Jobsbank news

Moving beyond perception: Fabio’s story

Jan 16, 2023

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The power of being able to prove yourself 

Coming to Australia from Brazil with his family when he was 12, Fabio has always been a lover of sport, choosing to pursue football as a career in the early years of his working life. To support himself through this endeavour, he knew he needed to look for other job opportunities, but he found himself coming up against an unexpected opponent: other people’s perceptions. An incident where his appearance was criticised left him shaken.  

“It made me second guess myself in a lot of ways, like the way I moved, the way I looked – it knocked my confidence to think that people were judging me that way.”  

His perceived lack of experience has also caused some friction.  

“A lot of employers see me as very young though. I’m 25, and also started working a bit later than other people because I was playing sport and supporting myself that way. They see that I don’t have as much retail-type experience as other people my age and assume it’s because I’m not a hard worker – they don’t see sport as a valid choice. So, I often don’t get the interview.” 

“When I do get the interview, the way that I talk and present myself changes people’s minds and they give me the chance, but I worry that my CV just goes in the bin because I’m competing against people who’ve had these kinds of jobs since they were 18.”  

Employers, Fabio says, need to know that there are a lot of reasons why people’s careers look the way they do. For him, it was his pursuit of sport that left his CV looking bare compared to his peers.  

“Employers need to know that there are a lot of reasons why people’s careers look the way they do.”  

While Fabio has had some success gaining short-term employment – and he has enjoyed building on the skills fostered in each of them – he has had trouble finding a role that allows him to stay close to his family. Jobsbank’s partnership with Youth Activating Youth (YAY) saw Fabio finally getting the opportunity to put his skills as a sportsman to use, while staying close to home to support his family. 

Engage program warehouse training sessions
Images from Engage program warehouse training sessions

“YAY runs a program with 13-14 year old boys, and they needed to get them into playing football. I was the right person to help her out, so that’s when I stepped into being their coach. So, now I’ve been able to get back into my old ways, playing sport, which is when I feel I’m most myself.”  

Fabio recognises that some of the biggest barriers to employment can be the sheer time and effort it takes to put together a resume, apply and speak with people. “You apply for ten jobs a day, and maybe five let you know they’ve already hired someone, three don’t reply and the others might let you know they’re looking for someone with more experience. There’ll be whole days that pass without anyone getting back to you.” 

“Sitting at home, not working, putting yourself out there, it doesn’t make you feel good. It’s not easy.” 

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