From student to full-time worker

21 October 2013

Written by: Mandi Santic

With the end of the university year just around the corner, many excited students are due to complete their degrees.

For graduates though, finding a job can be a long and hard process.

Recently, The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) released a report titled How young people are faring’. The report found that although more young Australians are participating in formal education, there has also been an increase in youth unemployment.

One of the key findings was the skills young people need to acquire in the workplace are changing.

FYA’s Worlds of Work Program facilitator, Patrick Rundle, shares some helpful tips to those transitioning from student to full-time worker.


  • It is important to find an area of work that you are passionate about. Get specific and focus on the detail. Prospective employers are not only looking for employees with the marks – they are also looking for employees with enthusiasm and passion.
  • It is important to know yourself. Take some time to find out your character strengths and weaknesses. Make sure you highlight the personalised skills you will bring to your prospective workplace, whilst being aware of the areas you may need to work on.
  • Demonstrate to prospective employers the ability to be able to self manage and self evaluate, and you will be sure to impress.
  • It’s important to be prepared when looking for work. Make sure your resume is slick and you find a close chum who will help you rehearse for potential job interviews.
  • Up to 70 per cent of communication is demonstrated by body language. First impressions often stick.
  • If you are having trouble looking for work in your field, don’t lose heart. Most importantly, it is vital that you take away lessons from each situation.
  • Try to identify what you could do differently. Do you need to make changes to your cover letter or resume? Did you fail to satisfactorily answer the criteria? Could you adapt your interview style?
  • With fewer young people in full-time employment and growing numbers of people looking for employment, it is important to be flexible. Think outside the square, more specifically think about life, university and work skills that may be transferable across different areas.
  • Much of the literature and research into career education is focused on the transferable skills an individual brings to an organisation, rather than entirely focusing on the specific knowledge a candidate brings to the role.
  • Skills such as problem solving, initiative, communication, digital skills, team work, ability to learn new things and perspective are all essential in any work place. If you can demonstrate that you have previously utilised these skills at university, or in previous employment, your chances of landing the job are greatly increased.
  • Undertake work experience as it helps build real and transferable employment skills. It gives a unique perspective into working life, and helps determine whether the field you wish to work in is appropriate.
  • Work experience also offers the opportunity to build rapport with potential industry employers. It is a fantastic way to build up your industry-based contact list whilst practising your networking skills. Effectively, you are demonstrating that you have the commitment and the enthusiasm to pursue your working dream.
  • When looking for a job the most important piece of advice I can offer is to stay positive, particularly if it is your first time entering the workforce.
  • Studies have shown that positive and optimistic people are more likely to be resilient. Resilience is an absolute necessity in tackling the rapidly changing face of the Australian job market.
Mandi SanticTHUMB

Mandi Santic is a third year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University, and a staff writer for upstart. You can follow her on Twitter: @candidmandi




(Photo: (c))