Finding work in today’s competitive job marketplace can be tough, especially when the skills and experience required to land a job seem to be in a state of constant flux.
Currently, there are approximately 1.87 million Australians who are unemployed or underemployed in Australia.
For most, it’s not for a lack of trying; traditional hiring practices that rely on perfectly written CVs and sparkling personalities in interviews can easily overlook candidates who are skilled and motivated to work.
For candidates who don’t meet standard expectations, job hunting can often feel like a vicious cycle of interviews and rejections. When trying to find work, a negative mindset can quickly become a person’s biggest obstacle.
If these experiences sound familiar, don’t despair. Here are five tips to ensure the journey to employment is a positive one.
1. Get to know your sector
Research the jobs you are interested in to make sure you understand the good, the bad, and the ugly. This could include tactics like finding and watching videos of on the job work, job shadowing or talking to people already working in the field – don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Use every interaction as an opportunity to learn. People will be excited to answer your questions. While you may worry that your queries will come off as ignorant, most likely, the other person will interpret them as engaged interest!
2. Get hands-on practice for the skills you need
Practical work experience teaches valuable soft skills, such as discipline, perseverance, teamwork, leadership skills, communication skills and problem solving and can add significant value to your application.
Gaining practical experience is usually easier than you think and is smart both in terms of deciding your career path and differentiating yourself from other candidates.
3. Cultivate a growth mindset – know that you can learn and will get better!
A growth mindset doesn’t just help you thrive in difficult situations. It also gives you the freedom to push the limits of your abilities and develop your skills. People with a growth mindset believe abilities, like talent and intelligence, can be developed through dedication and hard work.
To develop a growth mindset, it’s important to embrace setbacks and see them as an opportunity to grow, set learning goals as opposed to performance goals and ask for improvement feedback instead of just praise.
Learning is a never-ending journey of self-discovery and challenging yourself, so enjoy the ride!
4. Lean on peers and mentors for support
More and more professionals are actively pursuing peer support and mentoring to advance their careers. A peer or mentor partnership can be rewarding to both parties, personally and professionally.
Leaning on peers and mentors for support provides an opportunity to develop communication skills, expand viewpoints, seek unbiased advice, discuss the tests and triumphs experienced in the workforce and consider alternate ways of approaching situations.
5. Focus on the skills and experience you do have
Be proud of your abilities, experience and passion you have rather than focussing on the ones you don’t or haven’t learnt yet. Consider how your assets, experience and expertise can connect you to the role and/or the organisation you wish to work for, and then evaluate how you’ll translate these to a prospective employer.
If you’re not getting anywhere, don’t be afraid to seek support! Around the world the Generation program has helped over 35,000 people find permanent employment through its tailored programs that connect job seekers directly with industry.
Their model works closely with industry to recruit, train, place and support those overlooked by traditional hiring practices.
It’s easy to revert to thinking “there’s bound to be people more qualified and skilled for this job than I am”, but with the right knowledge, mindset and support your dream job could be closer than you think.
Malcolm Kinns is the CEO of Generation Australia.
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