How much does it suck when you suddenly find yourself out of work?  It might have been a long time coming. It might have been a total surprise. Either way - being out of work in such a position that you may not have been prepared for can be a total shock to your system. After being in that position - I started looking at different certificates to acquire when looking for work, among other things to try and kick-start a new career.


There's always a heap of questions that pop up, mainly, what the fuck am I supposed to do now?  Which, let's be honest, is an entirely great question.  I knew when I started to look for a new job that I needed to do something that wasn't sales related (I'm not great a making people go into contracts, or add on products etc) - something that may be somewhat creative would be great, and I love data and spreadsheets (which is SUPER weird since I hate maths?)


Trying to find something that fit that particular bill though was .... challenging.  So what are you supposed to do in the mean time?  As luck would have it, I did a bit of research and I came across a couple of really good options for back up plans in industries that are usually hiring, and/or - just really good skills to have in general.


Please note - these are applicable to my Tasmanian's readers, but I'm more than sure there are equivalent courses worldwide. 

Certificates to Acquire When Looking For Work

  1.  B A R I S T A   B A S I C S

    Photo by Brent Gorwin on Unsplash

Coffee - the things that makes many of us turn from a mumble monster to a functioning human being in less than half an hour.  What a great discovery in life.  Even better, human's love for coffee = job availability in most places.  Generally not a career path that let's you go full time (known from experience) - it can however provide a good casual option.  More places are opening earlier, and also staying open later, so if you've got a bit of flexibility - doing a basic coffee course could work in your favor.  It also works as a good step into the hospitality scene if that's what you're looking for - and, even better, the skills of being a barista are transferable around the world (which is super helpful for backpacking!)

TasTAFE offers a similar course here

F I R S T  A I D 

Photo by Zhen Hu on Unsplash

Whilst jumping in an ambulance and helping out probably isn't going to happen - having a first aid skill set is something that is often looked over, but I found to be quite desirable.  A lot of fitness places (if you're looking to go into admin for example) require your first aid certificate.  If you end up heading into the aged care sector; you guessed it. First aid.  Teachers Assistant?  Actually I don't know, but you'd hope they'd need a first aid cert. behind them.

I've had my first aid certificate for a number of years, and can recommend either The Red Cross or St. John's for their courses.  Generally the course runs over one or two days;  the first focusing on your general first aid treatment, and then more in depth in your second which also includes CPR.   Your first aid (in Tasmania at least) lasts for two years, where your CPR requires renewal each year.


PLUS you'll know that if you're ever in a crisis scenario, you'll have the skills to be able to assist. #winning

R S A  &  R S G

(Responsible Serving of Alcohol & Gambling)

This is another winning combo if you're looking to get into clubs, hospitality - basically anywhere that has gambling or alcohol on premise. It's actually a legal requirement in Australia to hold one of these licenses, so you're already a step up in the game acquiring one. The courses can be done online, or in person (again, TAFE has courses!)  and they generally don't go for very long for a handy asesst to have on you.

F O R K  L I F T  L I C E N S E  / W H I T E  C A R D

I'm not going to really sit here and lie and say I know 100% about these, as the construction industry has never been of interest to me. (Unless you count the thousands of hours I've spent on the sims designing amazing looking hours, which I don't think in this particular case it does.)  - However your white card is pretty essential if you're going into the construction industry, and nearly every job I came across on Seek, LinkedIn, CareerOne, etc  that had something to do with construction or machinery had either highly desired or required for your forklift license.  If it gets you ahead of the pack for someone who doesn't - then go for it!

More Certificates to Acquire When Looking For Work


B A R  S K I L L S

As a bit of a follow on from the RSA/RSG suggestion - actually going along to a short course in learning bar skills is a bit of a no brainer.  I did a bit of bar work back in the day - but was promptly, er, "let go" (due to a number of reasons) but I'm more than sure my knowledge of the actual alcohol I was serving wasn't great. (IE - couldn't tell you what the difference between top and bottom shelf spirits were and may have got them muddled one day whilst I was trying to dust up the area.  #Whoops.)

Also on that note - I can make a random cocktail up which tastes half decent, but would not have the foggiest idea how to properly pour a pina colada, or a bloody mary if you asked.

Taking the time to go invest in some basic skills, whether they be cocktail drinks or just basic knowledge, again I would like to think would put you ahead of other applicants, and again looks great on your resume if you're heading overseas looking for work when backpacking.

W O R K I N G  W /  V U L N E R A B L E  P E O P L E  |  W O R K I N G  W I T H  C H I L D R E N

There's a crazy amount of industries that require you to have either one, or both of these certificates up your sleeve. Think child care, baby sitting, aged care, support workers, even as a taxi driver!  It was again one of those things that kept popping up when I was doing my job searches, and these are relatively inexpensive which is an added bonus.

F I N A L  T H O U G H T S

Good certificates to acquire when looking for work

Hopefully one of those might help you get started in thinking of super short courses that are available out there to help you on your way back into the workforce, or really at any point in time as they're just super really good skills to have.   Keep an eye out, I'll do a secondary posts in the new year in looking at different short-mid length course options for expanding your horizons.

Have you had a course benefit you when you were looking for work?
Leave a comment down below and let me know!


Cover Photo:  Blake Carpenter on Unsplash



  1. Em and Jess

    June 24, 2020

    This was a really cool idea for a post, and I think it will be really useful for lots of readers 🙂

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