Insights into Casual Recruitment in Retail and Hospitality – September 2019

On Tuesday 10 September, the Skills and Jobs Centre was pleased to present a panel event with a focus on gaining casual employment in the retail and hospitality industry sectors. This event was the second in a series of Industry Insight events being delivered in partnership with Wyndham City Council. The Social and Economic Inclusion team at Council are doing valuable work to deliver a number of projects including providing employment pathways to Wyndham community members with an emphasis on the Humanitarian migrant and Asylum Seeker communities.

We were pleased to be joined by three local employers who are passionate about community and economic growth and were able to share some recruitment tips to those looking for casual work over the busy Christmas period.

The panel was made up of four members. Jonathan Bracy from the Werribee Zoo, Rebecca Pace from KFC and James Alford and Jonathan Jaboor from the Hyatt Group

Rebecca from KFC was the first guest speaker to discuss the career path available at The Retzos Group, who are a franchise that manage many KFC stores in Victoria.

The Retzos Group opened their first KFC store in 1990 in Shepparton, followed in time by another seven stores in 1997. In 1999 The Retzos Group built their first brand new restaurant in Laverton. Fast forward to 2019 and The Retzos Group is now 50 stores strong and employs over 2800 staff.

Rebecca explained that at KFC there is a clear progression strategy which is open to all employees. Most employees are initially employed as a team member. There is no experience required for team member roles as full training is provided to all employees. Training in Certificate III qualifications is also available for eligible employees. Once a team member turns 18 there is opportunity to progress to leading a shift. After successfully leading a shift, there is potential to lead a restaurant, and progress on to leading multiple stores. There is even the option of finally owning your own store!

The KFC brand purpose is “Always Original” and they encourage employees to be their best self, make a difference and most importantly have fun. To apply for a job at KFC head online to their website (, fill in the required forms selecting three stores you’d like to work in and finally upload the required documents for your application.

The next speaker Jonathan from Werribee Zoo provided a run down on the three different casual teams responsible for the visitor experience at the Zoo. There are between 60-70 employees in each team!

  • Visitor Services – Primarily focused on admissions and retail
  • Visitor Engagement – Primarily focused around the visitor paths, engaging with visitors with activities, talks, presentations
  • Safari guides – Primarily focused on delivering our safari tour and other visitor animal encounters

When recruiting for these roles, the main selection process is to identify which candidates have the required and preferred skills identified in the position description. If your skills and experience are a match, the next step is that you will invited to a group interview with 10-12 other candidates. There will be around 10 minutes of questions before participating in a group activity. The whole group interview can take up to two hours and Jonathan’s hot tip to go spend some time at the Zoo prior to your interview, take note of what the employees are wearing and dress similar. Look the part.

Jonathan’s advice to help applicants get through to interview is to triple check the accuracy of all your documents. Don’t accidently address your documents to the wrong business or organisation – oops! Check the spelling of the person’s name you are addressing. Ensure you have read all the required selection criteria before submitting an application. You can find all job advertisements as well as a range of work experience and volunteer opportunities at

Our final speakers for the day were James and Jonathan who are both Assistant Hotel Managers at Hyatt Place, Essendon Fields. There are currently three Hyatt Hotels in Melbourne with plans for expansion to include another three or four hotels within the next three years!

James and Jonathan spoke with passion about the strong values of the Hyatt Group, one of which is care.

  • Care for their employees to help them be their best.
  • Care for creating a distinct guest experience
  • Care for communities by embracing diversity and creating a culture where everyone matters.

They also spoke about several other values which all complement creating a fantastic work environment but also providing a high level guest experience. How often does an employer encourage you to have fun, not take yourself too seriously, laugh and build joy into your work? What about being encouraged to fail often in order to success sooner?

Some encouraging key points that from James and Jonathan’s presentation were that The Hyatt Group values communication skills over technical skills and that both had worked really hard to get a foot in the door, so don’t give up!

The Hyatt Group offers a range of career entry points including internships and work experience opportunities. To find the jobs available at Hyatt visit their website and search by location (Melbourne).

Need help with your Resume? Come along to the Resume workshop on Wednesday 30 October at 24 Watton Street, Werribee.

Need some career advice? Book a one-on-one appointment with a Careers Counsellor by calling 5225 0700

Insights into Higher Education Employer – July 2019

With employment prospects in the Geelong region in a state of change, what better time to hear from two large employers about what jobs looks like in the growing education sector.

Deakin University has a strong presence in the Geelong region with a campus at the Geelong Waterfront and at Waurn Ponds. Deakin is ranked in the top 1% of universities globally by the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018. This rating indicates world-class facilities, research and teaching, as well as employability, innovation and inclusiveness. Deakin also prides itself on student satisfaction and is a leader in graduate satisfaction

The Gordon is one of the largest regional TAFEs in Victoria and has been skilling people in the Geelong region for over 130 years. With two campuses in Geelong and three smaller campuses in Wyndham, The Gordon is experiencing a period of growth, which is also supported by the Free TAFE program being offered by the State Government.

Think jobs at Deakin and The Gordon are just for teachers? Think again! Today we were joined by Christine Shaw (Talent Acquisition, Deakin) and Aida Kapetanovic (HR Generalist, The Gordon) to learn more about the recruitment process at both organisations and boy, they couldn’t be any different!

Deakin’s recruitment process has recently become a centralised approach with 20 Talent Acquisition staff responsible for sourcing candidates. When a job becomes available, the Talent Acquisition team meet with the Hiring Manager and go through the position, identify the skills required and commence the recruitment process. Aside from academic roles, listed below are the seven key support areas that Deakin recruit for.

  1. Student Experience and Support – enhancing the student experience throughout their lifecycle
  2. Campus Services – maintaining the world class grounds particularly at Waurn Ponds
  3. Human Resources – 120 staff involved in recruitment and staff life cycle
  4. Lab Tech – supporting teaching delivery across the education Faculties
  5. Faculty Admin – organising travel, providing admin and finance support to the Faculty team
  6. Hospitality – Waurn Ponds estate hosting conferences, providing accommodation and cafe
  7. Library – assisting with online study and resource development

The Gordon’s recruitment process also follows a similar style with recruitment handled by a HR representative in conjunction with a representative from the program area. Jobs at The Gordon are divided into Teaching and Non-Teaching roles.

  1. Teaching roles – need to have a vocational qualification (“your trade”) and a TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. There is a particular need at the moment for Community Services, Carpentry, Electro Technology, Plumbing and Automotive teachers
  2. Student support – includes administration roles across a variety of professional functions including Finance, Executive, Student and Industry Engagement and Facilities.

With administration roles often attracting between 150-200 applicants, here’s what you need to know to make your application stand out.

 Make sure your resume is SCHMICK!

  • Keep it to two pages
  • Include a brief profile which is your elevator pitch and highlights how your skills align with the role
  • List your most recent position first
  • Make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • Use dot points to make your resume easy to read
  • Keep the content current, anything over 15 years old is not relevant
  • Don’t include a photo
  • Consider inserting a hyperlink to your LinkedIn account
  • You don’t need to list referees and their contact details

How to ace the interview!

  • Tell a great story. Have a generic opening line which address the question and then provide a specific example.
  • It’s okay to repeat the same example at interview that was used in your application, preface it with “I already gave my best example…”
  • Be authentic and be specific with your examples. Write down dot points to prompt you.
  • Have questions in mind to ask at the end of the interview
    • What would be the focus for the first three months?
    • Tell me about the team I’ll be working with…
    • I saw that Deakin/The Gordon recently did this…
  • Don’t forget that you got an interview because you can do the job, now you need to convince the panel you are the right person for their team

Both organisations encouraged potential applicants not to wait for a full-time position to be advertised. Both organisations have a lot of internal movement within roles, so if you see want to work for either Deakin or The Gordon be prepared to apply for casual or contract positions. Our sincere thanks to both Aida and Christine for their insights and tips

Deakin The Gordon
Require a one page Cover Letter  Do not require a Cover Letter
Do not require Key Selection Criteria  Must address Key Selection Criteria
Applications don’t have a closing date. Resumes are reviewed as soon as they are received Applications will not be reviewed before the closing date
Desirable candidates will undergo a preliminary telephone screening interview
A secondary interview will most likely be an informal coffee catch-up

Need help with your Key Selection Criteria? Come along to the Key Selection Criteria Workshops held monthly on or book a 30 minute appointment to review your Key Selection Criteria

Need help building your LinkedIn profile? Come along to the Creating a LinkedIn profile held each month.

Please visit  Skills and Jobs Centre to book your place at our range of  monthly workshops




Insights into the Aged Care and Community Health Sector – 23 July 2019

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.

Panel members:

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 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 and the organisation’s website at

  • 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.

Health employer panel 2019

The panel members presented an overview of their organisation, an outline of their recruitment process, types of opportunities available, as well as some valuable tips about what their organisation is looking for in an application.

The panel:

Mick Fuller (Senior People & Culture Manager) Epworth Healthcare Geelong
Tamika Russell (Talent Officer) Barwon Health

Epworth Healthcare is a not-for-profit private hospital. We combine 95 years’ experience with a team of expert local staff and doctors. We share the same vision – to create an outstanding healthcare facility of choice for the people of Greater Geelong and South West Victoria.

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 4 years.

Epworth Workforce:

Epworth HealthCare is a dynamic and friendly workplace, built on teamwork and have a commitment to quality and furthering the development and skills of their staff. There are also  some great benefits and support when working at Epworth

  1. Clinical staff
    • Heavy reliance on Clinical staff
    • Employs RN’s & EN’s, but will only employ endorsed EN’s
  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
  3. Sterilisation
    • Involves looking after the equipment and getting it ready.
    • Certified role, you need to have completed a Cert III or Cert IV in Sterilisation.
    • Well-paid
    • 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

What Epworth looks for in an employee:

  1. Technical Skills
    • Skills/Qualifications that are required for each role
  2. Soft Skills (eg. communication, organisation, team work, flexibility, self-management)
    • Values – Epworth takes their values very seriously
      • Respect
      • Excellence
      • Community
      • Compassion
      • Integrity
      • Accountability
    • 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.
  3. Epworth’s Recruitment Process: Online recruitment process, application, behavioural interview
    • Come prepared and know about the organisation and role. Make sure to check the website. This shows motivation, respect and initiative.

Advertising of roles:

  • 95% of roles are advertised, as they are looking for the best person for the role.
  • Advertised on:

How to apply for a job at Epworth:

  • Submit a Resume, Cover Letter and response to Key Selection Criteria.
  • Resume
    • 2-3 page maximum
    • Relevant to role
    • Don’t use colour or different font throughout the document
    • Keep professional
    • Use a single font in 11 or 12pt
    • No photos
  • 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
  • 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 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 is the largest employer in Geelong, employing over 7000 people. Formed in 1998, Barwon Health is one of the largest and most comprehensive regional health services in Australia, providing care at all stages of life and circumstance. Health services available through Barwon Health cover the full spectrum from primary care, community services, aged care, rehabilitation, mental health, emergency and acute care.

Working at Barwon Health means you will be part of a team providing high quality healthcare services to our communities, with a wide range of opportunities in diverse areas including acute, mental health, aged care, administration and support services.

Tanika 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.

Barwon Health Workforce:

  • Clinical
  • Aged Care
  • Theatre Technicians
    • 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.
  • Casual Administration Pool.
  • Volunteers portal– are seen as internal candidates, so can apply for internal roles. Opportunity to gain experience and allows you to connect with different departments.

What Barwon Health looks for an employee:

  • Flexible and adaptable
  • People who are excited about working in health care and are passionate about putting the patient first.
  • Looking for people who are really passionate.
  • 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:

  • Decentralised process
  • Interview
    • Talk about your passions and how you align with Barwon Health’s values.
    • Make sure you are prepared.
    • Research:
      • Website
      • Position Description
      • Values
      • If you know someone who works at Barwon Health, ask them!
    • Take notes in.
    • Will be asked behavioural questions so have examples ready.
    • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Volunteering


How to apply for a job at Barwon Health:

Before you apply, think about:

Are you passionate and excited about this industry?

  • Need to upload a Cover Letter, Resume and then answer the Key Selection Criteria.
  • 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.
  • Cover Letter
    • Talk about your passions.
  • Key Selection Criteria
    • Part of the process.
    • Some are Y/N questions.
    • Need to be able to address the criteria and requirements of the role

Thank you to our panel for sharing their valuable insights and tips. It was a solid hour of valuable information. Our presenters were generous with their time and sharing their unique insights into this growing sector.

Insights into volunteering panel – Good for you, good for your career

Insights into Volunteering Panel – Good for you, good for your career
Skills and Jobs Centre panel – Monday 13 May 2019

Volunteering Geelong, St John of God Hospital, Gen U

Come along and gain some insights into the world of volunteering.  There are many benefits of volunteering including an opportunity to give to our community, networking, gaining new skills and experience. A panel of volunteer organisations will discuss the benefits of volunteering for those who may be:

– exploring new careers
– gaining new skills & knowledge
– boosting job and career prospects
– connecting to community

Participate in National Volunteer week activities – 20-26 May
How to get involved

Panel members

Tara McCallum – Volunteering Coordinator – St John of God Hospital

Jolanda Dejong – Special Project and operations coordinator – Volunteering Geelong

Emily Learey – Volunteering Lead – GenU

Applications can be made: through online form, email/post form, or can be dropped in face to face.

General information: Specific organisations may require police checks, or working with children checks. These may be funded, but will depend on the volunteer organisation. First Aid certificates are generally not required.

Panel Career Stories & Organisational Information

Tara – St John of God Hospital – Tara was an Emergency Nurse for the past 12 years and 5 months ago she stepped into her Volunteer Coordinator role as a maternity leave cover. She feels that she has used a very different skill set in emergency nursing, but has a lot to offer the volunteer coordination role, looking after 140+ volunteers. She also volunteers for her son’s football team as the team manager and thoroughly enjoys supporting the 25 teenage boys. St John of God head office is in Perth and there are 1100 Care Givers in Geelong – all staff and volunteers are called care givers. St John of God Geelong has a private emergency, ICU, medical, and surgical areas. The volunteer roles cover 20 different roles including concierge, convenience trolleys, drivers, maintenance assistance, patient companions etc. There is a disability arm to the volunteering that creates opportunities for those with disabilities. One of the volunteers has been with the hospital for 20 years and they will be presented with a recognition, along with those serving the hospital for 5-15 years, next week.

Jolanda – Volunteering Geelong – Jolanda started at VG only 3 weeks ago. Jolanda’s career started as a primary school teacher, she is Dutch and came to Australia 24 years ago. She has worked at Centrelink, in the Job Network, and at Tasmania TAFE, then worked at professional colleges in training. She now teaches Yoga and works part time in her current role. She works with 8 dedicated volunteers. VG will set up an interview and help people find a suitable role to help build skills or social connections and in meaningful activities in life. They find volunteers from the Surfcoast to Colac and then Queenscliff, there are 300 opportunities on the database currently with 400 organisations on and off. There are short and long term opportunities in broad areas, they manage individual, group volunteers, or corporate volunteer opportunities. Areas include; working with animals, retail, transport, conservation, working with children, social support, healthcare etc.

Emily – GenU – Emily has worked in not for profit’s for the last 11 years. She graduated from Social Work and went to volunteer as a Lifeline counsellor when she struggled to find a graduate job. She then got a job as a Social Worker at St Laurance and worked in the role for 8 years. Once she went on maternity leave she returned to her Human Resources/People and Culture role coordinating the Volunteer Program, she has now worked in this space for the past 4 years. She likes helping people achieve their goals, and finding volunteer opportunities that complement their skills, experience and goals. When St Laurance and Karingal merged 18mths ago, the organisation became a huge conglomerate of disability and aged care services and they are now in most states in Australia with 3000+ staff, 350 volunteers, and across 200 locations. GenU helps those with disabilities and in aged care reach their goals through NDIS and My Aged Care services. They also have an employment services and training arm.

What are the organisations looking for?

St John of God
There are a variety of volunteering opportunities and commitment levels available. Induction and training is provided, and volunteers are chosen based on aligning with the values and mission of the organisation. The Hospital is a not for profit Catholic organisation and the values are important to the care givers. It is a wholistic organisation and they look at the family and community of the client. The opportunities available are varied with some medical students gaining exposure, to clerical positions, administration roles, and some can lead to employment opportunities. The volunteers are from a range of ages, however they cannot take on any volunteers under the age of 18 and the average person is aged 61, and the oldest is 90. The process will include a face to face meeting to establish what the volunteer is looking for. Generally the hospital likes to have a 12mth+ commitment and there is an induction process, OH&S training with yearly updates, and insurance is provided by the hospital.

Volunteering Geelong
Generally the process will include a discussion about what the person and the organisation are looking for. Ideally the volunteer will hold the values of the not for profit sector to provide services to the community, and this is not to replace paid work. The roles advertised will have a position description and these will outline the key expectations, and specific skills required.

Ideally looking for people who are passionate about what GenU stands for, looking for people who align with their values, vision and mission. Someone who wants to make a difference in community services, who is passionate about disability or aged care and wants to give back. Programs support the socially isolated, and life skill programs. Volunteers do not need qualifications or experience, and GenU provide training. They are looking for people who are motivated and generally the group will find a match to the individual’s interests. There are a diversity of opportunities and they assist in creating a match, including some business related skills and interests. Examples of opportunities include; supporting isolated people, events support, ICT support, disability adventures and outdoors activities, animal care farm therapy, working bees in horticulture and gardening. It is helpful for volunteers to have good communication skills, and volunteers can be flexible and notify the coordinator what they are looking for.



Government Employer panel – February 2019

Monday 25th February -10am the Skills & Jobs Centre were fortunate to have three experienced People and Culture professionals from large Government employers in Geelong to talk about the job market, what they are looking for in potential employees, relevant information pertaining to applications for their workplaces, possible opportunities with their workplaces, and specific tips and tricks for job seeking and interviewing. It was a solid hour of valuable information, and the three presenters were generous with their time, sharing their unique insights into the growing and ever changing Geelong job market.

Panel Members:

  • Liz Taylor – TAC – Shared Services Team Manager – People and Culture
  • Sarah Greeney – Worksafe – Talent acquisition specialist
  • Ashely Shaw – City of Greater Geelong (COGG) – People and Organisational Development

Career Story of the presenters;

Liz currently holds a leadership role at TAC in People and Culture. Her career history was not however a direct path to HR. Liz kindly shared her background in administration, which lead to management of a contact centre. Liz spent some time working in the music industry, and then she was drawn into agency recruitment in Melbourne for a period of time. Liz has now been with TAC for 10 years and worked across both the People and Culture division and the client facing division. She shared that she has followed her heart, not necessarily her career in her career choices, this has lead to broad skill development and learning to be agile in her career.

Sarah loves working with people and commenced her career in administration in a recruitment agency, before she went on to work in EA/PA roles in the banking sector. From here she found herself in a recruitment assistant role. Following a move interstate she went on to work at a large casino recruiting all roles end to end including corporate and entry level hospitality roles. She then went to a University to provide career counselling services to students, and is now working as a Talent Acquisition Specialist with the Worksafe recruitment team. Sarah has focussed on building transferrable and employability skills, she has not focussed on her technical or academic qualifications to build her career.

Ashley has had a similarly diverse background to the other presenters, representing development of transferrable skills, rather than a focus on a direct career path with technical knowledge acquisition through formal avenues. Ashley worked in administration/accounts for a family business franchise, and worked in other administrative roles following this family business. He has faced two redundancies in the past and drove Taxi’s for a period of time. He then went on to an accounting role at a transport provider in Lara, and commenced some HR related work. He then went on to other transport and community based organisations in HR roles. The not for profit sector really stretched his capabilities where he worked with limited resources and a huge workload. He then worked in a HR consultancy where the role was not as it first appeared, then on to a large Hospital in a HR generalist role. He is now loving the recruitment focus of his role at COGG and brings his depth of life and work experience to the role.

Organisation Information – snapshot of information shared, see websites for further details;




TAC is an organisation of two parts – 1. Road Safety that we know from media

2. Social Insurance arm for those impacted by a transport accident – the insurance arm is the larger area of the two in the organisation.

Worksafe is also a business in two parts – 1. Health and Safety Inspector team

2. Workcover insurance to protect those when incidents happen – the insurance arm is the larger of the two.

Provides 34 services to the COGG area

2700 staff, with 530 volunteers.

TAC is a world leader in safety. Worksafe is currently working towards the 2030 strategy following a move of head office to a brand new state of the art building in Geelong. Most roles have little to do with the councillors per se, but rather focus on servicing the community.
900+ employees working towards the 2020 strategy. Aim for ZERO road toll – & goals to make the process simpler for clients. 700 employees in Geelong and 1200 employees Victoria-wide. Huge growth coming to the area with many opportunities in the Lovely Banks developments and Armstrong Creek space.
Large contingent workforce to manage the 2020 strategy.    


Qualifications/Skills/Roles available;

TAC Worksafe COGG
Broad range of roles available and many technical enhancements removes the traditional entry level administrative role Large breadth of roles – some very technical and some less so. Large range of roles – Learn to Swim instructors often recruited and the variety of roles expands through the various services provided to the COGG.
Two roles of note that are not entry level roles, but a way into the organisation – Customer Service, and Claims Support roles. The Advisory team function as a call centre and take a huge diverse range of calls from queries about licencing requirements to potential clients trying to understand the process for reporting a bullying claim. Really interesting role currently recruiting for is the Casual Administration relief officers – huge variety and scope in learning about the council and involvement at all levels and locations possible. Currently looking for 4 more to fill.
The Customer Service roles are in the client division dealing with clients, families, providers and are fast paced roles, ideally aim for first call resolution. Successful candidates need to demonstrate communication skills, resilience, and the ability to change their style to different enquiries. Lower level administration roles do not necessarily require qualifications, however it is possible a certificate III or IV could be a benefit.
Key skills are communication, accuracy, agility, adeptness, resilience – most of these are life skills and transferrable. Key skills for Worksafe involve problem solving abilities, and a willingness to face change. Huge growth in surrounding regions that will swell to the size of large regional townships in their own right. Lots of opportunities in Town Planning, Engineering and development based growth.
TAC are looking for people with a growth mindset and to see evidence of potential employees who have this through a willingness to learn. Strategic change for the direction of the organisation – current focus is also a growth mindset with flexibility and resilience. Those interested are encouraged to keep an eye on the website and all the opportunities, signing up to the alerts.
Claims Support roles are administrative roles in a contemporary manner, focussing on supporting rehabilitation providers, letter writing, database work.    
Ideally candidates will show their technical skills through articulating their experience.    

Application process and suggestions;

TAC Worksafe COGG
Revie information available about applications available on websites and podcasts, do your research. Worksafe like to see the selection criteria as part of the documents, not necessarily a separate document – Position Description has the selection criteria built in and it is important to pick out the key elements they are looking for. Key Selection Criteria is required if requested and noted on advertisement.
Encouraged to create a shorter resume – this is a living document. Encouraged to write a list from the advertisement and PD the things that the role is seeking, and then overlay this with a list of the things that you can put into your cover letter and resume and ensure these are covered off. Can have separate documents for your application and you can upload three separate documents 1. Cover letter, 2. Resume, 3. Selection criteria.
Important to understand what the organisation is looking for and have the ability to represent yourself as you are now in your career. Resumes are encouraged to be no more than 2-3 pages, and a cover letter needs to be very structured. A cover letter to the COGG requires a short and succinct letter covering off on your information and why you want to apply, this can be more generic in their view.
Ensure that the organisation is aligned to your values and you understand their values and direction. Cover letter – 4 paragraphs highlighting that you expect an outcome from this and invite a meeting;

1.      Intro – job applying

2.      About you – overlay your skills

3.      Why you want to    work here

4.      Conclusion – looking forward to an opportunity to discuss further

The resume must be tailored to the roles and need to make sure that the words pop out on the page.
Use language that is relevant to the role, ensure that you stand out and understand that this is an advertisement of who you are.   KSC – can ideally have one paragraph per criteria and use the STAR technique.
Think about why you want to work for this business and how your skills match, use this as your advertisement.   Overall the KSC is seeking to have demonstrated examples of your experience.
Position description must be expressed in the cover letter – tailor your resume and cover letter, using the words in the PD. BUT make sure you are telling your story – overlay this in the cover letter.

Cover off on the achievements in your application and talk about how the values of the organisation resonate for you.

TAC are clear on their values and there will be a question about these at interview, these were developed by the staff about two years ago and they are very important to the daily business of the TAC.    

Interview information;

TAC Worksafe COGG
Advice from TAC;

·        Use notes

·        Prepare and practice

·        You will have a panel – 2-3 people with diversity

·        Take notes

·        Interview is about mutual fit

·        Slow down and think during the interview

·        Consider your key points

·        Research the business and consider why this role, why this step in your career

·        Use the props, drink the water

Advice from Worksafe;

·        Ensure you talk about yourself in a structured way and consider this question

·        Do prepare

·        Have the ability to provide an overview of yourself and skills

·        Consider what brought you to this interview today – why?

·        Think about what you do outside work?

·        Behavioural based interviewing will be used – use STAR technique

Advice from COGG;

·        Think about how you can articulate any negative employment experiences

·        Ensure you are aware of the behavioural based interviewing technique and be aware of the STAR method.

·        If a recruitment panel are probing – you have not quite nailed the answer just yet

·        Practice!

·        Be aware that past experiences are a predictor of future performance = this is the goal of behavioural based interviewing.

Ensure you take notes in of what you want to cover and ensure your achievements are covered. Think about what you really want them to know about you, consider these elements non-negotiable and ensure they are shared. Questions for the end of the interview;

·        What are the business objectives for the year ahead?

·        What is the team like?

·        What is the structure?

·        What are the opportunities?

·        What are the challenges for the team?

If there are some reasonable adjustments that can be made to accommodate a disability, let the recruitment team know in advance – be open and honest to eliminate any barriers.   Larger organisations do not encourage you to cold call about opportunities, but to use the website to stay in touch and register for alerts.
Examples provided in the interview could ideally be contained to the last 5 years of work experience – can draw on study, work, volunteering etc.    
References will ideally be professional references, so ensure that you are clear on where this may come from – maybe volunteering etc.    

Final advice from the panel was that the Geelong market is changing and developing all the time for businesses and employees. Things have changed in the job seeking in the area, you require discipline, research, and consideration of the many and varied opportunities that are out there.

Candidates are encouraged to continue to research and forecast the future growth in the Geelong region. Ultimately, if TAC, Worksafe, or COGG are employers that you would like to work for. Set this goal and strive to build appropriate experiences to get to that role. Think about the steps that you may need to take in your career to reach that goal.

Insights into the Health Sector employer panel 2018

Careers in the Health Sector:

Insights from St John of God Geelong Hospital , Epworth Healthcare & 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 July 2018. 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
Jacinta Kenny (Talent Acquisition Adviser) Barwon Health
Dinie MacRae (Learning & Development Manager) and Michael Trainor St John of God Geelong Hospital

Epworth Healthcare
Mick Fuller – Senior HR Manager

Epworth has been around for 100 years and is the largest private not for profit hospital. Epworth moved to Geelong in 2016. They had 400 employees in July when they opened and now has 950 employees. The Epworth Group employs over 7000 people with the majority of staff employed in Richmond.

Potential employees need to be passionate about the organisation and motivated by shared values. He says although technical skills are important it is the shared cultural values that are important. He was attracted to the Epworth name and the professional and diverse environment they offer.

The Epworth Workforce
As a hospital, hospitality is the key so any background in hospitality is good. Epworth is a service industry and prioritises patient focussed skills then looks at other skills: technical and transferable

Clinical and general staff opportunities can include:
Theatre Technicians: Involves bringing in the equipment and setting up the theatre. Certified role so you need a Certificate to be employed. Shortage of theatre technicians in Geelong.

Administrative Positions: Includes Reception, Personal Assistants and Ward Clerks. Lots of competition for a small number of roles.

Food Services
Primarily employs people with hospitality skills and emphasises customer service.

Food Service Model involves personalised service following a hotel model. The menu is catered to your personal needs, including medical and dietary requirements.

What Epworth looks for in an employee

Technical Skills
Skills/Qualifications that are required for each role
NB: If qualifications are required, candidates will have the same qualifications.

Non-Technical Skills – This is where people can differentiate themselves

Employability skills that transfer from past experiences: teamwork, communication/customer service, organisational skills etc

Values – Epworth takes their values very seriously

Respect, Excellence, Community, Compassion, Integrity, Accountability

Look on the website and find out about the values. In an interview, think about how your values align with theirs.

NB: As a hospital, hospitality is key.

Epworth’s Recruitment Process

Application process
Requires Cover Letter (1 Page) and Resume (2- 3 pages).
The layout must be easy to read and formatting consistent.
Tailor to organisation and reflect the values and mission, particularly in the Profile or Career Objective in the Resume
Ensure your past employment reflects the skills required. Tailor these to the position

Interview process
Preparation is key as it shows respect for the organisation.
There will be a values question so give a tangible and authentic example of where you demonstrated the value.
Use the STAR process: Focus on a clear example and allow your self time to respond
Practice well.
It is a Face-to-face Interview – 45min – 1hr 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.

Advertising of roles
95% of roles are advertised, as they are looking for the best person for the role.
Advertised on:
Epworth website –
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
Submit a Resume, Cover Letter and response to Key Selection Criteria.

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

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
Demonstrate what you can bring to Epworth

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
Jacinta Kenny – Talent Acquisition Adviser 

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. Values driven organisation.

Health is the fastest growing industry in Geelong and Barwon Health advertises 40 jobs per week on average. It is an exciting industry with new innovations and a secure future. You may not get the role you want but getting a foot in the door is crucial as this allows you to move around later. Talent Community means that you can upload a profile and it will come to Jacinta’s team.

The Barwon Health Workforce
Volunteers are important and this may be a pathway into Barwon Health
Employees are diverse: technical and then areas such as administrative and food services
In administrative roles positions are often casual to start but allows you to get an overview of the organisation, gain experience and monitor internal positions, so it could be a stepping stone. Jacinta recommended autotyping as requiring many people and top of the list in the casual pool needs.

Casual Administration Pool
Administration roles are highly contested but Jacinta recommended registering with the Casual Administration Pool when open.

Seen as internal candidates, so can apply for internal roles. Allows you to connect with different departments.

What Barwon Health looks for in an employee
All about the attitude in particular shared values and understanding the mission of Barwon Health in helping the community.

People who are excited about working in health care and are passionate about improving patients outcomes and understanding

Barwon Health’s Recruitment Process

Application Process:
Tailor both Cover Letter and Resume to the position and organisation
Don’t upload the wrong resume or cover letter and ensure there are no mistakes in names, dates or positions.
In the resume the Career Objective or Profile is a chance to link to the values and mission of Barwon Health.
Focus on the skills required and align your past employment to demonstrate those skills

Interview Process
Decentralised process – each manager runs their own interviews.
Phone Interview First

Panel of 2 or 3 including the manager in that area
Talk about your passions and how you align with Barwon Health’s values.
Make sure you are prepared and take notes in.
Research: Website, Position Description, Values
If you know someone who works at Barwon Health, ask them!
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.
Will be asked behavioural questions so have examples ready. Will require the use of STAR and centre around awareness of self, communication and relationship building skills
Ensure positive examples are used.
Will be asked motivation/values question such as Why do you want to work with us.

Advertised on the website –
Huge pool of volunteers.

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.

Can register your interest online and will be sent job alerts.

Advertised on the website –

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?

Need to upload a Cover Letter, Resume and then answer the Key Selection Criteria.

Only include what’s relevant and focus on your key skills
Have a profile at the top to give a snapshot of you at a glance
Clear and concise, easy to read with a good layout
Include volunteering opportunities as this shows your connection to the community and can demonstrate required skills.

Cover Letter
Link yourself to the organisation and values.
Talk about 3 – 4 top skills
Show your passion clearly through what you have done before.

Key Selection Criteria
Part of the process.
Use clear examples and stick to the focus.
Use STAR technique

Dinie MacRae – Learning & Development Manager
Michael Trainor – Director of Mission and Integration

To meet the needs of the people of Greater Geelong and the Western District, our hospital has expanded to 276 beds, with more than 400 accredited medical practitioners offering services that include:

medical and surgical
cancer care
intensive and cardiac care

People and culture matter, along with caring relationships within our hospital. Our focus is driven by our mission and values. Potential will need to demonstrate that they align to the values and are the right fit for the culture and the organisation.

Our Values – The core Values reflect our heritage and guide our behaviours:

Hospitality – A welcoming openness to all; to the familiar and the mystery of self, people, ideals, experience, nature and to God.
Compassion – Feeling with another in their discomfort or suffering and striving to understand the other’s experience with a willingness to reach out.
Respect – An attitude treasuring the unique dignity of every person and recognising the sacredness of all creation.
Justice – A balanced and fair relationship with yourself, neighbour, all of creation and God.
Excellence – Giving the optimum standard of care and service within available resources.

St John of God Geelong – Workforce

Technical/Clinical and General Opportunities

Allied Health, Theatre Technician, Nursing (all students may complete placements which may provide opportunities for employment)

Other roles: Administration, Food Services, Patient Service

Volunteer experience is valued and provides opportunities to gain experience within a hospital.

Clinical coders are much sort after and paid well.

What SJOG looks for in an employee
Applicants need to demonstrate motivation to work with the organisation along with a genuine interest in the role they are applying for.

How to apply for a job at SJOG
Register on the website and receive an email alert.
Applications should include: cover letter, key selection criteria and resume (try to focus on what you bring to the role and the organisation – (ie experience, volunteering, and match to culture)

Interview Preparation (Behavioural Interview)
Ensure you prepare and practice. Know why you want to work with us, why you want the role, what’s important to you and how you align to SJOG’s mission and values. TIP: Some of the questions you may be asked include: teamwork, initiative, time management, strengths and weaknesses

Helpful Tips (General)
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.

Interviews: Be early (remember hospitals can be difficult to navigate and/or find parking), presentation is important, be confident, smile, shake hands with the interviewers and ensuring you have at least one or two questions prepared at the end of the interview.

If you are interested in a career in the health sector, require assistance with your application or interviews, please book your FREE one-on-one appointment with any of the Skills and Jobs Centre by calling 5225 0700.



Community Services Employer Panel

The Skills and Jobs Centre recently hosted its first employer panel in Geelong for 2018. The panel featured three employers from the Community Services sector and provided insights into the industry, current opportunities, skills and qualifications required and some handy tips about the recruitment process.

The panel members were:

  • Maree O’Dell (General Manager of People and Organisation Development) – Diversitat
  • Jill Meade (Coordinator Youth Statutory Support Programs) – Barwon Children, Youth & Family
  • Scott Morris (HR Advisor) – Barwon Children, Youth & Family
  • Amanda Stirrat (Community Development Officer) – City of Greater Geelong

Barwon Child, Youth & Family was launched as a new entity on 1 July 2015 because of a merger between Glastonbury Community Services, Barwon Youth and Time for Youth. The organisation employs nearly 350 staff across 40-50 different job roles and provides services to clients via its client services platform that includes Early Years, Family & Community services, Out of Home Care, Specialist Intervention Services, Youth Services and headspace Geelong.


Diversitat, also known as Geelong Ethnic Communities Council, is a registered charity and a not-for-profit community service organisation. Established in 1976, today they offer services in settlement, community development, youth services, aged support, training and education, as well as arts and events. They also manage The Pulse Radio and Television, Wholefoods Pantry and Kitchen, and the Belmont Oppe Shoppe. The organisation employs over 300 staff across 11 sites in the Geelong and Colac region.


City of Greater Geelong (COGG) is the local council in Geelong that provides a diverse and extensive range of property, economic, human, recreational and cultural services to the community and implements the City’s strategic plan.  COGG is the second largest employer in the region, employing over 2500 people in a wide variety of roles.


Why work in the Community Services sector

  • Empower and advocate for some of the most marginalised members of your community
  • Be a champion for your local community and help them to have a voice
  • Lots of positives and good news stories about a not-for-profit organisation can accomplish
  • Gives you a reason why to come to work and helps you contribute to something bigger than yourself
  • Consider volunteering the sector to learn more about the different organisations and build your network.

 Applying for a job in the Community Services sector

  • All vacancies are advertised on each organisations website, (see the links above which will take you straight to the employment pages) as well as on Seek and social media pages like LinkedIn.
  • Applicants are encouraged to read the Position Descriptions carefully and to contact the listed contact person with any questions. This is also a great way to introduce yourself to the organisation and make your name stand out from the many applications.
  • Tertiary qualifications (ranging from Certificate III to Degree) may be required for some positions but relevant work experience is always highly regarded as it shows you can fit straight into the job.
  • Check to see if a cover letter is required and if so take this as an opportunity to really show your enthusiasm for the role.
  • Use the STAR (Situation | Task | Actions | Results) method when responding to the Key Selection Criteria and keep your answers to two or three paragraphs.
  • Don’t forget to highlight your relevant experience and passion for the role when responding to the Key Selection Criteria. Make the panel excited to read your application and to meet you at interview.
  • There will be two or three staff on an interview panel and for some positions, there may even be a second interview. The interview will include questions about what interests you about the role and your relevant experience followed by some behavioural questions.
  • Most organisations require some additional background checks such as a Police Check or a Working with Children’s Check
  • Always remember that every interaction with the organisation is part of the recruitment process, so make sure even a phone call to book an interview is handled professionally.
  • If you are successful in getting the job, each organisation offers, a comprehensive orientation and induction process and further professional development opportunities are available.

Don’t forget to book into one of the Skills and Jobs Centre’s workshops for help with your application, interview preparation or job search strategies. For more information and current workshops please visit:



Community Services Sector in Werribee

Community Services Employer panel
30 October 2017

Panel members:      

Shara Thisananthan (HR Partner) – Wyndham City
Jaicy Kumar (Business Services Manager) – Wyndham Community and Education Centre

Hosted by:                  The Skills and Jobs Centre, Gordon TAFE, Werribee

The Community Services employer panel provided an opportunity for Gordon students and Skills & Jobs Centre participants interested in a career in Community Services to gain an insight into the sector and what employers are looking for in potential employees.  Below is an overview of what it’s like to work in the community services sector and information, tips and tricks from our panel.

Make a real difference in people’s lives

Working in community services, you have an immediate and profound impact on the welfare of vulnerable people.

Every single day you make a difference to the quality of people’s lives. Your actions help those who are struggling the most to build better lives, and to give them hope for a brighter future.

You also help to build stronger, more inclusive communities.

What an amazing career. Can you imagine the job satisfaction you would get from that?!

Job variety: one qualification, lots of roles

Unlike a lot of other sectors, community services gives employees a huge selection of client areas to work in.

This means that you can try out a number of different areas, before settling on the one that you are really passionate about. It also gives you room to move if you feel stagnant in a particular job or area.

Client areas in the community services sector include:

  • Aged care
  • Disability services
  • Indigenous and multicultural support
  • Asylum seekers and refugee services
  • Mental health and counselling
  • Child protection
  • Family services
  • Schools
  • Emergency relief
  • Youth justice


Panel insights and career story – Jaicy Kumar

Wyndham CEC has been providing educational programs and community services to the local community for 40 years.  Wyndham CEC offers a range of programs and services that include: pre-accredited and accredited training courses and community programs for individuals between the ages of 15 and 64 from a broad cross section of the community with a strong emphasis on the disadvantaged, youth, refugee and humanitarian entrants, and other new and emerging communities.

The types of opportunities that may be available are mainly associated with teaching, caseworkers and business including facilities management, bookkeeping and HR.  There are also volunteering opportunities.

What we look for when recruiting:

>Interest in the sector
>Industry knowledge
>People skills
>Team work

When recruiting for a vacancy, the HR department advertise firstly to the volunteer pool, networks and then externally online.

Personal Career Story – Shara Thisananthan

Shara graduated with a bachelor degree in Information Systems from Melbourne University and secured an entry level role for two years with Baker’s Delight in HR/Finance/Production.  Shara then moved to Wyndham and applied for a role in Aged Care/Disability wanting some work life balance and a job in the local community.  Whilst she wasn’t success in gaining the first role, she was offered another role as the employer could see potential.  She worked in Administration support and was able to demonstrate commitment along with many other transferable skills, and was subsequently offered an ongoing role.  Shara reassessed her career again and after returning to work after some maternity leave applied for an internal role that became available in HR and Administration.  Shara’s current role is Business Partner.

Shara’s tips

>Continue to learn and develop new skills (more flexible training/courses are now available online)
>Be open minded and embrace change
>Demonstrate commitment and passion

Panel insights and career story – Shara Thisananthan  

Wyndham City are located across Werribee, Tarneit and Point Cook with a focus on diversity, culture within the community, being progressive and dynamic, and working in partnership. 

Recruitment Process

>Wyndham Careers website (job alerts may be set up)
>Online application process
>Positions may also be advertised on Seek and in local papers
>Tertiary placements may also be arranged – contact relevant area
>Information and tips about resume, cover letter and key selection criteria
>Shortlisting process
>Interview (3 parts) 1) Questions, 2) Behavioural Interview (use STAR technique) 3) Technical questions specific to role.
>Pre-employment check – Police check, Working with Children, and sometimes a Psychometric test assessment.
>Referee check

Personal Career story – Jaicy 

Jaicy began her career as a scientist in intellectual property and litigation.  She was very interested and passionate about the community sector, in particular Social Enterprise and organisations such as Saffron Kitchen, and was involved and volunteered for five years.

This experience and passion led Jaicy to apply for her current business role.  Jaicy promoted and demonstrated her commitment and passion in her application.  Jaicy also demonstrated and included her strengths and transferable skills.

>Ask HR for feedback
>Apply your transferable skills to the role
>Tailor your resume for each role
>Spend time on your application
>Attention to detail
>Build skills

Insights into Recruitment Agencies

First things first, let’s get this recruitment concept right!

Recruiters in this instance (on today’s panel) are what you call Recruitment Service Firms. They are commercial in nature and hired to serve the needs of their paying clients by sourcing the best possible candidate. They are not career coaches or job search providers, but a fast paced business required to meet the employment needs of organisations at all levels at any time.

Unlike a jobactive job seeking agency, recruitment firms are not funded by the government, but by a variety of businesses looking to find the perfect match for their employee needs. If you approach a recruitment agency it is essential that you know why and what you are applying for. Ensuring you have tailored your resume and answered the specific key selection criteria closely is crucial. Recruiters are busy people and resumes with no relevant content, criteria or qualifications WILL BE immediately discarded.

One tip from James at Hays was not to over engineer your resume. Keeping it simple and factual without any images, photos or fancy fonts is important. Define any achievements or responsibilities you have had with clear evidence, and utilise and reflect key words throughout your resume. If the employer wants their steak medium rare with a tartar sauce, an overcooked lamb roast with gravy will not cut the mustard.

Recruitment companies specialise in different genres of work, so make it your business to know why you are approaching that company and what brand you are selling. There is really no point going to a recruitment company that specialises in project management if you are going for a customer service role, or a plumbing position if they excel in IT managers. Jean Paul from Direct Recruitment also added that it is important to be honest in your application. You may embellish a little here and there, but do not make up your skills set, reference or qualifications. A recruitment company will not be happy if they go to great lengths to line you up an interview and it is built on fabrications, particularly when their reputation is at stake.

If you do find what seems to be a good fit between yourself and a recruitment agency, ensure you register online and upload your resume for their files. This is a simple and effective way of ensuring you are on their radar. Signing up for alerts, knowing what’s “hot” and what’s “not” and exercising your LinkedIn daily is important. Hays and Harvest recruitment both stated that they actively pursue potential candidates from LinkedIn and Seek daily. They head hunt for the best clients and if you are not registered with the larger networking services it lessens your chances of being noticed. A large number of recruitment agencies have purchased direct access to the Seek portal, so they can view each and every resume that’s uploaded daily.  This passive way of seeking work online can be really successful and the best part about it is no-one need know you are even looking.


  • Do not apply for too many positions advertised within one agency if you are not genuinely suited to the position. We know there are expectations from Centrelink and Jobactives to fulfil a certain amount of positions per month, but your name may become synonymous with wasting the recruiter’s time. A bit like the boy who cried wolf, they may start to think you are not really serious about any of your job seeking efforts.
  • Recruiters are constantly busy, they may be expected to come up with an employee for a client with just 24 hours’ notice. Do not demand answers as to why you were unsuccessful, try a more amicable approach. “Could you suggest a time I may be able to speak to John, would it be ok if I emailed for further information” etc.
  • Utilise bullet points, key words, key skills and key competencies on the front page. You may only get 10 seconds to catch the recruiter’s eye, so make the main thing, the main thing. 
  • Compress all your job application documents into one if need be. There may be no way to upload a cover letter or selection criteria separately, so compile all your documents, starting with the cover letter first, resume, then Key Selection Criteria (KSC). If a graphic or visual portfolio is required, an entirely separate application will be requested.
  • Everyone loves Arial (I confess so do I ) and at 10 or 11 points it’s the favourite font. Do not use any fancy, funny or fluffy font or graphics. It will be binned!!! A recruitment agency will in fact reformat your original to this font for an employer. So ensure you don’t PDF your documents, as they will not be able to edit or reformat for their purposes.
  • Use the recruitment interview as practice for the major interview with the employer. Any questions you may struggle with or ponder such as salary, weaknesses, fears etc. ensure you tackle at your interview with the Recruitment Company. They want you to SHINE and they are paid to find a successful and wonderful candidate.

So now you have your head around the basics, a few tips about our three panelists today.


Hays have offices in around 32 countries, having originally set up in Geelong in 2007, they now cover the entire south western district including Ballarat and Bendigo.

  • Hays cover a variety of positions from IT, Project Management, Marketing, Communications, Accounting, Payroll, Book-keeping, Admin, Personal Assistants, Customer Service and the Government Sector. They also have a dedicated recruiter to place candidates in Engineering, Building, Labouring, and other blue collar related professions.
  • Clients include: NDIA, TAC, WORKSAFE, DEAKIN, and many local councils and state government.
  • Jobs range from temporary to permanent.

HARVEST RECRUITMENT is a Geelong based recruitment company founded by Maree Herath in 2009.

  • Harvest’s niche market largely consists of specialist, technical and executive specialists. Recruitment may be in areas of engineering, oil, gas and other major companies.
  • They may be looking for directors, CEO’s, CFO’s, accountants, lawyers and consultants.
  • 80% of positions sought by their employers are permanent. Unlike some other recruitment companies, Harvest also do career coaching seminars, write professional resumes and run work related workshops.

NOTE: Harvest did cite that there is currently a shortage of accountants and procurement specialists in our region and if you have those skills and/or are thinking of upgrading those skills, it is worth your while forwarding your resume for this very reason. Geelong is a highly competitive and saturated market in some sectors so ensure you look where the skills shortages are.

Harvest recruitment are the only Geelong based panelist for WORKSAFE, so ensure if that’s where your interest lies pursue them accordingly.


Jean Paul is the Business Development Manager of Direct Recruitment Geelong, and unlike its sister companies in Melbourne it specialises only in recruiting.

Direct Recruitment caters for those looking for work in;

  • Home and Community Care
  • Gardeners/Landscaping/ Labouring
  • City Greater Geelong, Golden Plains Shire, Surf Coast Shire
  • Warehousing, Food and Chemical industries
  • Has an exclusive contract with Simonds Stadium and Kardinia Park to cater for all needs related to game day. So if you love the “Cats” make sure your register for an opportunity.

For assistance with job applications, or to find out more about Recruitment Agencies in Geelong, contact The Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre.