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When you graduate from school or tertiary studies, it can feel like you’re suddenly one of a million tiny, little fish in an enormous pond. Check out some tips to help you stand out from the crowd when you start applying for jobs.

This can help if:

  • you’ve just finished your studies
  • you’re worried that your CV looks a bit empty
  • you need help in getting a job.
Aboriginal girl going to university

Tips for giving yourself an edge over other job applicants

Spend time as a volunteer/intern

Volunteering or interning are two of the most useful and beneficial things you can do before graduation. Not only do you get valuable experience and an introduction to the professional world, but they will also help you figure out the kinds of things you’re interested in. A lot of organisations rely on volunteers in order to function, so you might just be contributing more than you realise.

Check out these two volunteer sites for ideas:

Brush up on your digital skills

More and more jobs require familiarity with technology on a day-to-day basis. That includes basic skills such as document creation and handling, emailing, plus use of MS Office (Word, Excel, etc.), Google docs and sheets, social media and other handy programs. Even if tech isn’t your thing, stick at it.

Get work experience

Whether it’s related to your field of study or not, it’s a good idea to get as much paid work experience as you can. Not only will you have a bit of spare pocket money, but you’ll learn important professional skills and be able to fill out your curriculum vitae (CV) a bit more. Each state in Australia has different laws concerning the legal age to start work. Check the laws that apply to you.

Write a great CV

And this includes a cover letter. Before graduation, have a chat to your careers adviser or a teacher to get more info on how to go about doing this, and all the things your CV should cover. Check out these tips on writing a good CV and download a professional CV template.

Practise your interview technique

Your first job interview will probably be one of the most terrifying things you ever do. Practise with someone beforehand, so that you have an idea of what you’ll say. Try to remember that your interviewer is an ordinary person, and that they want to fill the job just as much as you want it. Be honest, be yourself and you’ll be fine.

Have a chat to a careers adviser

A careers adviser from your school or uni will be able to help you choose which jobs to apply for, provide advice on how to improve your CV and help you polish your interview skills. You might also find it helpful to talk things through with them as your graduation approaches.

Ask for reference letters

You can ask teachers you have a good relationship with to write you a reference letter. Reference letters are a great thing to have and to hold on to, so that you can whip them out whenever you need to. Plus, who doesn’t feel warm and fuzzy when reading complimentary comments about themselves?

Get started now

Stop procrastinating. Graduation will come around before you know it. The internet and your favourite TV shows will still be there when you’ve ticked all these boxes and given yourself an edge in the marketplace.

What can I do now?