Attending school & completing school

Finding Out About The Employment Situation

One of the steps in your job planning is to determine how far you are willing to travel. Are you willing to move?

  • · Only on a daily travel basis from your present address?
  • Anywhere in your home State?
  • Interstate?
  • Overseas?

By answering these questions you will determine the boundaries of your job search.
This, in turn, will largely determine the sources of job vacancy information you use.


Basic information about employment – what the present situation is, what jobs are available and what these jobs entail can be obtained by general reading and conversation. Specific sources include:

Daily Press,
Look in both the classified advertisements and business pages of the principal local and national newspapers and look at everything. If, for instance, you only look under a specific job title you may miss suitable vacancies advertised in other categories. Analyse what the advertiser really wants (there’s a section on this later), remembering that many employers write ads with an unattainable ideal in mind. If you think you can do it, or quickly learn to do it, apply.

Careers Services
Jobs are often notified to careers advisers. It is wise to find out where they are located and where any relevant notice boards are located.

Job Network
While it is preferable to find a position where you may use your qualifications directly, it is sensible also to follow up prospects for alternative or related employment, even though it may be at a lower level than you had hoped. Assistance in finding employment can be obtained from one of 200 organisations that form the Department of Employment + Workplace Relations Job Network. To locate the Job Network provider in your area, call 13 62 68.

On Spec Application (Cold Canvassing)
This means approaching an organisation where no specific job has been advertised, but one for which you would particularly like to work. This may be done in writing, by phone or in person.
These applications are often worthwhile, if approaches are made as a result of well-researched company information. Any on-spec application should always indicate what has motivated the application, as well as some knowledge as to the company’s area of expertise.

Personal Contacts
Important information can be obtained from relatives, friends or acquaintances, including details of companies and job descriptions. Valuable leads to possible vacancies may be obtained by asking people about positions with their employers.

Specific Sources Include:

Business News
The business pages of the principal local and national newspapers provide useful information on trends in industry as a whole. Magazines such as The Bulletin and Rydges are useful too. Check at your library for other titles.

Yellow Pages
The telephone book is one of the most up-to-date reference listings.

Careers Services
Careers advisers may have some company information on hand or may be able to assist you in your search for information. They may also be able to draw on their own knowledge and experience.
Graduate Outlook is available from careers services and provides information on a number of the larger companies and the areas in which they recruit staff.

Employer Directories
These directories may be available from your local library or the State Library, or else try the Stock Exchange Library.
Business Who’s Who

  • a comprehensive company information directory
    Dun and Bradstreet- The Australian Key Business Directory
  • a standard credit reference with listings of all major companies.
  • a two-volume directory providing comprehensive information on most of the manufacturing and service industries in Australia. Jobson’s Year Book
  • a directory of public companies in Australia and New Zealand.
    Metal and Engineering Year Book
  • produced by the Metal Trades Industry Association.

Company Brochures And Annual Reports
Often available directly from the company concerned, they can provide information on the company’s activities, as well as its history, size and financial standing. The Stock Exchange Library holds annual reports of public companies.

Employer Organisation Publications
Organisations such as the Metal Trades Industry Association and the Victorian Employers Federation produce publications which often contain information about companies, industry attitudes, policy and current trends.

Industry Publications
Often produced by professional associations and unions, these may give information on industry trends and current developments, for example, Institution of Engineers Australia, Australian Society of Accountants, Royal Australian Chemical Institute.

Professional Association Publications
Many associations publish journals in which positions are advertised. These journals often provide valuable information about trends in the industry. They can be expensive to buy but are usually available in departmental, college or university libraries, or State libraries.

Government Gazettes
The Commonwealth Public Service publishes a weekly Gazette with vacancy information. Some of the vacancies are open to persons not already employed in the Commonwealth Public Service. Job duties are listed which can provide useful information on the types of jobs carried out in various departments.

Community Organisations
Local community assistance organisations can provide job information resources. Become aware of facilities in your locality; you may have the opportunity to discuss your experiences with people in the same situation as yourself. This is only a selection of sources of vacancy information. Whatever your source of information, make a list of all the employers within the geographical area you have fixed for yourself, and where your combination of qualifications, values, interests and skills could fit.

It is important not to limit your field of inquiry. From the beginning you should have a realistic and flexible attitude and interest yourself in as wide a range of opportunities as possible.
People who find a first job in an area related to their tertiary studies often have to move out of that area as their career progresses. Top rank jobs are normally for ‘managers’ or ‘administrators’ rather than for specialists. If you start in a non-specialist job, you may be a jump ahead.
Competition for some jobs is strong. The particular position you have in mind may not be available, so you will need a second or third group of preferences. It is possible that a job you had not considered may be a lot more interesting than you think. You may also have to consider jobs not closely related to your previous studies.
Therefore it is essential that you have a flexible attitude to the type of work you are prepared to undertake and realise that the jobs you will be aiming for will largely be determined by what is available. By taking the best job that comes along and making the most you can of it, and at the same time keeping open all your channels of communication, it is likely that you will eventually move into the right niche.

Having found out what jobs are available, you should obtain background information about prospective employers. This will enable you to make assessments of employing organisations and will assist you in making well-informed approaches to employers. It is also an important aspect of preparing yourself for interview.


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