You know the ones: commonly told and annoyingly true — but often easier said than done.
Here, industry and recruitment experts share their tips behind the career truths everyone should know.
1. New workers have to start from the bottom
“There’s an old Chinese proverb that says ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now’,” Brown & Chase Talent Acquisition and Human Resource Advisory managing partner Efren Chaux said.
“Knowledge and experience can’t be learnt overnight.”
Humility and ‘paying your dues’ is important, too.
“Starting from the bottom builds character, work ethic, experience and knowledge. It builds self-fortitude and resilience, and ultimately makes future success more satisfying,” Chaux said.
“From a technical viewpoint, starting from the bottom allows new starters to listen, observe and learn from more experienced peers and their mistakes. At the end of the day, there’s no substitute for experience.”
There are about 183,200 apprentices and trainees in Australia and about three quarters are aged 15-24, the Australian Bureau of Statistics finds.
2. Keep training throughout your career to avoid being left behind
It’s a fast moving world so anyone wanting to keep pace should continually look for better, more efficient ways to do business, Chaux said.
“Information is easily accessible in the new world, and training and development can come in many different forms — formal studies, free online short courses, audio books or podcasts, TED talks, industry papers and websites, mentoring,” he said.
Jobseekers who have been out of the workforce for a while or are making a career change will likely need to retrain.
About 225,000 Australians aged 45 or older are enrolled in formal study, the ABS finds.
Almost two thirds (145,000) of these are women.
Careers Australia counselling and community services trainer Helen Kimber says about 75 per cent of students in her teaching area are mature-aged students.
“There are often fears associated with returning to study, but Careers Australia works closely with students to offer specialised help and support, to ease the process,” she said.
“Students concerned about being able to complete the work are reassured by our focus blend theoretical and hands-on learning. Mature-aged and second-time students have found this success in the process, particularly those students undertaking counselling and community services studies, who are able to apply their unique life experiences and knowledge when supporting others.”
“It is important to for students to remember that it is never too late to study.”
Nerang RSL gaming supervisor and venue manager Brendon Cooper says it’s important to keep training and staying up to date.
“If you’re not always learning, it gets boring,” said Cooper, who has been with Nerang RSL for six years and in other hospitality roles for about 20.
“Since I have been here I have done more beer training, wine training, food training, technology training and cocktail training — proper training, not just on the job — than I have done in 20 years,” he says.
“If you don’t update, you get left behind.”
3. Who you know is as important as what you know
Chaux said this point is as pertinent now as it has ever been.
“Even though business networking sites and online jobs boards are now commonplace, there is still no substitute for personal referrals and recommendations,” he said.
“Nationally, most of our placements come from referrals or professionals we’ve built relationships with over time. The truest sliver of advice I can give anyone looking for employment is to use their personal and professional networks as sales tools and get them to work for you. Your networks will not only extend your reach in the market and expose to roles you were unaware of, but by having an informal reference at the beginning of the recruitment process you will have an edge over your competitors.”
4. Likability plays a large role in career success
The Good Manners Company founder Anna Musson says new employees should spend the first three months of their job demonstrating their cultural fit.
Like this ... Anna Musson says good manners go a long way. Picture: Sam Ruttyn.Source:News Corp Australia
“Not getting along with colleagues is a red flag to your employer as clashes in the workplace can lead to lower engagement scores at best and lower productivity and resignations at worst,” she said.
In physical roles such as construction, likability and trust are built by productivity and quality of work.
In offices, workers best fit in by going with the flow.
Musson suggests avoiding making sweeping changes from the outset or dressing too casually, even on Fridays.
“We judge a book by its cover and dressing casually suggests a casual attitude,” she says.
“While you don’t need to dress exactly as you may have for the interview, dressing well is crucial.”
Musson’s other tips for likability include:
- Smile and look pleasant as you walk around the office
- Be polite. Hold doors open for others, enter the lift last, say “after you, thank you, excuse me”
- Take part in the coffee run
- Be punctual
5. Practical experience is as important as a qualification/formal education/degree.
Chaux said practical experience and academic qualifications play different roles is a person’s career development.
“In my opinion, one isn’t more important than the other,” he said.
“Education can provide a job seeker with the fundamental knowledge and tools to succeed in their given profession, and practical experience can give the same person hands-on training and development that you can’t learn from books.”
He says there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to the ‘experience versus education’ debate: “It’s how the job seeker applies either their experience or knowledge to the responsibilities and challenges faced in their next role that’s important.”
Read it here: Efren Chaux interviewed for the CareerOne section for Saturday’s News Corp Australia metropolitan newspapers.