Job hunting tips

Trying different ways to find a job gives you a better chance of succeeding. Besides looking at advertised vacancies, you can get friends and acquaintances to help you out, or try contacting employers directly.

Make a plan, set goals and take action

Young woman sits in cafe near the window and looks for jobs on her laptop

Take a methodical approach to your job hunting

Approach job hunting as though it is a job itself. Work out your goal and the steps you’ll to take to reach it.

Write a list of things to do for each week and what you’ll achieve each day. For example, today’s goal could be to find and apply for three advertised positions. Tomorrow’s goal could be to register with four labour-hire companies.

Be realistic, but challenge yourself. When you set a schedule, make it achievable. This will help you feel a sense of control and accomplishment.

Develop your plan and take action

Keep a record of jobs you apply for and those you are interested in. Add further information as you develop your plan. For example, company details, the names of contact people at companies, and what you find out about the skills required in jobs you’re interested in.

The information you record will be useful for developing your CV and cover letter. Doing additional research on jobs and employers provides useful details for use in job interviews and informational interviews.

Plan and act - how to reach your goals

Not sure what to do - find out what you want and the skills needed

How to find job vacancies

Make sure you check for vacancies in several places so that you don’t miss anything. Some vacancies may be advertised in only one place. 

Most job vacancies are listed online.

  • There are many job vacancy websites. Some list vacancies for a variety of jobs, while others specialise in specific industries, such as IT.
  • Recruitment agencies usually advertise on job vacancy websites, but also have job listings on their own websites.
  • Many industry organisations, associations and trade groups will have job listings.
  • If you are interested in working for a particular organisation, regularly check their website for vacancies.
  • Social network sites sometimes advertise job vacancies. You can also use social media to find out about employers and create a good impression, so check your social media profile. 

Check daily and local newspapers

In addition to large weekend employment sections, daily newspapers usually have one weekday issue featuring many job adverts.

Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies usually require you to register with them before applying for vacancies listed with them, but registration should be free, as recruitment companies get paid by employers.

If you are registered, recruitment agencies may contact you about jobs they think will suit you. This is a good way to access jobs that are not publicly advertised.

Other places where jobs are advertised

  • Professional and industry journals – you can buy these or access them in your library or on the internet.
  • Community and supermarket noticeboards – especially for local or short-term jobs.
  • Career expos – recruitment agencies, universities and industries hold job expos, where employers provide information about working for them. You can often apply for vacancies while at the expo, so take a few copies of your CV and be prepared for impromptu interviews.

Contact employers directly

Contacting employers directly can help you find out more about a company, job or industry, and sometimes identifies job opportunities that are not advertised.

Preparing to contact employers

Before contacting an employer, find out about the organisation. Research organisations via their websites, advertising brochures, and publications and, if possible, by visiting the business.

Contacting employers

  • Speaking to someone in person is a great way to get become known by an employer.
  • Ask to speak with the human resources/recruiting division if they have one. If they do not, find out who you should talk to.
  • Try to get an appointment, or informational interview, where you can find out about the organisation, and what they are like.
  • Even if there is no vacancy at the time, the employer may remember you when one arises.
  • If you can't talk to someone in person, send a cover letter with your CV, explaining what work roles you are interested in, and how you are qualified to do them.

Informational interviews

If you get to meet an employer, you have a great opportunity to ask questions, and show your interest in what they do.

You can also gain information that would help you in a future application, such as the skills you'd need to get a job. You can also find out more about the work itself, to make sure it's right for you.

Use your networks to help you find vacancies

A high school boy and girl sit at a desk and look for jobs on their laptop

Friends can help you find work

One of the best ways of getting a job is through networking, so talk to everyone you know, including:

  • family and friends
  • previous employers and colleagues
  • local businesspeople.

Think of these people as your network of helpers. Between them they will have access to a far wider range of people and job leads than you could possibly have by yourself.

Updated 3 Nov 2017