Careers Update - May 2, 2019
author: Anthony Meehan
6 Important Job Hunting Lessons You Need To Learn
By Marta Malchevski, Foundation for Young Australians, 2019.
I don’t think I know anyone who loves the job hunt. Maybe people who have cold showers every morning love the challenge, but for the rest of us, searching for jobs is pretty tough. To help ease the pain we teamed up with Job Jumpstart to help you take some smarter steps on your job hunting journey.
So without further ado, here are the 6 most important lessons we’ve learnt while job hunting:
Clarify why you want the job
Take a moment before you start writing an application to reflect on why you want the job. This can save you so much time when it comes to writing a compelling cover letter and being persuasive in an interview. While you might not be applying for your dream job, it could be a stepping stone to a role you hope to have in the future. Maybe you’ll have an opportunity to pick up some new skills or get a foot in the door in an industry you’re keen on. It’s important to recognise your motivations and understand what you can offer an employer.
Ditch the idea that employers expect perfection
They won’t mind if you didn’t pass your year 8, term 3 maths test, or if you made some mistakes in your last job. We’re all inherently imperfect humans simply doing our best. Instead of getting caught up in things that didn’t work out in the past, take all the lessons you learnt and use them as examples of how you overcame a challenge.
Maybe you missed a deadline in your last project but you swiftly tidied things up in a spiffy spreadsheet and got things on track again. Bouncing back from a challenge shows growth, self-discipline and proves you’re a keeper. Have an example of how you’ve overcome a challenge up your sleeve in time for an interview – this is a common question that can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared!
Do your homework
Do your future self a favour and study up on the organisation you’re applying for. Their website or LinkedIn is a great place to start. You don’t want to be stuttering your way into a facepalm when someone asks if you know who the CEO of their company is. It’s pretty standard for an interviewer to ask why you’ve chosen them in particular. Being able to point to where your values align with a company’s mission or projects will win you some big points.
Don’t let your interview answers get off track
Many of us have a tendency to ramble when our nerves are running high. In interviews, employers tend to ask open ended questions and want you to elaborate. They won’t want every detail of your group project in year 12, but they will be interested in how you worked as a team. It’s also useful to prepare answers to common interview questions before you rock up.
A good way to keep things short and sweet is to structure your responses using the STAR technique..
Situation: Describe the event or situation
Task: Explain what you had to complete
Action: Describe the actions you took to complete the task
Result: What were the results of your efforts?
Be mindful of your behaviour the moment you make contact
First impressions count. When you’re heading into an interview or making a call, don’t forget that any employee you come into contact with, including the receptionist, could have a say in your application. If you run in late, disheveled, or chatting loudly on your phone, it’s not a good look. Be prepared, be professional and be polite. You want to leave fond memories, not a bad impression. Learn how to stand out in the crowd.
Just because rejection sucks it doesn’t mean you do
No amount of excitement, fingers crossed or minutes waiting with anticipation, can protect you from a firm “not this time” from an employer. You need to stay positive, keep learning and remain proactive. Each interview can get you one step closer to nailing the next. Practice makes perfect, right? And if you’re curious about why you didn’t land the job, you can always ask for feedback.
Maybe you could even write a ‘6 Important Job Hunting Lessons’ article! Now that’s an example of turning it around, right?
Getting turned down is all part of the job hunting rollercoaster ride. So let’s finish with one final and important reminder: You got this!
FYA has teamed up with the Department of Jobs and Small Business to support young Australians searching for jobs. The Job Jumpstart website provides information and resources to help young people build their employability skills and develop an understanding of career pathways.