TOP TEN TIPS FOR JOB HUNTING
Based on the Environmental Careers Workshop, hosted by the Environmental Jobs Network, Sustainable Living Festival.
- Take due diligence - Research the role and the organisation you are interested in working for. Include internet research as well as calling and interviewing staff employed there. Don't simply contact the Human Resources (HR) department, find and contact your potential manager or people doing the role you are interested in.
- Be proactive - Don't wait for your dream job to come to you, do your research and then approach potential employers and pitch your ideas to show your passion. Offer to do a work placement of 1-2 days per week or volunteer casually.
- Network - A high percentage of roles are not advertised. Attend workshops, forums, expos and events in which you are interested, and approach CEOs, presidents, managers, MCs, speakers and people in your desired field. Discuss the event/their business/your interests and develop relationships.
- Take care with CV applications - Spend some serious time and energy on your application materials. This is a key to getting the attention of an employer or recruiter, and convincing them that you are worth meeting. Always attach a cover letter, use formal language and pay attention to spelling and grammar. Have someone check it before you submit it.
- Follow up applications - Follow up by phone/email within a week if you have not received confirmation of receipt, but do not stalk people. Think about the best time to call – if you call early or late in the day you can catch them before/after meetings. Remember – there is a fine line between following up and stalking!
- Prepare for interviewing - Prepare as above and conduct a practice interview with a friend if possible. Always be professional, including at interviews with recruitment agencies. Address the key selection criteria and prepare answers to questions regarding your strengths and weaknesses. Making or referring to notes reflects well on you, and shows that you're prepared and mean business. If unsuccessful, get feedback and ask if you can follow up in future regarding other positions that may arise.
- Use your recruiter - If going through a recruitment agency make the most of your resource. Get help managing the recruitment process, your CV and interview skills, and ask for advice regarding realistic goals and your market value. Use agencies that specialise in the sector you wish to enter, keep a record of where you distribute your CV and do not distribute it too widely. Manage your relationship professionally, recruiters can be a career-long resource assisting with your career development.
- Know yourself - Explore the roles you want to do and roles that will lead towards it. If you are unsure of what you want to do first explore your passions, such as climate change or indigenous issues. Next examine the type of role you would like to work in, for example: creative, organisational, administrative, etc. Do your research and talk to people in order to gain a clearer idea of your options.
- Use various resources - Such as a recruitment agency, or career services such as Career Counselling or the Career Workshops run by the Environmental Jobs Network. You can also read books like What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles, or The Secrets To Getting A Job by Philip Garside.
- Volunteer - This is an invaluable way to gain experience within the sector, get a foot in the door, develop networks and above all, it is an opportunity for you to discover what the job, organisation, sector, management and culture are like first hand!