Job interview. Photo / Unsplash.

How to find your next job

Report by Steve Hart

Anyone who’s found themselves out of a job through no fault of their own will go through a number of emotions; shock, fear, anger, resentment… Eventually followed by acceptance and the journey back into paid work.

Julie Wacker is a Sunbury-based counsellor and life coach who helps clients find their way when faced with a fork in the road.

She says job redundancy is often a business decision, not a reflection of the employee’s performance, and so it’s wrong to take it personally when a meeting with HR ends in disappointment.

“Sometimes a firm will close departments, branches or sites,” says Ms Wacker. “Economic factors, restructuring, or technological changes can also lead to redundancy.

Counsellor and personal coach Julie Wacker.

“Taking it personally can impact mental health and hinder job searches. Often people identify with their role – it is important to differentiate between your person and your job.”

Ms Wacker says viewing redundancy as an opportunity for growth can be beneficial. 

“At first it is hard to see the positive side of redundancy – if you had not been made redundant would you change your role, company, or situation? Or would you be comfortable where you are?

“Taking a moment to reflect provides a chance to reassess career goals, ideals, and direction. “Where do you see yourself in five years? Would you still do the same role?

She says if finances wallow, it is good to take time out to consider your next move.

“Taking time out can be used for skill development or further education. Up-skilling can increase your confidence and could increase the scope of jobs you are qualified to work in. Doing something different to increase your skills can change your mind set for future job searches.”

When applying for a new role, should job hunters write to the HR department or the manager they’d likely be working with?

“Writing directly to the person who would be your manager can show initiative and enthusiasm,” says Ms Wacker. “It can help bypass potential delays or filters in HR departments.

“However, some companies have rules about the employment process, so it is important to follow application instructions provided by the company.”

If bills need to be paid and there’s no financial buffer to fall back on, Ms Wacker says that while taking any job will provide immediate financial stability and work experience, it may not always be good in the long term.

“Be aware that downgrading can have a long-term impact on your income, and your skills may get lost by inactivity. However, short-term jobs can sometimes lead to unexpected opportunities, so it is important to balance immediate needs with long-term goals.

“Assess each opportunity for its potential to contribute to career ambitions. A quick-fix job can also be a hindrance to landing your ‘perfect’ job.”

As far as the all-important CV is concerned, Ms Wacker says it should be clear, concise, and tailored to the job being applied for. It should highlight relevant skills, experiences, and achievements.

“Depending on the role you are applying for you can include a professional summary or objective statement,” she says. “Typically, the CV should cover the last 10-15 years of employment. Use bullet points for readability and focus on quantifiable accomplishments.”

She says areas that trip up some job hunters include:

  • Failing to research the company or role before the interview
  • Knowing specifics about the company, recent advertisement campaigns, business growth plans etc [research the company’s website, read its annual report and any published documents]
  • Overlooking the importance of networking and personal connections [there is always someone out there who knows someone, somewhere…]
  • Neglecting to follow up after job applications or interviews. Send an email or call after the interview. Thank that person for their time and ask if they have any further questions
  • Undervaluing personal / soft skills, and only highlighting trained / educational / technical abilities. For example, organisational skills vs computer skills.

Ms Wacker also says it is fine to admit you are job hunting due to redundancy.

“Explain how it came to the redundancy, for example the whole department has been closed,” she says. “Be honest, as many employers understand the realities of business cycles.

“A redundancy is not a dismissal – you haven’t been fired because of something you did. Explain what you have done there – focusing on skills and experiences gained.”

Top tips for job hunters:

  • Stay positive and persistent; job hunting can be a lengthy process. Some companies are sloppy with their responses if at all
  • Network extensively and use both online and offline resources – friends, family, former work colleagues, members of clubs you belong to
  • Tailor each job application to the specific job and company
  • Keep your skills updated and seek continuous improvement
  • Take care of mental and physical well-being throughout the job search process
  • As soon as you are being informed about your redundancy – seek assistance from Centrelink
  • You may want to check with Fair Work Ombudsman for your rights and potential next steps

“Try to have a two-to-three month financial buffer – I know it sounds impossible – especially at this time,” says Ms Wacker. “But having this buffer gives you confidence in your power as an employee and as a job seeker. You will be someone who is willing to negotiate a potential job offer – not desperate for a new role.

“Avoid offering potential employers a ‘free trial’ as it looks desperate and leaves you open for abuse.”

How not to do it….

Keith's Employee Interview | The Office (UK)