One of the big COVID-19 impacts for many of us is the effect it’s had on work – how we do our jobs, where we do them, how much we get paid (hello JobKeeper) and whether we even have a job at all.

Firstly, financial help is available through Centrelink (JobSeeker, JobKeeper, ABSTUDY etc), and the University of Newcastle’s Student Hardship Fund, scholarships, loans and emergency food or accommodation support are also available. You can find more details here

Once you’ve got the basics covered though, what are your chances of finding a job and when? 

A recent report by the Australian National Skills Commission found that job advertisements have decreased across all states and territories of Australia, with New South Wales recording 53% fewer jobs advertised in May 2020 than the previous year. So, if you’re struggling to find work, it’s not personal, it’s global. However, jobs advertised online have been increasing since May as businesses adjust after easing of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Take a moment to reflect

It can be tempting, and necessary sometimes, to launch straight into job-seeking, but taking some time to think about what you’d like to get out of your next job can be super beneficial. Think about which parts of your previous roles you loved, and which could have been better. Sure, maybe you can’t be super picky, but a little reflection at the end of any role can help find you identify the right culture, daily commute or future connections. Want some self-reflection inspiration? Indeed.com.au has you covered.

Check out the Careers Service

The University of Newcastle’s Careers Service is running a series called Career Chats. In these chats they talk to students, industry professionals and experts about working in certain industries, nailing your LinkedIn profile and interview tips. Two recent chats What to do when JobKeeper ain’t cutting it and navigating Your Job Journey During a Pandemic, have some really useful big picture information and tips for students. 

The Careers Service can also help with resumes, finding and applying for jobs, and career path planning. The Service also recently launched a new resource – Career Essentials – which may be one of the best career and employability-focused resources you can access as a student. Career Essentials has a CV and cover letter building function, practice interview tools, plus heaps more.  

Transferable skills

Cover letters and resumes. You knew we had to mention them, after all, they are the first impression most employers will get of you. It’s worth looking not only at the experience you have but the transferable skills you’ve picked up at work, in university and just life in general. They are often more highly valued by employers than your previous experience. Now if you are really stumped, don’t forget to check out the Career Essentials CV builder

Reach out and tell everyone

While being unemployed or underemployed doesn’t feel like the kind of information we want to shout from the rooftops, 2020 is the year that you can be sure you’re not alone in it. And reaching out to past and present connections, whether through LinkedIn (we’ve got tips on how to land the perfect job using LinkedIn), a quick email or a catch up over a couple of beers can really pay off. You never know whose cousin/best mate/partner is hiring in a role that could be perfect for you.

Side hustles

Is there any expertise you have that could help keep you afloat for a few months? Side hustles (think candle making or scrunchie sewing) can be a great way to broaden your skillset, meet new people (I believe they call it *networking*) and feel engaged and productive, during a time that can be stressful. Plus you might end up finding a decent little income stream. And bonus points, they can be a seriously good way to show off what a self-starter you are in that interview you’re definitely going to land soon. 

Don’t lose sight of the big picture

While COVID-19 has been awful for many of us, both professionally and personally, the average university student has about forty working years ahead of them. Sure, that figure may seem daunting, but take comfort that you’re unlikely to really miss out long term. You may not get the job of your dreams as quickly as you’d planned, but opportunities will present themselves again, and you never know, a slight detour now might mean you meet people or learn skills that become instrumental in your career progression.

Mental health

The University of Newcastle has a range of services available on campus, online and by referral that you can access if you’re feeling stressed, depressed or you’re needing mental health support. Free, confidential counselling is available for all students.

You can also access a range of online resources, including Navigator’s article on managing COVID-19 anxiety, plus this great piece about finding work during a global pandemic.

If you’re in urgent need of support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the University Crisis Support Line on 1300 653 007 or text them on 0488 884 165.

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