If you’ve only ever been a school student, you may wonder how to convince a prospective employer that you’re worth employing. Even if you’ve never worked in a paid job, you can demonstrate your potential by using examples of your everyday skills which could be applied in a workplace.
If you haven’t ever had a job, you can focus on your potential rather than your existing abilities, giving examples of any particular qualities that you have such as a positive attitude, commitment and the ability to start and finish a task or project.
Jack Ashby did the HSC in 2008 and is now in the RTA’s Road Designer in Training program, working full time on real, challenging road projects while studying part-time for an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering. Jack likes surfing, music, football and exercise. When he applied for his job at the end of his HSC, Jack needed to demonstrate that he had good communication skills as well as the potential to do highly technical work.
While at school, Jack was a House Captain in a high school of over 1,000 students. He was responsible for recruiting students for sports events, organising relays and making sure that everyone turned up for these events. He often needed to be fairly persuasive in getting people to enter events or to fill in for others who didn’t turn up when expected.
How does this ability to demonstrate leadership and team skills as a school student translate into skills he will need in a job? As part of a design team, Jack is expected to participate in team meetings and contribute to the critical work done by his team. His manager encourages him to ask questions and make comments or suggestions, especially whilst Jack is learning the fundamentals of the job.
Greg Baird is a Design Manager who convenes some of the panels that interview school leavers like Jack. Greg says, “We look for students who can talk about what they have achieved and how they did it. For example, if you’ve had a part time job, we want to know how you worked as part of the work team you were in. Or if you’ve organised a school trip or fund-raising event, tell us how you did it, how you used the resources available to you and how you dealt with any unexpected issues and challenges. And we’re always particularly impressed by anyone who comes up with an innovative solution to a problem they had to resolve.”
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