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7 Tips for Landing Your First Job

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Maria Onzain
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Published on September 9, 2015

Are you looking for your first job and not sure where to start? The transition from education to first full-time position is not an easy job. Based on recent data from the Australian Government showing that the job prospects of young Australians are potentially dwindling, Open Colleges has put together a list of seven tips to help you land your first job.

1. Positive attitude to work

Thirty-six percent of employers said that by improving their mindset and attitude towards work, Australian youth could enhance their employment prospects. They advise young people to be more motivated, have a stronger work ethic, be more enthusiastic, be more prepared to learn and take direction.

2. Gain work experience

A fair amount of employers mentioned that work experience or volunteer work, especially while still in school, is an effective way to improve their employment prospects and learning valuable skills. Many employers said work experience would allow young people to: correctly learn and get a first-hand perspective for workplace expectations; gain practical skills and insights into the duties associated with specific occupations; and demonstrate their commitment to current and future employers.

3. Show responsibility and reliability

Numerous employers mentioned that young people needed to be more responsible and reliable when it came to their behavior and approach to their job. Some employers emphasized the following: young professionals need to remain working with a business for an acceptable period of time; turn up to shifts; be punctual; and show respect to colleagues and customers.

4. Improve presentation

More than a tenth of employers interviewed said that Australian youths need to invest more effort and care with their presentation. Many employers referred specifically to the presentation of applicants at interviews and when they were handing in resumes. Two things noted by employers as something they disliked about their presentation: Australian youths often dressed inappropriately for work and their tattoos, piercings, jewelry and untidy hair.

5. Further education and training

Roughly one tenth of employers believed that training and further education was the most effective way to improve the employment prospects of young people. This was because both would lead to the acquisition of work specific skills and qualifications. The most commonly mentioned options were TAFE courses, higher education and apprenticeships and traineeships.

6. Improve job search and application skills

Many employers mentioned that job search and job application skills needed to be looked at and improved by Australian youths. To improve the quality of job applications and resumes, employers suggested to do the following: make sure their application is tailored to the position for which they were applying and pay more attention to detail in their applications and resumes, particularly with regard to spelling and grammar.

In regards to job search methods, employers recommended that young people approach employers directly and after having provided their resume, personally follow up with them. Many people recommended that young people should be improving their interviews skills by: being well presented; demonstrating some understanding of the industry or job which they are applying; communicating well; and appearing genuinely interested in the job.

7. Have realistic work expectations

Some employers noted that young people often had unrealistic expectations of the workplace. This also included the level of remuneration on offer. Employers considered many young people unprepared for the demands of the workplace and the nature of the work expected of them. Many employers also said that young people wanted to ‘start at the top’ as opposed to working their way up through a business.

Maria Onzain

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