It deeply concerns me that Australia’s youth unemployment rate is really high, and in particular in Queensland is currently at 6.9% and and as high as 20 per cent in some regional areas (we’re on the Sunshine Coast and know this only too well).
And now the politicians are using it for political leverage. Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has come out swinging on her election warpath, targeting youth unemployment as a key focus of Labor’s campaign:
I’m well aware of this issue. It seems to come up in numerous conversations and has done for ages.
I hear my parent friends with school leaver aged kids pulling their hair out with their kids moping around and supposedly unable to get a job.
I hear colleagues on my partners building site saying their son has been laid off, has applied for 60 jobs and cant even get an interview.
And that’s not to mention the barrage of emails I receive each and every day with students asking for everything from work experience to internships and actual jobs (by the way if you are interested in any of this, the best channel to go via is this page on our website. We do our best to respond to all the enquiries but at this time of year there are so many and some do slip through the cracks: www.thecreativecollective.com.au/careers).
BELIEVE ME. I KNOW.
I remember what is was like being out of school and completely lost. At that point in time I wasn’t living at home and I wasn’t on speaking terms with my parents. Going to University or any tertiary study wasn’t an option for me, I had to find work to support myself and I had to find it quick. I was lucky enough a recording studio in downtown Wellington, NZ took a chance on me placing me on reception, where I developed essential skills I simply hadn’t developed at school. Such as sticking my hand out and introducing to someone. Yes, I really used to be that shy!
Nine months later, the NZ Government took a chance on me, when I was an 18 year old, still with no qualifications and only a little work experience, when they took me on as the Communications Assistant for the Hillary Commission. I was lucky, I got a break. They took me under their wing, gave me a study budget and I voraciously gobbled up any kind of learning going, studying all the Microsoft suite, all the Adobe suite and they even put me through a Diploma of Journalism over a 3 year period, for which I am forever grateful.
PAYING IT FORWARD
Knowing I got a lucky break, but many young ones don’t, I have been trying to pay it forward and doing what I can to help it including:
• Choosing Digital Careers as our chosen charity for 2014, given that out of the 100,000 odd jobs on seek.com.au, at any one time, up to 10% of them are in ICT (information, communication technology) related fields
• Mentoring at Start Up Weekends and encouraging entrepreneurialism
• Speaking at events where influencers of youth or youth are in attendance
However despite my efforts, despite all sorts of initiatives and things, I believe young ones are approaching it all wrong, and the pro active parents who are doing their best to encourage them along with getting a job and a career on track on not necessarily versed in the ways of the world in this new very digital era, where applying for jobs is certainly nothing like it was ‘back in their day’.
So here’s a few tips, for everyone out there who is a young one looking to get employed, or who knows a young one they’d like to help into employment.
1. Put your hand up for work experience
I know, I know. You are so hard up you need money and you don’t really fancy working for NOTHING. But here’s the thing. I once had a guy come to me and offer to work for me for 3 months FOR FREE. Nice offer.
He seemed like a nice guy so I said yes and man was I glad I did. Glenn turned up every day for those 3 months, well dressed, sharp and ready to work and he impressed me. At the end of the 3 months I couldn’t help but offer him part time work. Later a staff member was away and he stood in and proved he could do a job. Then she left and he took her job. Then he worked his way up to become my right hand man for a 3 year period. He’s since moved on to an agency in Brisbane and has had promotions and from all accounts is doing great. But remember where the journey started?
With a generous offer of work experience. We regularly take on work experience students, but we want to see real commitment over a period of time and not everyone has what it takes. But if see what we’re looking for, we look after them.
2. Stop job hunting and freelance instead
The system tells us that we must go to TAFE or Uni and then find a job. Well, not necessarily. We can also find a series of jobs and effectively work for ourselves too!
Keep your eyes open for opportunities for freelance work on sites like freelancer.com, fiverr.com, guru.com and elance.com.
Many companies don’t need to hire someone full time but have a project that they need done and you just may have the skills for this. If they like working with you, they may offer you employment, just as we have done to some of our best freelancers.
Freelancing will also force you to develop some really valuable business skills. You’ll learn to communicate, take a brief, quote, fulfil the work to expectations, resolve conflict, promote yourself and more. It ain’t easy but if you build up enough of a clientele you may never need to work for the system in your life!
3. Hang out in places where the ‘right’ people hang out in too
4. Go for one ‘coffee’ a week with someone who could help you with your career
5. Get on Linkedin!
6. Be curious. Think laterally.
7. Make sure your resume and cover letter is tip top and customised for EVERY job application
‘I’d like to apply for the position as a builder at your building company’.
‘Ummm we’re The Creative Collective, but you can go right ahead and apply for a position at The Creative collection right after you get out of the bin pile I’m chucking you in because your attention to detail is so crappy.These are all real life examples I’ve encountered EVERY ROUND OF HIRES we do. It’s so…slack. And unprofessional. Clearly the applicant doesn’t REALLY want a job. Do they?? You sure could fool me!
PRETTY IT UP PEOPLE!!!
Employers today get bombarded with pages and pages of boring A4 black-and-white resumes, which some clever cookie (horrifingly, sometimes actual professional resume consultants) has encouraged them to craft, often with little to no design consideration.Whilst I appreciate some employers are more conservative than others, there are some great tools that can make your resume look good online and, therefore, help you to stand out from the pile.
Have a look at a cool tool called Visualize.me. With your LinkedIn profile, you can connect it to Visualize.me, and it will instantly create you an awesome looking online resume full of colour with an infographic like design.
A friend of mine in New Zealand that I introduced this free tool to let me know that she thought it was the very reason she was selected for a job. The employer commented on her hire that she really stood out from the rest, and it was a very clever thing to do!