Job-seeking strategies

Advertised jobs

To optimise your job search, consider the following points:

  • Review opportunities on job sites frequently. Set job alerts but don't rely on these alone – general job browsing can also present opportunities that you may not have anticipated.
  • Develop skills in 'reading' job advertisements to identify all realistic possibilities.
  • Analyse job advertisements to make a realistic assessment about whether the job is really suitable for you. For example, if five years of experience is being asked for and you have six months, then this is not the job for you.
  • Refine and make choices. Competitive job applications are time consuming and it is generally better to do fewer, high-quality applications with a greater chance of success.
  • Look closely at advertisements and don't dismiss possibilities too easily. Consider your skill set carefully, for example:
    • Qualifications: don’t necessarily rule out a position that specifies a different qualification to yours. Instead, consider your transferable skills and applicable experience that you can bring to the role.
    • Experience: don’t be discouraged if you have little experience, even if some experience or skills are specified or preferred. Instead, emphasise the skills you do have.
    • Selection Criteria: don't expect to meet all criteria. Keep in mind that those at the top of the list tend to be most important.

Unadvertised jobs

This may include:

  • directly approaching an employer of interest
  • being offered work following an internship or voluntary involvement
  • being referred to an employer by someone in your network who works in the organisation
  • being offered a professional position by an employer for whom you did part-time work while studying.

The most common approach, especially for entry-level positions, is to approach employers directly. Employers are generally pleased to receive relevant expressions of interest as recruitment can be expensive and time-consuming. Being able to represent yourself directly to employers is widely practiced and considered a necessary professional skill in contemporary work life.

Approaching employers

Employers are generally pleased to receive well-thought-out approaches, as recruitment is expensive. Being able to represent yourself directly to employers is widely practised and considered a necessary professional skill in contemporary work life.

Employers can be approached via phone, email or on occasions, in person. Which of these is appropriate will vary with the type of organisation and your own style.

It is critical to be well prepared – to have a good understanding of the organisation, why you have targeted the organisation, and be able to articulate this clearly, whether in writing or in person.

For organisations of particular interest, aim to meet with the employer to discuss your interest more broadly rather than focusing only on immediate opportunities; this way, you may be remembered for opportunities which come up subsequently.

Identifying employers to approach

Making direct approaches only works if you have a well-developed idea about what you want to do, where and why. Your approach needs to be purposeful, making it clear to an employer why you have chosen to approach them, and what you have to offer.

To identify potential employers:

  • Think about employers who you might already have a connection with. For example, organisations where you have undertaken work experience or part-time work.
  • Ask people in your network if they know of opportunities or organisations in your interest area.
  • Do some research to identify potential organisations of interest. For example, using online organisation directories.

Organisations can be approached as a 'warm call' or a 'cold call'.

Warm calling means that you already know someone within an organisation and can use their name as a contact. Your contact may have provided a name within the organisation to direct your enquiry. This method relies on having network and using it.

Knowing, Growing and Using Your Network

Cold calling means that you approach an organisation without a third-party referral or connection.

Applications, skills and experience

To support you with your applications and job-seeking strategies, we encourage you to explore the following resources. You can also attend employment-related information sessions and workshops.

Don't know where to start? EmployMe can help you to scope out the job market, use relevant search terms and approach employers.

Recently advertised jobs

Recently advertised jobs, internships and volunteer positions.

Careers Online jobs