Industry Insight into Early Childhood Education

On Tuesday the 29th of September the Skills and Jobs Centre teamed up with Wyndham City Council to deliver an Industry Insights Panel into the Early Childhood Education and Care sector.

We were excited to be joined by Sonija Smit, Service Excellence Lead with Wyndham City, and Sharleen Lancaster, State Manager from Sparrow Early Learning in Wyndham, to talk about the childcare industry, job opportunities, and recruitment and career pathways available. The passion Sonija and Sharleen have for the industry was evident in the virtual Zoom room, and was embraced by all attendees. What an amazing session to be involved in!

If you are currently studying childcare or are considering enrolling in a course at the beginning of 2021, keep reading, as there is valuable information that will help you decide if this industry is for you. If you have already decided that you want a career in childcare, you’ll find out about job opportunities and read some tips from the experts about the recruitment process.

What does it take to begin a career in childcare? If you are a nurturing and passionate person and enjoy building lifelong relationships, having fun and occasionally being a bit silly, this industry could be for you. Sonija explains that every day she leaves work feeling as though she has accomplished something, such as teaching a child something new like a developmental skill. It’s an extremely enriching career and keeps her coming back, even through the more challenging times.

Sharleen explained that some people are born with a natural ability to look after children; however, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a quality you have already. If you are persistent and apply yourself, this will come over time

Both panelists confirmed today that during the pandemic there were no jobs losses at their centres, and with people in the Wyndham area slowly returning to work, they are getting busier and are needing to recruit more staff.

With extra funding recently announced for the 3yo kinder, recruitment will begin in early 2021 for around 6000 more Early Childhood Teachers. It will be a staged approach across the country and state for the next 2-3 years.
This is a growth industry, with many centres looking to hire those with Certificate III, Diploma and Bachelor Early Childhood Education level qualifications. Now seems like the time to seriously consider the childcare industry as a career option.

Recruitment:

Below are the types of roles available across the industry that you might be interested in:

  • Childcare Assistants (Certificate III or Diploma Qualification)
  • Room Leaders (Diploma Qualification required)
  • Team leader or Service Manager – On the floor teaching and office work (Bachelor of Early Childhood Education)  
  • Kindergarten Teachers – 3 and 4yo (Bachelor of Early Childhood Education)
  • Office administrators
  • In-training early years educators (Diploma Qualification, working towards ECT)
  • Cooks/Chefs

And there’s other employment opportunities in the childcare industry, such as nannies, out-of-school-hours coordinators, Family Day Care assistants and more…  

What are they looking for when hiring?

  • Include your past work or volunteering history on your resume. Recruiters want to see that you have had experience working with other people, not necessarily only in the Early Childhood Education industry.
  • Your resume does not need to be long, 1-2 pages is enough.
  • Include a Cover Letter.
  • Give detailed answers in your Selection Criteria.
  • Try to align your selection criteria answers/and cover letter content with examples that reflect the vision and values of the organisation to which you are applying to.
  • Always be yourself in the interview! Its ok not to know everything about the job, ask questions and show you are willing to learn.
  • If English is your second language, that’s great, as centres embrace diversity and love being able to expose children to different cultures and languages. It’s so important now for our children to become global citizens and both Sonija and Sharleen expressed the importance of children hearing and learning different languages.

To view upcoming job opportunities with Wyndham City follow this link: https://recruitment.wyndham.vic.gov.au/careers

Or Sparrow Early learning here:

https://www.sparrowearlylearning.com.au/careers

Career pathway resources:

https://www.vic.gov.au/free-tafe

https://www.vic.gov.au/kinder

https://www.vic.gov.au/make-difference-early-childhood-teaching

Placement opportunities with Wyndham City:

https://www.wyndham.vic.gov.au/careers/employment-pathways/work-integrated-learning-wil-tertiary-student-placements

Contact:
Skills and Jobs Centre:

If you are currently completing your qualification in Early Childhood Education and need assistance preparing your resume, cover letter, selection criteria or getting ready for that all important interview, get in contact with the Skills and Jobs Centre to organise a free appointment for support from one of our qualified Careers Advisors, phone 5225 0700 or email us at skillscentre@gordontafe.edu.au

Job Seeker Information Session

Job Seeker blog_picHere at the Skills & Jobs Centre we’re really getting into the swing of using Zoom for our workshops and information panels! Goes to show that you can learn new skills at any age…

Last Friday we hosted speakers from a variety of organisations who talked about job hunting while we’re in COVID-19 lockdown and managing our mental wellbeing at the same time.

Where are the jobs?

Marianne Messer – Geelong Region LLEN

Job seekers in the Geelong region now have a consolidated online jobs board, which takes away a lot of the stress of searching across different online job boards on social media. Marianne explained how her organisation has partnered with Simon French, the Geelong Employment Facilitator, on the Geelong Careers site – a great example of working cooperatively in COVID-19 time. Back in 2019, the Barwon region was doing well; however, we’re now seeing significant drops in hospitality and accommodation jobs. Transport, logistics and health job vacancies have increased, though the application process is more competitive.

  • Search jobs on https://www.geelongcareers.org.au/ – it’s free and local!
  • Make sure you get the word out amongst your networks that you’re looking for work – many jobs out there are word of mouth and don’t get advertised
  • Use social media to look for job groups…

…which leads us neatly into insights from the Skills & Jobs Centre’s Jodie Walsh – our social media queen…

Social media and recruitment agencies

Jodie Walsh – The Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre

Did you know that Geelong Job Watch on Facebook has 25,000 members? Or that Geelong Jobs has 15,000? Jodie knows – she manages our social media accounts and understands the importance of social media for job search these days. There are approximately 9 Facebook pages for employment in Geelong, 1 in the Surfcoast, 2 in Colac and 2 in Werribee/western suburbs. See the Facebook Job Groups list at the end of this blog.

Over 90% of Geelong’s business community is small business, and these types of employers advertise their jobs on social media because it’s free and easier to use than sites like Seek.

  • If you’re concerned about your online presence, make sure you set your accounts to the highest privacy settings. And you don’t have to post – just use your accounts for job search.
  • Search for local community noticeboards online, where there can be posts about job opportunities.
  • Follow businesses (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn etc) that interest you, so that you’re connected to their direct advertising.
  • For help with managing your privacy settings, the Facebook Help Centre is your one stop shop. For some basic instructions, go to https://www.facebook.com/help/325807937506242
  • Or, if you’re a visual learner, try one of the many tutorials on Youtube, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VyoouopcDY Make sure that the video is made within the last 18 months so that it’s relevant to the most recent version of FB.

Recruitment agencies can be another good strategy for job search. Check out as many websites as you can and browse through the jobs listed. Register with them if they have positions that suit your preferred industry. But don’t complete your online registration and just wait for a call…it just doesn’t work that way. Check in on the agency websites regularly – make sure you’ve set up your jobs alerts properly to receive notifications.

There’s a comprehensive list of recruitment agencies in our region at the end of this blog – see Job Seeker Resources. Also read this informative past blog.

Large employers and the Working for Victoria (WFV) scheme

Colin Nicholson and Michaela Lobb – Department of Education & Training (Victoria)

Recruitment agencies are often the first point of contact if you’re looking for a job with large employers. Colin mentioned that large local companies such as Carbon Revolution, Cotton On, Chisholm Road Prison and Energy Australia are all recruiting at the moment. Remember that applying for jobs with large employers may be competitive, as recruiters will often advertise nationally through sites like Seek and Indeed.

Looking at a state level… The WFV scheme was initially set up by the Victorian government to support people who lost jobs directly as result of COVID-19. However, the great news is that anyone with full working rights in Australia is eligible to apply! WFV now has 25,000 job seekers and over 100 employers registered, and is partnered with recruitment agency Sidekicker.

Practical tips for job hunting in lockdown

Jo Black – The Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre

If you’re reading this blog then you’ll know that the Gordon Skills & Jobs Centre is a FREE service for local job seekers, with a team of knowledgeable and friendly advisors – such as Jo Black! One recruitment trend during COVID-19 is a preference for one-page resumes. Jo gave us a few pointers on this:

  • Given the increase in job scams recently, you do not need to include your full address on your resume and/or cover letter. However, mentioning your suburb may be an advantage if employers are looking for people living in the area who can be responsive
  • A profile statement at the top of your resume is a useful way to highlight how well you’re set up to work from home, eg ‘reliable NBN internet, laptop and headset’
  • Include your qualifications and training, and if you have a long work history, focus on the last 10 years
  • If you also need to include a cover letter, make this punchy, using four paragraphs that give a snapshot what you have to offer.

Scroll to the end of this blog for some Sample resumes and cover letter tips from the SJC.

It’s always important to prepare for job interviews, but social distancing rules mean you may need to do an online interview using a platform such as Skype or Zoom. Make sure you:

  • understand the technology and practise using it in advance
  • dress like you would for a face-to-face interview, set up at least 5 mins in advance for your interview, and locate yourself somewhere quiet and tidy with good lighting where you won’t get interrupted
  • have all your application documents close to hand, try to use your mute button when you’re not speaking, and be respectful to the interviewers.

Looking after your mental health and dealing with stress

Tony McManus – Local Ambassador for Beyond Blue and RUOK?

It’s a strange time at the moment, a period of chaos. As Tony emphasised, it’s super important to look after your mental health and reach out for help if you need it. Risk factors such as isolation, chronic illness and traumatic life events do have solutions: social connection, diet and physical activity, and a healthy work environment.

The Geelong Community Foundation plays a key role in supporting the broader Geelong community, with grants to support community organisations.

Here’s some links to mental health resources recommended by Tony:

Connect 2 Grow – Mental Health Solution

Resources for Workshop Attendees

Sydney Morning Herald Article & Fairfax Media video

https://www.beyondblue.org.au

https://www.ruok.org.au

Job Seeker Resources

Check out the great job resources on CareerHub that you can access as a Skills & Jobs Centre client.

If you haven’t yet logged into CareerHub, call us and we can step you through it. We’re still offering all our services – 1:1 career counselling, workshops, employer panels – by phone or Zoom.

Recruitment agencies with a local presence/office

Hays

Programmed Skilled Workforce

Randstad

People@Work

Direct Recruitment Geelong

Hoban Recruitment

Harvest Recruitment

SJ Personnel

Fruition Recruitment

WorkforceXS

Fox Personnel

Calibre Workforce (mainly hospitality)

JK Personnel (mainly Ballarat but sometimes has Geelong jobs)

External recruitment agencies for Geelong region – large volume, specialised and government recruitment

Chandler Macleod

Adecco

Manpower

Hudson

Toll Group Recruitment

DFP Recruitment

Face2Face Recruitment

Public Sector People

Facebook job groups

Jobs Geelong Region

Geelong Employment

Geelong Job Watch

Jobs in Geelong

Geelong Employment Opportunities

Jobs Search Geelong Area 1

Geelong Jobs

Jobs in Geelong Region

Jobs Vacant Geelong, Surf Coast & Surrounds

Surfcoast Jobs Available

Colac District Employment Wanted & Employees Wanted

Colac & District Jobs

Werribee & Surrounds Local Jobs

Jobs in Western Suburbs of Melbourne

Sample resumes and cover letter tips

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/50/WFV-one-page-resume-guidelines.docx

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/58/WFV-one-page-resume-sample_transferable-skills.pdf

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/18/Cover-letter_template.pdf

https://careerhub.thegordon.edu.au/docs/38/Cover-Letter.pdf

Not Getting an Interview? Your Resume May be to Blame.

In my current role I have seen countless participants applying for jobs they had both the skills and experience for, but who were continuously missing out on an interview. Not only was this incredibly frustrating for them, it was also a blow to their confidence. Receptionists, project managers, personal care workers, chefs and engineers alike, they were all incredibly well qualified for the roles they were applying for. They also had one other thing in common – their resume was letting them down.

Problem #1 – Their resume was out-of-date

A resume is not a static document, it should always be evolving. Not only does the information within it need to be continuously updated, the overall structure of the document needs to move with the times. For example, whilst it was all the rage at one point to include a cover page with “RESUME OF…” emblazoned across it in 72 point font, in this day and age all that will do is make an employer roll their eyes and skip straight past your application. This is definitely not the kind of first impression you want to be making!

You also should make sure you resume is visually modern. Employers can and will make an initial judgement of your application based on how it looks, all without reading a single piece of text. Clean, clear sections with lots of white space are the order of the day whilst graphics, bright colours and borders should be banished immediately.

Problem #2 – Their resume was not properly targeted

One of the biggest mistakes people can make when applying for jobs is not correctly targeting their resume to the position they are applying for. Including irrelevant information, such as incomplete qualifications from a different industry, makes it harder for employers to quickly assess how suitable you are for the role. Make their job easier by ensuring all the information included is presented in a way that highlights just how great a fit for the role you are.

Speaking of how your information is presented, don’t underestimate the importance of how you order that information. There is no hard and fast rule that your employment history must come first. Whichever section is most relevant to the position should be listed first. For example, if you have previously worked in retail and are applying for a role in Aged Care, in which you have just completed training, then the Training section (and your relevant qualification) should be listed before your Work History.

Problem #3 – Their resume didn’t provide context

Whilst employers want to know what you have done in previous roles, it is not enough to simply list your tasks. What you really need to do is highlight the skills you demonstrated as part of that duty. So, for example, rather than stating “Completed maintenance logs” you should say something like “Accurately completed electronic maintenance logs and other related documentation for reporting purposes”. This shows that you can accurately enter data, have attention to detail, have reasonable IT skills and are experienced with reporting.

Problem #4 – Their experience was not quantified

Employers love figures when reviewing applications, it helps give them a clear idea of exactly what level of experience someone has had. For example, if an applicant simply states “Increased traffic to organisation website” the employer would immediately ask “by how much?” Was it 1%, 2%? That’s not very impressive. Over what time period? 6 months? A year? Without these details the statement means nothing.

A far better way of stating the same thing is to say “Increased traffic to organisation website by 15% over a 2 month period”. This takes the guess work out and shows the employer exactly what you have achieved.

If you have been applying for countless jobs and not getting a single call back, try these tips – I guarantee your phone will soon be ringing off the hook!

By Christina Matthews. 

If you need help updating your resume, book in for one of the Skills & Jobs Centre resume workshops in Geelong or Werribee.

Insights into Volunteering – good for you, good for your career.

In recognition of National Volunteer Week in May the Skills and Jobs Centre held an ‘Insights into Volunteering’ industry panel where participants heard from 3 local organisations in the volunteering sector – Volunteering Geelong, Diversitat and Karingal/St. Laurence. They discussed their organisations, types of volunteering, what they look for in a volunteer and the process to become one. Here is a brief rundown of the key points mentioned during the session.

Volunteering Geelong

Volunteering Geelong is the peak body for volunteering in the Geelong region covering City of Greater Geelong, Golden Plains, Surf Coast and the Colac Otway Shires with over 400 organisations registered with them. They have successfully matched over 5,000 volunteers to relevant organisations, as Jason Doherty the Acting Manager light-heartedly called it, “Volunteer Dating”. They will assist a potential volunteer by matching them with a suitable organisation that would benefit from the volunteers time, skills, abilities or interests and provide them both with all the information and support needed during their volunteering commitment.  Right now is a great time to get in contact with Volunteering Geelong with over 450 current vacancies for volunteers listed on their website.

People can volunteer their time anywhere from:

  • Arts/Culture/Heritage
  • Children & Youth
  • Disability Services
  • Education
  • Emergency Services
  • Environment/Conservation
  • Ethnic Community
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • Recreation
  • Seniors/Aged Care
  • Projects
  • Events

In 2012 Volunteering Geelong also introduced ‘Bite-Size Volunteering’, a program designed for people who are unable to commit to regular volunteering. ‘Bite-Size Volunteering’ offers flexible or project based volunteering where you work on a short term project at times and days that suit you and the organisation.

As long as you meet the minimum age requirement of 15 and pass required Police checks then there is no limit what you can do and how old you can be as a volunteer, depending on the need. You can even volunteer to help volunteers!

Diversitat

Diversitat is a not-for-profit organisation and charity also known as Geelong Ethnic Communities Council and they offer services in refugee/migrant settlement, community development, youth services, aged support, training as well as various arts and events. Diversitat also manage The Pulse radio, Wholefoods café, The Oppe Shoppe, Diversitat Training and run events such as The Pako Festa.

According to Monica Baulch from Diversitat, they currently have 600 volunteers registered with them and approximately 1600 clients but there is always a need for more volunteers and there are many ways in which you can help. Often a volunteer is needed to provide a link to the community for refugees and migrants with programs such as the Orientation Program where volunteers assist with basic skills like using public transport or their ‘Homework Club’ where volunteers help children with their school readers. A volunteer can also assist with home tutoring, the 12 week ‘Driver Practice Program’, the ‘Housing Support Program’ or even with netball, soccer, yoga and other sports.

Monica stated the process for becoming a volunteer with Diversitat takes between 6 to 8 weeks and includes a satisfactory police check, an interview, reference checks and cultural awareness training. To be successful a volunteer will need to be passionate about making a difference, be able to share their personal skills and ways they can help, be empathetic, have no prejudices and be able to build relationships through a 12 month commitment.

Diversitat will see the arrival of 200 – 300 new refugee clients in the upcoming months so if you think this could be a perfect fit for you then I highly recommend you give them a call or attend their next information session in July.

(KSL) Karingal / St. Laurence

Karingal and St. Laurence have recently merged after being 2 separate entities to become KSL, a not-for-profit organisation which provides many support services in disability, aged care, mental health and related services and training.  They are located through-out Victoria, Queensland and South Australia providing support for people to engage in the community.

Maddie Kirwan from KSL stated that some of the important ways that you can volunteer with them is with their “buddy system” which involves spending time with their clients via shared interests. This could include simply going to the park or the movies or the art gallery or just any activity you both enjoy, KSL also accept volunteers in their ‘Do Care’ Program in their Aged Care section where people are asked to volunteer on a monthly basis. To be successful in becoming a volunteer for KSL you must possess a passion for assisting clients achieve their individual goals, must show empathy, reliability, understanding, care and be flexible to client needs. Volunteers are expected to commit at least 2 hours per week for a 12 month period to provide consistency in building relationships with their clients.

KSL’s process for becoming one of their volunteers is through making an enquiry, an interview and then subsequent application where you will be required to undergo a ‘Police Check’ and obtain a ‘Working With Children Check’. KSL will provide various training elements and ongoing support to all their volunteers to ensure the best quality support possible.

Why should you volunteer?

The benefits of volunteering can be endless in not only the satisfaction of helping others in need, improving your own mental and physical health but also in developing avenues to employment. Studies show some of these benefits include;

  • gaining new skills and knowledge
  • possible pathways to employment
  • networking and building relationships
  • providing career/work experience
  • enjoying a sense of achievement and fulfilment
  • personal development and improving self-confidence
  • enhancing social skills and work skills
  • enjoying better physical and mental health
  • connecting to and better understanding your community
  • bringing meaning and purpose to your life

If you feel like you would like to get involved as a volunteer or believe you have something to offer, then I encourage you to get in contact with any of these organisations or speak with the friendly staff at The Skills and Jobs Centre who can guide you in the right direction.

Quote – “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”  Barack Obama

Contacts:

Volunteering Geelong

(03) 5221 1377

http://www.volunteeringgeelong.org.au/home/

Diversitat

(03) 5221 6044

http://diversitat.org.au/contact/

Karingal/St. Laurence

(03) 5249 8900

http://www.karingal.org.au/

What does a career in Logistics and Warehousing look like?

The Skills and Jobs Centre recently hosted an employer panel for those who may be interested in working in logistics and warehousing.  The panel provided an overview of their respective organisations and provided insights into the industry, current opportunities, skills and qualifications required and some handy tips about the recruitment process.

The panel members included:

  • Arthur Hodgson – (Manager – Distribution) Cotton On Group
  • Craig Cochrane – (Operations Manager) Grain Corp

Arthur began his career at Cotton On Group ten years ago as a Manager for Logistics and Warehousing, and has witnessed the company grow from a staff of 50 to over 19,000 world-wide.  Arthur could see Cotton On was growing quickly and managed the Body brand in distribution.  He has always had a good relationship with his staff and has seen the warehouse move from North Geelong to Lara, overseeing the warehouse move to Avalon in the near future.

Arthur has recruited 200+ staff during the past ten years in Distribution from a number of organisations/partners and backgrounds including Northern Futures and post Ford employees.

Online shopping has seen a great deal of growth and now Cotton On dispatch up to 200,000 units each day and in December during the peak Christmas sales Cotton On can dispatch 2.5-3 million units.

Cotton On Group in a snapshot

Job opportunities

  • 80% full time and 20% casual (with opportunities to move into full time work).
  • Recruitment in October for the Christmas period is high.  A third of business for Cotton On is done in December.

Types of roles available in Distribution Centres

The Distribution Centres, located across the globe, offer roles ranging from retail support officers, productivity team leaders, pickers, supervisors and dispatch team leaders to inventory team leaders and casuals.  Meet some of the people at Cotton On.

Work environment and physical requirements

  • Temperature ranges from hot in summer to cold in winter.  (Heat policy applies)
  • Dusty conditions.
  • Pickers can walk up to 12 km per day.
  • Hours are generally 6 am – 2 pm.

Qualifications and aptitude

  • Relevant qualifications/certificates (training available and provided for the right people).
  • Good work ethic.

How to apply

  • Live jobs are on the Cotton On website.
  • Expressions of Interest – Upload your resume and ensure you continue to demonstrate you are looking for an opportunity or drop resume off and introduce yourself (Tip – be persistent and professional in your approach).

Further advice and information

  • If you can learn and are prepared to work hard, Cotton On will provide training and support is available for the right people who show initiative.
  • Business is run on KPI’s.  Every employee should hit their KPI.
  • Flexibility is available to move around the organisation.
  • Cotton On pays 5% above award.
  • Negotiated rostered day off.

Tips and Tricks – Application

  • Keep resume basic, tailored and highlight relevant skills.
  • Include all relevant licences – Fork Lift Licence, Heavy Rigid Licence.

Interviews

  • Cotton On often conduct Group Interviews.
  • Be your genuine self, team player, presentation is important.

For more information and opportunities, visit Cotton On Careers.

Craig is a Dairy Farmer from the Bega Valley.  At 28, Craig had a life change and received a call from GrainCorp and was offered a role in operations.  Sixteen years later, Craig has worked up from Supervisor to Manager and currently works as the Operation Manager across Victoria.  During this time GrainCorp have supported Craig and put him through University.

GrainCorp is a leading international agribusiness and food-ingredients processor, with a diverse range of operations that span four continents and supply customers in over 30 countries. The offering of grain storage, handling, marketing and malt & oil-seeds processing operations help their valued customers meet the demands of a rapidly growing global population.

At GrainCorp, people are the heart of everything they do. They are committed to enhancing the high performing team by developing a skilled workforce and encouraging diversity of both people and thinking. ‘It’s great for you, and it’s great for our customers’.

GrainCorp Vision and Values

Storage and Logistics

As a leading Australian agribusiness, GrainCorp has a diverse range of grain storage, handling, marketing and processing operations.  Through the integrated supply chain they market grain to local and global markets, and are a large buyer of grain for malt, edible oils and flour processing business.

Geelong operation

  • 120 people employed (highly casualised due to the nature of seasonal work, need and availability is dictated by rain).
  • Casual employees can continue to work on casual basis for 3-4 years.
  • Lots of overtime available during busy periods.

Culture

  • Team based and family orientated
  • Self-regulated
  • Right attitude, taking responsibility for actions
  • Good work ethic
  • Awareness of safety

Employment Opportunities and types of roles

There are opportunities for those with a good work ethic in Logistics and Supply Chain.

  • Bulk Grain, Drum Malt, Wood Chips
  • Broom and Shovel
  • Machine and Front End Loaders
  • Technical and lab roles available (training can be provided)

Diversity
GrainCorp encourage those from different backgrounds to apply.

Working Environment
Hot environment (regular breaks and water intake encouraged).

Recruitment Drive
The next recruitment drive in Geelong will be in October ready for the November/December harvest.

  • GrainCorp Careers page
  • Geelong Advertiser
  • Seek
  • Word of Mouth
  • In person – encourage those genuinely seeking an opportunity to drop in to Reception/Front desk to introduce themselves and hand in a general cover letter/resume.

Tips for applications

  • Cover letter (required)
  • Resume (short, succinct and relevant)
  • Demonstrate teamwork, ability to engage and good communication skills

Visit GrainCorp Careers page for more information about current and upcoming opportunities.

If you are interested in a career in Warehousing & Logistics, make an appointment with one of the advisors at the Skills & Jobs Centre for further information.

How I got my first job in Australia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Getting your foot in the door..

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

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

It all takes courage, a plan and persistence!

Tapping into your network

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

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

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

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

Cold Calling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well it’s time to change your thinking.

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

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

So what interests an employer besides my current work history?   

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

This is where your TRANSFERABLE SKILLS may come in handy.

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

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

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

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

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

Generally speaking the eight transferable or employability skills are thus;

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

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

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

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

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

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

And remember,

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

Source: Richard Branson on hiring Virgin Staff.

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

Picture credit: London Permaculture