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Applying for a Job

Most advertised positions have a due date for applications so you need to get your application in on time or it won’t be considered. If you have heard about a job through someone else it’s a good idea to contact the business and ask if the job is still available and find out the best way to formally apply. Some businesses will have a strict application process while others will be more casual. Remember to always be polite and pro-active in fitting in with the business’ application process.

Most jobs that you apply for will want to see your resume, and with your resume you should always send a cover letter. Some jobs may also want you to address selection criteria with your application. The following sections will show you how to write all of these.

Writing Your Resume

A resume, also called a CV (curriculum vitae), is a document that has your personal details, skills, achievements, as well as your employment and education history. It should be short, clear and accurate- no more than 2 pages. Don’t include information that isn’t relevant to the position eg. If you are applying for a retail assistant position the fact that you won a gold medal in your year four swimming carnival isn’t really relevant! Your resume should include:

Personal Details: Name, address, phone number, email, date of birth, etc.

Education History: Mention any subjects you studied at school that are relevant to the position, any courses you studied at school or any apprenticeships or traineeships you’ve done. If you like you can put down which high school you went to and the dates you were there.

Employment History: List all the jobs you have had, with the most recent first. The structure should look like;

Title of the position
Name of the employer,
Details of employment,
Dates worked.
Dot point your major duties for each position.

  • Cash register skills
  • Team leader – managing fellow staff members

Remember to include all information that is relevant to the job you are applying for, as well as anything that is impressive!

Other Relevant Information: Such as voluntary work, work experience, interests, hobbies and awards, committees, club membership, other languages, computer skills etc. Give the section an appropriate title eg “Hobbies”.

Referees: These are people who can vouch for you so that employers will be more likely to hire you. They can either be Professional or Personal referees.

Professional referees are people who have worked with you and can say that you are skilled in an area. Past bosses or managers are particularly good referees.

Personal referees are people in the community such as teachers or your local doctor who can affirm your good character.

Make sure that you check first that your referees are happy to do it as it looks bad if the employer calls them and they aren’t expecting a call. Also, pick referees who you have a good relationship with so that they will say nice things about you!

Follow these links to have a look at some sample resumes and help you prepare your own:

SEEK Sample

My Future: Resumes

Your Cover Letter

When you send a business your resume it is important to include a cover letter as well, even if they don’t ask for one. Your cover letter is to express your interest in the position and to get your personality across to the employer. If they don’t like your cover letter, or if it doesn’t grab their attention there’s a chance that they may not even read your resume!
You should alter your cover letter for each job you apply for so that it is addressing the specific business and position. It should be no more than one page long and should include:

  1. Reference to the job title or position number and where you saw it advertised eg. On SEEK
  2. Why you want the position
  3. Why you are well suited to the position/ company
  4. Your relevant experience in the field (briefly)

Useful link: Youth Central is great for having a look at sample resumes and cover letters, no matter how much education or experience you have.

Addressing Selection Criteria

Some jobs may ask you to address selection criteria. These are skills or experience that the employer wants you to have. For each selection criteria you need to write no more than one page. It is to show that you have the skills and experience to do the job well. An example of a selection criteria is “Demonstrated the ability to work well in a team”. A good way to answer these is by using the “STAR” abbreviation. This stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result.

For example:

Situation – In my previous employment as a waitress at Silvio’s Restaurant there were 10 workers including me, and it was important that we worked well together so that the business could be successful.

Task – My task was to take the orders from the tables and give them to the chef, pizza maker and bar person, as well as take the food to tables.

Action – I helped maintain communication between all the other workers preparing food and drinks so that the arrival of meals and drinks for each table were timed properly.

Result – As a result all the tables got their food and drinks on time, which meant customers were pleased and the restaurant increased it’s profit.

Useful Tip: For each selection criteria you should try to give two examples.

What to Wear to an Interview

The employer loved your application and now they want to meet you in person! It’s important that you are well presented for a job interview. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to be in a suit, it just means you need to look presentable, and as though you have taken some time in your appearance. What you wear will depend on what kind of job you are going for. For example, if you applying for a job at a clothes store it may be ok to wear jeans to the interview but this wouldn’t be appropriate for an office job. And make sure that your hair is brushed and looking clean, your clothes don’t have any crinkles and you have put on your best deodorant!

The Interview

Jobs interviews can be nerve wrecking and stressful but try your best to stay calm. Remember that the interview is just as much for you to see if you would like the job as it is for the employer to see if they like you.

5 things your should remember for your interview:

  1. Being on time is really, really important so make sure you are clear on exactly where the interview is and how long it will take you to get there. Leave yourself plenty of extra time, particularly if you’re catching public transport or driving in peak hour traffic. It is good to arrive to the interview 15 minutes early so you can gather your thoughts and get comfortable.
  2. It’s also good if you can find out the names of the people interviewing you before you arrive. You can do this by calling up or remembering who you wrote your cover letter too.
  3. Research the company / organisation for the job you are going too. This shows you want this particular position and not just looking for any old job – it goes a long way.
  4. Employers are looking for friendly, reliable and “switched on” employees. Communication skills are important, so even if you’re nervous remember to make good eye contact with everyone in the interview and smile! Take your time when answering questions- it’s better to pause for a few seconds to gather your thoughts than rush in to an answer you haven’t thought about.
  5. It’s good to go over some questions that you think they might ask, the night before the interview. Even if they don’t ask the exact questions chances are some of the answers you have prepared will be helpful. It’s also good to have a couple of questions to ask them, as it shows interest and initiative. Go to the link below for some examples of questions. Career Advice