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Job hunt: Preparing for your next role

Finding a new job can be daunting, particularly if you’ve lost your job. Here are some tips and steps to help get you prepared.

August 2020 – 3 minute read

Key takeaways from this article:

  • How to get a job
  • The interview
  • How to write a CV
  • Financial security


Person shaking hands with the interview panel after receiving a job offer

Job hunting or going for a career change can be exciting opportunities. However, it can also be daunting. If you’ve lost your job and you’re nervous about the future, you’re not alone. To help focus your energy you’ll need to set some goals. Writing your CV and preparing for interviews are two essential steps. You also need to strengthen your financial security.

Applying for jobs is your opportunity to sell yourself. As uncomfortable as that might sound to you, it’s showing yourself and your skills in the best light possible.

How to get a job

While job hunting can sometimes feel slow and even discouraging, it’s important to stay positive. There’s always something to learn, even from a rejection letter.

It might be something in your approach that needs a tweak. Maybe you’re selling yourself short? Are you prepared for the jobs and roles you’re applying for and does your CV show this? The more prepared you are, the better your chances.

One of the first things to do when applying for a job is to identify what makes you an asset to an employer. Distinguish your skills and relevant work experience. Once you’ve identified them, you can incorporate them in your cover letter. Your cover letter is your introductory letter explaining why you’re the right person for the job for which you’re applying. Go through the requirements in a job ad carefully and match your previous experience to them.

There’s no use applying for absolutely every job you come across. Look for roles at companies that interest you and for which you can demonstrate you have some of the skills they're after. The better match you are for a company, the better your chances. This is a good opportunity to ask your friends and family for some career advice, as they could be the link to a contact at your dream job. Discover your favourite companies and learn even more about them before applying for a role with them.

Sometimes you need to be persistent with your job hunt. It’s a long process that can take weeks or months. While applying for roles, create small goals you can achieve such as attending networking events and getting onto LinkedIn. Forming relationships with those already in the industry you’re interested in working in may be useful. Sometimes, it’s who you know not what you know.

The interview

How would you describe yourself in 2 minutes? How would you describe your skills to an employer in a job interview and show examples of them at work? While talking about your experience, give examples of how your contributions made a difference to your company’s or client’s work. Practice speaking at home and don’t forget about maintaining good body language. Eye contact, posture and tone of voice are extremely important during a job interview.

While previous skills and experience are at the forefront of your job hunt, you need to let your personality shine. In an interview setting, employers are most likely going to ask about you, hobbies and your work/life balance. Think about how these traits relate to the role? How would they make you a productive and fun member of their team?

How to write a CV

The way to stand out in the job application process, is with your CV and cover letter. Your CV (sometimes known as a resume) lists your skills and experience.

In your cover letter, it’s important to give specific examples of your skills within your previous roles. It’s recommended both your CV and cover letter include keywords that have been mentioned in the job description or that are relevant to the industry. You want to tell the employer that you know what they want and that you have what they’re looking for.

Don’t overdo it. Your CV and cover letter should not exceed more than a couple of pages. Keep it brief and focussed.

Be creative but remember your future employer wants to know something about you. Try these Resume writing tips for ideas. 

Seasonal job hunting

While there are new jobs being advertised every day, it’s important to understand the seasons of job hunting. The new year (Feb-Mar) is a busy time in the job market. The end of financial year may also be another busy time as managers and businesses receive new budgets. Some industries are more likely to have seasonal jobs available than others. For example, rural picking and harvesting, retail (especially around Christmas), tourism and festivals, such as music and the Arts.

Update your CV

It’s important that your CV or resume is as up to date as possible. Make sure to include relevant experience, skills and qualifications (tailored to the job you want).

Update your professional profile

On LinkedIn, or whichever professional social network site you use, update your settings to indicate that you are open to new jobs. This will help employers find you and recruiters may reach out to you.

Start your job search

Consider your aspirations and start your search. There are plenty of job search websites, and many will have different roles available. Once you’ve found some you like, send an application.

Sign up for alerts

Many job sites will allow you to subscribe for notifications regarding certain roles or industries. This way, you’ll stay up to date with the latest jobs and be able to be among the first to apply.

Prepare for interviews

Job hunting online won’t get you out of having to do interviews, although they may be online or via videoconferencing. If you receive an invitation to interview, research the company, the industry, and the role. Sometimes, you can even find common interview questions for that company online. Afterwards, follow up, thank them for their time, and get any feedback you can for next time.

Financial security

While you’re in the process of finding a new job it may be that your finances are negatively impacted. It’s important to get your financial situation sorted out so you can focus on getting a new job.

Perhaps you  have savings or income protection that you can access. Our Managing Money guide (PDF 1MB) may be helpful in getting an overview of your situation, and our handy Cost-Cutting Checklist (PDF 191KB) may help with ideas on where you may be able to save on some costs.

Talk to your providers – your bank, insurance, utilities, credit cards – to see whether there may be more suitable products or  help available to support you during this time.

Planning for the future is about taking control of your financial situation and strengthening your financial security for now, and when you return to the workforce. Find more financial education and information on our Master Your Money pages.


Getting back on your feet financially

Explore our resources and tools aimed at helping you recover and get back on track after tough times.

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Things you should know

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

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