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At some stage I’m sure we have all been there. You may not have a job or have a part time job but need something more or that full time role is just not ticking all the boxes anymore. The first place to start is make a list for yourself of the type of work you want to do. Next you should consider what you want to get out of a job – do you want to learn new skills, do you need some personal fulfilment working in a role helping people or is it just a way to earn a living. These points should give you a bit of insight into the industries to look at.

Online searching is where you should head next. It can be great, but it can also be time consuming and soul destroying. Try to get your search parameters right as this can focus in on what you are looking for. Order the results by date where possible as sometimes job posts stay online for months. It makes sense that if a job was posted three months ago that it is likely to have been filled so there is no point in looking at those.

Remember that some days there might be no new listings that fit what you are looking for. In these cases try looking at other areas that mildly spark your interest or find out about courses that can help you upskill. There are lots of courses available online at reasonable prices. This will help keep your job seeking on a positive track and employers like to see people who have taken the initiative to improve their skills and knowledge.

While you are searching for that next job, take the time to get your resume up to date. Take another read of what you have put together so it accurately reflects your experience and skills. If you need help, call on a friend or enlist the skills of professionals. When you do find a role you want to apply for, review your resume again to highlight the skills you have that align with the skills that the employer wants.

Cover letters are best written when you apply for a job as they need to be specific – generic cover letters just won’t cut it. Where you may not have experience in a specific skill listed, a job-focussed cover letter is where you can mention your skills that are transferable to the role.

If the ad for a job has contact details, it is worthwhile getting in touch with them to ask some questions. Before you call or email, make notes of exactly what you are going to ask. Being prepared helps you to portray confidence, especially over the phone. Some vacancy advertisements can be worded in a way that don’t give you specifics of the role and contacting them is a good way to find out more. Unless you need a certain level of pay, leave that question until the interview and do some research online around similar roles. That will give you an idea of what to mention when salary expectations are discussed. Other questions you could ask are:

  • What is important in this role aside from skills and experience?
  • What are the priorities for the role?
  • Is there opportunity for career growth and how is this supported?

If you don’t have a job at the moment, try volunteering. There are lots of organisations out there that would love assistance. It is a great way to give back to the community and you may also learn some new skills.

Don’t give up. There are a lot of people competing for a limited number of jobs, so if you don’t make the short list, you probably won’t be contacted by the company and that’s OK. Consider having a few part time jobs, this may suit you better than one full time role and give you the opportunity to try different things. If you really need a job, be prepared to take on something that may not be in your top five or even top ten best careers. Who knows, you might find in reality that your dream job was not the one you had been dreaming about.