We interviewed our performance support manager Michael Sullivan to pick his brain on some of the best ways new jobseekers can enter the employment market.

Michael has a decade of experience working in the disability and rehabilitation sector both in Canada and here in Australia. Joining CHESS in 2014 as an Employment Consultant and Site Manager, he worked with local jobseekers, helping them identify barriers to employment, build confidence and learn the skills needed to find a job.

Since starting with CHESS Michael has progressed to a senior role in corporate employment services, overseeing the performance of our employment consultants and the constant improvement of our service delivery.

When jobseekers start looking for work– what’s the first thing they should do?

When starting out  jobseekers should begin by utilising their own networks. Family, friends and neighbours – these are all trusted sources you can go to for ideas and possible job opportunities.

What information are you looking for in a good resume?

Any gaps in employment should be explained (e.g. maternity leave) or indicate that you were attempting to improve your employment ability chances. For example, showing that a gap in employment matches up with an education course.

Also, ensure the resume reflects who you are and the industry you want to work in. If applying to retail – make it stand out – use colour, include a picture of yourself (if you are comfortable with that). Retail employers receive hundreds of resumes weekly.

What kinds of things should you avoid when writing your resume?

Avoid adding irrelevant information.  Tailor your resume to each job you are applying for and keep things concise and to the point. Recruiters are often time poor so only want to read what is relevant to the position they are looking to fill.

Where should jobseekers go to look for work?

Everywhere! Start close to home with your existing networks and expand from there e.g. sports clubs, online groups etc. Put yourself out there – it is hard at first but it does get easier. Also – follow up. Just because you left your resume with a manager doesn’t mean they are going to remember you in 3 months time. Go back in and leave another resume if need be. Often employers will take a certain amount of resumes from the top of the pile when recruiting so make sure yours is there!

If you are in a position to be able to relocate or work from home – explore those options as well.

What’s your top 3 pieces of advice for modern day jobseekers?

  1. Be realistic with your employment goals. It’s great to have a dream job but often it takes a number of smaller/other positions before you get there. Remember, it’s often easier to get a new job if you already have a job. All the qualifications in the world won’t mean anything to an employer if you have no employment history.
  2. Employers WILL look for you on social media. Refresh the content on your profiles and who can access it.
  3. The world is getting smaller and you never know where a position could lead. Coffs, Clarence and Hastings regions have motels and resorts owned by large international organisation so one day you could be washing dishes in Coffs Harbour, then working in North Queensland and then in a tropical island in the pacific.

Looking for work? Visit our employment page to learn more or contact us on the form below.

  • Our employment supports are designed to provide extra support to local people who experience barriers when looking for work. These include people living with disadvantage, injury, a health condition, disability or mental ill-health, including depression and anxiety.

    If you are unsure about your eligibility you can still enquire and a friendly team member will contact you for a confidential chat. You do not have to declare any type of disability or condition in our enquiry form if you don't wish to.