WhyNot
Lady Talking with speech bubble of a cross and exclamation mark about employment

The Top Ten Lies your Careers Counsellor Told You

Words by Brianna, 21 QLD

This piece was a finalist of the Youth Summit Creative Competition 2020.

1.

You have three pathways after leaving high school.

The first is to go to university.  

A degree in anything will earn you millions of dollars.

(Please note: this option is only available to students with an ATAR score of 90 or higher).

The second is to learn a trade.

(But are you sure you’re cut out for a life of manual labour?)

The third is to work in Maccas and live with your parents for the rest of your life.

2.

Sign up to clubs at university!  

Employers like seeing that you are a well-rounded individual.

The most impressive thing you can add to your resume is that you were captain of your uni debate club for a year.

It’s not a real resume until it has a list of arbitrary university clubs and organisations you signed up to during O Week and went to one meeting for before getting “too pressed down with assignments.”

3.

Volunteer!

Volunteering ALWAYS leads to a real job!  

This is a great way to get experience in your future field of work.

Once people see your work ethic in a volunteering position, they will be convinced on the spot to start paying you, instead of taking advantage of you as being, essentially, another employee who they don’t have to pay for.

4.

Respect the application process!

Employers use online services to advertise their vacancies. 

Read the application information thoroughly, as if it was your favourite book.

Be sure not to include flashy, over-the-top formatting in your resume and cover letter as their document-reading software cannot pick this up.

Submit your applications online in order to make the process as convenient as possible for the employer.

5.

Achieve high grades for every subject!  

It’s important to do well at uni.

Contradictory to the popular myth, P’s DON’T get degrees.

Potential employers will always ask to see your academic transcript when you apply for a role.  

To purchase access to your academic transcript for $45, please follow the links on the Graduation page.  

6.

Be INNOVATIVE!

Find a way to stand out from the crowd!

Employers go through thousands of resumes and cover letters every single day.  

Liven yours up with a bold graphic design or entertaining element, like instructions to fold it into a paper plane so employers won’t have to leave their desk to throw your resume in the bin!

7. 

Have a back-up plan!  

It can be tough to get into your dream job straight out of uni.

In the limbo between graduation and finding employment in your field of knowledge, be prepared to look for alternative means of employment.

It’s always safe to fall back on a retail or hospitality job!

Try enquiring at KFC or Woolies!  Just keep in mind that you will have aged out of these workplaces as you will be too old to legally be paid junior rates.  But it’s worth a shot, right?!

8.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!

The only way to get a job is to know people who are currently working in the field.

Look out for networking opportunities where you can meet potential employers.  

You’re nothing without a professionally photographed LinkedIn profile picture!  Don’t have one?  Come see us at the Careers Fair.  $20 headshots will be available all day.  Bookings required.

Learn how to summarise the 18+ years you’ve spent forming a personality in 60 seconds for a truly effective way to market yourself.  

Do you have a close family member who has a high-ranking position in their workplace?  Perfect!  Ask them for a job!  92% of jobseekers who did this were successful in finding employment! 

9.

Go the extra mile!  Literally!

When we were jobseekers, we would handwrite hundreds of copies of our resumes and cover letters and go door-to-door to businesses.  

Put on your walking shoes and make the rounds at the local shopping centres and business districts with your resume and cover letter!  

If they tell you they only take online applications, they’re lying!

10.

Know your value!

As a young person, you have less experience in the workforce by the time you’ve graduated and become qualified with your degree.

Understand that without that experience, you won’t be given high-paying positions as soon as you enter the workplace.

Be prepared to take up roles in admin and reception!  This could be the gateway to the type of career you spent at least three years preparing for at university.  Oh, you have volunteer experience in your profession?  That doesn’t count, sweetie.

Illustration by AileenYou can find more of her work on Instagram @aileenetc


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