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Searching for Jobs

Key points

  • There are many ways to look for a job, including, jobseeker websites, direct approach, or using an employment agency or service. 
  • Remember that you can try multiple methods to keep your options open.
  • If you are finding it hard to know where to start, you might want to consider contacting an employment agency or service. 

Finding jobs online

There are two main methods for finding jobs online:

  • Jobseeker websites

    If you don’t have a specific organisation in mind, the easiest way to find a variety of advertised jobs is to use jobseeker websites such as Seek, CareerOne, and Indeed. On these sites, you can search for jobs using key words, and filter your results to show jobs available in particular locations, industries, or even salary levels.

  • Visiting an organisation or company website

    If you have a specific organisation (or list of organisations) you’d like to work for, then visit their websites. They’ll likely have a page that’s called something like ‘Jobs’ or ‘Work for Us’ where you can see their current job vacancies. In some cases, they might have an employment register, where you can submit an expression of interest for any jobs that come up in future.

With either of these methods, you can also sign up for job alerts – this way, they’ll email you as soon as new opportunities arise.

Direct Approach

You can directly contact organisations where you’d like to work (by phone, email, or in person) even if they haven’t advertised a job vacancy. This method isn’t for everyone – some people find it much easier than others. Make sure you have your resume ready to give to prospective employers if you try this approach. You might like to check out our article on Developing a Resume for ideas on what to include.

Use an Employment Agency

Employment agencies are third-party organisations that match candidates with suitable job opportunities. Some agencies specialise in particular sectors or locations, while others operate more broadly. There are also agencies that specifically assist people with disability. You can find out more information about these agencies in our article on Disability Employment Services.

Employment agencies can provide useful guidance during your job search. However, it’s worth noting that there may be a limited amount (or variety) of opportunities, and that many of these job vacancies will be for short-term or casual positions. Some people also find it impersonal or stressful to deal with a third-party agency, rather than communicating directly with the prospective employer.

Networking

Networking is the skill of developing and maintaining professional relationships. You might be surprised to learn that networking is also one of the main ways that people get jobs. Networking is a difficult skill to learn, especially because it’s often influenced by personal factors, such as your level of comfort with social interactions, and having access to connections through your family, friends, or other supporters.

Some first steps for networking may include:

Talking to People You Already Know

Tell the supportive people in your life (such as parents, family friends, mentors, and teachers) that you’re looking for work. Give them a copy of your resume that outlines your qualifications, skills, experience, and soft skills (e.g. punctuality, attention to detail) and ask them to contact you if they hear about any jobs that might be a good match for you. They might be able to connect you with someone in their own personal or professional network who can offer you some form of work experience, internship, or paid work.

Finding a Volunteer Position

A volunteer opportunity can be a great way to connect with other people who are working in areas that interest you, and keep you ‘in the loop’ if any vacancies arise. You might like to read our article on Volunteering for some ideas.

Getting a Mentor

If you know someone whose job you would love to do, perhaps invite them out for a tea or coffee, so that you can ask for some tips about how you might find a similar job. If this meeting goes well, you could ask them to meet up again in the future as you continue your search for a job you will love. Offer to pay for the coffee or tea as a gesture of your appreciation for their time.

If seeking out a mentor by yourself feels a bit too intimidating, try searching for mentorship programs in the industry that interests you. Australian Network on Disability also coordinates the PACE Mentoring Program, which is run over four months twice per year. The PACE Mentoring program connects jobseekers with disability to suitable mentors. You can find out if this mentoring program might be appropriate for you by visiting their website.

Make a LinkedIn Profile

Some people get ‘headhunted’ online (it’s not as scary as it sounds!). Being head-hunted means that an employer might seek out a job candidate based on their advertised skills and online presence. Social media has made this easier than ever – especially through LinkedIn. If you sign up and start building your professional network online, this could make you more visible to prospective employers and recruiters in your area. Ensure that you protect your privacy if using social media to advertise your qualifications, skills, and experience to prospective employers. Ask for support from a family member, friend, or other trusted supporter if you are not sure.

Remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Networking will get easier once you develop more professional contacts. When you’re first starting out, don’t be reluctant to ask for help from the supportive people in your life. One day, you can return the favour to support or mentor another person in the same position.

Goals
Set a goal to get job ready using the myWAY Employability goal template!

myWAY Employability is an initiative of the Autism CRC, which receives funding from the Australian Government

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