Recruitment expert Sarina Russo helps job hunters identify skills for new roles

Recruitment expert Sarina Russo helps job hunters identify skills for new roles

Australians who have lost work because of the coronavirus may be better placed to take a job in a new industry than they think, says recruitment expert Sarina Russo.

A. Customer service skills, working as a team, being able to work non-standard work patterns and reliably start early or late shifts makes tourism and hospitality workers highly employable.

Call centre staff are in high demand.

At present there is a huge demand, and thousands of jobs, for call-centre workers across federal and state government agencies, the banking sector and telecommunication industries. When applying for these roles demonstrate your capacity to deal with a diverse range of people, highlight your problem-solving abilities and emphasise a “can-do” customer service philosophy.

There is also demand for smart and motivated people in logistics to schedule and organise consignments of goods to keep supermarket shelves stocked and online shopping flowing. When applying for logistic roles, teamwork, communication skills and the ability to multi-task are highly valued.

Q. How can white collar workers on reduced hours make the most of their time?

A. Step one: undertake a career check — what skills do you need to take your career to the next level? It might be mastering a new software package, improving your digital literacy or even undertaking formal study.

There are VET student loans available for formal study which allow you to “study now and pay later”. Use this downtime as a lifelong learning opportunity to give you a workplace edge, particularly with your current employer.

Research how to start your own business. There are many free courses you can take to learn if becoming your own boss is for you. If you’re not in full-time study, or working 15 hours a week, investigate your eligibility for the federal government’s New Business Assistance with NEIS program.

Q. What are some jobs for recent school leavers that are less likely to be affected by COVID-19 and the economic downturn?

A. Consider becoming an apprentice or trainee. Earn and learn, gain work skills and get a nationally recognised qualification.

The healthcare and social assistance industry is booming.

Once you’re qualified, there are an abundance of job opportunities to begin a fulfilling career.

Due to Australia’s ageing population, the industry is expected to grow by 250,000-plus jobs by May 2023.

Do your research, and you’ll future-proof your career with a job in the healthcare and social assistance sector.

Recruitmeny expert Sarina Russo.

Q. Surely, there aren’t a lot of apprenticeships around right now. What should I do in the meantime?

A. You might be surprised – employers are still looking for the right person to fill their trade vacancies and the Australian Government offers employers incentives to sign up apprentices and trainees.

Visit to locate your nearest Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider and ask what opportunities are available.

Currently Sarina Russo Apprenticeships has over 100 apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities available across Australia.

Take the opportunity to study a pre-trade course at TAFE to get a head start on industry training. To increase your value to an employer consider undertaking associated licences – a construction white card, a machine / truck licence or competencies in power tool handling.

Q. What are the supermarkets likely to be looking for in applicants for the jobs they have created?

A. Employers such as Coles and Woolworths look for a positive attitude, motivation, enthusiasm and someone who is prepared to learn and take direction.

You should tailor your job application to demonstrate an understanding of the supermarket and grocery industry and a willingness to do what the job requires irrespective of your previous career. If a face-to-face interview is required be punctual, respectful and remember the importance of good personal presentation.

Q. What are transferable skills and how do I know if I have them?

A. Transferable skills are qualities which can be transferred from one job to another, and everybody has them.

Before applying for jobs, consider the skills you have which can be transferred to your new role, especially if it’s in a different industry.

It is important you give examples of your transferable skills in your cover letter, resume and job interview. This will go a long way in persuading the employer you are the right fit for their business even if you don’t have industry experience.

Transferable skills employers look for include customer service, teamwork, problem solving, initiative and self-management.

Manage a household and its finances? You have organisational and financial management skills.

Referee a sport or manage a sporting team? You have communication, negotiation, problem solving, conflict resolution, effective time management and teamwork, to name a few skills.


Strong Work Ethic – Taking pride in your work, showing initiative and caring about your co-workers.

Teamwork – Employers want staff to work together to achieve a common goal.

Communication Skills – Communicate clearly and concisely with customers and colleagues.

Effective Time Management – Prioritise your tasks to boost productivity.

Flexibility – The ability to learn new skills and do your work efficiently with a positive attitude.

Sarina Russo is an employment and training expert and founder of the Sarina Russo Group