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What to do when you can’t find a job after uni

By Jana Angeles | 18 December 2020


Are you a recent university graduate who can't find a job in this economy? It may feel like an uphill battle securing employment, but putting yourself out there to employers and getting the relevant qualifications may improve your chances of being considered for a role.

Here are 4 ways to get a job after uni:

How to get a job after uni 

  1. JobTrainer.
  2. Start a Project.
  3. Gain Experience At An Internship.
  4. Study Online

1. JobTrainer.

JobTrainer is the recent government initiative that has been rolled out on a state-by-state basis since October this year. It's meant to assist Australians in finding work to help boost the economy and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. 

If you’re in the 17-24 age bracket or at a stage where you’re looking for work, you may be eligible for JobTrainer where you’ll get the opportunity to study a free or low-cost course.

Getting the government to assist you through JobTrainer can be beneficial since you can study a relevant accredited diploma, certificate or short course that complements your degree. 

By taking advantage of this scheme, you’ll have the opportunity to improve your employment prospects and equip yourself with the relevant knowledge and skills relevant to the industry you want to work in. 

As Young Australians face an unemployment crisis due to the increasing competition of jobs, continuing your education through a scheme like JobTrainer can assist you in finding work. 

2. Start A Project.

team of young people working on a project

Starting a project could potentially turn into a successful side hustle or business - all it takes is to have one good idea. Not only does starting a project have its benefits but it also gives you the opportunity to work with other talented individuals.

Whether you’re keen in developing your own app or drawing up a business plan for your next side hustle, working on your own project shows initiative to potential employers. By adding this type of experience on your resume, you can highlight your achievements related to the project and talk about the skills and knowledge you’ve developed from it too. 

It takes creativity and skill to start a project and if you’ve exhausted all your options in looking for a job, this is a great avenue to take if you want to further develop transferable skills that come with project-based work. 

3. Gain Experience At An Internship.

While none of us like the idea of working for free, the trade off in doing an unpaid internship is that you can establish meaningful professional connections and apply the theory you’ve learnt from university into practical work experience.

Internships in Australia are mostly unpaid but there are non-monetary perks like establishing a professional relationship with an industry expert or learning the ropes of your future role without much accountability. 

If you’ve had the expectation of securing work right after you finish your degree, it’s rare for employers to hire a fresh university graduate without some work experience under their belt. Internships are made for resume-building, so it’s well-worth the effort to dedicate a couple of days a week at a company that can teach you the skills and knowledge needed to pursue paid work in the future. 

Combining your internship experience with a relevant online course can work to your benefit as you get to apply the theory you’ve learnt when working as an intern. During job interviews, you can use this as an example of your eagerness to learn on-the-job and how invested you are in continuing your education.

4. Study Online. 

Completing a university degree that taps into a broad range of study areas (e.g a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree) doesn't necessarily put you behind from your cohort, however, employers are after candidates with more relevant qualifications that signify one's expertise. 

For example, you may have a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in creative writing but now have the desire to work in the marketing and communications industry. In a degree such as a creative writing one - your assessments may have focused on storytelling or writing fictional stories tailored to a specific genre but you lack experience in copywriting, which is a different style of written communication. 

By picking up a relevant course like a BSB42415 - Certificate IV in Marketing and Communication, you add value to your credentials since you'll be taught the fundamentals of marketing, helping you write in the language all marketers use. 

Plus, studying online means you don't have to give up your current work schedule, giving you the much needed flexibility when tending to your personal and work commitments.

Why is it difficult to find a job after graduating?

  1. Location.
  2. High competition.
  3. Little work experience. 
There are some factors to consider when it comes to breaking into the job market after completing a degree. It's important to not take it personally if you've had your job applications rejected. 

Here are some reasons why it's it's difficult to secure work after finishing a university degree:

1. Location.

If you live in a regional or rural area, this can make it difficult to find work, especially if there is a low demand for skilled workers. While there are plenty of career pathways that offer a work from home option, you may need to consider relocating into a more suburban area if you want to increase your chances of getting employed.

2. High competition.

job interview concept

Since COVID-19 hit this year, some industries were greatly impacted, leaving many Australians out of work. Others were made redundant, having to look at other alternative career options. 

If you've recently graduated university, the job market may not be as generous due to the economic changes happening in the country. There may be less roles available in the industry you want to work in, which means you have more potential candidates you're competing against. 

3. Little work experience.

Having relevant qualifications isn't going to cut it with employers if you have little to no practical work experience. While you've learnt the relevant theory, you miss out on the opportunity of meeting new people in your industry and learning the ins and outs of different tools and applications required for the job. 

Matt Hackett, manager of digital & marketing recruitment team at Orchard, emphasises the importance of having work experience to Totaljobs, saying, "A degree qualification used to be a major deciding factor in who got the job, but I think as more and more people have gained degrees, especially over recent years, employers have become less impressed on the whole, and focused more on experience."

However, it's worth noting that a balance of theoretical knowledge and practical understanding is what employers are normally after. 

Is the system broken? 

It's been known that university graduates are struggling to find full-time work once they complete their degree and The New Daily reported that university graduates outnumber the jobs available in the market. 

Research by the Australia Institute's Centre for Future Work (CFFW) found that only 73% of recent university graduates had found employment and this has declined by 12% (85% of university graduates found work before the global financial crisis in 2008). 

Alison Pennington, the lead author of the research said, "Degrees still matter, but there is a fundamental problem of insufficient demand in the Australian economy." 

While the Australian economy is recovering from the effects of COVID-19, the university system needs major improvements so that university students already have professional connections established. So, by the time they complete their degree, they have an existing relationship with an employer that improves their chances of securing work. 

Complement your degree with an online course 

Continuing your education is an important step as a professional and if you feel like your university degree isn't enough to help you break into the job market, consider studying a nationally-recognised qualification with Upskilled. 

With a range of courses in some of Australia's in-demand industries, you can take the opportunity to upskill and improve your chances of getting employed. Get in touch with our education consultants by calling 1300 009 924 to learn more.
 
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