On this page

  • Find out about the job
  • Prepare your application
  • Be ready for an interview

Whether you find a job through a friend, a job website or some other way, you may need to prepare a formal written application - even for a casual or low skilled job. A written application may include a cover letter and a resume, or just one or the other.

For most jobs, there will also be one or more interviews with the business owner or a manager.

Find out about the job

Before applying, find out about the job. The research you do will depend on the type of job and the industry.

Is there a position description?

Some jobs are advertised with a position description. A position description provides details of the responsibilities of the job, and other information about what the employer expects from the person they want to hire.


If you have a job in Australia you are entitled to receive the right pay and work conditions. Fairwork Australia has a calculator on their website that you can use to check what your employer should pay you.

Prepare a resume and cover letter

Before applying, prepare a resume and cover letter. You may need to make small changes to both when you apply for a job, to emphasise the previous experience that directly relates to the job you are applying for.

What to include (and what to leave out)

If there is a position description available for the job you are applying for, tailor your cover letter and resume to highlight the experience you have that relates to the job.

Include contact details so the employer knows how to reach you if they want to offer you a job.

Use your resume or CV to outline your experience, skills and qualifications. You don't have to include everything you've done on your resume. For example, if you are applying for a part time job in a cafe, make sure any similar experience is highlighted, but you may not need to provide details about the work you've done in another industry unless you can explain how it is relevant to the position you are applying for.

Don't attach all your qualifications and references to your application but have them with you when you go for an interview. You may not need them at all, depending on the job you are applying for, but it's a good idea to have them handy in case you need them.

Are you the right person for the job?

The most important information will be about your suitability for this particular job - relevant qualifications and experience, the telephone numbers or email addresses of references, and whether you demonstrate the qualities the employer is looking for.

Keep a copy of your application to refer to at your interview.

What to expect at an interview

If there are many candidates for a casual or seasonal job, there may be a group interview.

Other types of jobs usually have an interview in which you are the only candidate. Some interviews are with just one person asking questions. You may find that there are two or three people asking you questions in the interview. This is often called a panel interview.

Some interviews are casual and 'on the spot', for example if you apply for a job in a cafe, and they have an immediate vacancy you might be interviewed on the day you give them your resume!

For some positions you may have to go to more than one interview. At a second interview you may meet some members of the team and you may also need to complete a test or a small task.

It's natural to be nervous

Don't worry if you are nervous at your interview. Most people feel a little nervous in these situations. Employers expect it and make allowances for nerves when they assess candidates.