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How to stand out in the current blue-collar job market

In Australia, we’re lucky to have low unemployment and a strong number of jobs. But that availability doesn’t mean blue collar job seekers don’t face unique challenges.

You might be looking for a role that provides guaranteed hours, maybe you have limited experience, or you need something close to home to avoid large commutes. But as the cost of living rises and the economy slows, blue collar jobs can become harder to snag.

If these challenges feel familiar to you, what is the solution? Well, right now it’s never been more important to put your best foot forward to land, and keep, a job that suits you. Here are a few key things we know will help you stand out from the candidate crowd:

1. Be reliable

In some blue-collar spaces, we understand that uncertainty about hours or future wages can be stressful, and many candidates might feel that strain. This could lead to unreliability, but our advice is to do the opposite. Reliability is your ticket to success. Show up, be consistent and prove yourself. The more reliable you are, the more your agency and potential employers will trust you, and the more work will come your way.

It is disheartening for potential employers and agencies when candidates are not reliable. For example, sometimes we see candidates secure a promising job but fail to attend their first day. In an environment where jobs are sometimes hard to come by, that's a bad move! These candidates unfortunately lose future opportunities. Because on the other hand, our most dependable candidates will always be top of mind when new jobs arise.


2. Find ways to upskill

There are many ways to upskill. As a candidate with more niche skills or certifications, you’ll be more likely to stand out from the crowd and find or stay in regular work. In our experience, there is currently a need for niche, specialised skills, rather than general experience. 

Many employers and even agencies like us may support upskilling, particularly for specialised jobs. For example, we sometimes help our most reliable candidates get forklift certified and set them up to pay for the certification over four payments. Occasionally, employers also ask us to help them get their workers forklift certified if they have proven themselves to be reliable.

Next time you are researching or applying for a job, speak to your agency and employers about options. This could also include what government support might be available.


3. Communicate with your agency

We see lots of examples of candidates applying for roles they are not suitable or experienced enough for. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a role for them! Say you apply for a manufacturing job, but you don’t get it. Did you also tell the agency that you have a Heavy Rigid (HR) Truck Drivers license (for example)? As recruitment experts in these types of jobs, our team knows how many HR truck driver roles we have to fill, and where. That type of communication is vital to matching skills with available jobs – it’s not always about a specific role you might have seen.


4. Be open and honest about yourself

The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way employers and employees think about work life balance and wellbeing. Having personal challenges doesn’t mean you won’t secure a job. Your best bet is to be open and honest. Explain any struggles you are having, and we will do our best to find a role that supports you. Employers understand the need to be supportive as well. It just comes down to sharing information to ensure the best outcome for you as a job seeker, and your potential employer.


5. Focus on long-term growth

Many blue-collar jobs are week to week. However, when you work with an agency, you can prove yourself and open doors to longer term opportunities. If you build a great relationship, your agency will vouch for you with multiple employers.  

The more you are in the job market, the better off you will be, with higher chances of upskilling opportunities, receiving promotions and earning better pay. Ultimately, it’s a win-win situation.


Looking for your next job?

At Labour Solutions Australia, we can absolutely help with that! Have a look at the available jobs in your area and start applying now. Or get in touch with our expert team to have a chat about how you can stand out, and might be available.