There are many opportunities in the jobs market, but you may have to think about working in a different industry or job to what you are used to. Online self-help resources such as JobOutlook and Skills Match can help you identify where the jobs are and what you need to do to get them. This page also contains support for people who are over 45 and looking for a job.
Choosing an Occupation
If you want to learn more about how your skills and work experience can prepare you for a career change, Skills Match on Job Outlook can help.
For more information on identifying, updating and transferring your skills, go to the “Get some training” section of this website.
If you are considering a career change, the Australian Government’s Job Outlook website provides information about different occupations and industries to help you make the decision.
The website has useful information on more than 1000 occupations, including job tasks, required skills, future employment prospects, and pay. If you are unsure of what sort of job you are looking for, the Job Outlook Career Quiz can help you to understand your work preferences and explore career options suited to your interests.
Formal Recognition of Skills
Even if you have never formally studied or trained in a particular area, you may have gained knowledge and skills through your education, training, work, volunteering (including activities in the community) and life experience.
You may be able to have this skill and knowledge formally recognised and count towards a qualification. This is called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). RPL assessments can reduce the amount of study you have to do for a qualification, and may even award you a qualification in full.
For information about how to get assessed for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) go to the myskills Help page.
Relocating For Work
Relocating Assistance to Take Up a Job
Relocating Assistance to Take up a Job is an Australian Government program that assists eligible participants to relocate to take up an offer of employment. Relocation assistance helps participants accept work outside of their area by removing the financial barriers that can prevent people relocating.
Go To Where the Jobs Are
When deciding on your next career move, you may have to consider moving for the right job.
Expanding your job search beyond your current location may increase the number of job opportunities, but there are some important factors to consider to make sure moving is the right decision for you.
The Australian Government Job Jumpstart website lists some important questions for you to consider and has useful tips and tools to help you to make the most of your potential move.
Support for Over 45s
Restart – Help to Employ Mature Workers
Restart is a financial incentive of up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) to encourage businesses to hire and retain mature age employees who are 50 years of age and over.
If you have any questions or would like to apply for Restart contact an employment services provider or by calling the Employer Hotline on 13 17 15.
Skills and Training Incentive
The Skills and Training Incentive provides up to $2,200 (GST inclusive) to jointly fund training to help you build skills to remain in the workforce longer.
More information can be found online at the Skills and Training Incentive page.
Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers program (Department of Education, Skills and Employment)
The Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers program provides advice how workers aged 45-70 on how they can use their existing skills to gain new jobs or help them identify what skills and training they may need to seek alternative employment.
Career Transition Assistance
Career Transition Assistance helps mature age job seekers build their confidence and become more competitive in their local labour market.
The program provides practical assistance to help participants gain the contemporary skills they need to move into ongoing employment.
Career Transition Assistance is available in five Employment Regions across Australia and available nationally from July 2019.
Pathway to Work
Pathway to work program helps mature age job seekers become more competitive in their local labour market.
Labour Market Information Portal (LMIP)
If you are considering your training and career options, it can be useful to know where the jobs are in the Australian labour market, and where they will be in the future.
So think as broadly as possible about what you want to do next, remembering you need to have several options. The more broadly you can think, the better your odds of getting a job.
For information on what employers are looking for go to the Labour Market Information Portal.
Looking for a job is like a job in itself. Most jobs are advertised online, but there are many other ways to find a new job too. This page contains advice on where to look for a job, how to contact employers directly, and how programs like jobactive can help you to find a new job.
Where Do I Look For Work?
There are a number of places to look for a job. These range from advertised positions on the internet or newspapers to contacting employers directly.
Write down the web address and closing date for any suitable job listings you’d like to apply for. This will make it easy to find the job again and give you a reminder about the application deadline.
Some websites have a job matching/job alert service that you can use to receive notification when new jobs are advertised. Check the instructions on how to apply and follow them carefully.
Before you apply, you should make sure your resume is up-to-date and as good as it can be. Have a look at the “Applying for a position” page for more information on how to update your resume, write a cover letter, tips on being interviewed and many other topics.
In the sections below, you’ll find information on the different places and ways you might find your next job.
Job Advertising Websites
Job advertising websites are useful for searching for jobs in a particular location, industry or role. If you don’t have access to the internet at home, your local library will usually have computers that you can use. Your friends, neighbours or family members may let you use their computer, too.
Some reputable job advertising websites include:
Company Websites and Social Media
Company websites will usually have a separate jobs page. Look out for pages called something like:
- Join the team;
- Working for us;
- Careers; or
- Current vacancies.
It is becoming more common for job vacancies to be advertised on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too. You can use social media to join groups specifically used to advertise vacancies, check the pages of employers you’d like to work for to find vacancies, and even contact them directly.
Employment agencies are also a good place to look for employment. They are in regularly contact with employers about job openings, and employers place vacancies directly with agencies. Some positions are only available through employment agencies.
To find a job through an agency, you will need to register with them. This usually includes attending an interview and filling in a registration form. Depending on the job, the agency may ask you to do complete a skills test. You will need to provide proof of any qualifications you have to the agency.
Remember, you can register with more than one agency. Some agencies even offer training so you can upgrade your skills increase your chances of getting a new job, so it’s a good idea to shop around.
Labour Hire and Temporary Agencies
Some employers use labour hire to trial workers before offering them permanent employment. The labour hire agency you sign up with becomes your employer, assigning you to different available jobs.
The Hidden Job Market
The hidden job is looking jobs that are available but aren’t advertised. To find these jobs you can ask people in your personal network or contact employers directly.
Your Personal Network
Your personal network consists of people you know: your family, friends, neighbours, local community, previous employers and co-workers, or people you socialise with.
Letting others know you are looking for work means they will keep you in mind if a position comes up.
Be as specific as possible. Talk to your network about your skills and what type of position you are looking for. This helps them to identify jobs that would suit you.
Your network may be able to put connect you with possible employers if they know about upcoming jobs.
They may also be able to put you in touch with others who can help. Services like LinkedIn can also help you to keep in touch with your network.
You can contact employers who you are interested in working for directly. Ask if they have any jobs available – you can do this via phone, email or in person.
It’s a good idea to do some research first so you know about the business and the jobs that may interest you. Prepare your “sales pitch” – what you are going to say about yourself and why you want to work for them.
Make sure you speak with the right person. For larger companies, this will be someone in the Human Resources (HR) Department. For smaller businesses, it might be a manager or the owner. If in doubt, ask to speak to the person who looks after recruitment.
Choose the best time to call or drop into a workplace. If mornings are their busy time, try later in the day. Be prepared if the owner/manager is too busy to talk. Ask when would be a better time to contact them.
Stay positive but be realistic. Not all employers will be interested in what you have to offer. Try not to take rejection personally and take away as much information from the experience as you can. For example, does the employer prefer to use labour hire companies to fill vacancies? If so, find out who they are.
If you decide to contact a business by email, make sure your email address is professional and includes your name. The content of your email needs to be polite and use appropriate titles such as Mr, Mrs or Dr. It should be concise and explain what type of role you are looking for, and why you would be suitable.
Attach a clear, short résumé. For more information on résumés, refer to “Applying for a position” page. On that page, you’ll also find information writing a cover letter, being interviewed and many other topics.
It may be useful to write down what you want to say before you ring an employer. Make the call from a quiet place free of distractions and background noise. Take care to be polite with everyone you speak to, talk clearly and with confidence.
Remember: contacting employers by phone or in-person could turn into an on-the-spot interview if it turns out they have a vacancy, so be ready to answer interview-style questions confidently.
Dress well – first impressions count. Think carefully about whether a suit or smart casual would be more appropriate.
Take copies of your résumé with you so you can leave a copy with them. Remember: contacting employers by phone or in-person could turn into an on-the-spot interview if it turns out they have a vacancy, so be ready to answer interview-style questions confidently.
Jobactive is the Australian Government’s employment service to improve job outcomes and meet the needs of both job seekers and employers. It is delivered by providers located around Australia.
If you have lost your job, you may be eligible to receive help from a jobactive provider who can help you to find and secure a new job in many ways, including:
- help looking for work
- writing a résumé and preparing for interviews
- referrals to jobs in your local area
- training that is suited to the skills that local employers need
- case management so that you are ready to take up and keep a job
- providing access to resources including the internet, printers and newspapers to help you in your job search.
The jobactive website is also a valuable resources for jobseekers. It includes useful articles on how to find a job, and will give you access to jobSearch. JobSearch is a free online jobs website where you can search and apply for jobs, and find your local jobactive provider.
A jobactive factsheet, Help for workers who have recently lost their jobs, contains information on jobactive eligibility and many other support services available to you.
For more information on jobactive, call the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68.
If you haven’t applied for a job recently you may need to brush up on your interview techniques and update your cover letter and résumé. This page contains resume templates, cover letter advice and tips on how to make sure an interview goes well.
Improve Your Cover Letter and Résumé
Writing Your Résumé
Did you know that many employers spend less than 30 seconds looking through each résumé they receive?
Having a well written résumé will help you to stand out from the crowd.
Employers use résumés to get a range of information about you, including experience, skills, and aptitude and career aspirations.
Your résumé needs to be a short, professional account of what you have to offer employers. It should be simple and easy to read (no more than 1 to 2 pages) and leave employers with a positive impression of your approach to work.
Your résumé needs to be typed (not hand written) and be free of spelling and grammar mistakes. Use spellcheck on your computer or ask someone to check it for you.
What Do I Need To Include In My Résumé?
You will need to include:
- your contact details – your name, a phone number and a professional sounding email address is all you need to provide in the first instance;
- your general and technical skills, abilities and knowledge;
- contact details for referees (such as recent supervisors or employers)
- an outline of your recent or relevant work experience (paid and unpaid) and the skills, abilities and knowledge you demonstrated on the job; and
- details of any licences, qualifications or training you hold that are relevant to the workplace.
You may also include descriptions of other life experiences and responsibilities, such as volunteering or sport participation. These kinds of activities can show that you actively engage with your community and may have skills that transfer to the workplace, such as teamwork and communication.
Tailoring Your Résumé to Your Job Search Needs
You may need to modify your résumé so that it meets the needs of different employers or recruiters. If you are applying for a job in an industry that you don’t have previous work experience or when you are applying for a job through a recruitment agent or labour hire firm, you’ll need to think about how the experience you do have can translate into the new industry.
You can tailor your résumé in a number of different ways, such as:
- using your employer/recruiter’s preferred template (check to see if the employer or recruitment agents have any preferences)
- include a short statement of how your skills, abilities, aptitude and knowledge address the advertised criteria for the position (you can find résumé templates online where you can add these statements
- incorporate keywords used by recruiters and employers (to describe essential employability or technical skills, knowledge or abilities) into the text of your résumé (you can find these keywords in advertised vacancies, selection criteria, duty statements and job descriptions)
You may want to read Identifying your skills for more information on how your work experience and skills might be transferrable to new employers.
You may like to use a template to update your résumé. There are many free templates available on the internet. Resume templates are available from the Australian Government’s Job Jumpstart website – go to the Resume templates – the why and how page.
- has my contact details
- has an easy to read font and a simple layout
- is no more than two pages (or no more than 3 pages if referees are included)
- uses dot points and short factual sentences
- uses keywords from the employer’s job ad
- is an accurate summary of my work and education history and is free of unexplained gaps
- is free of irrelevant information
- is saved in a common format (such as Microsoft Word) with a professional sounding title
- is free of spelling errors, typos and jargon (such as abbreviations)
Writing a Cover Letter
A well-crafted cover letter is just as important as a good résumé. A cover letter is a personalised letter to a specific employer briefly outlining your relevant skills and experience and why you are the best candidate for this particular job.
A good cover letter is tailored to the specific job you are applying for. It also conveys your skills and experience in a way that makes the employer want to learn more about you. As HR Officers and employers will generally have limited time, try to keep your letter to a few paragraphs in length, and definitely no more than one page.
Understanding Employer Needs
Some large employers make it easier for you to find out exactly what they are looking by providing detailed selection criteria for the advertised job.
Selection criteria explain exactly what requirements job applicants need to meet to be suitable for a job. The selection criteria will often be listed in the job advertisement or position description. You must always address the selection criteria in your job application (either in your cover letter or a separate document), or you are unlikely to win the position.
If selection criteria aren’t available you will need to rely on other sources of information to help you understand what employers want. Always read job advertisements carefully to work out exactly what the employer is looking for in applicants. For example, if the role involves communicating with clients, you need to make mention of your interpersonal and customer service skills.
It’s always a good idea to contact an employer to find out more about the organisation, the position and to ask any questions you may have. For more information on how to contact employers, go to the Looking for a job page.
Getting an Interview
If an employer thinks that you might be a suitable match for their organisation based on your resume, covering letter and application, they will offer you an interview. An interview is a chance for an employer to meet a potential employee face-to-face and ask them work-related questions to find the right person for the job.
Your interview is a chance to market yourself to employers. It is also an opportunity to gather useful information about a potential employer. Your responses to the interview questions are important, but your behaviour during the interview also plays a huge part in an employer’s decision.
Make sure you respond to an employer’s invitation to an interview in a professional way, arrive on time, are polite to staff and stay calm when faced with a difficult question. This helps communicate who you are and what you have to offer.
Always be polite and professional when answering emails or calls from potential employers.
Regularly check your messages to ensure you do not miss any attempts by an employer to contact you.
Communicate clearly. If you receive a call at a difficult time, have poor reception or are in a noisy location, ask if you can call them back. You can call back as soon as you have found a better time or place, or at an alternative time that’s convenient for both of you.
Be prepared to answer questions about when you are available for interview. You might need to use a diary or calendar to keep track of your commitments.
Make a note of when and where the interview will take place.
Prepare for the interview beforehand. Avoid surprises by asking questions and finding out what the format of the interview will be:
- Who will be interviewing you? (Is it one person or an interview panel?)
- Will the interview be question and answer style or will it involve completing tasks?
- Do you need to bring anything to the interview? (such as documents or licences)
Research the job and the business so that you know what they do and can explain at your interview how you meet their requirements.
Practice your answers to possible interview questions. Think about what questions your interviewer might ask – they are often based on the selection criteria you answered. Prepare and practise responses to these questions. Some generic interview questions are:
- Tell me about yourself
- What interests you about this job?
- Why are you the best person for the job?
- What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
- Can you work under pressure/to deadlines?
You will often be asked to provide specific examples from your work history, too – so try to have some examples of when you solved a problem or did well at work on hand.
Think about questions that you might like to ask during your interview. You can search online for appropriate questions to ask employers during job interviews.
Re-read the advertisement and your application so that you can remember exactly what you submitted. Don’t assume that the interviewer will remember details from your cover letter or résumé.
Organise appropriate clothes and grooming. For a professional role, a suit may be appropriate. In most other roles, smart casual clothes with good attention to personal grooming should be acceptable.
Organise your transport. Calculate your travel time and consider your travel options. Once you have decided on how you will travel, double-check timetables and the availability of transport for the relevant time of day. Organise your transport so you arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your interview.
Pack your bag. Make sure you have the correct address for the interview and the contact person’s details. This will come in handy if you experience an unexpected delay due to transport problems. Remember to bring any documents or licences you need to bring to the interview.
Make the Right Impression on Employers at Interview
Arrive on time, preferably 10 minutes before the scheduled interview time. If you are running late, call the contact person. Apologise briefly and let them know when you will be there. Ask if that is acceptable or if you should make an alternative appointment.
First impressions count. Smile, make eye contact and shake hands firmly when you meet the interviewer and any other staff. Be conscious of your body language – sit upright, smile, leave your arms uncrossed and try not to fidget. This shows you are calm and confident.
Be confident in talking about yourself. You need to know what you are good at and how you prefer to work. The answers you provide to interview questions need to tell a clear story of how your work experiences, life experience, skills and interests demonstrate your strengths and abilities.
Listen to what the other person is saying. Make sure you really listen to what they are asking – they are trying to find the right person for this role. Take a pause to think about your answer before you start to speak. Taking a moment to consider your answer will help you say the most important things first, and keep your answer concise – especially if you tend to talk for too long.
Stay calm. If you don’t know the answer to an interview question or if you don’t understand the question, ask them to clarify. You can try rephrasing the question in your own words to check you understand. This can help you relate the question back to one of the common interview questions (that you have practised answers to in preparation for the interview).
Show your enthusiasm. If you don’t hear from the employer within a few days of your interview you can take the initiative to make contact and let them know you are still interested. There’s no reason to be embarrassed if you don’t get the job. It is still an opportunity to learn and get feedback so that you are better prepared for next time.