Academy Xi Blog

Market update: Penetration Tester demand and salary in Australia, 2022

By Academy Xi

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter

Cyber attacks are rapidly rising with a 125% increase in 2021, costing businesses an average of $4.35 million USD per breach. The demand for ‘ethical white hat hackers’ has never been higher, as corporations double down on getting their cyber defences sorted. Discover where ‘Pen Testers’ fit into the big picture.

Penetration Tester Demand 

It is anticipated that an additional 16,600 cyber security professionals will be needed nationally by 2026, including penetration testers.

Penetration Tester Salary

The average annual salary for Penetration Tester jobs in Australia ranges from $120,000 to $170,000.

Penetration Tester Skills

Industry-focused, practical training will ensure you’re equipped with the right skills and mindset.

The pandemic undoubtedly added rocket fuel to the levels of cyber crime, with ransomware and data theft being the forerunners. As a result, businesses are seeking cyber professionals in-house and as contractors en masse. 

Recent research commissioned by CyberCX and conducted by independent think tank, Per Capita, reveals there will be a staggering lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals over the next four years, to the tune of 30,000 unfilled positions nationwide.

If a future in penetration testing has been calling you – now is the time to act.

What do Pen Testers do?

what do pen testers do Australia

Penetration Testers, often referred to as ‘Pen Testers,’ are responsible for running pre-planned and authorised simulations of cyber attacks, carried out on IT infrastructures to evaluate current levels of security. 

Running such a simulation can reveal any system vulnerabilities which need addressing to bolster the framework and make it more resilient against hackers.

This proactive approach to cyber security can involve using a range of hacking tools and techniques, with the pen tester acting in the role of hacker in an attempt to find any system holes that a real cyber-crime could exploit. 

Pen Testers need to document their entire process to develop a penetration test report, which can be shared with relevant stakeholders to highlight the current state of security and where different levels of action or monitoring are required. 

Daily responsibilities will vary depending on the industry and organisation, but some common tasks include:

  • Researching different attack strategies and tools
  • Reviewing code for potential vulnerability 
  • Automating testing approaches to increase efficiency
  • Ongoing documentation of any compliance threats
  • Development of pen testing methods
  • Conducting ongoing testing after security improvements 
  • Generating reports of findings 

Are penetration testers in demand in Australia?

It is anticipated that an additional 16,600 cyber security professionals will be needed nationally by 2026, including Penetration Testers.

The table below demonstrates the cyber security workforce need and shortfall forecast for Australia by 2026.

Penetration tester salary in Australia

As with many occupations there are a range of factors that can impact earning capacity such as experience, location, training and qualifications.

The average annual salary for Penetration Tester jobs in Australia ranges from $120,000 to $170,000, with Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne based roles being the highest paid.

Be mindful that we are talking in-house positions and there are likely many that can be performed remotely, from wherever you’re located.

Junior pen tester salary

Depending on the industry and organisation, some entry level Pen Tester salaries can start at around the $90,000 mark.

Senior pen tester salary

Those with more industry experience can command salaries of $175,000 and up as Penetration Testers. 

Can penetration testers work as a freelancer?

Yes. Freelancing can provide freedom and flexibility, but it isn’t recommended as a starting point for your pen testing career. By taking on in-house positions within cyber security, you will gain a breadth of experience, meet a range of people within the industry and ultimately ‘cut your teeth’ with the pros. Venturing into freelance before establishing a solid foundation can prove to be a lot more challenging, as you will likely not have the industry contacts, which can be helpful when securing your initial clients. 

What skills do you need to be a penetration tester?

penetration tester skills Australia academy xi

First and foremost, a willingness to be continually learning is an important attribute for anyone wishing to delve into the world of penetration testing, or cyber security in general. 

The playing field is forever changing, requiring constant research and investigation. Specifically, key skills include knowledge and a working understanding of:

  • Coding
  • Programming languages (Python, Ruby, Java, Perl, BASH)
  • IT security technologies
  • Threat modelling 
  • Penetration testing management platforms
  • Computer networks and capabilities
  • Components of different networks
  • Security assessment tools
  • Remote access technologies
  • Vulnerabilities and exploits beyond tool suites

In addition to the above skills, it’s also important to have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, so you can present your findings effectively and with impact to all relevant stakeholders. 

Similar specialisations and career paths

  • Information security analyst
  • Security software developer
  • Security architect
  • Security engineer

How to become a penetration tester Australia

Pen tester demand and salary australia

Ensuring you have industry-ready skills is definitely required to break into penetration testing. While it is not uncommon for pen testers to have tertiary qualifications, such as a Bachelor of IT or computer science, it’s actually hands-on industry experience that will be appealing to most employers.

By fast-tracking your training with industry-built, practical and outcomes-focused courses, you will graduate job-ready in a fraction of the time it would take you to complete a degree, getting you out into the working world at pace.

Our Cyber Security Engineering: Transform course will ensure you are equipped with the skills needed to enter the world of penetration testing with confidence. The course can be completed part-time in 10 months, with practical learning, expert mentoring and 1:1 career coaching.

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor and take the first steps in your penetration testing journey.

Academy Xi Blog

Career Chats Episode 2: Cover Letters and Resumes

By Academy Xi

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter

If you missed the Career Chats masterclass with our award-winning career coach Elizabeth Houghton, here are the highlights. Elizabeth will give you practical tips on preparing your cover letter and resume, helping you land the role of your dreams.

I’m Elizabeth and I’m the career coach here at Academy Xi. It’s my mission to support our students and help them transition into new careers, ensuring they land the role they’re after once they’ve finished their studies. In today’s session we’re looking at cover letters and resumes. I’m going to help you to really sell your story in your job applications. 

We have five items on the agenda. Firstly, we’re going to talk about why you need a cover letter and how it impacts your chances of securing an interview. I’ll take you through a six-part framework to help you craft a stand-out cover letter. I’ll explain how you can highlight your skills in your resume, as well as how to write achievement-based job summaries to make your career experiences really shine. Finally, we’re going to go through some common mistakes to avoid with cover letters and resumes.

Why do you need a cover letter and how does it impact your chances of securing an interview? 

If you follow discussions on LinkedIn, you’ll know there’s a big debate about cover letters and whether or not they’re needed these days. I’ve done a bit of research and found some numbers to really drive home the positive impact a cover letter can have on your applications:

  • 83% of hiring managers say cover letters are important for their hiring decision.
  • A further 83% of hiring managers claim that they would interview a candidate with a great cover letter, even if their resume wasn’t up to scratch. 
  • 74% of recruitment decision makers prefer to receive job applications which include a cover letter. 
  • Even if submitting a cover letter is optional, 77% of recruiters will give preference to candidates who include a cover letter. 
  • Finally, 72% of recruiters still expect cover letters, even if the job ad states they are optional.

As these numbers show, the people making hiring decisions like seeing cover letters and give weight to them as they go through applications. 

In a cover letter, you can explain your motivation for joining a company, describe your career objectives and what it is you’re trying to achieve. This is especially important if you’re going through a career transition. 

If you were a veterinarian last week and now you’re applying for a UX UI Design role, the person reviewing the application might wonder why. Your cover letter gives you a chance to start answering those questions. Similarly, if you’ve taken time out of your career, you can use your cover letter to provide some context. 

It’s a great opportunity to highlight your professional achievements. If you’ve got stuff in your career that you’re really proud of, you can put those front and centre in your cover letter. 

It’s also a great way to demonstrate your written communication skills. With everyone using technology, there’s been a drop in people’s ability to write. If you can formulate a very strong cover letter, it shows an employer that you have a crucial skill. 

When you apply for a role, the job advert will provide a position description. With your cover letter and your resume, you can use that position description as a marking criteria. Those are the points to discuss, which will allow you to link all of your skills, your experience and your unique value directly to what they’re asking for from candidates. 

To underline the point – cover letters aren’t optional, regardless of what you might hear. They add concrete value to your application that you don’t want to miss out on.  

How do you craft a stand-out cover letter?

I’ve put together a six-part framework, which should be really easy for you to follow. For each part I’ll give you a sample.

Part 1 – The first paragraph needs a really impactful opening. 

Dear {name},

Re: {job title and company}

My name is {name} and I am a Product Manager professional with recent experience in Visual Branding and Design. This is my formal application for the role of {insert role} at {company name}.

Upon seeing this vacancy as advertised on {insert job platform}, I viewed it as an exciting opportunity to expand on my Human-Centred Design and UX UI Design skills and support your organisation to {what they are aiming to do}.

Part 2 – The second paragraph should cover your experience.

Throughout my {xx} year professional career I have a demonstrated history of working in teams to deliver customer-focused designs that improve business outcomes and the overall customer journey. I have deepened my qualifications by successfully completing a UX UI Design bootcamp, working on real client projects, and recently enrolled in an introduction to Product Management to further enhance my skill-set.

Part 3 – The third paragraph is when you should list your skills, which should all be relevant to the position description.

As mentioned above, I have {xx} years experience in this industry that has developed my interpersonal and communication skills to a high standard. I enjoy communicating with a range of internal and external stakeholders in order to deliver high quality results for the organisation. I spend many hours of my current work week researching, collating and presenting data to enhance product designs. 

Part 4 – The fourth paragraph will include your achievements, which also should be applicable to the role you’re applying for.

In July 2022, I was honoured to receive a UX Leader of the Year award from the Symplicit Women in Digital Awards. This can be attributed to my dedication to understanding customer journeys and designing products that delight and surprise customers.

Part 5 – The fifth paragraph will offer an explanation for why you’re applying to work with that organisation. Explain why their values align with yours. 

Through friends and family who have worked within your company, I have heard that the customer focus and workplace culture is very positive and fulfilling. I want to be a part of a company that values delivering high standards of service and enables staff to participate in such a rewarding industry. I love my work and pride myself on contributing to a positive and productive workplace culture. Therefore, I believe my career ambitions and what I can deliver are perfectly aligned with your company’s goals.

Part 6 – The sixth and final paragraph should contain a really strong, positive closure.  

I would enjoy having the opportunity to talk with you more about this position, and how I can use my skills to benefit your organisation. Thank you for taking the time to read my application and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,

{your name}

Remember, you need to keep the paragraphs short and tight. All of this should fit into a one page Word document. 

When it comes to writing your resume, use the same font and formatting as you used for your cover letter. Try to be concise with your words, and always carefully proofread to weed out any spelling and grammatical errors (if you’re an Academy Xi Transform student, feel free to send your cover letter and resume to the Career Support team and we’ll gladly proofread it for you).

Try to restrict your resume to one or two pages. Ideally, keep it within one page, unless you have a lot of relevant career experience. If you have a ten word sentence that can be said in four, reduce it.   

It’s also important to avoid using technical jargon, even if it’s industry-specific. The hiring manager or recruiter may be a generalist who doesn’t understand the terminology. 

How to highlight your skills and experiences

When it comes to highlighting your key skills in your resume, you have a couple of options for how to present them. You could break them into categories, such as hard, soft and technical skills, or you could combine them and discuss them in sentences. 

However you choose to list them, it’s important that you focus on skills that are relevant to the application. These are called your ‘core’ skills. As an example, you might list:

Relationship Building & Stakeholder Management

Exceptional at building relationships with all stakeholders, ensuring effective communication and desirable project outcomes. 

If the job description asks for a particular core skill that you have, make sure that skill is moved to the top of your resume. Don’t make the person reviewing the application have to dig around to find out if you have that skill.

How to create achievement-based job summaries

A job summary is placed in the career history section of your resume. It gives an overview of your experience, capabilities and achievements. It will list your job title, the company name and the time period during which you worked for that organisation. Underneath that, you can provide your job summary. Remember – your job summary is not just a list of tasks you performed. It’s a chance to highlight your skills and achievements and to root them within a particular context. 

The general rule of thumb is to have five or six bullet points for your current role and four or five bullet points for your previous roles, only listing relevant responsibilities. If you’re making a career transition, you might need to look at your past roles through a slightly different lens and make that experience applicable to a new industry. 

If you can, demonstrate your capabilities and achievements through the use of tangible evidence, such as statistics, figures, timeframes, budgets etc. This is a powerful way to increase the impact of your application with the hiring manager or recruiter.

When it comes to structuring your job summary points, follow these three steps to build impactful sentences;

Step 1: Start with an action word, such as implemented, improved, accelerated, processed or delivered. 

Step 2: Describe what you actually did.

Step 3: Include tangible evidence of success, or describe a desirable outcome. This may read as follows: 

Led responsive design creation for the landing page which yielded a 50%  increase in lead generation and improved conversion rates.

Tangible evidence is not essential for every single job summary point, and can be difficult to come up with for everything you’ve done, but at least two bullets should cover this. It gives perspective on your level of responsibilities and offers solid proof of how you’ve used your skills. 

Common mistakes to avoid

Here are a few mistakes people often make with cover letters and resumes which are easily avoided. 

  • Not tailoring cover letters and resumes. It may seem time-consuming, but once you’ve read a few job descriptions and adjusted your cover letter and resume to suit the specifications, you’ll be able to do it quite quickly. 
  • Regurgitating your resume or the job description in cover letters. This is your chance to answer any objections that you predict a hiring manager might have, or to add flavour and colour to your application, so resist the urge to repeat things. 
  • Too wordy or sharing too many details. Remember, keep it succinct and to the point.
  • Incorrect contact details. It sounds basic, but always double check that phone number and email address – it’s often the simple stuff that catches people out!

That’s a wrap for today’s session. I hope it’s been useful and given you some practical advice. We’re doing these career chats every couple of months, so be sure to tune in for the next session. We’ll update you on that very soon. 

It’s been a pleasure going through cover letters and resumes with you. I wish you all the best with your job applications – hopefully you land that dream role soon!

If you’re keen to transition into a new career and need to add shine to your resume, Academy Xi offers flexible online courses covering the digital skills that employers are searching for. 

If you want to discuss your transferable skills and explore course options, speak to a course advisor today

Academy Xi Blog

Career Chats Episode 1: Job Search Strategies and Techniques

By Academy Xi

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter

If you missed the Career Chats masterclass with our award-winning career coach Elizabeth Houghton, here are the highlights. Elizabeth will give you practical tips for networking on LinkedIn, preparing your career documents and landing the role you’re after.

I’m Elizabeth and I’m the career coach here at Academy Xi. It’s my mission to support our students and help them transition into new careers, ensuring they land their dream jobs once they’ve finished their studies. 

In today’s session we’re going to go through using LinkedIn to network, getting your career documentation ready for applications and preparing your 30-second elevator pitch, which you can use to introduce yourself at networking events and in interviews. I’m also going to explain what informational interviews are and how to follow-up with any connections you make. 

If you’ve made hundreds of applications and you’re still not landing the gig you want, you’re in the right place. During today’s masterclass, you’ll get exposed to five job search strategies which will help you tap into your professional networks and hopefully accelerate your career transition. 

LinkedIn

If you’re not already on LinkedIn, I strongly recommend you create a profile. It’s very different from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. As a professional networking site, it’s there to help you develop in your career and can also be an extremely powerful tool when it comes to searching for jobs. 

Start by identifying the roles you’d like to apply for and then search on LinkedIn for people who already work for organisations that you’d like to work for. Come up with a list of your five dream companies, search for people working at those companies in the department you’d like to work in. Reach out to those people and let them know that you’re keen to work with the company. If you already know someone who works for that company, reach out to them and ask if they’re willing to put in a good word for you with their hiring manager or HR team. 

It’s also a good idea to use LinkedIn to follow companies you’re interested in. It’s a great way to stay up-to-date with what the company’s up to and will give you visibility over any new roles they advertise. If any positions become available, they’ll pop up in your newsfeed and you’ll be one of the first people to find out.   

Building new connections on LinkedIn

Establishing a new connection on LinkedIn can be quite an intimidating process. However, the worst thing that can happen is somebody doesn’t respond to you. The people who do respond could end up being really valuable in your job search process.

The first steps are to view someone’s profile, follow them and then interact with their content by liking and commenting on their posts. Once you’ve spent time engaging with them, you can submit a connection request. When you’re submitting the connection request, LinkedIn will ask you if you want to include a note. You could use a message like this to start a conversation:

Hi [insert name],

I recently discovered you are a Senior UX Designer at [insert company name]. I admire your company’s mission and values. I’m currently building my professional network and would love the opportunity for us to connect here on LinkedIn.

[insert your name].

When they’ve accepted your connection request, send them a short and sweet thank you. In the same message, you can also ask them a simple question about their career. You might want to ask them how they transitioned into their role, which can act as a conversation starter. 

Following this process, you can establish a connection on LinkedIn with someone you’ve never met before. This will help you start to build a meaningful professional network around you to support you with your career goals.

LinkedIn groups     

The second stage to using LinkedIn is to join groups and connect with others in your industry, which will really help to expedite your job search. LinkedIn groups are essentially virtual meeting rooms or forums where people with similar interests can hold conversations and share ideas. 

Participating in groups allows you to demonstrate your experience on a subject and grow relationships with like-minded people. These people could be colleagues, future colleagues or even future customers. They could offer solutions to job-related challenges you’re facing, or present opportunities for partnerships that grow your career. By contributing to group conversations and being a reliable source of information, you’ll build a valuable network of people who trust your expertise.  

LinkedIn makes it really easy to search for groups by keywords. There are two types of groups on LinkedIn, public and private. If the group is public, you just hit the ‘ask to join’ button and you can immediately start interacting. If the group’s private, you can ‘ask to join’ but permission will have to be approved by the group administrator. 

You can be a member of up to 100 groups, but keep in mind that the groups aren’t pre-managed. Try to dedicate your time to groups that are well managed and offer a strong level of interaction. Remember, you’re there for a reason – to build a network of professionals who can support you in your job search. I’d recommend that you find a handful of good groups and make sure you play a meaningful part in them. 

When you’ve joined a group, take the time to understand the content and the kinds of questions people are asking. If you share content that’s relevant to people, you’re more likely to build good connections. If you share a blog article, make sure you ask the group a question about it. You’re trying to create engagement, so don’t just post an article and leave it at that. 

Also, try not to over-promote yourself. Approach the groups like you would a face-to-face networking event. You don’t want to be too quiet, but you also don’t want to dominate the conversation. 

Finally, once you’ve established familiarity with people and you’re interested in their content, add them on LinkedIn. If they’re on Twitter or have a Facebook business page, connect with them on those platforms too. Most people are using the groups for the same reason, so they’ll probably be happy to connect.   

Getting your career documents ready

The next step is to get your career documents ready. Your career documents include your cover letter, resume, linkedIn profile and, depending on what industry you’re applying in, your portfolio.

It’s unlikely that your LinkedIn profile and portfolio will change when you apply for different roles, but you will need to tweak your cover letter and resume each time. The job description provides you with a criteria and you need to make sure that your cover letter and resume demonstrate that you meet that criteria. If the job description breaks down the key job responsibilities, as much as possible, make sure you provide examples of when you’ve completed those responsibilities in previous roles. 

Somebody’s just asked “is it necessary to make your portfolio public, even when you’re a beginner and have only one simple project to include?”. 

I think it’s sensible to make it as easy as possible for a hiring manager to view your portfolio. Some people include a URL and a password in the resume, but it just makes things unnecessarily complicated. Even if you make your portfolio public, it’s unlikely that anyone is going to find it through a Google search. 

The next question is “Where should I post my portfolio?”. 

Honestly, post it anywhere that works for you. You could use Squarespace, Figma or WordPress, or any other platform you’re comfortable with. You could also create a presentation showcasing your portfolio and pin it to the top of your LinkedIn page, which is a great way to catch people’s attention.

Elevator pitch 

Your elevator pitch is an essential resource in your job search. It’s the quickest way to let others know of your accomplishments and qualifications, as well as the kinds of problems you can solve for a company. Having a 30-second elevator pitch ready will give you more confidence when you’re networking and enquiring about job opportunities. 

Remember, the key to a great elevator pitch is to make sure it aligns perfectly with your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and portfolio. The aim is to make sure that they all authentically speak to who you are, and each piece will be consistent and add depth to your story. 

There are five easy steps to follow when it comes to planning your elevator pitch:

Step 1: Identify who you are and who you help. Your pitch shouldn’t be all about you. Instead, you’re trying to ignite a two-sided conversation about what you do. 

Step 2: Identify your why. Explaining why you do what you do will clarify your passion and sense of purpose, giving the listener a reason to take action after your pitch. 

Step 3: Explain what makes you unique. Be clear on what’s unique about your approach and talk about it with confidence. You might talk about an accomplishment or a major problem that you’ve solved in the past. 

Step 4: Include a ‘call to action’. This could involve an exchange of business cards, an agreement to connect on LinkedIn, or better yet, a follow-up meeting. 

Step 5: Practise and revise. Rehearse your pitch out loud so that you’re able to deliver it as comfortably as possible. 

If you put all those pieces together, you’ll have your 30-second elevator pitch. As you have more interactions with people during your job search, not only will you refine your pitch, you’ll also become more confident delivering it 

Informational interviews

An informational interview is a great way for you to get ahead in your job hunt. An informational interview is when you meet someone and you ask them for career and job search advice. That person could go on to become your ally, advocate or mentor. They may offer to pass your resume along to a hiring manager, or tell you about jobs before they’re advertised. They might even give you advice on specific details that you can weave into your cover letter and resume which will give you an advantage.   

To set up an informational interview, you should target 2-3 people who are working in the sector you’re targeting, possibly at companies you’re keen to work for. Next, reach out to them and ask to set up a brief chat. At this stage it’s important to be genuinely interested in that person’s experience – they need to believe that they have something to offer you.

Remember, don’t use the informal interview just as a chance to ask for a job. The purpose is to get to know that person and their story and to find out more about industry trends and hiring practices. 

Some of the questions you might ask include:

  • What does a typical day look like for you?
  • What do you enjoy about what you do?
  • What do you find most challenging about what you do?
  • What skills does the market value?
  • What skills do you see being in demand in the future and why?
  • What are the personal attributes an organisation like yours values?
  • Do you have any advice about looking for a role?
  • Do you know of anyone hiring?  

As well as helping you figure out if this is the right career for you, the answers to some of these questions will be really insightful when you’re framing your covering letter and resume. When it comes to asking your questions, make sure that you ask about job opportunities last!

Follow-up 

Following-up is one of the best ways to fast track your job search. We’re all inundated with emails, connection requests and texts, so it’s really easy to forget about a conversation we had last week. 

Keep yourself at the forefront of someone’s mind by following-up within a week or two. You don’t want to bombard them with text messages and emails every day, but you want to keep that natural flow and rhythm of communication going. 

When it comes to finding a reason to follow-up, you can thank them for their time with a meeting, or thank them for accepting a connection request. You should also continue to interact with their content on LikendIn. 

Don’t just ask them about job opportunities. instead, make your follow-up a meaningful conversation. You’re trying to build a professional network, which takes time, so be willing to put in the effort, be patient and nurture the relationships. The idea is that you get the support you need, with the people in your network also getting something back too.   

One final piece of advice – when you land the role you’re after, don’t just drop the people in your network. You want those relationships to stay alive. We don’t have jobs for life these days and your network is going to be a powerful tool throughout your whole career. Make sure you maintain meaningful long-term connections.  

Q&A

Now I’m going to spend a bit of time answering some of your questions. Hopefully the answers help.

The first question is, “How do I sell my skills as I transition into a new industry?”. 

The best way to do that is to connect with people, share your ideas and insights and comment on other people’s posts on LinkedIn.  

You should also brainstorm yourself and create a bit of a mind map about your skills. If you’re planning to move into a new industry, it’s important to figure out what transferable skills you have from your past experience.  Be really clear on what your skills are and how you can position them in a way that fits in with your new career narrative. 

The next question is. “Are cover letters necessary? I’ve heard lots of times that they’re not really relevant anymore”.

I would say cover letters are still relevant, especially if you’re transitioning careers. They are probably less relevant if you have five or ten years experience and are applying for a job in the same industry. 

However, a really well crafted cover letter can be your point of difference. It tells your story and gives you the space to explain how your past experience supports the role you’re applying for. You can use it to provide extra context for your application.

If you’re switching careers, your resume might not provide a huge amount of evidence that you’re suited to working in a new industry. The cover letter gives you an opportunity to provide details of why you’ll be a good fit. If you’re transitioning careers, it’s a good idea to always use a cover letter    

The next question is, “Should we remove past experience that is unrelated to our new career on LinkedIn?”. 

No, you don’t need to do that. You can have as much experience as you want on LinkedIn. We all have different chapters in our careers and we all do different things. I’ve moved from running HR teams into career coaching and mentoring, which is a really interesting transition. Your past experience gives context to your career, which people really want to know about. 

I would think about how you’re describing those past experiences on LinkedIn and be selective in what achievements you’re actively sharing, but you don’t need to take them off your LinkedIn. It will show everybody your full career journey and all the experience you’ve accumulated. 

The next question is, “How do you answer a behavioural question when you haven’t demonstrated the behaviour in the past?”.

When someone asks you a behavioural question, they want you to draw on real life past experiences. They don’t want hypotheticals. Instead, they’re looking for you to use the star interview technique. 

If you honestly believe you don’t have an example to offer, and you’ve never been in a position where you’ve needed to demonstrate that behaviour, be honest about it. What you can do instead is say, “if I was in that situation, this is what I would do…”. 

Okay, the next question is “How important is it to generate your own content on LinkedIn?”.

It really depends on what your intention is for creating the content. Very few people actually create content on LinkedIn. I read a stat that less than five percent of LinkedIn users create their own content, so it can be a huge point of difference. That said,  it can be quite time consuming. It’s definitely not a must to create your own content to get traction on LinkedIn.

If you’re engaging with other people’s content and you feel confident enough to create your own, I’d say go for it. You don’t have to post five times a week. You might post once a week and every Friday morning give yourself 20 minutes to write that post. 

You can use your content to be really transparent about your job search. I’ve seen people get lots of engagement and support by posting about their career transition on LinkedIn. 

Ultimately, if you decide to create content and think it will help, it’s your choice. It will definitely add value, but it’s not 100% necessary. 

The next question is, “Will connecting with the hiring manager directly once you have applied for a role give you a better chance of getting an interview?”. 

I don’t think it will give you a better chance of getting an interview. They’re going to look at your skills and experience and they’re going to weigh that up against other applicants. That said, it’s definitely good for them to remember your name when they see your application. It’s great if you’ve connected and you’re already familiar.  

If you can find the right person on LinkedIn, I recommend you reach out and start building a genuine connection. It’s all part of growing your professional network.

The next question is, “If I’m changing careers to a new field and my skills and past experiences are not matched with the requirements for a particular job, what can I add to my cover letter and resume?”.

Really, it depends on what job you’re applying for. In any field, there’s going to be a whole bunch of soft skills that are transferable. You need to highlight those skills and start building a new narrative about your experience. In your cover letter and resume, underline what it is about you that makes you good at what you’re going to do, and what your unique point of difference is. 

Also, think really carefully about how you can frame your past experiences. Maybe the employer is looking for someone who’s managed large projects before, but you’re not a project manager. However, you might have been part of a project team. You can discuss that and explain how that experience will enable you to do the job you’re applying for. 

Well, that’s all the time we’ve got for questions today. If you do have any questions that didn’t get answered, please feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’d love to keep this conversation going. 

Thanks so much for attending this session and spending the last hour with me. I hope you’ve got lots out of it and I wish you all the best of luck with your career transitions. 

If you’re keen to transition into a new career and need to add shine to your resume, Academy Xi offers flexible online courses covering the digital skills that employers are searching for. If you want to discuss your transferable skills and explore course options, speak to a course advisor today.   

Academy Xi Blog

Four workforce trends for your business – and your people

By Academy Xi

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter

Four workforce trends stood out in 2021 as the accelerated pace of change required businesses to adapt their planning processes

Now more so than ever before, organisations are actively rethinking their approach to workforce planning. In an era when new business models, digital transformation and disruptive innovations are impacting businesses in every sector.

People & Culture and other senior leaders are recalibrating what is required to meet business goals. Organisations are realising that one of the best ways to attract and retain employees, keep loyal customers and satisfy partners is to place their people front and centre.

We’ve outlined four key trends in how companies are evolving their approach to human resources. That said, these examples only represent starting points. Whatever your specific talent needs, there are countless ways to meet them. We’re here to help you develop a dynamic, highly skilled workforce that can build, move and improve your business in 2022 and throughout the years to come.

Trend #1 – More about skills, less about roles

In their recent report, Gartner stated that “to build the post-pandemic workforce, [we will need to] focus less on roles – which group unrelated skills – and more on the skills needed to drive an organisation’s competitive advantage and the workflows that fuel this advantage.”

This shift comes off the back of 24 months of unprecedented business challenges: skills shortages, digital transformation, disrupted business models and changing worker expectations. Skills are paramount because they help address business challenges. Roles, however, simply categorise and denote how one employee relates to all others within an organisational structure.

By focussing on skills rather than job roles, businesses can also provide their people with the opportunity to transcend a specific function. This kind of flexibility allows for greater all-round value to the business in areas that lie outside the KPIs of a specific job role (ie: supporting colleagues, working cross-functionally).

The argument for continuous, career-long learning has never been stronger.

In the year ahead, Workforce Planning and Learning & Development teams will need to perform crucial skills gaps analyses. It will then also be their responsibility, along with senior management, to set in motion a mindset shift for employees to consider adopting critical skills as opposed to preparing for the next specific role.

Trend #2 – Redeployment is not a dirty word

The term “redeployment” is undergoing a massive renovation. 

Traditionally used when an employee takes up a new position to avoid redundancy, it is now commonly used as a term for when organisations reorganise themselves to be future-ready, redeploying existing talent into new roles. In the latter context, it is seen as a win for both the employee and the business. 

The benefit to both individuals and businesses is obvious. Employees will be presented with new career opportunities and real career agility. Businesses will be able to retain their people via redeployment and placement in priority business areas.

With the average Australian worker needing 7 new digital skills by 2025 (Amazon Web Services, 2021), the pathways to redeployment are going to be overwhelmingly digital in direction. Businesses will seek to build out new internal ‘Digital Hubs’ which will include experienced digital talent working alongside newly redeployed (and upskilled) digital professionals.

Shifting the perception of redeployment is going to be a critical step towards addressing the digital skills crisis. Understand how we can help grow your future workforce with talent pipeline initiatives.

Trend #3 – The democratisation of data

Data is revolutionising every area of business. The most successful businesses use it to understand customers, implement innovation, create personalised experiences and initiate impactful change. Yet for many companies, a culture of data-driven decision making remains out of reach. 

In order to democratise the power of data, businesses need strong processes across the enterprise. Successful businesses differentiate themselves by embedding data as the driving force behind all levels of decision-making –  from executive level through to front-line staff. 

We’ve seen organisations have success in approaching their data-driven journey in two phases. First, they have created a Data Literacy Hub (content, tools and resources repository). Second, they then engage in an organisation-wide program tackling baseline data literacy knowledge and practical skills (understanding insights, data-driven storytelling, data visualisation etc.)

The more data-savvy businesses are also empowering their leaders with comprehensive data skillsets. Their goal is to raise data literacy levels among domain specialists and senior leaders through practical professional development experiences.

If you need any more evidence that harnessing data is here to stay, businesses that base decisions on data – not instincts – are likely to be 19 times more profitable.

Trend #4 – Job switching en-masse

A recent large-scale salary survey by Hays, a worldwide recruitment specialist with offices in most of Australia’s major cities, concluded nearly 40% of Australians are seriously considering career changes. 

With ongoing remote work inherently more viable in digital industries, it’s unsurprising many employees are upskilling in digital disciplines. Additionally, professional ‘on the job’ upskilling is now more than a ‘nice to have’ – it is expected by employees.

What does this mean for workforce planning? 

Organisations who neglect their learning and development strategies run the risk of waning performance, reduced employee engagement and staff churn. In a talent market that is already stacked in favour of employees, ongoing learning opportunities for employees will remain a key tactic in creating a sustainable workforce.

If your business is struggling to plug the digital skills gaps, Academy Xi is here to help. See how we’ve helped organisations transform their workforce, train people in priority business areas and create a buffer protecting them from disruptive workforce trends.

If you want to build a future-ready team that’s with you for the long haul, get in touch with us today.

Search our website

Find the right course