Cathy* is precisely who the Workforce Australia – Career Transition Assistance program is designed for.
At 48 years of age, she had been unemployed for more than two years and had trouble finding suitable work after she lost her job during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her employment services provider enrolled her in Jobfind’s Career Transition Assistance (CTA) program for over 45s in Preston VIC in September 2022. Then CTA trainer, Anna Tsiloulis, focussed on helping Cathy to “think outside the box.”
“Cathy had plenty of skills from previous work, she just hadn’t considered where else she could apply them,” says Anna.
Despite commencing the course with low confidence in her ability to find work, by the end of the 3-week course, Cathy had secured a full-time job, close to home!
What are transferrable skills?
In a small group setting, participants start with quizzes and facilitated discussion to uncover their interests, motivations and transferrable skills.
“Transferrable skills are valuable skills that you might learn in one job and can apply with another employer, job or industry,” explains Anna.
With more than 25 years of work in nursing and then retail, Cathy had plenty of transferrable skills, such as problem solving, managing customers, and resolving complaints.
Anna’s tip: Comb through your resume and write down all the skills you applied in your previous jobs, voluntary activities, carer roles, hobbies and recreational activities.
You can group your transferrable skills into soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are things like communication and collaboration – things that make you a good worker. Hard skills, or technical skills, are your abilities in job-related tasks and processes e.g. financial management and social media management.
Discover new job opportunities
Anna says participants of Jobfind’s Career Transition Assistance program go through a fascinating process of discovery.
“In CTA, participants invest time to discover more about themselves and also explore work options they’ve never previously understood or considered,” says Anna.
Anna’s tip: Search online jobs boards by skills, not just job titles. This will open up a lot of new roles that could be a good match for you.
Anna teaches her participants how to analyse job advertisements to understand the skills and attributes that employers are looking for.
“Being able to critically review job descriptions helps job seekers apply for jobs that are a good fit for their skills, interests and circumstances,” says Anna.
Update and tailor your resume
Once Cathy had done a new inventory of skills, Anna assisted her to update her resume to better represent her capabilities.
“Cathy was instantly more competitive in the jobs market once she had articulated her skills better,” says Anna.
Anna’s tip: Tailor your cover letter and resume to the job.
Simple tweaks to your introductory summary or skills list can help the hiring manager to identify you as a top candidate for the job.
Practise, practise, practise
Anna gives her participants plenty of opportunities to prepare and practise for interviews, starting with 100 interview questions to prepare for.
“Initially, Cathy was not confident in her practice interviews, but by the fifth day, her answers were strong, and they were rolling off her tongue,” says Anna.
Being part of a group helps, too. “Participants interview each other and also role play being the employer which is another opportunity to think about what employers are looking for.”
Anna’s tip: Practise in front of the mirror so you get immediate feedback on your non-verbal presentation.
Employers often ask candidates if they have any questions. “Be prepared with a question or two for the employer that will help you assess if the job is the right for you,” says Anna.
Cathy’s time to shine
With a peer group of support from the other participants, Anna soon noticed that Cathy’s confidence and optimism was improving.
“Her employment consultant noticed a ‘massive change’ in Cathy’s attitude and confidence and put her forward for a customer service role in a local hardware store,” says Anna.
With plenty of preparation, Cathy shone at the interview and was offered an immediate start in a full-time counter sales role with a local timber company.
Of her time in the program, Cathy says: “I became confident on a daily basis attending the course, especially with interview presentation role plays. I gained a better understanding of the interview questions and how to use my experiences to answer questions.”
About Jobfind’s Career Transition Assistance Program
Career Transition Assistance is a Workforce Australia employment program designed to support job seekers aged 45 and over to become more competitive in their local labour market.
Jobfind offers a 3-week program facilitated by a skilled facilitator. Individuals get one-on-one support in a small group setting to improve their digital literacy and job search skills, set career goals and prepare to enter a new job or industry. Enquire about CTA here.