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

The Ford Transition Project

As part of the Ford Transition Project (FTP), Auto Skills Australia (ASA) has established an Outreach Centre to provide support for exited Ford & supply chain workers in Geelong at the newly opened Skills and Jobs Centre. The Centre will be staffed by an ASA representative.

The Outreach Centres will operate from November 7, 2016, through to April 30, 2017, and will provide exited workers an opportunity to speak to ASA and ensure that they are connected to relevant support services such as Outplacement Providers, jobactive providers, Skills & Job Centre, Training Organisations, Finance & Superannuation Services, Health & Wellbeing, Government Services and Community Networks.

Geelong ASA Outreach Centre:

  • Location: Skills and Jobs Centre, Level 1, Westfield Centre, Corner of Malop & Yarra St, Geelong, Store number 2254-2255 (Located near Big W)
  • Contact: Bob Hope, Mobile: 0419 271 835, Email: rhope@autoskillsaustralia.com.au
  • Times: Monday – Friday, 9.00am to 4.00pm

Your ASA outreach Centre will assist you in the following:

  • Connection to your selected outplacement provider
  • Government support services
  • Connection to training organisations
  • Health and well being programs
  • Superannuation funds and financial planning
  • Community networks and services
  • Continuation of case management
  • Advocacy support
  • Referrals
  • ASA gap funding up to 31 March 2017
  • Advice and support
  • Other services as required

Please see your ASA case manager for more details.

Written by Bob Hope, Ford Transition Program Area Coordinator – Geelong. Bob will be sharing his insights as a guest blogger during his time at The Gordon Skills and Jobs Centre. 

 

MAKING A FRESH START…… Job Applications for Newcomers to Australia

As a skilled immigrant, migrant, refugee or asylum seeker, there are a number of mountains to climb in your new country including mastering the language, adapting to cultural differences and learning how to work and play like the “Aussies” do. So, it is no surprise that negotiating the Australian workplace and its job application processes can also be an uphill battle.

So, to put your best foot forward in relation to job applications, I have provided a few HANDY HINTS below.

BUT FIRST, to avoid disappointment, I would ask that you consider the chart below, and ensure you meet these criteria. You are applying for jobs in a competitive environment with legal and contractual laws.

erikas-blog-graphic

1.Stick with the same name

Sometimes when settling in a new country, you may choose to modify your name according to make it easier to pronounce for a native English speaker.

This is a personal preference but just remember that if you choose that name, it needs to be consistent across all your paperwork when applying for a position. Your email address, resume, application and interaction with all employers and services will create a relationship with you based on that name.

2. Ensure an Australian organisation has validated your qualifications.

Although you may have completed a diploma, degree or postgraduate qualification in your country it may not have the same status in Australia.

It’s important to check with the relevant organisation, university, TAFE or industry body that your skills and qualifications are looked upon with the same status.

3. Religious and spiritual beliefs

In Australia, it is an offence to discriminate against any person based on religious grounds, nor to enquire about your religious beliefs in an interview.

In a very ethnically diverse country like Australia, we respect the right of all people to practice their own religious and cultural beliefs. Consequently, we do not put our religion, God or spiritual entities on our resumes or discuss in any way at an interview.

4. Marital status

Every woman and man has equal right within the home, workplace and community in Australia, whether you are married, single, or have children. Again it is against the law to ask questions about your marital status, or not hire you because you have children or are a female. That is private information.

If you feel you need to disclose information regarding your family or children to the employer that is your choice, but do not include that information on a resume.

5. Age

Again, it is an offence in Australia to discriminate by age.

There will always be those who will judge by age, and is doesn’t matter where you come from, and what your skills are, preferences are sometimes given to a younger person or someone they wish to train. DO NOT put your age on your resume; it can influence how an employer may view you as a candidate for the position.

6. References

If most of your references come from your country of origin they must be able to be contactable, by email, phone or Skype and be able to speak conversational English. A written reference is no longer an acceptable way to validate your employment history. If you have any local or Australian people you know who can act as a reference for you, in any capacity, that is most favourable. Volunteering for an organisation can also become very useful in providing you with a referee.

7. Written and Spoken English

If you are not confident writing in the English language please, please get assistance. If you are seeking a position relevant to your industry and qualifications then maybe speak to a professional resume writer, Australian industry body or Australian colleague familiar with that industry.

Despite some immigrants having exceptional qualifications and/or conversational English, errors can be made in a resume or interview that can really jeopardise your prospects. Simple spelling or grammar mistakes may betray your talents and skills.

Get to know some locals, as well as other new immigrants who have lived here many years. They can guide you and educate you on how Australians generally live and work and can be a great helping hand. Make sure you socialise, play sport, volunteer and attend community clubs, anything to give you more exposure to the Australian way of life.

Most importantly “WELCOME”, you are taking a very important step toward your new life in Australia.

Written by Erika, our Workshop Wizard. If you are new to Australia and would like some help with understanding the local job market, please make an appointment with any of our advisors.

How to get a public service job.

The Skills and Jobs Centre recently held a government employer panel as part of our Festival of Change, featuring representatives from National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), WorkSafe and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). In addition to providing an overview of their organisations, the panel offered some excellent tips and tricks for those wanting to work within the sector.

Employer Snapshot: NDIA

  • Currently 7 sites and expected to grow to 95. Geelong will remain the central office.
  • Currently has 1600 employees and is expected to grow to 3000. 80% of the positions will be in service delivery.
  • For potential employees they focus on the person: their passion, their focus on making a difference and those who are flexible and game to stretch their skills out of their own comfort zone.
  • For the future there will be many planner roles needed. Those who can help individuals with plans for moving forward.

The key skills they look for are:

  • Contemporary attitudes to disability
  • A collaborative approach
  • Service orientation
  • Communication skills
  • System orientation
  • Participants at the forefront
  • Empathy
  • Ability to build relationships
  • Leadership qualities, if necessary

Process for applying:

  • Very useful website regarding the application process under jobs.  Values of the organisation are clearly laid out and are very important to the organisation.
  • Also in the vacancies area there is an Expected Vacancies Register for people to express an interest in working with NDIA.
  • As part of that registration process you will need to complete a Statement of Claim: 1500 words that addresses the Selection Criteria for the position. Spend time preparing this before you register.
  • For information about the application process contact the Contact Officer for the position.

Employer Snapshot: WorkSafe

  • Relocating to Geelong by 2018.
  • 1000 employees.
  • Recruitment is through the Talent Acquisition Team.
  • The focus of WorkSafe is on Education, OH&S enforcement, helping injured people return to work, insurance for employers and managing workers compensation scheme. So the roles are varied.

Employees need to show:

  • A passion for safety, be vibrant and dynamic
  • Technical skills, if required
  • Soft skills such as teamwork, flexibility and initiative
  • Values such as integrity and support
  • Leadership skills may be required
  • They are seeking Career Development
  • The right attitude

To apply:

  • The process for applying involves uploading resume online, phone interview to show your motivation, skills and background, then a behavioural interview.
  • See their website under careers.

Employer Snapshot: ABS

  • Has 2000 employees with 300 jobs being in Geelong.
  • Roles in Geelong are technology based.
  • The workforce is dynamic, professional, able to understand and exhibit confidentiality and responsibility.

Key skills required:

  • The sorts of skills or qualities they seek include integrity, confidentiality, motivation, teamwork and people skills. Work is repetitive, flexible, in a high security area and requires knowledge of MS Office and Lotus Notes.

To apply:

  • The website includes information about the application process including an understanding of the APS Code of Conduct and their values.
  • The application process is an online one and further tips are given with the vacancy.
  • It is important to match your skills to the skills required in the position.
  • Do your background research of the ABS on their website.
  • Read the selection criteria very carefully.
  • Give real examples and think about your experiences.
  • Ongoing positions advertised on the website.
  • There is a non-ongoing register.

Top tips from employers on getting a job in Health & Community Services in Geelong

The Skills and Jobs Centre recently held an employer panel as part of our Festival of Change, featuring representatives from Barwon Health, Karingal and the City of Greater Geelong. In addition to providing an overview of their organisations, the panel offered some excellent tips and tricks for those wanting to work within the sector.

With Geelong becoming a Health and Education hub, working in the Health sector offers secure, long-term work. There are a variety of roles available in addition to specialist medical positions, however these roles don’t tend to be highly paid. People who work in the sector do so because they want to work with and support others, not because they want to earn the big bucks. If this sounds like you, then one of these organisations may be the employer for you:

Employer Snapshot: Barwon Health

  • Employs over 7,000 staff across 22 sites located from Geelong all the way down to Warrnambool;
  • Upcoming additions include a new hospital which is being built in the north of Geelong;
  • In the near future there will be a focus on the areas of Telehealth (a collection of means or methods for enhancing health care, public health, and health education delivery and support using telecommunications technologies) and Health Promotion;
  • Positions, including the administrative casual pool, are advertised on their website and Seek.

Christine from Talent Acquisition made the following suggestions for those wanting to work at Barwon Health:

  • Connect with Barwon Health on social media to remain up-to-date on what is happening within the organisation. Mentioning an upcoming project and highlighting how you could contribute during the recruitment process shows initiative and a real interest in the work they do;
  • View videos on their YouTube channel to find out more about the different teams and roles;
  • Volunteer – not only will it provide you with invaluable experience and connections within the organisation, it also allows you to apply for internal vacancies. Available volunteer positions can be found on their website;
  • When applying, make your resume as clear and easy to read as possible, with your skills easily identifiable;
  • Include a summary/profile section at the top of your resume which provides a snapshot of your experience;
  • Incorporate Barwon Health’s values into your cover letter;
  • If you are successful in gaining an interview, make sure you know both the values and their definitions.

Employer Snapshot: Karingal

  • Employs over 17,000 staff across Victoria, South Australia and Queensland;
  • Provides aged care, disability and mental health support services;
  • Additional arms are Karingal Training and Kommercial (catering services);
  • Will shortly be merging with St Laurence, with specific dates etc. still to be determined;

Ashlan had the following advice for those wanting to work at Karingal:

  • There is no minimum qualification requirements for their individual support workers. Instead they will be trained through Karingal Training once hired;
  • People wanting to get a taste of the sector before committing to training/a full role should consider volunteering. Karingal currently have 100’s of volunteers in the aged care and disability areas;
  • Their positions are advertised on their website and on Seek;
  • They have 4 rounds of recruitment each year, which last roughly 6-8 weeks;
  • Karingal look for staff that want to be part of the team and share in their vision, mission and guiding principles.

Employer Snapshot: City of Greater Geelong

  • Employs 300 care workers, mostly in home support, working as a mobile care force;
  • Their philosophy is doing things with people rather than for people. The goal is to help people remain independent;
  • Aged Care is one of the most secure areas to work in locally;
  • Similar reforms will occur in aged care over the next 5-10 years as has been seen with NDIS.

Geoff from Aged and Disability Services had the following advice for those wanting to work at the City of Greater Geelong:

  • All recruitment is done through Direct Recruitment, including administrative support staff;
  • They tend to employ 3-4 new workers each month;
  • The minimum qualification level is Certificate III in a relevant area such as Aged Care or Individual Support;
  • In addition to the qualification, practical experience is highly sought after – having relevant volunteer experience will benefit your application;
  • The most successful Care Workers are able to help people but keep some professional distance and do not allow themselves to become too affected.

A final few tips:

  • The sector is a small community within Geelong – network as much as possible!
  • Create a LinkedIn profile and actively engage with the organisation/s you are interested in working for;
  • Research the organisations you are interested in, particularly their values and missions;
  • Ensure you have reasonable IT skills;
  • Keep up-to-date regarding changes to the sector and reflect this knowledge during the recruitment process.