How one young MTC client got smarter, learned new skills and landed a job.
Tahani was 18 and studying at Birrong Girls High School when she started her job search. Wanting to devote plenty of time to her studies, she was looking for something casual and flexible, like part-time retail or hospitality.
“I applied for job after job. I applied for Maccas about 30 times and got declined,” she says. “I applied for every single Woollies branch – I didn’t care how far it was.”
High school graduation came and went but the job search continued, with Tahani becoming more and more despondent with each rejection. She remembers one really awful day where she applied for 90 jobs online – and didn’t receive a single callback. Eventually, a friend told her about the Smart, Skilled and Hired program.
“My friend told me, ‘These guys help you find jobs, they work really hard to help you’,” Tahani relates. “I heard that and wanted to come in straight away because it wasn’t working by myself.”
Not one to procrastinate, Tahani headed for MTC’s Liverpool branch and met Smart, Skilled and Hired Youth Employment Coach Kate Mitrevski.
Job search: 101
Tahani’s friend had told her that the program was free but she was initially doubtful. “I was like, ‘What’s the catch?’” she laughs.
“That was the first thing she asked me!” exclaims Kate.
“When I first met Tahani, she told me she was upset with herself because she couldn’t even get a job at McDonalds. So the most important thing I had to do was instil in her that belief to keep going, to keep trying, and she’d get there as long as she didn’t give up.”
Under Kate’s careful guidance, Tahani spent the next six weeks learning brand new job search skills, like how to write a good cover letter and resume, as well as working on her confidence.
“I used to write cover letters but I didn’t know what they were good for. Kate wrote me this really good one,” says Tahani. “I think it’s what eventually got me hired because it was really engaging, really interesting to read.”
Kate even drove her to the local shopping centre in Merrylands and waited while Tahani went in to store after store, handing out her new resume. “She also taught me how to present myself when I gave out my resume – what to say, how to stand,” explains Tahani.
Getting ready for the big interview
Eventually Tahani landed an interview at Andrews Meat. To get interview-ready, Kate helped her research the company thoroughly, practise her answers to common interview questions and how to act in the interview, and even took her shopping for a professional-looking outfit. Tahani focused all her energy on preparation, coming in to MTC Liverpool every second day and working on her interview technique with Kate and the other staff. Sometimes she just read the questions to herself and composed the answers in her head.
“Kate taught me what to say in the interview, word for word, and the interview ended up having the exact questions that they taught me how to answer!” says Tahani. “One example was ‘What are your strengths?’ I said, ‘I’m motivated, I’m flexible, I have a strong personality, I’m outgoing, I’m social.”
Thanks to the research she’d done on Andrews Meat, Tahani was also able to impress her interviewer by talking intelligently about the company’s product range.
All her preparation paid off: Tahani was offered the job that very same day.
“I was so happy I thought I was going to cry,” she says with a massive smile. “I called Kate, and soon all the MTC staff were messaging me with congratulations. It never would have happened if I didn’t come here.”
“I was over the moon!” says Kate. “I was yelling ‘Congratulations!’ at her on the phone!”
Loving that work life
It’s been over six months and Tahani is still loving her job as a Customer Service Representative with Andrews Meat. The position involves dealing with customers via phone and email, processing orders and invoicing.
“The job is way better than I expected,” says Tahani. “I’ve learned so many new things, like customer service, dealing with new customers, how a company works. Everyone there is really nice and supportive. At first it was challenging because the inventory is huge – it took me a good five months to learn all of it – and now I’m really really good at it!
“It changed my life. In every way. I just feel like I’m an adult.”
The job had another positive effect – having a steady income allowed her to pay for driving lessons and pass her test.
“I feel like I’ve become so much more mature. It’s changed so many things in my life,” she explains. “I used to say to Kate, ‘There’s a prophecy against me that I can’t get a job!’ When I got one I couldn’t even believe it – I broke the prophecy!”
That gets a big laugh from Kate. “Tahani is someone who’s left an impression on all of us. We use her as a positive example for our other young clients. I’ve told Tahani’s story to help other kids who don’t have self-confidence.”
Tahani is similarly appreciative of Kate’s role in her job search. “I couldn’t imagine anyone else taking her place. She went out of her way all the time to see me, help me, give me advice. She’s an amazing person, so motivating.”
Now that the pressure of finding a job has lifted, Tahani has time to properly consider her future. There are career progression opportunities available at Andrews, and she’s even considering further study when she’s ready.
“I’m very proud of how far Tahani has come,” grins Kate. “We’ll keep in touch for sure, I have to see what happens next!”
About the Smart, Skilled and Hired program
Smart, Skilled and Hired supports young people that are seeking work, or who have a part-time job but want to work more hours. Participants work one-on-one with a dedicated Youth Employment Coach to identify work goals and create a plan for achieving them – this might include education or training, work experience or support from community services.