It’s an exciting time when you’ve just finished high school and are about to take your first steps into the world of work or further education.

My top tips to assist school leavers with job searching:

  • Self-assessment: Take some time to think about your strengths, interests and career goals. What are you passionate about? What skills do you have or want to develop? Knowing yourself better can help you target job opportunities that align with your aspirations.
  • Set realistic goals: While having high grades can open doors, it’s not the only factor in finding a job. Set achievable goals for your first job and don’t be discouraged if it’s not your dream job right away. You can work your way up.
  • Build a strong resume: Your resume is your first impression on potential employers. Highlight your skills, relevant coursework, extracurricular activities and any part-time/casual paid or volunteer employment experience. Be concise and professional.
  • Cover letter: Customise your cover letter for each job application in alignment with the job advertisement. Explain why you’re a good fit for the specific role; and how your skills and interests align with the company’s values and mission.
  • Network: Let your family, friends, teachers and other contacts know that you are job hunting. They might have leads or recommendations for you. Networking is a valuable resource whilst job searching.
  • Online presence: Ensure that your social media profiles are professional and appropriate. Many employers will check your online presence before hiring. Highlight your skills and interests on platforms like LinkedIn.
  • Job search platforms: Use online job search platforms like, Indeed, LinkedIn and other industry-specific websites to find job opportunities. Create profiles on these sites to receive job alerts.
  • Be proactive: Don’t wait for job postings. Reach out to companies you’re interested in, even if they’re not actively hiring. Express your interest and inquire about possible employment opportunities.
  • Prepare for interviews: Practice common interview questions and prepare your answers. Be ready to discuss your skills, experiences and why you’re a good fit for the company.
  • Dress and act professionally: For interviews, dress appropriately and arrive on time. Be courteous and confident during the interview process.
  • Stay open-minded: Be willing to explore different career paths and industries. You may discover a passion in a field you hadn’t considered before.
  • Consider further education: If you have plans to attend university or a TAFE College, research your desired programs and apply on time. Explore scholarships and financial aid options.
  • Apprenticeships/Traineeships and internships: Consider apprenticeships/traineeships or internships to gain hands-on experience while earning a wage. They can provide valuable skills and connections for your future career.
  • Be patient and persistent: Finding your first job can be challenging. Don’t get discouraged by rejection. Keep refining your resume and cover letter; and keep applying to relevant positions.
  • Seek guidance: If you’re unsure about your career path, consider talking to your school’s career counsellor, VET Coordinator or advisor who can provide insights and guidance.

Remember that your first job is just the beginning of your career journey. Embrace the learning opportunities it provides and use it as a stepping stone to reach your long-term goals. Good luck with your final exams and job applications!

Katie is the ECM Consulting Founder and Director.
Starting in 2003 as a professional resume writer, Katie has extensive experience in professionally developing job application documents for clients across all occupations and levels, both in the public and private sectors.

If you are wanting to forge ahead with confidence into your next career position or promotion, feel free to reach out for chat. Together, we can help you Stand Out from the crowd.