a guide for Indigenous students

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AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT
Indigenous Cadetship
Support
Finding Yourself a Cadetship
Indigenous Program Branch
1/11/2011
This document provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, hints and tips on
finding and securing a cadetship with employers.
Indigenous Cadetship Support
Finding yourself a Cadetship - A guide for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander students
Table of Contents
Indigenous Cadetship Support ....................................................................................... 2
About Indigenous Cadetship Support .................................................................... 4
I’m interested in a cadetship. What do I do next? ................................................ 4
Step 1: Understand your aims and attributes ............................................................... 6
Interests Attributes and Talents ............................................................................ 7
Where would you like to work? ............................................................................. 7
What kind of work conditions would you like? ..................................................... 8
What sort of work would you not want to do? ..................................................... 8
What knowledge do you have, What skills would you like to develop, and what
knowledge do you enjoy using? ............................................................................ 8
Skills that you want to develop.............................................................................. 9
What dreams and aspirations do you have? ......................................................... 9
What education/training have you done, are you doing, or plan to do in the
future?.................................................................................................................... 9
Step 2: Find employers ................................................................................................ 10
Where to go— the importance of Networks ....................................................... 10
Internet ................................................................................................................ 11
Career Information Centres ................................................................................. 12
Career advisors .................................................................................................... 12
Career expos ........................................................................................................ 12
Training and education providers ........................................................................ 13
Industries and employers .................................................................................... 13
State and territory libraries ................................................................................. 13
Government departments ................................................................................... 13
Professional associations ..................................................................................... 13
Bookshops and newsagencies ............................................................................. 14
Yellow pages ........................................................................................................ 14
Media – (Newspapers, radio and television) ....................................................... 14
What to find out................................................................................................... 14
Step 3: Contact employers ........................................................................................... 17
Social Networking and Employment.................................................................... 21
Step 4: Write winning cover letters ............................................................................. 22
Presentation ......................................................................................................... 22
Selection criteria checklist ................................................................................... 25
Sample cover letter responding to an advertisement ................................................. 27
Sample “cold canvassing” cover letter ................................................................ 29
Step 5: Create your résumé ......................................................................................... 31
What is a résumé? ............................................................................................... 31
What to include.................................................................................................... 31
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What not to include ............................................................................................. 31
Résumé comparison chart ................................................................................... 33
Preparation .......................................................................................................... 39
Preparation tasks checklist .................................................................................. 39
Practice................................................................................................................. 40
The interview process .......................................................................................... 40
Questions to expect ............................................................................................. 41
Handy hints .......................................................................................................... 41
Answering common interview questions ............................................................ 43
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Introduction
Welcome to the guide to finding yourself a cadetship. The Information in this guide
will help you to find a cadetship that is right for you.
This guide is divided into six sections with easy to follow steps:
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Understanding your aims and attributes
Finding employers
Contacting employers
Writing winning cover letters
Creating your résumé
Interviewing well
About Indigenous Cadetship Support
The Indigenous Cadetship Support (ICS ) is administered by the Department of
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). ICS is part of the
Australian Government’s Indigenous Employment Program and aims to improve the
professional employment prospects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples..
It does this by linking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tertiary students
undertaking a diploma, advanced diploma or their first undergraduate degree with
employers in a cadetship arrangement involving full time study and paid work
placements.
A cadetship could help you gain the professional qualifications and experience
needed for a range of jobs in the private, public and community Sectors.
ICS can also assist employers to identify potential Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander employees.
ICS, helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cadets combine their full-time study
with an annual 12 week/60 days (or equivalent) work placement, which
complements their course of study.
ICS gives money to employers to provide cadets with a study allowance, an
allowance for books and equipment, and a wage during their work placement. Other
forms of financial assistance, including travel assistance for cadets who are studying
or attending a workplace away from home, may also be available.
I’m interested in a cadetship. What do I do next?
To begin the process you need to register on the ICS website at:
www.ics.deewr.gov.au
Here you will find the registration form and other useful information about
cadetships.
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Before submitting your registration please make sure it is FULLY COMPLETED,
otherwise it won’t be considered.
Your registration also needs to be APPROVED by DEEWR before employers can
consider you for cadetships in their organisation.
While employers do find cadets through the ICS website – the best method is for you
to approach employers directly. By doing so, you can target employers that best
match your skills, interests and career goals.
Remember: many students gain their cadetships by approaching employers
themselves.
We hope you find this guide useful. If you have any questions about this guide or
cadetships, please call the Indigenous Employment Line on 1802 102, or email the
ICS team at: [email protected]
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Step 1: Understand your skills and goals
Understanding your skills and goals will give you a better idea about which
organisations and jobs may suit you.
The more you understand about your own skills, knowledge, interests, values and
preferred work style, the better chance you have of presenting them confidently to
an employer.
Self-promotion, is your ability to convince a potential employer that you are the right
person for their organisation based on your field of studies, knowledge, personal
skills and abilities. It is one of the keys to getting yourself a cadetship Remember
there’s no shame in talking about yourself.
A good salesman knows their product well – how well do you know yourself?
Building a profile of your work preferences, interests, knowledge, skills, preferred
work location and conditions, your dreams and aspirations will help you understand
your aims and attributes.
Task: You may like to complete the basic questionnaire on the following pages to
help you build your profile
The questionnaire may also help you to clarify your career goals and help you work
out which employers interest you, and you may like to work for. This will help you
decide which employers to approach.
Keep in mind that no one really feels entirely comfortable identifying their good
qualities.
Self-promotion enables you to give a potential employer a strong sense of who you
are and what you are interested in or are good at.
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Interests Attributes and Talents
Everyone has something they are good at or are interested in (e.g. playing a musical
instrument, mathematics, surfing, writing, caring for others).
Task: Make a list of your interests or things you are good at.
Talk to your teachers, family, friends and/or former employers and ask them what
special talents they see in you. Make a list of these talents.
Do you, your teachers, family, friends and/or former employers think you are:
 confident
 capable
 efficient
 talented
 competent
 organised
 practical
 effective
any others (list below)
Talk to people working in an area that interests you.
Consider:
 What special talents do these people use in their work?
 Were they aware of their talents when they were younger?
 How have they developed them?
 Can they give you any hints on how you can develop your talents?
Record your observations and findings.
Where would you like to work?
Think about the geographical location where you would like to work, both as a cadet
and when you finish studying. Also think about whether jobs in the industry or
occupation you are interested in are in these locations.
[Check Boxes]
City
Country
Home Town
Remote
Regional
Somewhere specific .......
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What kind of work conditions would you like?
[Check Boxes]
Do you want to work...?
 Indoors
 Outdoors
 A combination of indoors and outdoors
 A specific setting (list below)
Do you want work that requires you to …? [Check Boxes]
 be hands-on be physically active talk to people
 write/manage projects/people research/analyse
 be creative
 others (list below)
When do you want to work?
Would you prefer to work …? [Check Boxes]
during the day
shiftwork
flexible hours
Night Work
on call
irregular hours
weekends
What sort of work would you not want to do?
List the sort work that you are not interested in doing:
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What knowledge do you have, What skills would you like to develop, and
what knowledge do you enjoy using?
List the skills that you have.
Job skills—Specific job/occupation skills such as:
 book-keeping data analysis processing orders paralegal
 customer service providing care product display clerical
 landscaping sport acting/entertaining
 others (list below)
Self-management skills—Day to day attributes that ensure you get along with others
(such as honesty, patience, reliability).
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Transferable skills—Skills that can transfer from one job or occupation to another:
 managing money multi-tasking writing staff training
 customer service computing staff supervision researching
 talking to others working in a team organising
 others (list below)
Skills that you want to develop
List the skills you have that you would like to develop further.
Skills you enjoy using
List the skills you enjoy using.
What dreams and aspirations do you have?
To become clearer about your dreams and aspirations for the future (particularly in
terms of your career), you might like to think about:
 what is important to you (e.g being near/maintaining contact with
family/community)
 your values
 who you look up to and admire (role models etc)
 how you would like to contribute to the world.
What education/training have you done, are you doing, or plan to do in the
future?
What education/training have you done?
What education/training are you currently doing?
What education/training do you plan to do in the future?
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Step 2: Find employers
The next step in gaining a cadetship is to find out which employers you want to work
for, and which employers may be interested in taking on a cadet by doing a little
research.
Where to go— the importance of Networks
It is important to know that many jobs are never advertised. These jobs are in the
hidden job market. Around two-thirds of jobs are found through networking.
You can access the hidden job market by talking to the right
people about the right things—by networking!
Who do I talk to?
Talk to people working in the area you are studying.
Talk to your lecturers and tutors. Talk to family friends.
Talk to people at seminars and industry meetings.
What do I talk about?
 What job you’d like.
 Where you want to work.
 Why you want to work in the area.
 How they got their first job.
 What attributes they think the area/organisation/business is looking for.
 Whether they can give you the name/number of a person in that area of
work/organisation/business that you can talk to in more depth.
 The rewards or challenges in working in the area.
Most people who are looking for jobs, from school leavers to older
people, find work through word of mouth and by using their networks.
Networks
Networks are generally made up of family, friends, contacts who you have made
through your studies or other contacts. They are a very useful source of information
for finding out what opportunities are available.
When you go to meetings or other events make sure you gather business cards from
people who you would like to talk to again or who you think would like to work for.
Jot down on the back of the card information that will help you remember where
you met them etc – these are important additions to your network.
Who is in your network?
Make a list of the people who are in your network.
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Internet
Websites have lots of information and nearly every organisation/business has one.
Look up an organisation and find an “about us” section. This should tell you
what the organisation does, what skills the employer are looking for, and what the
organisation values. It may also give you a profile of the business e.g. size, location
etc.
Other sites you might want to go to include:
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www.myfuture.edu.au
This site provides information on current career information, articles and links to
thousands of resources to assist you on your career journey. Click on The Facts
section. This will give you information on career development, career fields, work
and employment, education and training in Australia, financial support, scholarships,
awards, grants and contact organisations.
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www.jobsearch.gov.au/joboutlook
Job Outlook contains information about occupations that are likely to experience
growth in Australia. The wealth of information on Job Outlook, (most of which is
presented graphically for each occupation), includes:
 prospects and key indicators,
 employment
 trends,
 age and gender profile,
 employment growth by gender,
 hours of work,
 unemployment,
 employment by region,
 industry and earnings.
There is also a fast online career quiz to help you identify what kinds of work you
may be good at or enjoy doing.
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www.ics.deewr.gov.au
The ICS website will show you which employers are registered with ICS, and those
that are recruiting cadets.
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Career Information Centres
Centrelink Career Information Centres have print, video and on-line career
information, with staff available to help with your research.
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www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/services/career_centres_outlet
s.htm
Career advisors
Career advisors provide advice on careers and direct you to local sources of
information. Career advisors are also known as case managers, employment
consultants, recruitment consultants, career counsellors, and career development
professionals.
You can find career advisors at:
 high schools
 training and educational institutions
 private agencies
 Job Services Australia providers
 human resource departments.
For more details visit the following websites:
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The Australian Association of Career Counsellors (AACC) at www.aacc.org.au;
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The Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) at:
www.cdaa.org.au
Career expos
Recruitment agencies, universities and industries hold career expos where
employers, education/training providers and employment agencies provide career
information. Expos are usually advertised in newspapers, websites or via local radio.
Attending a career expo gives you the chance to speak to people with experience in
the career you are interested in.
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Training and education providers
Training and education providers have a range of career resources such as:
 employer profiles and job leads
 industry information.
Many of these can be accessed through www.myfuture.edu.au.
Industries and employers
To research information about industries and employers you should:
 access marketing material to learn about services and products
 look up company annual reports to find information (e.g. company direction,
organisational structure, products and services)
 look at their websites
 visit state and territory library reference sections for business directories, or
 conduct an information interview with an employer.
State and territory libraries
Libraries are a very good pathway to information services, including electronic library
collections and reference materials. You may have to book ahead to use the online
facilities.
Go to the National Library of Australia website at www.nla.gov.au and click on the
Australian Libraries Gateway quicklink.
Government departments
You can visit government information offices and websites (e.g.
www.jobsearch.gov.au/joboutlook) to find out about:
 trends within industries and career fields
 knowledge required for government funded projects
 job requirements.
For Australian Government contacts and information you can also visit
www.gold.gov.au
Professional associations
Professional associations provide a range of resources about jobs and careers. Most
associations are able to answer enquiries from people exploring careers.
‘The Facts’ section at www.myfuture.edu.au provides a list of professional
associations under the heading ‘Contact organisations’.
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Bookshops and newsagencies
You will find a range of resources related to careers including:
 occupation information
 current affairs and industry trends
 education/training information (e.g. course textbooks which give you an idea
of the knowledge required for particular career fields).
Yellow pages
Advertisements in the Yellow Pages often provide details of products and services of
businesses. This can be a quick way to find out about an employer and a way for
you to do cold canvassing. (For information on ‘cold canvassing’ see Step 3: Contact
Employers. You can also view Yellow pages online—www.yellowpages.com.au
Media – (Newspapers, radio and television)
The media provides access to a range of information which you may find useful:
Newspapers (both print and online) you will find:
 articles about companies and industry trends
 job advertisements
 articles in the career section about career trends.
Radio you can hear programs with guest speakers discussing issues
and developments in career fields.
Television you can watch documentaries and current affairs programs that can
provide insight into career fields and industries.
What to find out
Industry
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How large is the industry in relation to other major industries - locally,
nationally and (if applicable) internationally?
What opportunities for development or career progression exist in
the industry?
What industry reports, websites or other references provide
information about the industry?
What industry or government bodies can you contact to find out more
information about the industry?
What, are the major functions of the industry?
Does the industry provide services or products in an area of growth?
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Occupation
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What are the main pathways of employment into and through the
industry?
What other fields of work are linked or interact with this industry?
What industry does this occupation belong to?
What would a person in this occupation do on a day to day basis?
What key competencies are required or preferred for this occupation?
Are there specific licences required to work in any area of this
occupation?
Are there specialist roles or new and evolving roles in this occupation?
Do you need to be registered with an authority for this occupation? If
so, how do you register?
What are the major influences now and for the future for this
occupation?
Is there any research occurring in this occupation?
What training, education, and/or ongoing education exists for this
occupation?
Are there any minimum age requirements?
Employer
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What services and/or products does the organisation offer?
Where is the organisation located, does it have branches and how
long has it been established?
What type of organisation is it (e.g. company, incorporated body)?
Is the organisation not-for-profit? If so, where does the funding come
from?
Who are its competitors? Who are its allies?
What reputation does the organisation have?
What industry trends impact on the organisation?
Does it offer professional development?
What education or training does the organisation recognise?
What is the organisation’s management style, work culture and safety
record?
Job Requirements
 What are the roles, responsibilities and expectations of the job?
 What qualifications are essential or desirable for this type of work?
 What personal characteristics are required for this job?
 What does a typical day’s work involve in this job?
 Does this job require any prior experience?
 What are the hours of work?
 What is the pay range like for this job?
 What do people doing this job not like about it?
 What do people doing this job like about it?
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Training and Education
 What courses are available in your career area?
 What type of work can this learning lead to?
 How are the courses delivered?
 How long do the courses take to complete?
 Which education/providers offer courses?
 Can you study while you work?
 Does the employer offer subsidised training
 (e.g. traineeships, cadetships, scholarships)?
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Step 3: Contact employers
Once you know the organisations you would like to work as a cadet, you can go
about approaching them.
You can write to, telephone or visit the employer, or, you can do all three:
 send them your résumé, (don’t forget to put a cover letter on the front of
your résumé—introducing yourself and asking if you can arrange to meet the
employer).
Ok so now it’s time to get organised:
1. Go back and look at what your skills and goals are.
2. Review the background material that you’ve found about the employer.
3. Make sure you have your résumé handy and a pen and paper for making
notes about times and contact telephone numbers.
4. Keep a check list so that you remember to ask all the important questions.
Telephoning
There are two types of calls you can make to find opportunities – Cold Calls and
Warm Calls.
‘Cold calling’ is telephoning people you have not met and can be a little daunting,
but it is a way of finding cadetships in the hidden job market.
Cold calling
You can use cold calling to:
 gain an interview
 find out job-related information
 get more networking contacts.
When you cold call you need to sound confident. You can do this by:
 knowing the name and title of the person you want to talk to
 practising what you are going to say and how you are going to say it with a
friend
 letting the person you are talking to know how you can benefit the company.
Warm Calling
A ‘warm call’ is when you phone an employer because you:
 have been referred by someone from your network
 have already sent your résumé and you are following up with a phone call (in
the cover letter you should write that you will follow up by, for example,
phoning in the next three days), or
 are responding to an advertisement.
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Getting past the receptionist/personal assistant
Receptionists/personal assistants are often responsible for screening calls. The more
important the person you’re calling, the harder they will be to reach.
Ask the receptionist the name of the person who does the hiring. Say:
‘Hello, this is… Can you please give me the name of the person who is responsible for
recruitment? Thank you.’
OR
‘Can you please tell me the name of the manager for the IT department?’
Ask for the person’s full name and the correct spelling, and find out how to say their
name correctly.
If you can’t get past the receptionist. Ask about the company and for advice about
the best way to follow up about employment in the organisation.
If this doesn’t work call at a different time of the day and speak to someone else. If
none of this works don’t continue. Call other people on your list.
Opening lines
Rehearse your opening lines before you call the person you want to speak to. During
the call:
 introduce yourself
 tell them why you are contacting them (i.e. that you are interested in a
cadetship)
 tell them about the skills you have that relate to their business
 ask if you can send them a copy of your résumé
 arrange a follow-up contact.
If the person you want to speak to is unavailable
Call back later and ask for the person by their first name and department.
‘Can I please speak to Jack in the IT department?’
If you get voicemail
If you get voicemail the first time you call, leave:
 your name
 your telephone number
 a brief message saying you will call again.
If the recruiter says there are no cadetships/ vacancies being offered now…
You have at least three options:
 ask if you can send in your résumé. If the answer is yes, send a résumé and
cover letter immediately
 ask the person for information on what they look for in new employees. Say:
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‘I know you aren’t offering any positions at the moment, but what sort of skills are
you looking for when you do recruit?’, or
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ask for a referral or other leads. Say:
‘Do you know of a company looking for someone with my skills?’
If you get a company name, ask for a contact name and phone number.
Closing lines
Rehearse your closing lines too. You could say:
“Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. If there’s ever
an opportunity with your company, please give me a call. Can I send you my résumé
to be held on file?”
Warm calling
You would follow the same steps for a warm call as for a cold call except that you will
have the name of the person that you need to contact.
Writing to employers
You can write to possible employers and ask if they have any employment
opportunities.
Make sure you tailor your letters separately to each business and know who to
address the letter to. Keep your letter brief and to the point. State what you are
seeking (a cadetship or an interview), and preferably explain how the business could
benefit from your skills knowledge and qualities if they were to take you on as a
cadet.
It is important to include your résumé with your letter.
For more information on writing to employers see Step 4: Write Winning Cover
Letters.
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Visiting employers
You can also visit businesses in person and ask if they are interested in taking on a
cadet.
There are many reasons why an employer might give you a go if you approach them
in person.
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It shows enthusiasm and motivation, and shows your willingness to work and
pursue your goals.
It saves the employer time and money, because they can avoid having to
advertise for a position.
It can be done privately and save the employer from having to sift through
unsuitable candidates’ applications..
When visiting an employer you must be well prepared.
 Make sure you dress appropriately. Be clean, neat and tidy.
 Make sure you have practised your introduction and questions beforehand.
Know what you are looking for, and who you need to talk to.
 Introduce yourself and think about how you look and how you come across—
 be confident!
 Do your research. Know what the business does and how they do it.
 Take your interview portfolio with you and a copy of your résumé to leave
with the employer.
 Follow up with a repeat visit in a week or two if appropriate.
Describing Indigenous Cadetship Support (ICS)
Whatever way you approach an employer, you will need to tell the employer about
the ICS. This will help the employer work out if they’re interested in participating.
We recommended you:
 take a look at the ICS website: www.ics.deewr.gov.au, and suggest to the
employer that they do likewise. There you’ll find information tailored to both
students and employers, as well as the ICS Guidelines, which set out the
details of the benefits of participating and how to participate
 read the fact sheet for students attached to this Guide
 give potential employers a copy of the ICS fact sheet when sending them
your résumé, or approaching them in person
 make sure you mention the ICS in your cover letters to potential employers.
For more information about ICS you can email the ICS team in DEEWR at:
[email protected] or call the Indigenous Employment Line on 1802 102.
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Social Networking and Employment
These days many people have social networking accounts e.g Facebook, MySpace,
Linkd-In, Twitter and these are seen as legitimate communication tools by many.
However many employers are now using these tools as a method of ‘pre-screening’
potential employees. The number of employers using this method is increasing
therefore cadets need to ensure that they are not undermining their chances of
employment through their social networking accounts.
Social networking can be a positive method of linking in to opportunities being
offered by employers in Australia. Using RSS feeds to keep up to date with
information from employers’ sites is a useful tool – particularly when researching
potential employers.
For more information on Social Networking and Employment - do a Google search
using these terms “Employers and social networking” or “How to Use Social
Networking to Find Jobs”.
Here are some links to some useful articles on this topic:
 Employers and Social Networking Sites
 Social Networking Can Be Perilous to Your Employment
 Students Love Social-Networking Sites and So Do Employers
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Step 4: Write winning cover letters
When you send off your résumé to a potential cadetship employer or when you
respond to an advertised cadetship position, you should always include a cover
letter.
Presentation
A cover letter should be brief and:
 capture the employer’s interest
 state why you are writing
 indicate how you will benefit the company
 convince the employer to ask you for an interview.
Cover letters get you interviews—not jobs!
Cover letters target your skills, highlight your ‘selling points’ and answer these
questions.
 Can you do the job? What are your abilities, skills, knowledge, experience and
qualifications?
 Will you do the job well? Are you motivated, dependable and enthusiastic?
 Will you fit into the organisation? Do you match the company’s image, values
and goals? Will you get along well with clients and co-workers?
Generally an employer has approximately 30 seconds to decide whether to consider
your application further. At a glance an employer needs to see:
 how you match any selection criteria
 how well you communicate, including structure, grammar, spelling and
punctuation of the letter
 your experience, skills and qualifications
 your level of professionalism
 clues to your personality
 your attention to detail (e.g. errors or wrong information).
How should I write it?
DO:
Use simple, natural language and:
 be honest, professional, warm and friendly
 use positive words and phrases like
I have …
I am able to …
I can …
I am experienced in …
 make the letter interesting to read,
 short and to the point
Finding Yourself a Cadetship – Version 2 – September 2011
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
be enthusiastic and assertive.
DONT
use negative statements such as
 ‘I had personality conflicts with …’
 don’t start every sentence or paragraph with
 ‘I’—try to limit yourself to one ‘I’ per paragraph or less
 Use sms text, slang
 be ‘pushy’ or begging for a position.
What should a cover letter look like?
 Type your cover letter on a computer and print on clean A4 paper.
 Leave space around the edges and clear space between each paragraph.
 Use an A4 envelope if your cover letter and attachments don’t fit a standard
size envelope.
 Use a basic font such as Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, Bookman Old Style
or Century Gothic.
 Staple your cover letter neatly.
 Don’t send cover letters that are photocopied.
What should I put in a cover letter?
Check that it contains the following:
 your contact details
 the date
 the name and address of the recipient
 an appropriate salutation
 an opening paragraph—introduction to the topic of the letter (include a
sentence on ICS )
 a second paragraph—your qualifications and skills
 a third paragraph—your interests and personal qualities
 a fourth paragraph—conclusion
 an appropriate closing (i.e. Yours sincerely/Yours faithfully, as appropriate).
Types of cover letters
There are four different types of cover letters:
 responding to an advertisement
 “cold canvassing” cover letters
 referral letters
 online letters.
Identify which type of letter you are writing and follow the hints below.
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Responding to an advertisement
These letters should highlight your skills and respond to the requirements set out in
the advertisement.
You should write directly to the contact person stated in the advertisement.
When responding to a recruitment agency, refer to ‘your client’ or ‘your client’s
organisation’ rather than ‘you’ or ‘your company’.
“Cold canvassing” cover letters
This type of letter is written to find out about and express
interest in jobs that may be available now or in the future.
Because you’re not writing to answer a specific job advertisement you need to:
 say in the opening paragraph that you’re enquiring
 about whether a position is available
 describe the type of position you’re
 looking for (a cadetship)
 research the company to match your
 selling points to the employer’s needs
 interest the reader enough to contact you.
Referral letters
A referral letter is written to a person in a company or recruiting firm on the
recommendation of someone in your network.
The main difference and advantage of a referral letter is that you begin with
mentioning the person who has referred you.
Make sure that the person who has referred you has given you permission to use
their name.
Online letters
An online letter uses e-mail to respond to cadetship advertisements on the Internet,
in the newspaper or on a touch-screen. You need to consider the following features
of an online letter:
 the letter is briefer, but still includes the top two or three selling points
 short paragraphs or bullet style format is common
 the letter should be easy to read and to the point
 the title of the position you are applying for goes in the ‘Subject’ line of the email
 don’t put the full mailing address of the person you are sending it to in an email. Use the salutation line only (e.g. ‘Dear Mr Jones’)
 remember that writing in all upper case in an e-mail is seen to be a form of
yelling
 don’t use bold type or italics unless appropriate (e.g. if you are referring to a
publication, a quote etc.)
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Tips for cover letters
 A cover letter should accompany your résumé.
 Cover letters communicate ‘what you can offer’, not ‘what you want’.
 Write a rough draft first to refine, order and edit the letter, and get
someone else to read it.
 Keep copies of letters so that you have a record of who you have written
to and what you said.
 Make sure your contact details are correct and up to date.
 Use similar terms the employer uses in the advertisement or terms that
are industry specific.
 Don’t list your work history if you already have it on your résumé.
 Highlight points from your résumé you want to draw attention to.
 Remember you have little time to catch an employer’s attention. An
employer wants someone who matches the hiring company’s criteria, so
be honest and get to the point.
Some advertisements may ask you to make ‘statements against selection criteria.
This is a method of recruitment where you demonstrate how your knowledge, skills,
and/or experience, meet specific criteria for the job.
Addressing selection criteria
If you are responding to an advertised cadetship position, your cover letter should
contain a brief summary of how you meet any selection criteria.
You may also be asked to provide ‘statements against selection criteria’—a separate
document that sets out how your knowledge, skills and experience ensure that you
meet each criteria.
Make sure you have addressed any selection criteria by checking off all the following
steps.
Selection criteria checklist






Read the advertisement, job description or selection criteria carefully.
Phone the employer for more information if you don’t understand
something.
Highlight all the requirements.
Divide the requirements into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ requirements. Hard
requirements include the desired work experience, qualifications and
particular skills. Soft requirements are personal qualities such as
‘energetic’, ‘a good communicator’ and ‘organised’.
Identify what you have done that proves you can meet the job
requirements. These are your ‘selling points’.
Think about how well you meet the requirements in the categories of
skills, qualifications, experience and desirable personal qualities.
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


Collect proof of your skills, knowledge, experience and personal qualities.
Decide how you will address any barriers to your application (e.g. if you
don’t have knowledge of a particular software program, demonstrate
how you could manage the job with a few weeks’ experience and transfer
other skills you already have).
Summarise your skills, knowledge, experience and personal qualities
against each of the selection criteria. Try to keep your responses brief and
informative.
Some useful websites:


www.apsc.gov.au/indigenous/gettingajob.htm
www.apsc.gov.au/publications07/crackingthecode.htm
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Sample cover letter responding to an advertisement
Name and address
 Person’s full name, if you know it.
 Position title.
 Company name.
 Street number & name or PO Box.
 Town or suburb, state, postcode.
Your contact details.
Dear Sir/Madam
The second paragraph demonstrates that you can do the job, why you are the ‘best
fit’ for the organisation and how your skills
meet the organisation’s needs.
The third paragraph shows you are willing to do the job, motivates and
enthusiastic and can fit into the organisation.
The fourth and final paragraph refers to your enclosed résumé,
application form or other attachments, thanks the reader for
considering your application and states that you would welcome an
interview to discuss your suitability (include your phone number again).
If you started with Dear Ms Smith you should end with Yours sincerely.
If you started with Dear Sir/Madam you should end with Yours faithfully.
Use this abbreviation if you enclosed your résumé or other pages.
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[Your name]
[Your address]
Phone: [Your phone number]
Mobile: [Your mobile number]
E-mail: [your email address
Date
[Manger’s name]
[Position title]
[Company name]
[Company address]
Dear Ms/Mr [insert name]
Ref: [INSERT JOB TITLE]
In response to your advertisement in the [insert where you saw the advertisement] I
am seeking a cadetship with [insert company name]. I am a great match to the
position you are now trying to fill.
I am currently studying [insert details of course of study] at [insert name of
University or training organisation], and am seeking to develop a career in [industry].
My work experience in [insert industry] has given me great skills in [insert skills]. I
believe these skills in addition to my tertiary-level training would make me a
valuable addition to your organisation.
[Insert their company name] has an excellent reputation for [insert something
positive and distinctive about the company], and I would enjoy working for a
company that [insert why it is that you would like to work for the company]. Since
leaving school I have been employed part-time as a [insert jobs]. I have been
complimented on [insert something that you are good at.]
I look forward to the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how I could contribute
to your [insert team/organisation]. I have enclosed a copy of my résumé. Please
contact me if you have any questions or wish to arrange an interview. I can
be contacted at any time on my mobile phone on [insert number].
Yours sincerely
Your signature
Your name
Enc
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Sample “cold canvassing” cover letter
Insert the person’s name if you know it.
If you are registered as a cadet with DEEWR, you can state that you are
registered with ICS too.
Be sure to include some more information about the ICS . You
can even attach an ICS brochure.
If you started with Dear Ms Smith you should end with Yours sincerely.
If you started with Dear Sir/Madam you should end with Yours faithfully
Finding Yourself a Cadetship – Version 2 – September 2011
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Kathy Porter
1 Looking Street
NORTH ADELAIDE SA 5006
Phone: (08) 8555 5555
Mobile: 0405 111 111
E-mail: [email protected]
Date
The Human Resources Manager
The HR Company
11 Business Street
ADELAIDE SA 5001
Dear Sir/Madam
My name is Kathy Porter. I am seeking an employment opportunity with the HR
Company as a cadet under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Cadetship
Support (ICS ) while continuing my full time study at university. I am an enthusiastic
individual and will bring excellent communications and administration skills, as well
as a developing knowledge of psychology, to your organisation.
I am currently in my second year of a Bachelor Psychology degree at Flinders
University. My work experience to date has given me great organisational,
administration and communication skills. I believe these skills in addition to my
tertiary-level training would make me a valuable addition to your business.
The HR Company has a reputation as an industry leader in the human resources
field, and I would enjoy working for a company that provides expert recruitment
services for a variety of industries. Since leaving school, I have been employed parttime in a number of roles, including as a receptionist and kitchen-hand. In these
roles, I have demonstrated that I am responsible and reliable, communicate well
with others, and am a good team worker. My co-workers have often complimented
me on my attention to their needs and my willingness to go beyond the call of duty.
Enclosed is a copy of my résumé. For more information regarding the ICS ,
please refer to the ICS Fact Sheet attached to this letter.
I am committed to following a career in the human resources industry and look
forward to the opportunity of discussing my skills and abilities with you further.
I can be contacted at any time on my mobile phone on 0405 111 111.
Yours faithfully
Kathy Porter
Kathy Porter
Enc
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Step 5: Create your résumé
An up-to-date résumé is a very important tool for finding cadetships, and other jobs
all throughout your career.
What is a résumé?
A résumé is a description of your education, paid employment, volunteer activities
(including school activities), general interests and personal strengths.
Each résumé will be slightly different depending on to whom it is written and which
style of résumé suits your needs. It should be kept up-to-date.
Résumés can be submitted on paper or electronically.
What to include
What you include in a résumé depends on your individual career
goals and the needs of the employer. A résumé provides:
 initial information to an employer to get you an interview
 a summary of your work history, skills, achievements and experience
 information about how you perform in different work situations
 information about what you have accomplished.
A résumé should answer the employer’s question:
‘How will I benefit from employing this person?’
Your résumé is a tool that you will use across
your working life to entice people to hire you – make sure you update it regularly.
What not to include






Don’t say you have done something that you haven’t.
Don’t include anything that relates to your personal life (except contact
details).
Don’t include age, height, weight, marital status, number of children,
condition of health, or religious or political beliefs (except where religion
or political beliefs are important to the position)*.
Don’t include negative reasons for leaving previous employment such as
‘asked to leave’ (fired) or ‘sick of travelling’.
Don’t focus on any barriers to getting a cadetship.
Don’t make the résumé too long.
*Note that it illegal for these questions to be asked by employers!
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Handy hints
 Modify your résumé for each cadetship you apply for and include your
relevant skills.
 Use a simple layout, headings and basic fonts such as Arial.
 Use good quality A4 paper.
 Don’t put too much information on one page.
 Have someone check your résumé before you send it.
 Use a spell/grammar check.
There are lots of Internet sites which help, such as www.myfuture.edu.au.
What you need to get started
Before you start writing, collect all the resources you need.
Resources checklist
Use this checklist to prepare for writing your résumé. You’ll need:
 job descriptions of past jobs you’ve had, including part-time work or work
experience
 an action word list to help you write your résumé (go to
www.myfuture.edu.au for an action word list)
 copies of performance reviews or reports about tasks you’ve undertaken
 records of your educational achievements
 certificates or records of seminars/conferences
 you’ve attended. Include courses undertaken
 out of school hours (e.g. swimming instructor, or computer courses)
 letters of appreciation you’ve received. Don’t forget thank you letters or
cards.
Sections of a résumé
The section headings of a résumé match the job/cadetship advertisement. The most
common headings are:
 contact details
 objectives
 summary of experience
 competencies
 education and training
 work experience
 activities and interests
 referees.
However, there are alternative names that you can use, such as ‘career goals’ for
‘objectives’ and ‘employment history’ for ‘work experience’.
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Types of résumés
There are three types of résumés:
 reverse chronological
 functional
 combination.
The table on the next page sets out the characteristics, advantages, disadvantages of
each type of résumé, and gives you some tips on when and when not to use them.
Résumé comparison chart
Examples
The example below shows a ‘combination’ résumé.
Reverse
chronological
Most recent work
history is listed
first.
> Provides a short
and snappy
picture of where
you’ve been and
what you’ve done.
Functional
Combination
> Work experience
and skills listed in
a way that relates
to the strengths
important to the
employer.
> Focus is on what
you have
done, not where
and when.
> Combination of
reverse
chronological
and functional
résumés.
> Focus is on skills,
accomplishments
and work history.
> Usually begins
with a profile or
key
skills followed by
work history.
Advantages
Easy to write.
> Shows
employment
history.
> Most commonly
used.
> Brief.
> Highlights
accomplishments.
> Groups together
similar jobs.
> De-emphasises
unstable work
history.
> Can use headings
featured
in a job
description.
Highlights relevant
skills that
are supported by a
strong
employment
record.
> Emphasis is on
transferable skills.
> Highlights
accomplishments.
Disadvantages
Emphasises gaps in
employment.
> Doesn’t
effectively reveal
Doesn’t provide a
work history.
> No emphasis on
loyalty, continuity
Longer than other
formats.
> Work history is
usually on
Characteristics
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skills.
Use when …
Don’t use if …
or recency of
experience.
> Showing career
Entering the
progression.
workforce for the
> Showing
first
continuity in a
time or after a long
particular career
absence.
path.
> Work history is
varied or
unrelated.
> Changing fields.
> Emphasising skills
not
used in recent
work.
You’re looking for a You want to
job for the first
highlight career
time.
progression.
> You have
> Your recent jobs
employment gaps. have had limited
> You’ve changed
responsibilities and
jobs often.
functions.
> You’re changing
careers and your
work history does
not relate to
the job you are
applying for.
Finding Yourself a Cadetship – Version 2 – September 2011
the second page.
Each position you
have had involved
a different job
description.
> Demonstrating a
depth
and range of skills.
Experience is
limited.
> There are large
gaps in
your employment.
Page 34:
Kathy Porter
1 Looking Street
North Adelaide SA 5006
Phone: (08) 8555 5555
Own Car and Driver’s Licence
Career Objective
I am looking for employment as a cadet in the human resource management field to
complement my current studies in psychology. I enjoy working with people. I believe
my positive attitude and willingness to give 100 per cent will be an asset to your
business.
Summary
I am computer literate, have typing skills and experience in filing and reception
duties. My communication skills are of an excellent standard. I am flexible, reliable
and highly motivated to succeed.
Key Competencies
Administration/Clerical Skills
 Experienced in handling profit and loss reports.
 Knowledge of manual payroll duties
 (taking out tax and doing pays for employees) as well as using MYOB.
 Able to work under pressure and prioritise tasks.
 Knowledge of computer packages, MS Windows, Word, Publisher,
Internet and e-mail.
 Sound typing and keyboarding skills.
 Able to handle counter enquiries in an efficient and professional manner.
 Experienced in writing letters and typing up invoices.
 Highly developed organisational and time management skills.
 Experienced in general bookkeeping and records keeping.
 Able to carry out general office functions.
 Knowledge of confidentiality practices.
 Experience with the use of multi-line phone system.
 Confident telephone voice and manner and experienced in taking
accurate telephone messages.
 Neat and legible handwriting.
 Able to fill orders and forms.
 Able to use various office equipment including fax and photocopier.
Communication Skills
 Ability to communicate with a variety of people from all levels.
 Ability to use common sense and work through problems.
 Experience in training new staff.
 High standard of written and oral skills.
Education
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Tertiary 2004 - current
I am currently in my second year of a Bachelor of Psychology at Flinders University.
Secondary Senior Certificate 2003
North Adelaide High School
 Business Maths
 Child Studies
 Nutrition and Lifestyle
 Dance >
 English
Contact details say who you are and how you can be contacted.
Make sure they are up to date and accurate.
Summary gives the ‘big picture’ very briefly, of what you do.
Objective tells an employer what position you are seeking , the kind
of work that you are looking for and the next step of your career path.
This section is optional.
Competencies are about your abilities and are targeted to the job
you are applying for. This section convinces the employer that you
are capable of doing the job.
Education and training show you have the educational requirements
to do the job. Include your most recent educational qualification and
subjects you have studied that are relevant to the position
Work History
Replacement Receptionist (casual): 2002 – current
Hoover Home Improvements
> typing letters and invoices > answering phones and taking messages
> assisting in payroll—MYOB > filing, bookkeeping and banking
Kitchen hand (casual): 2002 – current
Mama’s Pizza House
> customer service both face to face and over the phone > taking phone orders
> making pizzas and pizza dough > money handling
> EFTPOS and credit card transactions > general cleaning
Customer Service Assistant (on call): 1999 – 2003
Jay’s Catering
> taking orders > serving food and beverages
> handling money > washing dishes
> collecting glasses
Clerical Assistant (casual): Jan – Sept 2002
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Protocol Crash Repairs
> filing, sorting, photocopying > reception duties
> money handling > banking, accounts payments, writing cheques
> office cleaning > doing the payroll—sorting out tax and
> general bookkeeping pays for employees
Activities and Interests
> Treasurer – North Adelaide > reading
Hockey Club: Sept 2003 - current > looking after young children
> going to the beach > listening to music
> cooking > going out with friends
Referees
Brian Dash – former employer
Protocol Crash Repairs
Phone: 8922 2222
Email: [email protected]
Josie Plack – current supervisor
Owner Manager
Mama’s Pizza House
Phone: 8999 9999
Email: [email protected]
Ryan Morris - current supervisor
Manager
Hoover Home Improvements
Phone: 8333 3333
Work experience explains past and present work activities. It should
include full-time, part-time, casual, contract and temporary jobs; self
employment; and positions you have held as a volunteer or student.
Activities and interests help an employer build a picture of you. Activities and
interests also highlight initiative, communication and organisational ability and
skills you have gained which may be important if they are relevant to the job.
Activities are structured pursuits (e.g. clubs and voluntary organisations). List
the organisation, your role and years of participation. Interests are unstructured
individual pursuits (e.g. sewing, reading, running, football). List the interests and
your involvement (i.e. writing poetry is different from reading it).
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Referees - Referees are people who can provide details of your experience and can
comment on your personal qualities. It is common to include three referees. Provide
accurate details of their name, employer, phone number and email address (if
available), along with a brief statement explaining how the referee knows you. Make
sure you have the referee’s permission to provide their name and contact details.
What makes a good referee?
A good referee is someone who can tell a potential employer what you are like as a
person, and what you are like to work with. A good referee should be able to
provide examples of how you’ve met the criteria being asked for in the job you are
applying for, and talk knowledgably about your skills.
It’s a good idea to brief your referee about the job you have applied for and what the
key attributes are being sought by the employer. Giving them a copy of your résumé
will also remind them of your skills and how you’ve achieved certain goals.
A referee could also be a co-worker, a client or a customer that you have a good
working relationship with.
Don’t use family or friends unless you’ve worked for them.
Useful websites:

www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/Jobs+%26+Careers/Applying+for+jobs/Who+ca
n+be+my+referee%3F/

http://content.mycareer.com.au/advice-research/resume/the-dos-anddonts-of-choosing-referees.aspx

www.fccareers.com/articles_archive/good_referees.htm
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Step 6: Interview well
An employer will almost certainly interview you before determining
whether to take you on as a cadet.
These tips will help you to be prepared and improve your likelihood of success.
Interviews can be very nerve-racking for many people.
Preparation
By being prepared, you will be able to:
 predict possible questions
 show you want the job
 show you are enthusiastic about what you have done and what you want to
do communicate your skills and abilities clearly
 focus on the person(s) interviewing you
 present yourself as being confident.
There are tasks you can do to be ready for an interview.
Preparation tasks checklist








Research the structure, history, personnel and goals of the company.
Know the contents of your résumé very well.
Prepare questions you want to ask the interviewer.
Practise your interview skills.
Practise how you will answer particular questions (especially ones which deal
with possible barriers to getting the job).
Know the time and place of the interview.
Know the name of the person who will interview you (sometimes interviews
are conducted by more than one person—find out who they are).
Prepare an interview portfolio and know the contents very well.
First impressions count, so spend time on how you look and make sure that
you are neat and well groomed. Imagine how the people who work there would
dress if they were representing their company at a public function.
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Practice
Your performance at interviews will improve by practising the skills.
 Learn from each interview and improve your shortcomings for the next.
 Rehearse interviews with supportive friends and relatives.
 Hire or borrow a video camera and set up a role-play with a friend.
The interview process
The description below outlines the usual stages of an interview.
Introduction
The first five minutes of the interview is your opportunity to establish a link or
rapport between yourself and the interviewer. You can do this by:
 smiling and shaking hands
 following their lead: if they start a casual conversation (about hobbies or the
weather) join in, but keep your answers short and positive.
Exchange information
During this time you need to let the interviewer know what you have to offer. Be
positive about your skills and abilities and show the interviewer that you:
 can do the job—describe your skills, abilities, knowledge, experience and
qualifications
 will do the job well—show that you are motivated, dependable and enthusiastic
 will fit into the organisation—demonstrate that you match the company’s
image, values and goals and will get along well with clients and co-workers.
Close
When the interviewer has finished collecting information they will ask you if you
have anything to add or any questions.
You might like to prepare questions that you might want to ask e.g.
 the job itself,
 opportunities for advancement etc
When you have said everything and have asked your questions you should:
 thank the interviewer for their time and consideration
 ask when you can expect to hear from them.
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Questions to expect
Employers usually have issues they look at when selecting a person for the job. Not
all issues will be covered in one interview but you need to be prepared.
They can be divided into the following categories:
 job qualifications, job related interests and career goals (including previous
experience)
 abilities, skills, talents and experience
 listening skills
 written and oral communication skills
 ability to work in teams or without management
 goal orientation and leadership potential
 ability to work and learn.
There could also be hypothetical questions which ask you to imagine a situation and
provide a solution. Answer as best you can and point out that the people involved
and the place would affect the outcome in different situations. Take your time and
ask for clarification if you need it. Your research into the company or organisation
could help you with your answer.
Always answer the questions in a positive way that shows you are the best person
for the job.
Task: Look at the Answering Common Interview Questions table at the end of this
section and write out your answers in note form. There might be other questions
that you would like to add.
Handy hints
The following tips may assist you to interview well:
 talk to friends who have been interviewed and got jobs or to people
employed in industries that interest you about how they got their job. Ask
them what they did
 get a good night’s sleep before your interview so that you can think clearly
 arrive 10 minutes early at the interview so that you can gather your thoughts
and relax
 read any company literature that may be in the waiting area
 be polite to any staff you meet on the way to, or while you are waiting for,
your interview
 make sure you can explain everything on your résumé
 the interview is not the time for:
o true confessions
o discussing politics, religion, race or marital status
o expressing anger over previous employment
o talking about family problems, or
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o complaining about looking for work or the number of interviews that
you have had
if you’re not sure about a question the interviewer is asking, ask them to
explain or clarify that question. Take notes if you need to
asking your own questions shows you are prepared and interested. Things
you might want to know more about include:
o more details about what the job involves, including the hours of work
o prospects for advancement and training
have a short concluding statement prepared for the end of the interview so
you can restate your claims. Illustrate them with items from your interview
portfolio
afterwards, if you do not get the job you have been interviewed for, ask for
feedback to improve your next interview performance. You could ask
questions like:
o do you have any suggestions or feedback regarding my approach or
attitude?
o do you have any hints on how I could improve my interview skills?
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Answering common interview questions
Questions
Tips
Why do you think you are suitable for
this cadetship?
Keep your answer to one or two minutes.
Use your résumé summary as a base to
start from.
Why would you like this cadetship?
Don’t talk about what you want. First,
talk about their needs; for example:
> being part of a specific company
project
> solving a company problem
> making a contribution to company
goals.
What qualifications do you have for this
cadetship?
Describe your education and skills. Use
your résumé and interview portfolio as a
base.
What are your strengths/
weaknesses/faults?
Emphasise your skills. Don’t say you have
no weak points. If you have a lack of skill
in an area refer to it as ‘an area for
improvement’, and describe how you’ve
tried to improve it. Turn a negative into a
positive
Give examples of positive experiences of
how you work well with a ‘group’ of
people.
Say how you would use your skills to
perform in the cadetship and if future
study would help you after you complete
your cadetship then you would be
interested in doing that. If you have
looked at courses of study that relate to
the position, then mention your
investigations.
Do you work well with others, as part of
a team?
Does future study after your cadetship
appeal to you?
Do you have any career plans?
Don’t just answer yes or no. In your reply
relate your career interests to the
position and industry.
Why do you think we should employ
you?
Relate your knowledge, experience,
abilities and skills to the employer’s
needs. Be specific.
What have you got to offer us?
Present at least three points and relate
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What do you know about this
organisation?
Are you a member of any clubs or
organisations?
them to the
organisation and job you are being
interviewed for
Spend some time before the interview
researching the company. Find out about
its products, size, reputation, image,
skills, history and philosophy. Also, show
an informed interest and let the
interviewer tell you about the company
Again, don’t stop at just yes or no.
Mention your role in or association with
any clubs or organisations. This could
include associations you have researched
with a view to joining.
We hope that you find the information in this booklet useful and it equips you with
the knowledge to set about getting a cadetship.
We wish you every success in finding a cadetship and in beginning your journey to a
rewarding and satisfying career.
We are interested in hearing your feedback on this publication, if you would like to
provide feedback please email the ICS team at [email protected]
If you would like additional copies of this booklet, you can email [email protected],
or call 1802 102. Electronic copies are also available at www.ics.deewr.gov.au.
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