There’s no denying that the job market right now is tough and a lot of students are feeling the anxiety of the situation. At UON, we are lucky enough to have a dedicated careers team that assists students in increasing their employability and give them the best chance at landing a job. I got some advice from Renee Smith, a Careers Consultant from the UON Careers Service, about job seeking in a time like this and how we can better our employment prospects.

Be proactive in your search for work (there are jobs available)

A local job search might not currently render the hospitality and retail-focused results it once did but that doesn’t mean that casual jobs aren’t available. “We’re seeing many roles come up including delivery drivers, cleaners, shelf stackers and pickers, and phone support officers. These roles provide an opportunity to earn a wage and develop a range of skills useful for the future work environment,” said Renee. A good way to start your job search is on CareerHub, which you can access from your MyUON homepage. The Careers Service are regularly posting new employment opportunities for students and this includes opportunities for graduates as well. You can also do job searches on Seek, Jora, LinkedIn and GradAustralia.

Build connections (network)

I use LinkedIn more than I use Facebook and you should too. Never has there been a time when we’ve been so easily able to connect with professionals in our desired fields and gain industry insights. I personally use the platform to get an idea of someone else’s career path and to see it in the context of my career goals. Renee agrees that observing another career path is a good move, “Speaking with people who have already made it, particularly those who are only a couple of years ahead of you can give you a great idea of what it is like in the working world. This can help you build your business acumen and will also start to open your professional network.” Speaking on LinkedIn Renee said, “You need to make sure you have your profile set up in a way that advertises your professional brand. You can find out more on how to do this by joining the Careers Service’s Career Chat series and checking our the resources in CareerHub.”

Polish up your resume

If you’ve got time off work right now, it’s a great opportunity to polish up your resume, especially if you’re a soon-to-be graduate. This is the document that will represent you in the initial stages of hiring and a unique and strategic resume will ensure you get noticed. Why not get some input from the Careers Service and make sure you’re on the right track? “The Careers Service is able to review all forms of job applications and give feedback. Have a look on CareerHub at the resources specifically designed to help you write great job applications – cover letters, resumes and selection criteria responses. Then, upload a copy of your document on Ask a Question in CareerHub for a personalised review. Remember that each resume and cover letter you write needs to target one particular job,” said Renee.

“Studies have shown that people who are optimistic can get into the work force up to 2 months faster than someone who is not.” -Renee Smith

Make sure you’re a good candidate (& value your mental health)

It’s so important to check in with yourself and make sure you’re taking care of your mental health. I do believe that people can tell when your heart isn’t in something and this would really stand out in job interviews. “In a recent online forum held by some local graduate recruiters, they mentioned that employers are understanding of our current situation, but they like to see that students are still getting involved,” said Renee. But how can we showcase this? “Well, it could be shown in a number of ways including showing resilience by continuing with your studies and obtaining consistent results; being adaptable by thriving in isolation, picking up new hobbies and joining online social clubs or volunteering; diversifying your communication skills by learning new digital platforms that increase your digital literacy,” she continued. Continuing to participate in everyday life as best you can shows resilience, emotional intelligence, and determination.

We’re all feeling the stress of this situation. If you’re out of work and have some extra time to think, that takes the stress to another level. Use these steps to move yourself into the best position for a job search and to make sure you’re able to present your best self when it comes time to apply.

Feature image via Unsplash

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