In September’s Panorama we met MEREDITH, who was anticipating her entry into Flourish Australia’s PreEmploy Institute. Here, Meredith tells us how she is progressing, mid-semester…
How has the PreEmploy experience helped me to focus on my best career options?
My work experience as a publications assistant for Panorama magazine has helped me to see that writing articles with the aim of supporting others in their recovery journey is something I really enjoy doing. Writing has become a passion of mine, and something I can really “get lost in” since the process allows me to use my creative flair to entertain as well as inform. I also enjoyed learning and using the InDesign software, which is specially made for magazines. This graphic design component of the job was also highly enjoyable since I also like doing visual design.
You can read Part One of this story by typing “Exploring open employment” into Panorama Online’s search box.
The classroom training sessions confirmed that work in publication would be a suitable career option for me. I did a personality test and the results concluded that a “Writer” would suit my personality type. During these sessions I had the opportunity to take the minutes for some of our employee meetings. I found this quite easy, and it meant I was able to use my writing skills.
During our training sessions we were also able to explore our strengths by providing an exhaustive list we could choose from. One of the attributes was “able to deal with office politics”. I found this point interesting and it allowed me to ask the leader tips on how to effectively deal with office politics. His answers were very insightful. It was a good opportunity to talk about a subject that is not often discussed openly.
I am also interested in singing and songwriting. I was encouraged to bring this up in my first NDIS one–to-one meeting where I could discuss possible options on how I could expand this interest of mine in a more professional way.
Two members of staff also encouraged me that I could make a good Peer Worker. Since I am fairly introverted by nature, this idea is something I found a little daunting. However, I still like to help people, so it’s something I may consider in the very distant future.
What sort of work experience(s) have I been able to gain that I otherwise might not have?
As well as writing, I was also able to learn how to use the InDesign software, which is a powerful program that enables one to set up text and graphics for a newspaper or magazine. I was also able to learn how to become more familiar with using Apple computers since I mainly use a PC at home. It was also handy to learn how to use the latest model photocopier and scanner. However, the most important element that the program has given me is the opportunity to work with other people of all different backgrounds, especially those who are very different from myself.
I needed to see if I would feel comfortable in an office environment and discover if I would be happy in this type of workplace for a long-term position. I wanted to test out my people skills in the main part, since this is essential for success in many work places. The work itself has not been difficult for me and hence was not my primary challenge.
How has doing PEI helped me in gaining confidence about applying for jobs?
The classroom training sessions were very helpful in this area. We were given detailed guidelines on what employers are looking for in resumes and how the screening process works. We were then given a template to fill out, stating our strengths and skills and were given a good block of time to type this into the computer and upload it to a career website like Seek.com. I had not previously known that I could upload my resume onto Seek.com for employers to access of their own accord.
“I wanted to test out my people skills…since this is essential for success in many work places.”
Another useful tip I learnt was that current volunteer work can still be viewed as credible work experience that I could put on my resume. This was encouraging since I always thought previously that if a job didn’t pay you then it wasn’t classified as valid work experience.
“How to hide your age on your resume” was also a highly useful technique that I discovered during these sessions. The strategy is to only mention all your work and study during the last 10 years of your life (instead of the last 30 years, which immediately allows people to calculate your age). This was a very beneficial eye opener for me.
Having actual hands-on experience in publications, naturally gave me greater confidence that I could possibly survive in an office work environment again. As a consequence, it’s given me greater confidence in applying for jobs in this area as well.
– By Meredith
PreEmploy’s next scheduled intake will be for July 2017.
In the meantime, contact Ostara 1300 334 479
Flourish Australia’s PreEmploy Institute
(02) 9393 9260, 37-41 Buckingham Street
Surry Hills, NSW 2010