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Bek Pasqualini shares her journey to landing a job at Fitted for Work

People find amazing jobs on EthicalJobs.com.au every day. This is part of a series of articles that go behind the scenes to meet some of the people and organisations finding each other through EthicalJobs.com.au.

Today’s story is from Bek Pasqualini who found her job as Executive Communications Assistant at women’s support organisation Fitted for Work, on EthicalJobs.com.au.

Fitted for Work is an innovative organisation and the first of its kind in Australia. They help women experiencing disadvantage get into work and keep it.

 

Starting out with work

I was as an occasional house cleaner for my grade 6 teacher; as a mum of three young children now, I have conflicted feelings about how effective I was. I vividly recall trying to scrub kid mess from the awful textured-paint walls of her little 80’s rental flat. But as a fellow single parent, I now know that every little bit of help counts!

After a dip into a BA in Journalism at RMIT Melbourne, and some ‘life education’, some volunteering at Open Channel sparked an interest in screen culture. So, I returned as a mature-age student (all of 21 but seemingly ancient at the time) to a BA in Media Studies at RMIT, majoring in cinema studies and film production. Those of us who joined a trailblazing ‘Hypertext’ unit were given email addresses and taught HTML for an internet in its infancy. That was huge for me as I had barely touched a computer before Uni and has proved pretty useful considering the way that tech took off! Later education and training all fed my lifelong love for learning, but I credit the amazing staff at RMIT for fostering creativity, critical thinking, respect for knowledge and the courage to express considered ideas and opinions. Skills and requirements can shift and change but these early teachings impact every role I’ll ever undertake.

Post university and the requisite year in south east Asia, the dire state of Victoria’s local film & TV industry in the late 90s led me from production to the Australian Film Institute, a (then) thriving hub for screen culture I had practically lived in as a research student. I loved working with emerging Australian filmmakers, cinemas, partner organisations and volunteers to coordinate a national events program. And voila – the wonderful world of not-for-profit work opened, and I discovered a lifelong affinity with the sector.

Inspired by community media as a potent grassroots force building agency and connection for people under-represented in the mainstream, I am really proud to have contributed to national funding body, the Community Broadcasting Foundation, over many years in a range of roles including Administrative Officer, Fundraising Assistant and Grants Administrator. In other roles I’ve supported the work of community media organisations including the National Ethnic & Multicultural Broadcasters Council and most recently, RPH Australia, peak body for the Radio Reading Network.

As a life-long bookworm and word-nerd, I always appreciated the power and worlds accessed through reading. But it was something I took for granted before joining RPH Australia to drive communications, partnerships and projects empowering people with a print disability through community radio.

I’ve become a committed executive supporter, communications all-rounder, and change-enabler within socially conscious organisations. It’s been a real privilege to align my professional life with passion for social justice, arts and culture, diversity and community connection.

 

Working at Fitted for Work

Fitted for Work is a not-for-profit dedicated to helping women across Australia who are vulnerable or experiencing disadvantage to get work, keep work and navigate their world of work. We do this by providing intensive interview training and business clothing at our personal dressing services and through our unique Womankind and Mentoring job readiness programs. Our services are delivered at locations in Melbourne and Parramatta and nationally via our Virtual Services.

Through mutual respect, compassion, integrity and trust, our dedicated staff and trained volunteers help women gain the self-esteem and confidence to achieve their goals of finding sustainable employment and financial independence. We believe that when a woman is fitted for work, she’s fitted for life.

One month into this new role I’m enjoying the variety and learning curves each day brings. Day-to-day I provide executive support for our CEO, Donna de Zwart and Marketing and Communications Manager, Caitlin Mountford. But the role is developing in all sorts of interesting ways to support the Board and committees, emerging projects, advocacy and fundraising. We’re all making sure there is never a dull moment!

Every employee at Fitted for Work is offered a personal outfitting and I leapt at the chance to experience our service as a client. It was a hoot – and I hate shopping, changerooms and all that malarky! I was blown away by the kindness, humour and skill of our staff and volunteers, went home with some fantastic professional outfits and a better understanding of the difference Fitted for Work can make in a woman’s life.

 

Why work for a better world?

EthicalJobs really stood out in the often intimidating and occasionally soul-crushing affair that is NFP job seeking in Australia’s thriving cultural capital.  The interesting jobs and quality employers listed here meant that I rarely looked elsewhere online.

I was looking at a variety of NFP roles with an open mind towards working in project management, communications and grant administration. I was also keen to build on experience in executive support as an EA. After several part-time contracts following my return to work after ‘the child-raising years’, I was looking for a full-time role with flexibility to spread my wings in, to be the best parent and worker possible. I was instantly drawn to the scope of this role, and to Fitted for Work’s mission and values which aligned so well with my own passion for gender equality and the empowerment of women, transgender and non-binary people.

It has been a real professional privilege to work in a sector dedicated to community, and it’s worth the occasional frustration with its notorious ‘smell of the proverbial oily rag’ lack of resources. But what we lack in economic resources we make up for in resourcefulness, innovation and most of all, passion. I gladly share my passion, creativity and skills to support positive change in our organisation, our clients, and our broader community.

My advice for other ethical jobseekers is to be your authentic self and stay true to your values and dreams on the job seeking roller-coaster ride. Sometimes it’s hard to put on that invincible front when you’ve had some setbacks and you’re feeling vulnerable. Seeking help and constructive feedback on your resume and application can really make a difference. As do mock interviews to sooth nerves and refine concise yet thorough responses using the STAR method.

Remember to ask the right questions to find that positive fit for your skills, passion and needs in an organisation. An interview gives you that chance – try to enjoy the process if you can. After all, you’re the expert on you and why you’re the perfect fit for your dream job!

And remember, you’re not alone. If you’re needing a confidence boost, some friendly resume or applications advice or a killer interview outfit – reach out to us at Fitted for Work.

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