Job hunting has long been a daunting task, and these days the bar set by many employers is even higher.
Where once a job-starter might have been required to complete a bachelor degree, now it might be a master’s. And research shows employers deciding between two equally qualified candidates increasingly look to work experience such as internships as a deciding factor.
But not all of us have the time – or financial ability – to take three, six or 12 months out to do an internship. How else do you impress an employer and score the gig?
In 2018, the Business Council of Australia offering some clues, releasing a discussion paper that called for a “culture of lifetime learning”.
“This means workers will need to dip in and out of training throughout their entire lives, upskilling and reskilling throughout their careers without the need to stop working,” it said.
“Business employs 10 million of the 12 million working Australians; we want all of them all to realise their potential.”
Here are six surprisingly easy ways you can boost your qualifications that won’t break the bank.
1. Online courses
Contemporary life means most of us are time-poor and strapped for cash. But we have one big advantage – the internet at our fingertips.
Job seekers will do well to use it, with tens of thousands of online courses available at no cost or a small fee.
LinkedIn, for instance, offers more than 15,000 online courses and even personal recommendations tailored to your profile. Best of all, you can do the work on the train, in bed at night, or between appointments.
2. TAFE and RTO short courses
If you have the time, take that love of learning to the next level and explore short course options at your local TAFE or registered training organisation (RTO).
Whether it’s a certification, diploma or just a six-week night course, every new skill added to your resume sets you apart from the pack.
3. Workplace training
If you’re already employed in a sector but looking to upgrade your position or shift workplaces, use your current situation as best you can.
These days, most organisations can, and will, accommodate professional development for their staff. If you’re not sure about your workplace, don’t be shy in asking.
Whether it’s being seconded into another position, filling in for a more senior person while they’re on leave, attending a conference or completing voluntary work supported by your workplace, these opportunities can offer make-it or break-it career moments.
4. Pimp your resume/LinkedIn profile
Having the right skills and qualifications is not enough. Successful candidates are able to communicate their achievements clearly and explain why they are best placed for the role in an engaging and dynamic way.
Think of your resume and LinkedIn profile as your own personal marketing material and give it the attention it deserves:
- Compare your credentials – use LinkedIn’s search function to find people who already work in your desired role or studied the same degree, and examine how they promote themselves.
- Be truthful but don’t be afraid to write your achievements in lights. You can be sure that other jobseekers already are. Your resume should include any awards you’ve won and high scores you’ve received.
- Proof-read it and then proof-read it again. Any mistakes, even the tiniest typo, will wave a giant red flag.
- If you’re not sure, employ an expert to develop or update your resume. For a nominal fee, you’ll be making a great investment in your future.
5. Interview training
While your qualifications and training provide the foundation for your employability, it’s well known that employers also value soft skills, such as likeability, commitment, and being able to work in a team.
That’s why a job interview is such an important part of the application process.
A job interview is your opportunity to demonstrate not only that you can do the job, but why they should want you on the team.
Give the process the attention it requires and practice, practice, practice. Ask a friend, family member, work colleague or mentor to run you through questions.
For those who truly find job interviews terrifying, pay a professional to coach you. This can build your confidence, and help you clarify your point of difference.
6. Ongoing and continuous education
For those who are unemployed at the time of their job search, consider applying for ongoing education or training, even if you know it won’t be completed before your job application is seen.
This demonstrates to the employer that you are hard-working, proactive and passionate about the area you desire to work in. Make sure to list this information in a separate section of your resume and give it prominence.