It might be hard to believe, but it’s true: you’ve graduated.

The long summer break is over and as the new year really kicks in, so does the reality of looking for a job. Whether you’ve finished high school, university or your training, now is the time to take the next step.

Here are some insider tips from Skilling Australia Foundation General Manager Joanne Gedge to get you started. 

1. Network with everyone. Most jobs are not advertised, and the only way you find them is to talk to relatives, friends, associated, peers, teachers and even complete strangers. Let everyone know that you are looking for an apprenticeship, traineeship or work. Ask for, and listen to, advice and seek introductions to people in your field that interest you.

2. Target that job. Create a custom version of your resume for each job or industry that interests you. Your resume is usually an employer’s first contact with you. Make sure it highlights your skills that relate to the job that employer is seeking to fill.

3. Sell Yourself. Don’t be shy, this is the right time to identify and promote your skills. Practice communicating your skills effectively. You need to be able to say what you know, and what you can do, and explain how they relate to the job you want.

4. Get Organised. Make a list to help keep track of your job search efforts. Preparing a list also helps you to organise your priorities and keeps you focused on your goal.

5. Know your Stuff. Read newspapers, industry magazines and blogs to keep up with developments in your field of interest. Knowing the latest trends will help set you apart from other candidates in an interview.

6. Practice makes perfect. Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Know your skills and be ready to illustrate how they relate to the job in question. Practice with a family member or a friend to get comfortable with your responses.

7. Follow up. Keep in regular contact with potential employers, recruitment agents and mentors. Follow up on all leads as soon as possible, it will make you look professional, and if you don’t, you might miss out on a chance.

Looking for a job is a job itself, and Joanne’s most important tip is to keep smiling and treat every application or interview as a learning experience, and don’t let knockbacks get you down!

It only takes one employer to say ‘yes’ and you’ve got your foot on the career ladder. They’re out there right now, waiting to meet you, so get started!