Getting ready to tackle the next stage in your career can be daunting, but we're here to help you through the process and make your job hunt as effective as possible.
Follow the steps in this checklist to get prepared to land your next job – from building your knowledge of your industry and optimising your CV, right through to the job interview.
- Get familiar with the industry
- Write a career plan
- Update your CV
- Learn how to pitch yourself
- Refine your online brand
- Start searching
- Apply for the job
- Impress at the interview
1. Get familiar with the industry
Whether you’ve set your sights on a career in a brand new industry, you’re heading back into the workforce after some time out, or you’re looking to fast track your career, it’s important to have a clear idea of what’s going on in your field.
If you aren’t sure of the exact role you’d like to pursue, check out where the jobs are in your industry, starting salaries for the positions you’re interested in, and trends in the marketplace to give you an idea of opportunities.
2. Write a career plan
When it comes to managing the direction of your career and the steps you need to take to get there, it really does pay to have a career plan.
Kick off your career strategy by assessing your strengths, weaknesses, and core skills. Not only will this give you an idea of areas you might need to work on during your studies, you’ll also have a stronger understanding of the roles you will be most suitable for.
Set yourself professional goals for the next 6, 12 and 24 months and think about the steps you need to take to achieve those goals. Think specifically about the type of role you’d like to secure, the kind of company you’d like to work for, and what your plan for career progression might look like.
3. Update your CV
Your CV should be an accurate, relevant and recent representation of your work history and experience, while directly addressing the skills that are most relevant to the roles you’ll be applying for.
Double check that you’ve included your name, phone number and a professional email address, and omit unnecessary details such as your date of birth.
Learn more tips on writing a winning resume, including how to select the right references, the suggestions for formatting your CV, and explaining gaps in your work history.
4. Learn how to pitch yourself
“So, tell us a little about yourself.”
If this interview question leaves you lost for words, it’s time to take the reins and create your very own elevator pitch.
Prepare some points that summarise who you are, how long you’ve been in your industry, and what you enjoy most about working in this particular field. Ideally, these points should showcase your personality, and tell a recruiter or employer what you can bring to the table.
Get this summary down to approximately 30 seconds, and then practise, practise, practise! Your elevator pitch will now be at your disposal to use at networking events and interviews, or even include it as your description on professional online profiles.
5. Refine your online brand
Now you know how to present yourself to recruiters in person, what is your online presence saying about you?
Before you embark on any job seeking activity, make it a priority to clean up your social media profiles and look into ways to promote yourself online to prospective employers.
If you’d like to keep your personal pages just that, ensure they’re set to private and any public-facing profile photos reflect an image you’re happy with.
If you want to improve your chances of getting noticed, create a SEEK profile and get ready for the right job to come knocking at your door. With a SEEK profile, hiring managers can view your skills, experience, and even the course that you are currently studying, and get in touch with job opportunities. Find out what recruiters look for in an online profile to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success.
6. Start searching
Now that you’ve brushed up your resume and have a clear idea of your career goals, it’s time to see what jobs are out there.
Set up SEEK JobMail alerts so that you’re the first to know when new jobs in your industry and location are posted. Confused by job ad jargon? Find out how to interpret a job advertisement and make sure you’re addressing the right criteria in your application.
Show the recruiters that you’re a serious candidate by getting in touch with any you’ve used in the past and research others who recruit in your field. Provide them with a copy of your CV, as well as a brief summary of your relevant skills and experience, and the types of roles you’re interested in. If you can impress Australia’s top recruiters, you’ll be well on your way to impressing your next employer.
Building a strong network of professional contacts before you graduate can hugely increase your chances of securing a great role when you enter the workforce.
Networking isn’t just for industry leaders and decision makers. In fact, anyone can learn the secrets to networking like a champ.
Make the most of alumni contacts and clubs within your education institution, attend networking events, and head along to industry seminars and conferences and be sure to follow up with everyone you meet.
Are you a little on the shy side? Don’t worry; you don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to get the attention of prospective employees. Our introvert’s guide to networking will have you rubbing shoulders and expanding your professional address book in no time, without pushing you too far out of your comfort zone.
Volunteer work offers valuable real-world experience that will let you put your education and knowledge into practice, whilst showing prospective employers you’re passionate about your chosen industry.
You’ll also build a valuable industry contact list so give a little, or a lot, of your time to reap the rewards. Check out SEEK Volunteer to find opportunities in your area that suit your field of interest as well as your availability.
9. Apply for the job
By now you should be feeling fully prepared to write a killer cover letter and send out your CV for the roles you’re interested in.
Remember to tailor each and every CV and cover letter you send to suit the role you’re applying for and talk up your study achievements wherever possible.
Include the name of the company within the cover letter, and address it to whoever was listed on the ad (if that information is available). Just make sure you triple-check the end result to ensure you’re not leaving in another company name when applying for a different job.
After you’ve sent in your expression of interests, follow up every CV with a phone call or email politely requesting an update on the recruitment process. Not only will this show your enthusiasm for the role, you’ll also be doing your nerves a favour by taking control of the situation.
10. Impress at the interview
Congratulations! You’ve scored yourself an interview. As soon as you receive your appointment time, you should begin your interview preparation.
Choose your perfect interview outfit, plan a fail-safe route to the interview, and print out some extra copies of your CV to bring with you.
Google everything you can about the company and arm yourself with answers to the top interview questions, especially those difficult questions that others might stumble over. Then, it’s time to turn the tables and jot down some questions to ask your interviewer.
On the day of your interview, be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to get to your location. It’s always better to be extremely early than five minutes late. If you’ve arrived ahead of time, find a quiet spot nearby to go over your CV, practice your answers, and relax.
Post-interview tips: If you haven’t heard from the interviewer within a week, give them a call and check up on the status of the role. If you were unsuccessful, politely ask for feedback and consider how you can take this on board and adapt. While you might be feeling deflated, the most important thing to do is keep moving and continue your job search. Practice resilience and stay focused on achieving your end goal. Good luck!