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Family Forum: Career advice

A degree of difficulty moving from uni into work

QUESTION:

I am a recent tertiary graduate and I am struggling to find employment in my field. I have a community services diploma and when I apply for social work roles I am not successful in even getting an interview. I am disheartened and wondering what else I might be able to do to make myself more attractive to perspective employers. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Many students will be going through this same experience at the moment. The workforce is competitive and challenging to move into after study. One of the first steps you may wish to take is to approach the student services program at your place of learning. They should be able to provide help in the difficult task of applying for work but also guide you towards jobs that will fit your area of study. You may also wish to seek advice and support from career counselling agencies such as Job Services Australia, an organisational psychologist or a recruitment agency. If you are receiving government support payments, you may be entitled to some job seeker or childcare support. You will need to contact Centerlink for more information on this.

Your first task is to read the advertisement and ensure that your qualifications and experience match the requirements. Then contact the organisation and obtain further information about the job offered, if you are still unsure. If you are applying for a job as a social worker, you would be expected to have a degree in social work. Refer to the Australian Quality Framework website (aqf.edu.au) for more information.

As a new graduate you may find it difficult to fulfil the experience criteria. Working as a volunteer in a relevant field is a good idea, this will also provide you with real world experience and guide you towards the area of community services that is right for you.

Generally, a written application would consist of three parts.

An introductory letter about your interest in the work and the organisation, your qualifications, and your experience. This letter would be no more than a page and contain the most relevant points of addressing the job description.

Your resume should be written separately for each application, ensuring that you highlight the qualifications and experience that are most relevant to the position.

Lastly you will need to specifically address any selection criteria requested.

Contacting the organisation to ask for feedback about an unsuccessful application may provide specific guidance moving forward. Stay positive and know that one day you will find employment, it just takes time, hard work and perseverance. This is a stage in life that many people go through at the start of their career.

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