Dear Lifehacker, I left my job of five years 12 months ago due to some health issues. I'm now back in the job market but I can't get a response to the applications I'm sending out. I'm not sure if it's because of the year off work (although I'm lying and saying I've been travelling), or because it's a tough market right now in my industry (my contacts say that most advertised positions are already filled).
I've reluctantly gone onto Newstart and had an interview with the assigned job agency which was a waste of time. I'd pay a reasonable fee to an agency who I could be honest with and could help me with my resume and a possible move to another industry. How might I find a great and helpful agency? Any other ideas? Thanks, Wanna Work
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Depending on the nature of your health issues, you may be able to use the services of a disability employment agency which will campaign to find work on your behalf. There are various disability employment services in Australia which exist to provide employment assistance for people with injuries or health conditions.
These agencies can provide job-search support and help to prepare you for work, including training and resume creation. You can find out more information at the Australian Government's Department of Human Services website. Alternatively, you can call the Employment Services line on 132 850 or head down to your nearest DHS Service Centre for immediate assistance.
As to your hiatus from work, I think honesty might be a better policy here. While it's true that some employers might be reluctant to hire a person with a serious illness, they're even more likely to balk at hiring someone who goes on 12-month holidays. It might even be worth noting the reason for the gap in your CV -- it will look better than an unexplained hole in your work history.
If you want to move into another industry be prepared for a challenging road ahead; especially if you're north of 30. A recruitment agent can be helpful in this situation. You said you found this to be a waste of time but it's worth trying a few different agencies on for size: some will understand your personal requirements and professional aspiration better than others.
You should also be able to find plenty of career change advice on our website via the Job Search tag. Happy hunting!
If any readers have advice of their to dispense, please let WW know in the comments section below.
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