Job Seeking Resources
If you are job seeking, make certain you exploit all the job search resources available to you. Knowing where you can get relevant information and making use of employment-related services is the only way you can stay on top of all the possibilities on offer (not to mention saving you considerable time and energy). Your final-year job search should take advantage of the following services and opportunities.
University careers services
Your university careers service offers assistance with almost all aspects of the job search process. Services typically include: career libraries for researching industries and organisations; job search reference books and videos; assistance with employment interviews; information and advice on working overseas; job search workshops; career counselling, job vacancy noticeboards and websites; and résumé checking.
Career courses (which can be taken as a curriculum option) and professional skills programs (where you develop workplace skills, such as time management, leadership and presentation skills) are increasingly common.
Your careers service may also be responsible for coordinating graduate recruitment programs for students in their final year. Typically, this includes careers fairs, employer information sessions and the campus interview program. Recruitment brochures and job application forms are also likely to be available. From the beginning of your final year onwards, you should be in constant contact with your careers service.
It’s estimated that around 70 per cent of jobs are not publicly advertised. Your personal network is a way of accessing the hidden job market and should be an essential component of your research. You should aim to:
- produce a list of people from whom you might get information, advice and suggestions
- develop contacts and connections with people who work in the field that interests you
- establish contact with people who are in a position to offer employment
- obtain information from others that will assist you to make better decisions, plans and applications.
The initial stages of your networking should be information-based. Request information and generate questions that will stimulate discussion, provide you with knowledge and help establish the connections you need. Avoid asking for favours and don’t ask questions that are likely to result in ‘no’ for an answer, such as ‘have you got any jobs available?’. Expand your network by joining professional associations, attending conferences and seminars, doing voluntary work and build and foster relationships with peers, tutors and lecturers.
Employment and recruitment agencies
Part of your research should include keeping an eye out for both large- and small-scale opportunities offered by employment agencies. Contact agents that specialise in your discipline and, where appropriate, forward a résumé and seek an interview. Using the services of an agency should not cost you anything at all – costs are incurred by the employer when positions are filled. In effect, you have nothing to lose but the time and energy it takes to be well prepared for contact. Treat agencies as employers: be clear about your goals and skills and stay in touch if the initial contact goes well.
Most professional associations solicit student membership that allows you to participate in their activities and use their services. They provide professional development seminars, networking nights and advice about pay and conditions, which can help you make the transition from study to work. Membership is usually cheap or free and your involvement shows that you are serious about your vocation (an important criterion for potential employers).
Career publications cover everything from career planning to managing a redundancy package, including employment rates and overseas work requirements, professional journals and company literature. Check out your your university’s careers service library or resource centre to find out what’s available. Your careers service will also have a copy of an annual GCA research report called Graduate Destinations, detailing the job search activities of previous-year graduates from your course. Graduate Destinations will tell you, among other things, how many graduates found work, the type of work they are doing and the amount they are being paid.
Finally, as well as having classified sections that advertise jobs locally and nationally, newspapers such as The Age, The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald are an excellent source of information about major corporations, the industrial climate and vacancy rates, as well as employment-related articles that you can use to keep informed of trends in selection and recruitment.
DVDs and videos
Whether you want to learn how to write a résumé, improve your networking skills or perform well in interviews, most careers services offer a number of helpful DVDs and videos. These might include:
- Making an Impact – real students and graduates being interviewed by actual recruiters
- Big Opportunities in small businesses – how graduates and SMEs can benefit each other
- Why Am I Here? – transferable skills development
- Why Ask Me That? – interview skills
- Can I Have a Few Minutes of Your Time? – networking skills
- Out in Front with an Arts Degree – skills identification for Arts students
- The Written Edge – résumés and covering letters
- Looking Good on Paper – résumés and covering letters
- Getting the Job – interview skills for jobseekers who speak English as a second language
- Essential Interview Skills – interview skills from an employer perspective.
The internet contains a number of useful resources for job seekers, such as:
- career planning and exploration sites
- research sites
- opportunities for online networking
- dedicated job search sites
- company websites.
You should undertake a weekly scan of these dedicated sites, as well as GCA’s Graduate Opportunities website, which provides graduate program information and application details for more than 200 graduate employers across Australia. Company websites are also worth looking at, especially in the context of campus recruitment. Most graduate employers expect students to access information and resources online and complete or download online application forms.
(By Michael Hastings, Career Development and Employment, RMIT University, 2008.)