It is not uncommon to be looking for work. Whether you are changing jobs or looking for your first job it may not be easy. Two of the most important things employers look for in potential workers are experience and skills related to the job.

Following are some suggestions that may help you to get experience and find and get the job you are looking for.

Topic Videos

What Music Means to Me - Jakob

Jakob talks about what means means to him for Project Tune Your Mood and Tune In not Out


  • Author: Tune Your Moof
  • Upload Date: 2014-04-22

Jakob Bragg is 23 years old and is currently completing his final year in composition at the QLD Conservatorium of Music. He plans to do more study in composition both here in Australia and overseas. Please visit his website www.jakobbragg.wordpress.com

Photos by Madison Kennedy Tucker
Music: Opening by Jakob Bragg

About Maddison: Ever since the age of 11 I have had a passion for photography. I especially enjoy photographing the natural aspects of people in their everyday environments and quirky beauties hidden within today's society. As I also have a love for music, being given the opportunity to combine my passion of photography with Tune Your Mood has been a wonderful experience, which has been tremendously enjoyable.

Stories on this Topic

Featured Story (text)

My life so far

My life so far

A work by Dean

My advice for those going through rough times is that nothing you can do will change the past.

Things will happen and, if we accept that, we can move on to change the things we can change. My mother died of breast cancer in 2007 when I was 12, and my father was hardly ever around so I often moved form home to home.

During this time i was constantly told that I would amount to nothing, that I wasn't good enough. But i worked hard, trying to proove them wrong. Now i'm 18, have been in various musicals and plays, recieved a 82 ATAR, got accepted into a Bachelor Teaching (Secondary)/ Bachelor Arts majoring in drama with distinction and high distinction averages, work in a theatre as a general technician while also designing for theatre productions, have auditioned for broadway and happier than i've ever been. All this happened because I wanted to prove them wrong and I didn't wait for someone to help me. When the world turns its back on you, you scream a little louder until it notices you. Work hard and you will get where you want to be.

Click to read the text

I quick description of my life to date and the achievements i've made by working hard.

  • Author: Dean
  • Upload Date: 2013-11-21

Written Text.


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We have partnered with Reach Out to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. Reach Out offers information, support and resources to help young people improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience, and increase their coping skills and help-seeking behaviour.

Finding and Starting Work

Practical advice for job hunters

It is not uncommon to be looking for work. Whether you are changing jobs or looking for your first job it may not be easy. Two of the most important things employers look for in potential workers are experience and skills related to the job. Following are some suggestions that may help you to get experience and find the job you are looking for.


Volunteering is a good way to get on-the-job experience, and it may also help you decide if that field is one you want to work in. Some of the benefits of doing volunteer work may include:

  • Learning new skills
  • Increasing the number of references available to you
  • Gaining experience in the workplace

You may want to check out the websites in the Related Links box on the right hand side of the page for more information about volunteering.

Stay confident

The longer you are looking for work the harder it feels. Try to remember the skills you have are valuable. If possible think of the job hunt as a challenge and an opportunity to find out what you are interested in.

Talk to someone

If you are unsure about your career path or field of work you wish to enter, there are people who you can talk to for advice. Try your careers advisor at school, TAFE or university.

Look after yourself

Part of staying positive is looking after yourself. Try and find time in the day to chill out and do something you enjoy. It may be hanging out with friends, listening to music, going for a walk, kicking the footy or reading a book. Eating well and exercising are also important ways to look after yourself.

Look in a range of places for jobs advertised

There are lots of places you can look for work. Some of these include:

  • Newspaper
  • Internet job sites
  • Centrelink
  • Uni or TAFE employment services.

Approach organisations/people

As well as applying for jobs advertised you may want to approach organisations or people who you are interested in working with. It is not uncommon for positions to be available, but they have not yet been advertised. Approaching the organisation also lets people know you are enthusiastic.

Add to your skills

Adding to your skills increases your chance of getting work. You may wish to enroll in a course at university, TAFE or with a community college. Centrelink also provides some training opportunities for unemployed people. Contact your nearest office for more information

Create your own work

You may want to create your own work. Think of what your goals are, the skills you have and then match this up with what is needed in your local area. You may wish to do a small business course to help you to increase your skills. Your local TAFE should be able to help you with more information about what courses are available.

Applying for a Job

Curriculum Vitae

When applying for a job, you may be asked to provide your 'CV', or Curriculum Vitae. A CV should include your full name, the suburb you live in, a summary of your secondary, tertiary or any other education, and a brief description of any previous work experience.

Remember, you can record on your CV any:

  • work experience done at school
  • voluntary work
  • work done with family businesses.

Try not to make your CV longer than it needs - if it is too long, an employer many not read it. An ideal length for a CV is one or two pages if possible.

Selection Criteria

Employers often include a selection criteria for the position. If there is criteria make sure that you write a point that relates to each criteria, providing information about how you feel you meet the specified criteria. You can do this as part of the cover letter or as a separate document called a supporting statement.

Cover Letter

In the cover letter, you should summarise the reasons why you think you are the best person for the job. A cover letter is an opportunity to tell a potential employer a little more about yourself than you have room for in your CV. Again, try to keep your letter short, no more than one page.

Job Interviews

These can sometimes be stressful and tense experiences. You may have to talk to one person, or a whole group. Sometimes you will be asked easy questions about yourself and your experience, other times you may be asked to solve problems.

Because it is often hard to predict what the interview will be like, some preparation beforehand will enable you to respond more quickly to the situation. Make sure you can easily recite your CV, and answer in-depth questions about your skills and experience.

Think about your strengths and your weaknesses - this is a common interview question! When thinking about a weakness, try and use one that can have a positive spin, for example "I am sometimes a bit of a perfectionist". This type of answer shows that you acknowledge weakness, however is something that is not always seen as a weakness. Ask a friend to help you practice some questions and answers before you go in.

Another interview technique is competency based questions. These are questions that focus on a set list of skills employers are looking for in their such as time management, customer service etc. An example of a competency based question is "Describe a situation where you felt you couldn't meet a deadline and how you resolved the situation?" These questions help show an employer how you cope with situations you may be exposed to within the job you are being interviewed for. Try and think about your previous work/school experience before attending an interview so you have some answers ready for questions like these.

But most of all, try to remain calm and focused. Breathe deeply if you are nervous. Sometimes you may have to go to many interviews before you get a job. Every interview increases your experience, so don't be too hard on yourself if you don't do so well. Congratulate yourself on getting as far as the interview, and try not to put pressure on yourself about getting the job.

Starting a New Job

Starting your first job, or changing to a new job, is often really exciting. It may also be stressful and overwhelming. Some reasons you might feel this way include:

  • meeting new people and being in a new environment
  • wanting to succeed
  • hoping it lives up to expectation and to prove to yourself that you've made the right choice.

Suggestions for easing the transition

While it's common to feel stressed at starting a new job, there are some things you can do that might make the transition easier. These include:

Familiarise yourself with your workplace

On your first day, your employer should show you around your workplace, including where the toilets, kitchen and staff rooms are. If they don't offer, make sure you ask. Familiar surroundings and knowing your way around the building can help ease any anxieties and make you feel more independent. Some people find drawing a map of people and sections helps in the first couple of weeks, particularly if they're at a large company.

Familiarise yourself with your job responsibilities and processes

It can take a while to become familiar with your job and all your responsibilities. Keep your job description handy so you can keep track of tasks that fall under your role, what is expected of you, and who you need to be reporting to and will be working with. Getting familiar with programs, acronyms and any other processes can also be helpful.

Check out the most efficient way to get to work

Finding the most efficient way to get to work can make a huge difference. If you are unsure about travel time it might be helpful to do a practice run before your first day.

Ask questions

It's important that you ask as many questions as you need to when starting a new job, even if it means asking the same question 2 or 3 times. Employers don't expect you to know all the answers and are usually impressed with willingness to learn and ask questions rather than assuming to know everything. As well as your boss, your co-workers are great sources of knowledge.

Get involved

Some bigger companies have social clubs or regular social events and these can be a great way to meet people. Alternatively, staff rooms or kitchens are always a great place to meet new people. Just saying hello and introducing yourself can make a big difference. Knowing a few friendly faces can really help with any anxieties about being in an unfamiliar environment.

Give it time

Starting a new job, particularly if you're making the transition to full time work after study or travel, can be a shock to the system. Learning to accept the changes (loss of spontaneity, ridged routine, commuting and having way less time for family and friends) takes some getting used to. Keeping your old routines and the same level of contact with friends and family might not be as easy when you start your job. Letting your mates and family know that you are busy and that you'll have a chance to catch up on weekends may help you to make changes.

Also, as with starting anything new, it takes a while to find your feet and get familiar with the job and the workplace - and up to 6 months to feel really productive. Just remember, you're not expected to know it all straight away.

Little steps

Take every day one step at a time. Try not to worry about what's ahead, for example, a presentation you may need to do in three months time or do a closing shift alone etc. Small steps along the way will get you there.

Eat well and exercise

Eating well and regular exercise can have a significant effect on how you feel, your concentration and your work. It is not uncommon for your job to become all consuming when you first start so don't be surprised if it takes some time to fit exercise into your day. Once you know your working hours and are more familiar with your job responsibilities it usually becomes easier. If you are finding it tough, you could try walking or cycling to/from work or going for a half hour walk at lunch time.

Ground rules

It is a good idea to establish from the beginning if you are allowed to make personal calls and emails or surf the internet so you avoid confusion and any negative repercussions.

Dealing with problems

Find out who the person to speak with is if you have any workplace difficulties or even if you need to contact them if you are running late. See our resources area in the bottom footer of this page for some further information on stress in the workplace.

Chill out and get some head space

Starting a new job can be mentally (and sometimes physically) exhausting, particularly if it means learning new things or more responsibility. It's important to make time after work and on the weekend to chill out and get some head space. This might include playing sports, listening to music, watching your favourite tv show or hanging out with friends. Also, be sure to get enough sleep.

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