Most entrepreneurs do not begin their careers by starting their own ventures (though there are some notable exceptions). The majority have had at least a small career first so that they can take the skills and knowledge they have learned and apply it to their own ventures. While some job-seekers are happy to take anything they can get, ambitious job-seekers understand that like anything else a career has to be selected and planned diligently. Career planning consists of looking for a position that you desire and determining which roles you need to perform first to qualify for it.
Determining lifestyle needs
The first mistake many job-seekers make is that they do not consider the sort of lifestyle that satisfies their needs, leading to dissatisfaction in their work lives. When it comes to choosing a career, the following considerations are important:
Willingness to travel
Preference of indoor or outdoor work
Preference of solo or team work
Work hours required
Type of contract
Flexibility of the role
Compensation and benefits
Content of the work
Opportunities for advancement
Once you have determined the field that is right for you, you need to prepare to apply. Generally this will require:
Written references and recommendations
Skill certificates, degrees and awards
It’s important to find roles which you match the minimum standards of and to be able to provide documentation to prove it.
Building a fantastic resume
A resume is typically the first point of contact in a job search. Professional resumes are well written, neatly formatted and only include relevant content. The most successful applicants typically tailor their resume for each position they are applying for, emphasising the skills that are most important for that role and highlighting past experience. A good resume includes:
Past employment (including responsibilities and achievements in those roles)
Education (including any special awards and achievements)
Skills and proficiencies
Apply to every job that’s right for you
If you’re searching for a job and applying to a lot of positions, it is easy to quickly lose track of the various applications, responses and contacts. Getting organised and keeping a job search folder on your computer, which contains all of your job search efforts, your contacts and your responses, will stop you from getting overwhelmed or confused.
There are a few tips that we have collected that will help you in your search:
Keep a spreadsheet of where you have applied and when
Follow up every application after 2 weeks (unless they have asked you not to)
Keep records of all phone conversations with key points noted
Respond promptly to all interview offers
Ensure you are groomed and dressed neatly for any interviews
What to do if you struggle to find a position
If you are struggling to find work, you have two main options - seeking work experience or commencing further education.
Work experience can be a valuable way to gain hands on, practical knowledge about your industry. It is an opportunity to:
Develop your skills
Build a relationship with a potential employer
Test the role to see if you enjoy it
Gain new references
Further education is one of the most surefire ways to access new opportunities. Consider what tafe courses or certifications may be valuable in the industry you want to work in. It is useful to find specific positions you want and seek out the necessary certifications to apply. If you are looking to join a professional career, you will probably need a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject area. Some careers may even require a Master's degree or more. If you are taking on substantial tertiary studies like these, it is wise to ensure that the degree is marketable and will produce a solid return so that you can pay off any student debt.