Picture yourself sitting in a job interview. Your palms are sweaty, and so are your feet and upper lip. Your heart is pounding, and you’re struggling to remember details about your education and employment history.

Jobs Victoria Advocate Nicole Parker.

Nicole Parker is a Jobs Victoria Advocate in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

It’s normal to be nervous in an interview, right? So, you probably don’t overthink it. You push the feelings aside and carry on as best you can.

Later, you find out you didn’t get the job, and you have to go through the process again. And again. And again.

A long search for work

In her first three months as a Jobs Victoria Advocate based in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, Nicole Parker helped more than 30 people find and secure stable employment.

One of those she helped was a great candidate on paper. The young woman – referred via a local mosque to Nicole at Himilo Community Connect – had a Bachelor of Arts majoring in crime, justice and legal studies and a Master in Law, achieved in 2020.

Although she had been actively volunteering in law firms since 2015 and searching for a job for years, she had never secured paid employment.

What was going wrong?

Battling interview anxiety

Nicole has a background in disability employment and noticed the challenges the woman faced in job interviews.

Job interviews made her nervous. She would stutter and fail to make eye contact, making it hard for her to establish a rapport with potential employers or articulate her knowledge, expertise and experience.

“She knew that she was getting nervous,” Nicole says, “but she wasn’t aware of how she was giving off particular cues to the employer.”

Another successful placement

Together, they worked through the issues, and Nicole was able to refer her to available support services.

These included advice with cover letters, resumes and interview preparation. On-going post-placement support is also available for people who live with mental health conditions.

With two job interviews coming up, interview support was her top priority. Nicole referred the young graduate to Himilo Job Club for one-on-one mock interview support, then provided resources to assist with her preparation.

The advice and referrals helped, and in June, the woman secured a job in a law firm near her home.

It was a satisfying outcome for all involved.

“It’s really nice to look back and see the number of people I’ve been able to help,” Nicole says.

Find out more about job and training opportunities.