Your job search and application process - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Your job search and application process

Looking for a job

You want to find the right role for you. Here are some tips as you start your job-hunting.

Get prepared
  • Think back to when you were deciding on a career. Has anything changed?
  • Re-visit your career goals and what really interests you. Look at the self-assessment exercises to again focus your thoughts.
  • Develop a portfolio of your experience and achievements. Include samples of your work and volunteer experience if you have them.
  • Research salaries and position descriptions using websites like SEEK, Jobs on the Coast, Glassdoor, Smart Jobs or Australian Public Service (APS) Jobs. Industry associations and state industrial relations agencies can also help.
  • Research the professions that you may be heading into using Graduate Careers Australia Career Profiles or Job Outlook.
  • Think about other considerations that might influence the type of jobs you will apply for including: 
    • your family and social commitments,
    • your long term career goals,
    • your ability and desire to travel or re-locate for work,
    • the working environment you prefer,
    • the work culture in which you are comfortable, and the
    • social considerations of the workplace.
Find jobs
Graduate Programs

Completing a Bachelor degree can make you eligible to apply for positions through Graduate Programs. These are usually offered by Commonwealth and State Government as well as large private sector companies, and can be highly competitive and well-paid opportunities.

These programs generally run over a year, or two years, and provide you with training and professional development while being rotated through different areas and responsibilities of the organisation. You may be required to apply for a permanent position with the organisation towards the end of the graduate program year.

Find out more using the following sites and resources:

Advertised positions

Vacancies can be advertised in the recruitment advertisement sections of national and local newspapers, trade journals and industry specific publications. It is also useful to search online.

The following are commonly used websites that include career profiles and advertised positions:

The hidden job market

It is estimated that a large percentage of jobs are found within the hidden job market, rather than being advertised online or in newspapers. These employment opportunities are filled via networking, referrals and word of mouth.

Here are some ways that you can access graduate opportunities that might never be advertised:

  • Use your contacts to explore opportunities and to gather more information.
  • Continue to develop your skills and contacts. Join professional associations, attend meetings and conferences and undertake volunteer and work experience.
  • Carry out informational interviewing. The basic objectives here are to find out more about careers and industries directly from the employer. It can assist you to network with potential employers. Our handout entitled 'Informational Interviews' is available on Student Hub under the Resources tab.
  • Canvass employers. Many employers are waiting for suitable candidates to approach them. Telephone employers to check if there are possibilities of work, then tailor your application or expression of interest.
  • Contact Student Central for more information and advice on accessing the hidden job market and presenting yourself, your qualifications and knowledge to a potential employer.
Before you apply

Find out as much information as you can about the company and the role to determine if it is the right fit for you. The information will also help you tailor your application should you choose to apply.

  • Read the company's website, media releases, annual report, and other literature.
  • Talk to people who have worked at the company or in the type of role advertised.
  • Find out what its competitors and clients say about the company.
  • Read any materials published in the media, including newspapers, trade publications, business indexes, and information on the internet.
  • Look at opportunities for growth, training, progression and non-financial benefits that might be on offer.
  • Think about how working in the role and for the company will impact your resume and future employment prospects.
  • Remember the questions you asked yourself in preparation and as you were deciding on a career — ask yourself whether this job ticks the important boxes for you.
Applying for a job

A high-quality application requires careful thought and effort. Time spent developing your application can attract the attention of employers and give you the opportunity to gain an interview.

Identify your skills

Identify the skills, knowledge and experience that you offer a potential employer. Think about your:

  • Personal qualities (eg willingness to learn, commitment, dependability)
  • Skills developed through life experiences (transferable skills), and
  • Skills developed from your degree.
Your job application

Organisations often receive hundreds of applications for a single job advertisement. On average, it is estimated that employers will spend no more than 15 seconds on each application in the initial selection process. It is important that your application is easy to read and understand.

Know your audience

Each organisation has a different approach to recruitment. Understand your audience and tailor your application.

Sometimes a creative approach might be appropriate. At all times following the instructions in the job advertisement is essential. Read advertised positions carefully and use your judgement as you look for ways to make your application stand out.

Your resume

Your resume is a very important self-marketing tool. Depending on your chosen career path and the stage in your career, the format you use may change but the following tips can be helpful in most situations:

  • Start writing early and add to your resume over time.
  • Check all spelling and grammar.
  • Keep it simple and easy to understand.
  • Be specific and avoid vague statements.
  • Include key accomplishments from your work and study experience.
  • Ensure the highest standards of professional presentation.
  • Do not use fancy fonts or coloured or textured papers that may not print or photocopy well.
  • If providing a hard copy, avoid binders and folders. A paperclip or staple in the top left corner is sufficient.
  • Think about your email address and the impression it sends - ensure it is professional.
  • Be truthful. Short term gains from stretching the truth disappear quickly if you don't make it through the probationary period.
Get it checked

Another set of eyes to look over your application can provide important feedback for improvement. Friends, family and professional contacts can help as can USC's Career Advisors.

Have your cover letter, resumé and other job application documents checked. You can submit your documents for review in your own time without having to make an appointment. Go to Student Hub Online job application check and upload your documents. Documents are reviewed and returned with comments and/or suggestions for changes.

Useful resources
  • Resume templates and resume writing tips and presentations on Student Hub
  • Cover letter template on Student Hub
Preparing for an interview

An interview is a two-way selection process. You and the employer are assessing each other to find out if you are the right fit for the organisation. It is important to prepare and present yourself well.

Preparation

Like any stage of job search, preparation and research can help you put your best foot forward. To prepare:

  • Research the employer and industry (refer to the information in the previous career stages).
  • Read your job application and the advertisement again.
  • Refer to information about the interview and contact the Recruiting Manager to clarify the dates, location and requirements if necessary.
  • Drive to the location in advance to see how long it takes and where to park your car.
  • Visualise a perfect interview.
  • Focus on how you will promote yourself.
  • Think about your strengths and career goals.
  • Think about responses to typically asked questions.
  • Practice answering questions with a career advisor or friend.
  • Prepare questions that you may ask.
Useful resources
Presentation

First impressions count. Consider the message you send an employer through your verbal and non-verbal communication.

Do
  • Invest in a good quality outfit.
  • Dress tidily and lean towards a more conservative look.
  • Be polite to everyone you meet including the receptionist as they may be asked for their opinion of you.
  • Carry a well-organised job folder.
  • Bring your resumé and job application to refer to.
  • Listen carefully.
  • Be positive.
  • Be professional, but be yourself.
Don't
  • Be late.
  • Put your sunglasses on your head.
  • Chew gum.
  • Carry bags / folders that might make it difficult to shake hands.
  • Arrive smelling of cigarettes or overpowering perfume/aftershave.
  • Crease your clothing and jacket in the car (hang it if you can).
After the interview
  • After breathing a big sigh of relief, you should also review your performance in the interview.
  • Note down the things you handled well and any surprises you might not have anticipated.
  • Use the experience to help you improve your skills for future interviews.
  • After the recruitment process, you could also consider calling the interviewer for feedback.
More information
Looking for work during the COVID-19 pandemic? Check out these tips and tricks to finding opportunities during this time of crisis.