Out of high school or university, diving into the workforce headfirst can be an exciting venture. At the same time, plenty may also experience anxiety as they figure out their next steps.
The good news is, school leavers currently have multiple options for entry-level roles in a wide range of in-demand industries (some with a widening skills shortage, offering numerous high-paying opportunities).
Additionally, research points to nearly half a million new jobs in the next half decade not requiring formal degree qualifications, making VET (vocational education and training) a more valuable study pathway than ever.
SkillsTalk dive into the top four jobs for school leavers below, the skills required for each, and general tips to help you land your first full-time professional role.
1. Software developer.
As technology continues to advance, the demand for programmers and software developers is only set to further spike. According to JobOutlook, the industry has experienced a staggering boost in workers over the last half decade (with 80,200 in 2014 to 135,000 in 2019), with jobs predicted to grow by 23.4% in the next five years (according to SEEK statistics).
Software development is the practice of developing, maintaining, and updating programs and software systems. While formal qualifications are a plus – a ICT50120 Diploma of Information Technology, in particular, can get you started on the basics – most employers focus on your experience, ideas, and past projects.
It’s therefore crucial to build on your portfolio, critical thinking skills, and knowledge of development tools and programming languages. The ability to demonstrate your unique ideas, and how they can aid a company’s problems, is also vital to standing out as a job candidate.
2. Cybersecurity professional.
Known for its overwhelming skills demand, attractive pay, and the critical role it currently plays across industries – the cybersecurity field has gained massive prominence among both tech veterans and those new to the IT workforce.
Like those in software development, a university degree isn’t always expected among cybersecurity employers. While qualifications are commonly requested, most candidates land the job through demonstrated experience, skills, and knowledge.
Vocational training or online learning can often suffice in equipping one with the skills for an entry-level cybersecurity role. While the VET sector currently offers plenty of security-focused programs, related courses in computer systems or networking – such as a ICT40120 Certificate IV in Information Technology (Networking) – can also supplement your training, providing a more robust, well-rounded knowledge of the field.
3. Sales representative.
Have a knack for customer service? Consider yourself a quick thinker, a “go-getter”, and a social butterfly? The role of sales representative may just be your perfect fit.
Tasked with the responsibility of promoting and selling a company’s products, sales reps typically land the job by demonstrating their excellent communication skills, sociable personality, and strong knowledge of selling techniques and customer needs. Further training is often offered on the job, where the candidate builds close familiarity with the business’ goals and services.
As with any role, however, additional qualifications can boost your employability in the job market. Short courses, such one in Customer Relationship Management (SCCRM), can help sharpen your sales and service skills for greater success on the job – while potentially breeding opportunities for career progression.
4. Digital marketer.
Finally, as the world dives further into the digital age, businesses will increasingly need expertise to navigate these new online platforms and opportunities.
Digital marketing currently plays a key role in these developments, helping industry leaders leverage social media and online content creation to further expand their influence and customer base. According to SEEK data, the profession is projected to grow by 21.7% in the coming five years, with plenty of high-paying opportunities ($70,000 AUD per year being the most common salary).
Fortunately, plenty of aspiring digital marketers can enter the industry through creative ideas, business skills, and exceptional communication abilities alone. As with the previously mentioned roles, most employers zero in on your past experience, achievements, talents, and passion for the field when selecting their best candidates.
However, additional training in the area can help grant you a competitive edge. A 10904NAT - Diploma of Social Media Marketing, for example, can deepen your knowledge of the most popular social media platforms available – helping you craft more extensive, robust strategies for improving one’s brand presence online.
Tips to land that first job out of skill
Entering the workforce for the first time can be nerve-wracking, though the following tips can help ease the process.
Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge and accept rejection as part of the game. You may not score your dream job off the bat – but don’t let the frustration stop or discourage you. Make consistent improvements to your resume writing and interviewing skills; and you’ll find the success you deserve soon enough.
Secondly, do your research. Before heading to your interview, familiarise yourself with the company’s current happenings, future goals, and target market; as this will help you in asking further questions on the role and tailoring your responses to fit their vision.
Lastly, be sure to put forth your passion for the field before anything else. While a company’s salary or benefits may prove attractive, simply aiming for these incentives can leave the wrong impression. Establish yourself as a worthy candidate by expressing your interest for the profession, and how your ideas and experience can make a significant contribution.
Get the qualifications to stand out in the job market!
As mentioned, further training can help in landing your first job out of school. Upskilled currently offers a multitude of qualifications across Australia’s most in-demand industries – from community services to information technology – to help you get your start in the workforce.
Best of all, all courses are delivered online, helping you tailor your studies according to personal needs and schedule.
Launch your ideal career path today, and enquire about a course with Upskilled.
Ana Isabel Alonsagay
Ana Isabel Alonsagay freelance writer and founder of anaisabel.org, a blog on lifestyle, culture, and entertainment. When she isn't pinned to her keyboard, you can find her at your local cinema, blasting Broadway soundtracks or attending cosplay conventions.