How Jobs For Australia is empowering COVID-affected jobseekers?

COVID-19 has forced many businesses to stand down staff, or put a freeze on recruitment, and the Talent Acquisition (TA) and Human Resources (HR) industry has not been immune with countless professionals let go from their positions.

Among them are Pavi Iyer, Rebecca Powell and Amy Thomas – all highly skilled TAs with an ocean of experience between them. But rather than be dragged down by adversity, the three were inspired to lend their time and expertise to Jobs For Australia (JFA)

What is Jobs for Australia?

Launched in mid-April 2020 in response to COVID-19, Jobs for Australia is a not-for-profit organisation established by author, Justine Figo, The Recruitment Events Company director, Andrea Kirby, and self-confessed ‘HR tech geek’, Rich Lewis-Jones.

Driven entirely by volunteers from the TA and HR industry (like Pavi, Rebecca and Amy, most now find themselves unemployed due to COVID-19), Jobs for Australia’s primary role is to help job seekers navigate through the pandemic by providing job search advice and coaching to improve their hireability.

“The initiative was inspired by the Jobs for Lebanon model – the founders wanted to bring a similar concept to Australia to help Jobseekers who’ve been affected by the COVID crisis, while also supporting the in-house TA and HR volunteers,” explains Pavi. “Jobs for Australia gives people like me and the other volunteers an opportunity to use our expertise, build on our skill set and gives us purpose while we’re in between roles.” 

What services foes Jobs for Australia offer?

For job seekers looking for guidance, Jobs For Australia volunteers give advice in the following areas:

  • Their resume
  • Their LinkedIn profile
  • Interview preparation
  • Personal branding

And although not a job board, the organisation is able to connect jobseekers to suitable opportunities on the job market.

“Jobs For Australia takes a multi-tiered approach in terms of how we support the job seekers – we offer online self-service, group webinars and then one-on-one coaching,” says Rebecca.

“On our Jobs For Australia website we provide resources for writing cover letters and CVs, interview preparation, links to jobs and companies who are hiring, and even advice to help job seekers build out their online presence or their LinkedIn brand. We also offer individual support by providing one-on-one coaching to assigned job seekers. And this week, Amy and I have been working on a group webinar offering interview tips.”

How does JFA work?

To access Jobs For Australia’s services, candidates impacted by COVID-19 register their interest through the website and similar to applying for a job, are required to input their details and upload their resume. From there, the profiles are reviewed then matched to a volunteer.

“We try where we can to match the people as well as we can with the volunteer’s specific expertise, so if we have a candidate who’s an engineer, for example, we try to match that person to a volunteer with experience or contacts in the engineering industry,” explains Amy.

“We also try where we can to match up people in the same location to really maximise the support we can give them. Once the match has been made, the volunteer contacts the candidate (initially via email in most cases) to offer training sessions, or lead them to the online tools they need to get their job search under way.”

Why are TAs and recruiters volunteering their time?

But why volunteer at Jobs For Australia when the time could be spent on their own job hunt? As Amy explains, while most TA and HR volunteers are actively seeking employment, volunteering during this time is bringing enormous benefits.

“I believe the organisation is just fabulous, and I can’t speak highly enough of it,” she shares. “Jobs For Australia is really allowing us (the volunteers) to keep our skills current. We’re very lucky to have SmartRecruiters onboard, so we’re using their excellent platform, and we’re using other tools like Video My Job, so the opportunity is really allowing us to keep our talent acquisition skills current.

“(Volunteering) is also enhancing our coaching skills because we’re often working one-on-one with the individuals, and it’s allowing us to enhance our presentation skills – by getting involved in the delivery of workshops and online webinars we get to put these to the test and build our own personal brands. This is important for those of us who are out there looking for roles ourselves.

“And obviously, it’s really enjoyable being able to give back to the community in an area we know very well. It’s giving me an incredible sense of purpose and accountability – the confidence this has given me is amazing.”

Jobs For Australia success stories

Although the organistion has only been running since mid-April, Pavi says there are already numerous accounts of candidates successfully seeking new employment with help from Jobs For Australia. Many of these stories are posted on the organisation’s social media sites – a practice referred to as #ThankfulThursdays – but one recent success stands out.

“One of our volunteers, Steve, was helping a candidate who was really frustrated and fed up, much like many of the people we come across. He wasn’t getting any interviews, and he was getting zero contact after he’d applied for roles. But despite being initially sceptical about the advice he was being given (by Steve) he followed it anyway and last week he applied for a job for the first time since making changes to his CV and actually got a call back that same day.

“We’re able to offer value and practical advice through our career coaches, and just having someone to listen and help is making a huge difference to how candidates handle their job searches moving forward.”

How can other TA and HR professionals get involved?

To date there’s been an outpouring of support with around 200 industry members expressing an interest in volunteering to jobs For Australia. Specifically, the organisation is currently looking for experts and guest speakers to help lead webinars and group training sessions. If you’d like more information, or to offer your time, register through the website.

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