Job Seeker Tips

Job seeking can be a daunting process. When you’re looking for work, there are many ways you can ease your stress and increase your chances of success. Direction Employment and Training (DET) is here to help and support you throughout your job seeking journey.

Job seeking can be a daunting process. When you’re looking for work, there are many ways you can ease your stress and increase your chances of success. Direction Employment and Training (DET) is here to help and support you throughout your job seeking journey.

Things you can do today if you are looking for work

  • Contact your nearest Direction Employment and Training office to discuss your situation
  • Register with relevant employment agencies
  • Take a look at
  • Job search using local newspapers
  • Compile a resume and application letter – these documents may have to be adjusted to match the requirements of different jobs you apply for
  • Approach possible employers personally, presenting yourself professionally and knowledgeable about the business
  • Ask family and friends whether they know of any job vacancies
  • If you are at school, speak with your Careers Coordinator or VET Coordinator
  • Contact Centrelink

How to compile a resume and application letter

The application letter

A well written application letter can help you stand out from the crowd. It should be brief and will ideally tell the prospective employer a little about you, your education and work experience and most importantly, your personality. It should show you know something about the job and explain how your skills are matched to the requirements of the job you are applying for.

Information your application letter should include

  • Your name address and telephone number
  • The position you are applying for or are interested in applying for
  • A brief summary of your relevant skills, education, training and/or experience
  • The strengths you believe set you apart and could contribute to you being successful in that job

Pay attention to how your application letter is presented

  • Remember that your letter is reflection of you, so it is important to make sure it looks professional and polished
  • It should be evenly spaced on the page, preferably typed
  • It should never contain any spelling or grammatical errors (ask someone to check over it for you, or use the spell-check function on your computer)

Here are some application letter writing tips

  • Try to keep it simple. Use shorter sentences without too many long, descriptive words
  • Try not to be too formal – allow some of your personality to shine through
  • Keep it relevant to the job you are interested in. Ask yourself what your prospective employer might be interested in knowing about you

The resume

There are several key points to remember when compiling your resume

  • As with the application letter, it should be professional and well presented
  • It should contain all your relevant personal details, including, name, address, telephone number/s
  • The next section should set out your career goals and ambitions making sure that they match up in some way with the position you are applying for
  • Clearly set out your education and qualifications, including the years completed
  • Set out your employment history, starting with the most recent position first
  • Consider listing your personal qualities – what special attributes can you bring to the position
  • List any community involvement you may have. It’s great to be able to demonstrate that you are prepared to link with others within the community
  • Include a brief list of your personal interests and hobbies – this will help your prospective employer gain a better understanding of your qualities
  • Finally, list your referees. Ideally, these will be former employees, but if you do not have any work experience, you can list personal referees. Always ask permission from your referees before including them in your resume

How to approach an employer

Many jobs vacancies are never actually advertised. Employers often prefer to fill job vacancies with people who are proactive in letting employers know they are looking for work and interested in working for their business. When approaching potential employers:

  • Prepare your resume and a separate application cover letter for each potential employer you approach
  • Prepare a folder containing copies all your certificates, awards and any references you have (always keep the originals filed away safely at home)
  • Make a list of all the places you could approach to seek work. An online search and Yellow Pages directory are good placed to start
  • Dress to impress! First impressions count, so ensure your clothing matches the standards you see worn by employees who are working with the organisation you are approaching to work for
  • Approach the business at an appropriate time (ie during business hours) either in person or by telephone.
    • Ask if it is possible to speak with the manager or supervisor
    • You may only have a few short minutes, so be brief and clearly explain the type of work you are looking for and your relevant experience and qualifications
    • If there is no work available at that time, ask if you can leave your resume with them and if they may know of any other openings within their organisation or elsewhere
    • Manners count, so remember to thank the employer for their time
  • Don’t be disheartened if there is nothing available right now. Keeping in contact with prospective employers shows them you are genuine in your hope to work with them

The interview process

Having made it to the interview stage is a big achievement. Now you need to make an impression on your prospective employer so it’s important to be well prepared and have a plan.

Prepare yourself an interview checklist

  • Show you are organized by preparing a folder containing your resume, any awards, certificates, references or other supporting documents
  • Check that you know where to go and always allow enough time to arrive 10 minutes early – this shows respect and that you are reliable
  • Research the business so you understand what services it offers or what products it sells, how big it is and perhaps a little about its history
  • Write down a list of questions you would like to ask your prospective new employer. It’s a good idea to avoid asking too many questions about the level of pay at the initial interview, you can ask this question at a later interview or if you are offered the job. Some good questions to ask are:
    • Can you tell me more about the company
    • Is there a uniform, and if so, is it provided
    • What is the timeline for the selection process
    • Can you tell me more about the training program
    • What are the hours and is there overtime involved
    • Will I be working unsupervised, or mainly as part of a team
    • Will there be an opportunity to learn other tasks and skills outside this role
    • Is there the possibility of promotion and career advancement with your business
  • Check your personal presentation – check that your clothing appropriate for this workplace and that you are clean, neat and presentable

At the interview

  • Arrive 10 minutes early
  • Offer a firm handshake and a smile, introduce yourself and remember the names of the interviewers
  • Wait until you are offered a seat
  • Speak clearly, and try to directly answer any questions you are asked
  • If you do not understand a question, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Some examples of questions you may be asked include
    • Tell me about yourself, what are your interests and hobbies
    • Have you ever done this type of work before
    • Why do you want to work here
    • Why should we hire you and not somebody else
    • What skills could you bring to this role
    • What are your personal and career goals
    • What relevant experience have you had in this field
    • When would you be available to start working with us
    • What five words do you believe best describe you
  • Maintain eye contact with all interviewers
  • Take note of the interviewers’ names and use them throughout the interview
  • Mention your strengths and why you think you are a great candidate for the position
  • Be honest, and be yourself and try to stay calm and relaxed – the interviewers don’t want to make you feel anxious, they just want to know more about you and your qualities

After the interview

  • Prepare for the possibility of a second interview
  • If you have not heard from the employer after a week, call them and politely ask how the process is going
  • If you have been unsuccessful this time, ask for feedback on your interview and ask for suggestions as to how you could improve
  • Don’t be discouraged if you are unsuccessful this time… use it as a learning experience. Think about the interview and how you might be able to do better next time

For more help and advice about interviews, contact your nearest Direction Employment and Training office.