health care and are passionate about putting the patient first.
  • Looking for people who are really passionate.
  • Not great pay, but the reward is that you are there to help the community.
  • Barwon Health is value driven and they live their values, including in performance discussions every 12 months.
  • Recruit based on values.

Barwon Health’s Recruitment Process

  1. Decentralised process – each manager runs their own interviews.
  2. Phone Interview First
  3. Interview
    • Talk about your passions and how you align with Barwon Health’s values.
    • Make sure you are prepared.
    • Research:
      1. Website
      2. Position Description
      3. Values
      4. If you know someone who works at Barwon Health, ask them!
      5. Call the Manager (if name on ad) and ask questions to start to build your relationship.
    • They understand that it’s scary and you’ll probably be nervous.
    • Take notes in.
    • Will be asked behavioural questions so have examples ready.
  4. Assessment Centres are popular (especially for CPO roles).
    • Up to 20 people.
    • Group activity, followed by an Individual Interview.
    • Remember, you are being monitored from the time you walk in, to the time you leave.
    • Assessing your true self – it’s ok if you are loud or quiet.
    • Looking at who you are.
    • How do you work in a team? Do you listen? Can you contribute?
    • Don’t take over, but don’t sit back. Just be yourself.
    • Contribute to the conversation.
    • If you are a leader, be a leader. Leaders are needed too! Just don’t be aggressive.
  5. Volunteering

Advertising of roles

  • Lots of internal advertising, due to the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement and the fact that Barwon Health encourages people to progress.
  • Casual Positions – lots of casual positions come up. Don’t be scared to apply as there are opportunities to pick up more shifts once you are in the door.
  • Theatre Technicians – Will be advertising positions soon.
  • Can register your interest online and will be sent job alerts.
  • Advertised on the website – http://www.barwonhealth.org.au/careers.

How to apply for a job at Barwon Health

Before you apply, think about:

  • Can you be available 24/7?
  • Are you passionate and excited about this industry?
  1. Need to upload a Cover Letter, Resume and then answer the Key Selection Criteria.
  2. Resume
    • Only include what’s relevant
    • Don’t go too over the top
    • Include your key skills
    • Have a profile at the top of your CV – this is very important as it gives the employer a snapshot of you
    • Will spend on average 10 seconds looking at your resume, so the top section is the most important
    • Clear & Concise
    • Easy to read
    • Easy layout
    • Managers read them, so make it easy to read
    • Include volunteering opportunities as this shows your connection to the community.
  3. Cover Letter
    • Talk about your passions.
  4. Key Selection Criteria
    • Part of the process.
    • Some are Y/N questions.
    • Need to address the criteria, but shouldn’t have to spend days on it.

Helpful Tips

  • There are lots of casual opportunities, so make the most of these. We are very lucky in Geelong that we have a great hospital network.
  • Casual gets your foot in the door and there are lots of opportunities. People are working across multiple organisations and hospitals in Geelong.
  • You are able to put in your availability on a weekly or monthly basis and it will match to what manager’s need.
  • It’s ok if you aren’t available all the time or if you can’t do a shift, as there is a big pool of casuals.
  • However, be responsive. If you are knocking back lots of shifts, it will seem like you are not available.
  • People are moving around the organisation more, opening up more opportunities.

If you are interested in a career in the health sector, book your FREE one-on-one appointment with any of the Skills and Jobs Centre advisors.

Geelong’s bright future in Construction

If you have driven around Geelong you have probably seen the major construction work happening on commercial sites in the CBD such the new WorkSafe head office, Geelong Hospital, Epworth Hospital, Simonds Stadium, Deakin University, Bellarine Aquatic Centre, Geelong Fire Station, Belmont Ambulance Station, Leopold Shopping Centre plus many more over the last few years and if you have driven almost anywhere outside Geelong’s CBD you will have noticed several land and residential sites being developed such as Armstrong Creek, Mount Duneed, Highton, Fyansford, Curlewis and Point Lonsdale just to name a few.

The construction industry is one of the Geelong regions strongest industries in regards to employment and although some other industries in Geelong have slowed down or have changed, construction has remained steady for the last 5 years and government employment projections state that the industry in Geelong will even grow by 11.1% by the year 2020. (Source: Labour Market Information Portal)

In fact, over $1.2 billion worth of major construction and redevelopment is underway in Geelong and another $1.9 billion is awaiting commencement or is planned. In the previous 12 months alone there has been $745 million worth of construction across a wide range of industry sectors.  Beyond this date and excluded from those totals, Geelong is proving to be an area of further investment with the currently underway $750m Keystone Business Park expected to provide jobs for the next 10 – 15 years, the $20b LAND 400 project for the next 30 years and over $1.3b of confidential investment enquiries for the Geelong Ring Road Employment Precinct that would create more than 1,065 jobs. (Source: Enterprise Geelong)

What does this mean for you? It means there are, and will be, plenty of opportunities for employment, that this industry should remain strong in the long term and is a great career choice if you possess the necessary qualities.

We recently held a Building & Construction Employer Panel here at The Skills and Jobs Centre where participants heard from 3 of Geelong’s major employers in the industry; Lyons Construction, Built and Rendine Construction.

Here are just some of the key points to come out of the event:

  • There is strong confidence in employment growth in the region with many upcoming projects and tenders forecast.
  • That the on-flow effect from all the construction taking place means a very wide range of job opportunities – from architecture, construction management, skilled and unskilled labouring, transport, earthmoving/mobile plant operation, carpentry, plumbing, roofing, electrical, scaffolding and many other trades, steel and timber fabrication, workplace safety, interior design, property law, engineering, environmental management to real estate and so on.
  • Trades and apprenticeships are an extremely important part of the industry but there are careers for all skill levels.
  • Even with university qualifications in construction employers prefer some level of hands-on experience and knowledge, even if this includes helping a family friend for a few days or doing some weekend work. According to Steve Lyons from Lyons Construction having that experience on building that door frame (for example) will enable you to better understand the process and time it takes to put door frames together and therefore enable you to manage your project more efficiently from estimating costs to the build itself.
  • That it is important to be flexible and adaptable which means being able to adjust your skills and thinking to different situations that may occur on a project.
  • What these companies look for in ALL employees are personal qualities such as work ethic, reliability, enthusiasm, team work and initiative. Your personal qualities will make you more employable than just having a qualification or certain skill.
  • If you are interested in starting out in the industry don’t be afraid to approach local builders or companies and see what opportunities might be available for you whether that be apprenticeships, labouring or even mentoring roles for university graduates.
  • Don’t be afraid to try different trades, skills and training and find the role that fits best. Having the extra knowledge and experience will also add to your employability.

In summary, the future is bright for anyone looking at getting into the industry. My advice is to be proactive and find out what training or jobs are available to you. You can contact local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Providers, contact an Apprenticeships Field Officer (AFO’s), speak with local businesses, ask family and friends for work experience, look at what RTO’s have to offer such as pre-apprenticeship courses, industry skills courses and ‘VET in School’ for high school students or come in and speak with the friendly staff here at the Skills & Jobs Centre who can provide you with information and help guide you in the right direction.

Useful links: http://www.thegordon.edu.au/future-students/apprenticeships-traineeships/contacts-and-useful-links

Written by Shai, our King of Industry. For help with Geelong industry information , book an appointment with Shai or any of the Skills & Jobs Centre’s advisors. 

 

Worried about gaps in your work history?

There are many reasons why someone could have gaps in their work history. They may have chosen to take time out of the workforce to raise their children. They may have needed a break to care for an ill relative or to recover from an illness themselves. They may have travelled. Or they may have been retrenched and struggled to find replacement work. These are all valid reasons, though it can be hard to know how to deal with them on your resume. The question is how to acknowledge them whilst still showing the employer you have the skills and experience to meet their needs.

Explain

Whilst the idea of just ignoring the gaps and hoping the employer won’t notice is attractive, it’s also fraught with danger. Employers will always notice them, I can guarantee it. If you don’t provide an explanation they will make assumptions about why you weren’t working during this time – usually negative ones. Luckily the majority of employers are understanding, but you do need to give them an explanation.

You don’t have to go into too much detail about what happened, a sentence or two in your cover letter or in the summary section of a resume will do. If you can alert the employer that you have had gaps in your work history, and provide a legitimate reason why, then you increase the chances of the employer understanding your situation and assessing your application fairly. 

Rearrange

Once you have explained the reason behind the gap you need to adjust the order in which the information is presented in your resume. If you haven’t been doing any casual work, whatever you are currently doing/have been doing most recently should be listed first – this may be study (including short courses), a volunteer role or anything else that is relevant to the role you are applying for (e.g. a cookery blog you have been writing if you are applying for hospitality roles).

Employers understand that gaps can happen, but they do like to see that you have been doing something whilst you have not been working.

Emphasise

The easiest way to clearly show an employer your suitability is to focus on your skills. Employers care about what you can do, they don’t care whether those skills were developed in paid employment or not. If you have most recently been volunteering treat it like a job on your resume by highlighting the skills you utilised and any achievements you had. It is the same for any training you have done. By emphasising how your skills match the employer’s needs you can make them so keen on you, they may even forget the employment gaps exist!

Written by our resume queen, Christina. If you have questions about what to include in your resume, book in to our upcoming resume workshop.

Picture credit: walkerud97CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

My journey from desperate to employed.

‘When I first visited The Skills and Jobs Centre, I had been looking for work for 8 months. I was job seeking 6 hours a day and applying for everything, jobs I was eligible for and jobs that I wasn’t eligible for. I worked at Black Salt for 6 months, over 40 hours a week, working at night and job searching during the day. I didn’t want to give up because I would hate myself and I couldn’t do it. I felt very frustrated. I thought my resume was OK and couldn’t believe it was so unfair.

I saw the Resume Workshop on Facebook on the Geelong Careers page. I had never been to anything like this, but thought I had nothing to lose. At the workshop, I was negative, ranting and I hated everything. I had been to University and had previously held a senior role but I was desperate. Robyn asked me to come in for an appointment. I thought no initially, but then what have I got to lose. I had pressure from family and so came in for a resume review.

In my first appointment, Robyn wouldn’t let me be negative and was encouraging. She gave me general advice on my resume. Robyn immediately built a rapport. Before I had my job interview at the Department of Health and Human Services, Robyn gave me tips and put me in the right head space. She said to research the company, which I did.

We went over and over the Position Description (PD) and this was the biggest thing. We highlighted words, including key words and it was someone to bounce ideas off. You think you’re doing it right, but it seems so obvious now. I was telling employers what I knew, rather than what they wanted to know.

In my job interview, I said annual report 3 times, repeating a key word. Now I know my boss only hears key words! There was a practical component to the interview, including Excel and doing Pivot tables. I had 15 minutes to complete it. After the 15 minutes, I came back and had to say I couldn’t do it. I thought I had stuffed it all up.

I went home and googled it and then drafted an email to say I could do it. I called Robyn and she said to send it. She said that job hunting is a delicate balance! They had over 100 applicants, but I got the job and they changed the role to put in more environmental management. I think my updated resume helped me to get the job and tailoring my application to the job – as soon as I did that, I got a job!

I’ve been there now for 4 or 5 months. I’m a Project Officer in the Environmental Management Unit at the Department of Health and Human Services. I am responsible for Environmental Management Systems Reporting. Also, staff engagement and staff behaviour change, including recycling, lights, energy etc. My role is 30% projects and I concentrate on renewable energy. I am working in Melbourne, so I leave at 7 am and get home at about 6.50 pm, but I am using my Bachelor of Science (Environmental) and Graduate Certificate in Applied Science in my new role.

Now I have a job, I feel like an adult. I feel like this is what I’m going to do. I’ve fluffed around for so long and now I feel like I’m on my way. I have financial security and the security of having a job. It’s great not to feel so desperate and to not have to be job searching.

The best thing I learnt from The Skills and Jobs Centre was the resume templates. I used the 2 page resume template. Also, that I needed to stop talking so much in my applications and use dot points.

The advice I would give to other job seekers is re-do your resume. You might think that it’s good, but it’s not. Also, get some assistance. Research the company. And just keep going until something happens!’ – Nat James.

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What happened when I Googled myself.

Recently I delivered a workshop on how to craft a standout resume. During the tips and hints section I stressed the need to have a professional e-mail address. It might have been hilarious when you created it but ilovegoon@gmail.com is not going to get you a lot of love from a prospective employer. Some of the attendees were doubtful that something as minor as an inappropriate e-mail address could have such impact. I assured them that many employers would immediately disregard any applications from such e-mail addresses. I myself had done so on numerous occasions when shortlisting, particularly when there are over 100 applications to get through.

“You also need to be careful about your digital footprint” I cautioned. “Employers can and will google you to see what comes up, and if they don’t like what they see there goes your chance of being shortlisted”.

 “That doesn’t really happen does it?” asked one attendee, particularly concerned about the impact her daughter’s on-line activities may have on her future employment opportunities. 

 “It certainly does” I replied. “If you’re at all concerned, just put your daughter’s name into any internet search engine and see what comes up. That is what an employer will see”.

As the group broke up about an hour later I overheard a few murmurs about “googling myself” with at least one attendee headed straight to the local library to try it out.

Later that night as I was relaxing in front of the television I thought back to that workshop and decided I should probably take my own advice. So, with a few nervous butterflies in my stomach about what I might find, I did it. I googled myself.

Here’s What I Found

My first thought when looking over the search results was “ooh, someone’s made a Wikipedia entry about me!” Alas no, it turns out that there is a very famous female cricketer with the same name.

The second result was a link to all of the Facebook profiles of people with my name. This will be a common result for anyone with a Facebook page and probably the first place an employer will look.

Completely confident that I had turned all available privacy settings on so only my Facebook “friends” could see my posts, photos and information I left it at that.

I kept scrolling, reviewing each result on the first page without success. Not one was actually about me. From an employer perspective this is good – if there isn’t a result on the first page they usually won’t look any further. However I was feeling a little miffed, there may not have been any negative results but there were no positive results either. So I searched again, this time adding my location after my name. That’s when I hit the jackpot – my LinkedIn profile came up first! This is exactly the result you want, after all LinkedIn isn’t referred to as “Facebook for work” for nothing. A prospective employer can see your experience, your qualifications and your interests all in the one place – a great way for them to determine if you would fit in to their organisation.

What About Pictures?

Luckily the first picture I saw when I adjusted my search to just images was my LinkedIn profile picture – the first result any serious professional wants to come up. And thankfully that was the only image of me that came up. No New Year’s Eve celebrations for prospective employers to pour over!

Back to Facebook

It wasn’t until the next morning that I decided it was worth having a closer look at my Facebook profile. Obviously as I was searching my own profile I would be able to see everything, which meant I couldn’t check what a prospective employer might see. So I asked a colleague who was not one of my Facebook friends to google my profile and see what came up, just to be certain. Imagine my surprise when they were able to see all of my photos and friends, although thankfully they were unable to see any of my posts. It turns out that Facebook update their privacy settings incredibly frequently, so even if you think you have made your account completely private that could change without you even knowing it. My suggestion would be to check your privacy settings every couple of months to make sure they are still as you want them.

As unfair as it might seem, in the digital age anything you put on-line is considered fair game to prospective employers. If they can find it, they will take it in to account when assessing your suitability for their organisations. So be smart, and keep things professional – or, if you simply must post those photos of you passed out in the middle of the local footy oval after celebrating a win, make sure your privacy settings are on as high as possible!

Written by our resume queen, Christina. If you need help with your online presence, book in to our upcoming workshop series.

Don’t think it.. Do it!!

I was reading a blog recently about a 3-minute fix for procrastination.  I am a terrible procrastinator and I thought it might help me.

Within minutes however, I was analysing the blog itself. Was it really just a lot of American psychobabble, or was I really that avoidant? Consequently I started to trawl online for several other sites, looking for a more authoritative voice about why I might over think things before I start. Wow, that really lead to further procrastination. Was I too scared to start things because I might fail, or was I afraid of the responsibilities I may have if I succeed?

Within an hour, I had a million reasons in front of me as to why I might find it hard to get started and the 3-minute fix to procrastination had expanded to a 90-minute psychological assessment of my life.  My original task nowhere in sight!

I suppose the reason I share this with you is because clients often come to our Centre stuck in a cycle of procrastination too, “ Will it be the right job?”, “Should I have taken that course?”,  “ What if I am under qualified?”, “What if I fail?”, “What if it leads nowhere?” and around again until it can become crippling. In truth none of us can really predict the future, and there are no guarantees in life, however the benefit of taking some time out to reflect, or chatting to a career counsellor may help you to get off the treadmill of overthinking.

Recently in one of my mindfulness classes we were introduced to the concept of the 3-minute breathing space, to calm and refocus our minds. Many assume mindful meditation is a state of hypnotic navel gazing that transports you to enlightenment or nirvana via your deity of choice. This is not the case. The 3-minute breathing space does not take you to nirvana, comes with no candles or music and has no deity. It is a down to earth, realistic tool that can get you refocused in under 3 minutes.

Sounds ridiculous I hear you say, or only for “those” people you might scoff, but simply slowing down your breathing, acknowledging your surrounds and breathing into the moment can ground you to take action.

Breathing is the most powerful tool you have to calm yourself for any challenging circumstance and its free and fully available.

You might need to do it prior to an interview, to get started on that application or to deal with a difficult moment or person in your life.

All you need is stillness, oxygen, and a willingness to step outside of your chatty mind.

I have used the 3 minute breathing space waiting for medical appointments, in the car at school pick up, whilst trying to refocus on my projects, and even waiting for friends in a café. I actually breathed myself so well into my happy space while waiting in that café that I became annoyed with the waiters perpetually asking me for an order. Didn’t they know I came to cafes to breathe, not drink coffee???

This fear of the “what ifs”, or the “should I’s” as mentioned earlier, can literally permeate the brain and keep people from taking action. Metaphorically speaking we are far more scared of letting the light in, than the light itself. So taking the first step to start that resume, book that appointment or sign up for that course will not be so hard once you physically make a start. Sometimes the fear of actually finding that you may have success in a new career or job can be as scary as staying stuck in the same place. We can be equally afraid of living up to our potential and greatness as well as failing miserably because both come with responsibilities and expectations we have of our peers and ourselves.

Without a doubt a job transition or career change can be challenging or even brutal. But if we are not a little brave by taking a punt or two, we may sit in a state of flux and/or procrastination for a very long time.  We are talking small steps here, not leaping tall buildings in a single bound.  If we acknowledge that it might take time and we might need assistance it makes it so much easier.  So, the 3 minute fix for procrastination may not be the only solution, but using the 3 minute breathing space, physical exercise, a companion to keep you on track, a mentor, diarising your time or just being honest with yourself may get your started again.

As some rather large well known footwear organisation says, “Just do it!”

There is nothing to fear but fear itself, and your career is in your hands.

For really practical tips see the following articles.

1. Why you procrastinate and how to stop it

2. The 3-minute breathing space, your opportunity to practice

Written by Erika, our Workshop Wizard. If you need some help getting on track, book an appointment with Erika or any of the Skills and Jobs Centre advisors.

Picture credit: jill111CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

It’s good for you, your community & your career..

Volunteering – Good for you, good for your community and good for your career….

Did you know volunteering is not only a great way to do something good for others, it’s also good for your career and your well-being?

Benefits:

Well-being:  Volunteering can bring meaning and purpose into your life providing you with a natural sense of accomplishment.  According to research, being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. The more we give, the happier we feel.

Career Direction: If you’re in the middle of a career change or unsure of a new path or direction; volunteering can be a great opportunity to try some new fields or types of work.

Skill development: Volunteering can provide you with the opportunity to practice important skills and develop transferable skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication and problem solving.

Resume: If there has been some time since leaving your last job, fill some of the gaps on your resume. Showcase your new skills and experience!  You’ll also be able to demonstrate that you’re reliable, experienced and organised.

NetworkingBy volunteering, you will expand your network, make new friends and potentially gain exposure to professional organisations to boost your career.

Finding the right organisation and volunteer role that meets your requirements and one that you will enjoy is the key!  Ask yourself:

  • What causes are important to you? What’s your passion?
  • What types of volunteer roles and organisations are you interested in? Do your research.
  • How much time can you commit?
  • What skills can you bring?
  • Do you want to try something new?

12 Days of Christmas – Here are some volunteer stories and personal journeys to inspire you.

Where can I find the opportunities?

Volunteering Geelong – helps match volunteers with organsiations needing help

Volunteering in the City of Greater Geelong – Explore the volunteer options and join the team

Go Volunteer – has a large range of volunteer roles including one off, short term and long term opportunities

What are you waiting for, start exploring now.  Good luck!

Written by Lucinda, our new Networking Superstar. If you would like some assistance with finding a good volunteer opportunity for you, make a time to talk to Lucinda or any of The Skills and Jobs Centre advisors. 

How to find out what’s happening in your Industry.

Are you unsure of what is happening in your industry? Unsure of what to do to get into that job you want? Or what’s the next step??

Define and do your research, explore and ask! Take some time to list what information you are looking for and what you hope to gain from that information.

Researching examples

Step 1. I have experience in manufacturing, so what else can I do in the manufacturing industry?

Step 2. What do the job prospects look like for a particular role?

Step 3. That looks promising, so what skills do I need for this role?

Step 4. I do have those skills, so what qualifications or training do I need for this role?

Step 5. Okay, so where can I find an RTO that can provide this training?

Step 6. Make a positive plan that will make this possible!

Thank our lucky stars for the internet!!!! …. And of course your friendly informative staff at The Skills and Jobs Centres. There is a lot of information currently out there that can help you with some guidance around job prospects, job titles, weekly earnings, the latest statistics, skills and training, but it is just a matter of finding it.

Whether you are trying to find new career options, are already confident in your choice of career, have the experience and need information on how to expand on it I can recommend doing some research.

Contact or view industry body websites for a guide and information on occupations, industry size, and industry contacts. There is also migration information for workers in these industries.

Here is a list of the industries you can research:

  • Automotive
  • Aviation and Aerospace
  • Biotechnology
  • Building and Construction
  • Defence Supply
  • Education
  • Energy Extraction and Generation
  • Engineering
  • Financial Services and Funds Management
  • Allied Health
  • Nursing
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Small Business

Find more information at: http://joboutlook.gov.au or https://myfuture.edu.au.

Of course the staff here at The Skills and Job Centre are always happy to help you with industry advice and career advice!

Written by Shai, our King of Industry. For help with industry information, book an appointment with Shai or any of the Skills and Jobs Centre advisors. 

Picture credit: Geralt

Sample answers to common interview questions.

Although you can’t predict exactly what questions will be asked – you can think about possible questions and prepare BRIEF responses beforehand.

Some questions will be behavioural (on the assumption that past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour). This requires examples of where, when or how you did something.

For these use the S.T.A.R. method to help keep your responses relevant.

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S.T.A.R. = Situation, Task, Action & Response

 

Straightforward Questions

Tell us about yourself?

  • Be concise, relevant and interesting.
  • What has lead you to this interview:
    • A passion for . . . . . .
    • Studied &/or worked &/or volunteered with . . . . . .
    • Gained relevant employability skills by . . . .
    • Now keen to . . . . . . .
  • Focus on how and why you became interested in this area or role & show the skills you bring to this position – show that you are a good fit for the position.

A Poor Response: Too few details, not convincing or focusing on one aspect e.g. your childhood.

Why did you apply for this role?

  • Why you are keen to work in this particular role and for this particular organisation.
  • Employers want people who are connected to working for them and working within their team.
  • Focus on the key factors that make you a great fit for the role.
  • You need to match your skills to the skills the role requires e.g.
    • ‘I have always been interested in . . . . ., and valued my studies in . . . . . .
    • ‘I have also gained relevant employability skills such as . . . in my work at/with  . . . and gained further skills such as . . . in my work placement/volunteer role at . . . .’
  • Next: Link that information to what the organisation does and how that connects to the role.
  • Finally, focus on what it is about the organisation that drew you to apply and why you want to be a part of that.

A Poor Response: I need a job.

What do you know about the company?

  • Show you have done some research. This requires information that is found on their website and/or under the ‘About us’ button.
  • Perhaps you can focus on an aspect from their Mission Statement, Values or History e.g. The fact that they are in a new, cutting edge industry.
  • It may require further research about the organisations future plans, or even knowledge of their achievements or the awards they have received.
  • Your networking skills may connect you with a contact person who works or worked there, and may provide more information.
  • Be clear as to why this information or knowledge about the company appeals to you.

A Poor Response: Not much.

Why should we hire you?

  • This is a great opportunity to sell your skills & experiences.
  • You need to show that you are capable of doing the work and delivering the results that the company wants.
  • Show you can fit in with the team as well as the company culture.
  • Show you are the best fit by focusing on examples that demonstrate the required skills and abilities from your recent experiences.

A Poor Response: Little detail.

What are your greatest strengths?

  • Be genuine, accurate and relevant.
  • Show your true skills – not just what they want to hear. It may also include values.
  • Choose the strengths that are most suitable for this particular position and be specific.
  • Give an example of how you’ve demonstrated these traits in a professional setting.

A Poor Response: Everything!

Really Difficult Questions (Don’t be afraid!)

How would you deal with conflict?

  • Examples need to reflect an understanding that we are all different and have different perspectives and ideas. In team meetings you need to show that you embrace the diversity of views, listen to others, appreciate their perspective, contribute and let the group and/or leaders make the decisions.
  • Sometimes people become frustrated and may behave badly. Whether this is someone in the general public or within an organisation, any conflict requires you to remain calm, listen carefully and focus on resolving the issue, or seek assistance from someone who can resolve the issue.
  • For issues with team members it may be that this outburst is unusual and may indicate that someone is struggling with other issue. You may need to check they are OK and encourage them to seek assistance.
  • In any example steer clear of being negative in your example and never criticise others.

A Poor Response: Criticising management

Why did you leave your last job?

  • This is such a tricky question.
  • Turn the focus to why you are seeking a new position.
  • You do not have to divulge personal details or mention everything you thought about your last position.
  • In the end you are seeking a new opportunity, a change, to gain more or broader skills, to work in a different or related area or to take up a promotion. You may have been training in a new area whilst working and now want to use the training and your employability skills in a new or different position. Or you may be passionate about what this company does and want to be a part of that.
  • Even if you felt unappreciated, that the culture has changed or you were no longer happy, now is not the time or place to discuss these issues.
  • It is better to focus on positive aspects such as seeking new challenges, extending skills & experiences, new qualifications and wanting to work in that area, limited opportunities where I was, retrenched, the business closed or had time off to have a family.

What are your weaknesses?

  • Another really terrifying question.
  • It is best to focus on something you have since addressed, that you used to do but have worked on so that it is not a problem now.
  • Focus on something you have improved e.g. skills such as planning and organisation, communication or working in multidisciplinary teams, or perhaps your personal life such as work/life balance or introducing more exercise in your daily routine.

Written by our resident interview champion, Robyn. If you need help with preparing for an interview, come along to Robyn’s interview workshop or make an appointment for interview coaching with any of the Skills and Jobs Centre advisors.

Picture credit: Geralt

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.