A guide to staying positive while seeking a new ECEC role
Whether it’s seeking a first job in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, or simply changing to another service, job hunting can be daunting.
While there is a well publicised workforce shortage in ECEC, it can be a challenge to find a role in a location which is suitable, with a service philosophy that aligns with your perspectives, and which allows for flexibility to pursue further study, or achieve work/life balance.
The stress and uncertainty of gaining employment can stretch into weeks or months, making it tough to bring your highest self to each opportunity.
For those who are job seeking while unemployed, the pressure intensifies, with recent research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that of the 705,600 unemployed people in February 2020, 86.8 per cent reported having difficulty finding work.
As the impact of COVID-19 continues to influence the job market, a common issue for job seekers is that competition for jobs in Australia has nearly doubled, from approximately 20 applicants for each job at the start of 2020, to around 40 towards the end of the year.
With increased competition comes rejection and disappointment for those who are not chosen to be shortlisted, or ultimately win a role. While this rejection can be disheartening, the key to remaining positive while seeking a new role is to be dedicated to your goal of a new position.
The tips below, compiled by the Melbourne City Institute of Education (MCIE) may support ECEC job seekers as they wait for their dream job.
Having a current resume displaying key skills, qualities, qualifications and experience is a must for any serious job seeker. Opportunities present themselves all the time, and being able to quickly fire off a resume following a casual conversation or approach could be the key to landing a good position.
Resumes should be relevant to the job being applied for to give a greater chance of getting an interview.
Before any interview, take the time to familiarise yourself with the employer’s website and/or social media pages. It is also recommended to have specific and appropriate questions ready.
Having a daily routine
When you are seeking a new position, common advice is “while you don’t have a job, getting a job IS your job”.
That being said, it is important to take time away from job searching each day, because spending hours filling out applications, searching for jobs, or reaching out to recruiters is likely to lead to burnout.
Including relaxation activities into the daily routine, such as reading, taking a short walk, listening to music, or talking with family and friends can all help to maintain a balance.
While job search efforts are important, it is also essential to take the time to unwind, and return to the task of job hunting refreshed and revitalised.
Brush up on your skills and knowledge
In the ECEC sector, remaining current with best practice, updates to laws and regulations, and theoretical knowledge is a vital part of being a quality professional, one who is always in demand for high calibre services.
During ‘down times’ between jobs, remaining occupied with meaningful and constructive work is essential, and maintaining knowledge of the sector will support educators and leaders to increase their confidence in interviews.
Confidence, in turn, can motivate job seekers and heighten their sense of optimism. In contrast, negative thoughts can hold them back, spiral them into a panic, and be demoralising. Staying positive is crucial to success.
Become a volunteer
Volunteering is not only a great way to keep motivated, it could also be a stepping-stone to meeting new people, networking, and learning new skills. Further, it looks great on your resume. It shows constructive use of free time, and resourcefulness, while demonstrating a desire to contribute to the community and succeed.
Attitude of gratitude
Adopting an ‘attitude of gratitude’ not only lifts the mood when feeling discouraged or trapped in a routine, it also enhances resilience and inner strength – important attributes when coping with rejections.
Stay engaged and reach out
Remaining attached to professional networks helps job seekers to draw strength from talking to others in ECEC and getting feedback, or even job leads, from them.
New avenues or doors could open through connecting with people who may be in a position to help in finding a new role, while associating with others may serve as a reminder that many are on a journey to secure a job.