Are you the smartest kid on the block?
It doesn’t matter how smart you are, if you come across as rude, lazy… or just not interested, you will not get the job.
I have employed people because they are “nice” over applicants with higher qualifications who clearly thought they were too good for the job I was offering.
Speak to any employer and they will tell you that they want workers who they can get along with. They also want them to turn up, on time, today AND tomorrow and be enthusiastic.
ESSENTIAL EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS to WIN THAT JOB
- Interpersonal and people skills (being nice)
- Communication and teamwork skills (getting along with the team)
- Adaptability and resilience (willing to help out and change direction when things are tough)
Digital literacy, critical thinking and problem solving are way down on the list behind these attributes of a great employee.
In her Building Back Better interview on the ABC program, The Money Lisa Fowkes says employers want employees who know how to work. They don’t want kids who have a Certificate II in employability skills.
There is no substitute for the authentic experience of going to work, learning to work with other people, learning to work towards a concrete outcome.
Ivan Neville, from the Department of Labour Market Statistics and Analysis also made this point in his How Young People Can Prepare for the Future of Work
PART TIME WORK GIVES AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE
If you are 18 you are probably out of luck at McDonalds as they like to employ younger workers and train them up so that they are ready to take on management responsibilities at 18.
Big retail outlets like Bunnings and jbhifi are booming during COVID so you may have more luck there.
Look on the usual job sites like Seek and Indeed, and also look on Facebook pages like Perth Jobs. These Facebook pages are free to advertise on so many employers are going there with their job ads.
Many outlets, like your local IGA, will ask you to fill out a standard form.
- They can read your writing.
- Your phone number is clear.
- Your email is NOT CutiefromCottesloe@gmail.com or LazyGuyinBroome@hotmail.com
Many employers will Google you before they offer you a job so clean up your digital profile.
Your Resume is Your Pitch, You Don’t Tell Your Life Story to Win a Job
If you have never written a job application or covering letter go to Youth Central for advice.
WORK EXPERIENCE IS BRIEF, BUT AUTHENTIC
Students usually have the opportunity to do work experience in Year 10, and later if they choose the right courses.
Try to impress
If you get a good employer and if luck is on your side, your work experience could lead to a part time job. You should at least be able to get a reference or have them say they are willing to give you a phone reference if you are going for a job.
The State Government has developed a Work Placement Register of government departments willing to take on students from government schools.
The trick with work experience is that school insurance doesn’t cover you if the experience is not part of a school program. If you get an opportunity to do work experience outside of a school program, go to see your careers advisor or year coordinator to see if they can organise insurance for you.
MENTORS, SPONSORS AND COACHES (Stand on the Shoulders of Giants)
PLEASE see your career advisor or year coordinator and ask if they can help you to get a mentor.
Mentors are priceless. They often work with you for about 3 months. If you are nice (see Interpersonal and People Skills above) they may continue to help you after the formal mentoring has ended.
Mentors can help you to develop employability skills.
There are mentoring programs like those run by the Beacon Foundation and the Australian Business and Community Network. Sometimes a school alumni will run a program for the school. Organisations like Rotary and local business networks may be willing to run them.
If you can’t find a mentor and you live in WA, email me. I will find one for you. Bev.J@infocus-careers.com.au
SPORTS, CLUBS, RELIGIOUS & CULTURAL GROUPS
Coach a junior sport team, lead a youth group, help to organise Chinese New Year celebrations. All of these experiences add credibility to your resume. They also help you to build your network. The benefit here is that people in your clubs and community groups have probably known you for years and they know your family. They will be happy to give you a reference and may even have a job opportunity for you.
Check It’s Who you Know that Counts to discover how to make the most of your networks.
The great thing about volunteering is that you can try lots of different jobs. Three months of volunteering should be enough to make a good impression and learn if you are interested in that industry.
You can find volunteering suggestions HERE or email me for a copy so that you get the live links Bev.J@infocus-careers.com.au . You can find volunteer opportunities on the Seek site, just look for the Volunteering tap at the top. A Google search for volunteer opportunities in your suburb or area will also give you suggestions.
Running your own business will give you heaps of work skills.
It doesn’t have to be a million dollar business. I know young people who run a babysitting club. A friend’s daughter set up an office cleaning business while at uni. My garden needs weeding and I can’t find anyone to do it.
Don’t muck around with this. Remember that your goal is to learn, not just to make some small change.
Go to the Small Business Development Corporation site. It gives heaps of free advice on how to start your business. You can go in and get advice in a face to face meeting.
Once you have left school you can enrol in the NEIS Scheme program that will assist you to set up your business.
Contact me if you would like a complimentary 15 minute career discussion Bev.J@infocus-careers.com.au
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