Finished studying? Check. Ready for full-time employment? Check. Unsure of what to do next? Uh, check. There is plenty to be excited about when starting your career. You’ll be getting a regular pay packet and hopefully working in a job you enjoy. But finding the job that’s right for you and adjusting to life in the working world can be challenging. To help make this transition easier, we’ve put together a quick guide to kick-starting your career.
Welcome to the working world
After years of studying, you might have a clear idea of what you want to do, or you mightn’t be so sure. You’ll be spending a lot of time at your job, so making sure that you are happy at work is important. To get you thinking, write down your key skills and what you’re passionate about, and the aspects of your study you found most interesting. Then, research as much as you can and talk to people already in the field you’re interested in.
Once you’ve got a career path in mind, here are some tips for landing your dream job:
- Volunteer and intern at organisations you’re interested in: Not only does this help you get great experience for your CV and valuable references, it also means you get a good insight into an organisation’s culture and work environment.
- Check out industry specific websites and publications: This will help you get to know more about the job you’re interested in and give you valuable knowledge that you can use in interviews. They are also a good source of job ads - take a look at what life is like working at CommBank.
- Register with recruitment agencies: They have good contacts and will able to give you advice about your CV.
- Make sure you’re presenting a good online persona: Your prospective employer may look you up on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure that you are happy with what they will be able to see. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, create one and keep it up to date.
- Be prepared: Make sure that your CV and cover letter are clear and adhere to what the job ad asks for. Check carefully for any spelling errors and try to make your application as specific as possible to each different job.
Interviews can be daunting, but remember that it is just a conversation. To put your mind at ease:
- Prepare for tricky questions such as ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ ahead of time. Ask a friend or family member to do a trial interview.
- Learn as much as you can about the organisation so that you can ask them specific questions about the role and workplace.
- Arrive about 5-10 minutes early and dress appropriately.
- If you’re uncomfortable with a question, ask the interviewer to clarify what they’re asking and explain how it is relevant to the position.
You may already have a tax file number from a previous job. If you don’t, you can apply for one through the Australian Tax Office. It’s in your best interest to get your tax file number to your employer as soon as possible; otherwise you will be taxed at the highest marginal rate. Learn more about tax and what you’ll need to do at the end of the financial year.
Typically there are two chunks of money that will come out of your pay - tax and superannuation. While you don’t have much choice about paying tax, you can control where your super goes.
Your employer has to pay a minimum of 9.5% of your income into super, money that is typically set aside until your retirement. You can choose which super fund you want to use or use one recommended by your employer. CommBank’s Essential Super is a low-fee super fund that you can see and manage in NetBank.
Make sure that your fund has:
- Low fees
- Performed well in the past
- Frequent updates on how your money is performing.
If you’ve held part-time jobs while studying, you probably have some super already. You can use the ATO’s SuperSeeker tool to track down any money you may have already contributed. It’s a good idea to consolidate your super in one spot so you pay fewer fees.
Once you’re earning a regular salary, you might find yourself with more money than you’ve ever had before - so it’s important to manage your hard-earned money effectively. Most employers will pay you with a direct debit into your bank account, so online banking will help you stay up-to-date with what’s happening. You can also set up a savings account so that you can start putting money away for big ticket items like a holiday, car or even property. A budget will be your best friend here; set up a savings goal in NetBank to help you meet your target.
This might seem like an odd tip, but if you’re going to be working full time for 9 hours a day, you’re going to have to put more effort into staying healthy. Eat the right foods, go for walks at lunch time and try to exercise before or after work. A balance of good food, exercise and work will make your transition into working life much easier.