Having a job can give you a great sense of satisfaction and independence, not to mention some extra cash for bills and entertainment. However, finding a job in Perth is often easier said than done, especially in the recent economic times. The easier industries for students in Western Australia to get a position are in the Hospitality, Business and Office Reception industries.
Do a course!
One of the best ways to make yourself more marketable to employers is to undertake a course or get a qualification. This does not need to be expensive or lengthy, and should be tailored to the area you are interested in. For example, if you want to work in a bar or restaurant you might be required to get a Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate to allow you to serve alcohol. Some restaurants may prefer candidates who have done a short Hospitality course. Similarly, getting a job at a cafe will be a lot easier with the knowledge of how to make a good espresso coffee, which you can get from a one-day barista course. For Business jobs, employers will often prefer a certificate in Business or Business Administration, to give you the basics. Although probably not essential, a First Aid course may also be seen as a plus to most employers. Australian Professional Skills Institute offers courses to help you get a leg up in the tough job market.
Where do I go next?
Job postings can be found on the internet, newspaper, at hostels or through job finding sites such as Seek.com.au. There are also recruitment agencies that cater to particular clients. When all else fails, you can try ”cold calling”, which means actually going into their office and handing in your resume. Remember, most job vacancies are actually not advertised!
When submitting a job application, you should always send through your resume, which is a short document detailing your education, work experience and skills. The resume should be short, usually no more than 2 pages, and include your most relevant recent employment history. This is your chance to sell yourself to the employer, so make sure it is presentable and free of spelling errors. You could get a friend or colleague to check your resume and ask them for feedback, and there are many tips available on the internet. There are also professional resume writing services out there. Depending on the type of job, it might be appropriate to also send a cover letter, explaining why you want to work there. A good tip is to tailor each cover letter to each new company.
How can I protect my rights?
Australia has very protective employment laws designed to ensure employees are kept safe and treated well. This includes workplace rights, industrial activity, discrimination legislation, annual and sick leave entitlements, unfair dismissal, worker’s compensation and minimum award rates. The award rate is the minimum rate that your employer must pay you in a particular industry, and it varies depending on the industry and your age and experience. You can review your award at the Fair Ombudsman’s website: http://www.fairwork.gov.au/ You can also lodge a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman if you believe your rights are being breached. If you are unsure of your rights, you might wish to consider joining a union or visiting the Employment Law Centre of WA.