For many students and young job seekers, the mere thought of the job search causes anxiety. Which jobs will be available? Will their industries still be relevant in 10 years?
In August 2014, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported the unemployment rate stood at 6.4 percent, the highest it’s been within the last 12 years. It’s almost enough to make job seekers want to curl up in their beds and never come out.
The job hunt however, is perhaps not as bleak as some might think. There are a number of industries that show a strong demand for new talent, mostly ones that have a constant, daily demand.
The childcare industry is going strong and looking for employees at childcare centres across the country. Primary schools and preschools offer great benefits to teachers, such as higher emphasis on educating and enriching young minds.
The energy industries have also shown an increasing demand for capable workers. Engineers, maintenance trade workers and asset managers will have secure futures as new energy sources, such as solar and wind power, become increasingly mainstream. And let’s face it: we’ll always need to power our homes.
There’s also good news from the pharmaceutical and medical sales industries as well. Both industries continue to show high numbers of ads calling for qualified candidates. In March 2013, pharmaceutical and medical sales personnel positions had the highest number of ad increases, meaning they were running the most job ads of all industries.
Clearly there is still hope for job seekers in these industries for skilled workers, but the road to your dream job isn’t always free of debris. So how do you become one of these workers? Check out these tips and learn how to get your foot in the door.
Find an internship
How often has this happened: you find a job listed as an entry-level position, but the job requires one to two years of experience? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? How can you get experience for a job that is supposed to be what gives you the necessary experience? It’s enough to make your head spin.
What these employers are really looking for is internship experience. This (often free) experience gets you into your industry, potentially into the exact company you want and introduces you to the way it works. You’ll learn what challenges your industry faces, what kind of technology it’s utilising and what skills you’ll need to be a desired candidate.
Interns also get a chance to network with people they might not otherwise come into contact with. If you present yourself well, you might be able to land a job with your company after your internship ends. At the very least, you’ll have a few excellent references.
Don’t feel like you have to intern at your exact dream job. Some internships are highly competitive while other companies might not offer the exact interning position you want. That’s okay. Almost any internship in your industry will be enough to slide your foot in the door. If you put your best effort into your work and network with other professionals and interns, you’ll be able to walk confidently into job interviews with a list of references who will sing your praises.
Look for volunteer work
Volunteering is similar to interning, though your hours and scope of work might be drastically different. Volunteers appear to be more well-rounded candidates to employers because it shows that you willingly give back to your community on your own time and help non-profits.
You’d also be surprised at how many great volunteer opportunities there are in a variety of fields. Volunteering at a hospital might put you in a better position to land a job as a paramedic, nurse or even a doctor. Working events with a non-profit gives you valuable public relations and event planning experience. You may not have ever handled a publicity campaign, but you’re showing potential employers that you’re up for the challenge.
Some job seekers prefer volunteer opportunities over internships because it gives them the chance to go around the recruitment process and speak to the managers and supervisors directly. You can ask for advice and find out what qualities these employers value above all else. As you’re a volunteer and not a paid employee, you can develop a closer connection with supervisors and managers in the company.
Whether you have experience in a field or not, it always helps to get a stamp of approval. This shows potential employers that an accredited institute has agreed that you are capable of all the things that you want to be doing. Especially in the case of vocational courses, it shows employers that you have also had practical experience.
More importantly, you’ll have the opportunity to learn a lot more about your chosen field as well as being able to fill in gaps in your knowledge. This is particularly important when it comes to jobs where you have to follow certain procedures. It is always beneficial to know and understand how to excel in an industry, as well as make your work safer and more efficient.
Network like a pro
Many employers will tell you that it’s not what you know but who you know, which is certainly true to some extent. Having an awesome reference or contact can nudge you ahead of your competition. Think of these contacts like walking advertisements for you and put the power of word-of-mouth advertising to work for you.
Be sure that all of your online profiles and résumés are up-to-date and reflect your very best image. Include your long-term and short-term goals and mention that you are interested in new opportunities. Start reconnecting with old contacts if possible and start looking out for new ones. If you have a contact in a company you’d like to work for, ask them to put in a good word for you or pass your résumé to the hiring or recruitment managers.
Bring your A-game
Think about this: there are hundreds of qualified candidates just like yourself looking for jobs in your industry. They’re applying for the same jobs as you and beefing up their résumés. So how do you set yourself up above the rest?
Don’t be afraid to sell yourself a little and push your résumé to the top of the stack. There are a lot of success stories out there about people who did things like send the résumés to CEOs in travel coffee mugs. It’s a cool idea and will definitely get you noticed, but be sure you’re standing out in a good way. Try to mimic the office culture in an innovative way.
Social media platforms are fast becoming go-to tools for employers. Now more than ever, employers are checking up on Facebook and Twitter to see what kind of a person you really are. Cleanse your pages and be smarter about what you post. If you have a YouTube account, you may endeavour to create a video résumé that showcases your many talents.
Remember that low-ranking jobs can have high payoffs. Though you may want to work in the financial department of a bank, a customer service job might be what you need to get into the company. From there, you can better represent yourself to employers in that department. Will you have to work a bit harder at a job you may not care for? Yes. Will it pay off? If you stick with it long enough, you should be able to score the job of your dreams.
There is no one way to get a job, but there are different ways to improve your chances. Starting with a good attitude and ensuring that you have all the right stuff is definitely the best way to begin. Remember to keep your wits about you and to remain positive. Good luck!