10 Step Plan to Your First Job

1. Get your resume in order

Check out this handy guide to help you write a resume from scratch. Even if you are applying for your very first job, you have skills and qualities that employers are looking for that will help you to get your foot in the door.

Resume how-to guide


2. Get a Tax File Number

Visit www.ato.gov.au/tfnapply and fill out the online form.  Once you’ve done that, print your application summary and take it to an Australia Post Office along with your Proof of Identity (any documents which show that you are who you say you are, like a licence or a passport).

3. Get a bank account

Many financial institutions have no-fee accounts for students. Ask about this when you apply at the bank. You can open an account at your local branch.

4. Set up an email account

Set up an account you can check regularly outside of school. Some employers, particularly the large ones, may communicate entirely by email. Make it professional and simple. Variations on your name are best, e.g. [email protected].

5. Set up a professional sounding voicemail message

Make sure the voicemail message on your phone sounds professional, so if an employer has to leave a message they get a good first impression.

6. Clean up your social media profiles

Think about what your profiles look like from a stranger’s point of view. Adjust your privacy settings or delete any inappropriate content before you start job hunting. While it might seem unfair, employers may check social media to gauge your personality during the application process.

7. Organise some interview clothes

This does not mean you have to go out and buy a business suit, or spend a lot of money. A clean, ironed shirt and trousers or a skirt go a long way. It might seem obvious but some people manage to get it so wrong.

8. Research potential employers

Make a list of businesses close to you that you would like to work for. Have a look online to see if they’re advertising for work, and whether you might be suitable to apply.

9. Start applying

Many large employers have well organised online recruitment processes. The other option is to drop your resume around in person to local shops and businesses. Introduce yourself and ask for the supervisor or manager, explain why you’re there and hand over your resume. Don’t just wait for a job ad to appear on the web. Asking around with friends and family and going to employers directly means you have a greater chance of finding a job.

10. Wait

Don’t be discouraged if your phone doesn’t start ringing off the hook the day after you apply. Often it can take a while (weeks even) for your application to make its way through the system. Keep a positive mindset and keep up with your study, social activities and hobbies while you’re waiting. Apply for a range of jobs to give yourself options. Don’t worry if you don’t get a job the first time around. Employers often receive lots of applications and have different reasons for hiring different people. There’ll still be plenty of other jobs out there for you to apply for.

Australian Curriculum Links:

Work Studies/Year 9/Career and life design: Career development and management
Recognise the importance of self-awareness in career and life design.

Work Studies/Year 9/Career and life design: Gaining and keeping work
Investigate formal and informal recruitment processes:”researching the variety of processes employers use for recruitment.

Work Studies/Year 10/Skills for learning and work: Work skills
Explain the range of skills and attributes necessary to work effectively in the 21st century.

Work Studies/Year 10/Career and life design: career development and management
Apply knowledge of self to career decision-making processes.

Work Studies/Year 10/Career and life design: career development and management
Use career decision-making processes to filter career scenarios.

Work Studies/Year 10/Career and life design: Gaining and keeping work
Use a range of tools, methods and skills for accessing work relevant to 21st century recruitment and selection processes.

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