How to stand out in a crowded job market

As a TAFE graduate, you have several factors working in your favour when looking for work

While Australia is in the fortunate position of having low unemployment (and even skills shortages in some industries) it remains the case that when you apply for a job you'll probably be competing for it with many others. So how do you, as a TAFE student or graduate, grab a potential employer's interest?

The biggest thing you have going for you as someone who has undertaken a TAFE course is the vocational focus of your education and your on-the-job experience. It takes time and money to train employees, which is why employers prefer to take on those who can hit the ground running. If you've been to TAFE, you would have been taught by people with a lot of industry experience and probably done work placement where you had the chance to match theory with practice and learn how a real world workplace operates.

Even if other candidates have qualifications from what are seen to be more prestigious educational institutions, a busy employer will usually opt for the applicant who they consider most ‘job ready'. Given TAFE puts a lot of effort into ensuring its graduates are as job ready as possible, you should highlight, initially on your CV and then in job interviews, what it is you've learnt from industry experts and the valuable work experience you already possess.

The other resource you can draw on is TAFE's close relationship with the industry. The upside of this is that you will likely have had contact with people – business owners and managers – who can either employ you themselves or at least put in a good word for you with others in the industry you're hoping to break into. Also, one of your well-connected teachers may be able to alert you to upcoming job opportunities as well as possibly provide a reference for you.

As a TAFE graduate, you have several factors working in your favour when looking for work, so don't hesitate to take full advantage of them. For more information on how TAFE seeks to maximise the employability of its students, visit TAFE NSW.