Applying for a job

Tips and advice for getting your chosen role

Once you have found the job you want, the real work begins. This section covers  the steps necessary to give you the best chance of getting your chosen job.

Step 1: Research

The more you understand the company you hope to start working for, the more chance you have of impressing your interviewer. Make sure you:

  • Research the organisation: Check out their website and their competitors' websites to understand what they do, their values and why you'd be a good fit.
  • If you want to know more, send them an email or give them a call: If you have questions about the role, there is no harm in giving them a quick call or sending an email. Remember, first impressions count, so be polite and calm.

Step 2: Create a winning CV

Most employers will ask to see your résumé or Curriculum Vitae (CV). A CV is a written overview of a person's experience and other qualifications. Most advertised jobs include a position description and outline the experience, skills, qualifications and personal qualities required to fulfil the role. Make sure you highlight some of these in your CV. CVs in Australia usually do not include a photograph of the applicant, so unless it is specifically requested, don't include one.

Step 3: Write a cover letter

Many job descriptions ask for a cover letter or covering letter, which is a letter of up to one page to accompany your CV. It is a letter of introduction which aims to 'sell' you and to demonstrate that you are the best fit for the job. Each job you apply for will need its own cover letter, which should directly answer the job description or ad.    

Step 4: Submit your application

Be sure to check the closing date for your application and give yourself plenty of time. Try to get it in early as this creates a good impression, and sometimes employers start reviewing CVs early. Make sure you have included everything asked for in the job ad – if there is anything missing (for example, references, a cover letter, other supporting documents); it is very unlikely the employer will look at your application at all.

Do not forget to keep a copy of your application for yourself. You will need it to prepare and refer to if you get an interview.

Step 5: Attend your interview

Interviews can be intimidating if you are not used to them.

Top 10 interview tips

1

Be prepared

If you have not been to the location before, do a practice run and time it to give yourself enough time. If this isn't possible, leave for your interview at least half an hour earlier than necessary to figure out where you need to go.

2

Practise with friends

Run through likely interview questions with friends beforehand.

3

Dress appropriately

Consider the role you are applying for and dress appropriately. For office work, wear business attire; for other jobs, be sure you wear clean, neat, plain clothes. Take extra care with your appearance.

4

Pack your bag the night before

Pack a bag that includes your application, CV and a list of questions you would like to ask (you can bring other documents, such as references and a portfolio of work, if you think they are appropriate).

5

Be early

Arrive 15 minutes early. Not only does it mean you will be more relaxed, but it can make a good impression on your employer by demonstrating your organisational skills. If you are running late, call the employer as soon as you can.

6

Turn off your mobile

The last thing you want is your mobile ringing at a crucial point in the interview.

7

Be honest

Tell the truth about your achievements, skills and previous experience, but never criticise your former employers.

8

Speak clearly

Speak with confidence and keep your answers short and to the point. If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification. It is ok to take some time to consider your answer.

9

Ask questions

Interviews are a two-way process. Ask questions to ensure the job will suit you and to find out more about what it involves.

10

Enjoy it

Everyone gets nervous, so take a few deep breaths and try to enjoy the experience. Even if you are not successful, it is all great practice.