If you’re looking for a career focused around social impact, the advice contained in this blog post is for you. Social impact employers across the non-profit, public and social enterprise sectors are often looking for graduates with similar strengths and values.

Whether or not you ultimately choose to apply to Teach For Australia, the organisation where I work, your social impact job applications will benefit hugely from the advice below. Best of luck! 

We are lucky to live in Melbourne – the most livable city in the world for six years in a row according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. We are even luckier to have The University of Melbourne on our doorstep – the number one university in Australia in 2017 according to the Australian Education Network. For hardworking post-graduate students there are many career options for what step to take next with such prestigious degrees completed.

Unfortunately, for many students living in the same postcodes, their lifelong options are severely limited by factors outside of their control.

It is up to you to take on the challenges of education inequality and through Teach For Australia, there is a direct and fast-tracked way to make an enormous impact.

Teach For Australia is an ambitious, growing movement dedicated to closing the education gap in Australia and ensuring all students attain an excellent education.

To achieve this, we attract and select the highest caliber graduates, post-graduates and career changers to become the next generation of excellent teachers and inspiring leaders. Research indicates that the number one lever to increase student outcomes in the classroom is teacher quality, closely followed by school leadership.

There are 8 key competencies that we look for and assess on – and many other social impact employers are looking for similar competencies.

Leadership and Achievement – Have you gained significant, measurable results at university, extracurricular activities and/or work? Have you demonstrated leadership and achievement in your endeavours?

Commitment to Mission – Our vision is of an Australia where all children, regardless of background, attain an excellent education. Are you eager to bring about change and make a difference in the lives of the students you teach? Do you passionately and actively believe in the power of education as a force for social justice?

Communication and Influencing Ability – Are you a clear and confident communicator and are you able to influence and motivate others? Do you have maturity and presence? Are you an active listener?

Resilience – Are you willing to work hard with a growth mindset and optimism to overcome obstacles? Do you relish a challenge?

Problem Solving – As a University of Melbourne graduate, you may have shown your problem solving skills in many different circumstances. Consider how you would best prove your ability to think critically, analyse information and generate relevant solutions to problems.

Organisational and Planning Ability – Are you able to plan, organise and prioritise your activities effectively to meet deadlines?

Humility, Respect and Empathy – Do you operate with humility? Do you show respect and empathy towards others? Do you look for the best in the people around you?

Learning and Self-Evaluation – Are you open to learning from others and do you seek out opportunities to do so? Do you take ownership for development with regards to your own performance?

So, what makes you and your application stand out?

We encourage applicants to take some time to consider deeply how their past experiences can demonstrate the above 8 competencies. Research indicates that performance of these competencies in professional, academic and voluntary settings within the last 2-3 years is most indicative of future performance and success in the classroom so please consider recent examples.

As a post-graduate student, you will be in familiar company as 51 per cent of our 2017 cohort had advanced degrees: 22 per cent Honors Degree; 12 per cent Masters Degree; 10 per cent PhD; 7 per cent Graduate Diploma.

Do you want an even deeper insight of what Teach For Australia does and why we do it?

Please take up the offer to reach out to the Victorian Recruitment & Advocacy Manager – Josh Farr – and organise a time to have a coffee, talk about your experiences and get to know what being an Associate is all about. Please contact Josh via josh.farr@teachforaustralia.org


This post is part of our Mind the Gap series, helping graduate students transition between study and work.

Find out more about Mind the Gap here.