Our Women Building Australia Influencers are trades-people who understand and experience the realities of working in the industry, are immensely successful and have great passion for building and construction. These women are paving the way and supporting other women to enter the industry. Their personal stories shows us that they are here to lead by example.
The building and construction industry offers women, a vast array of rewarding career opportunities, well paying jobs and the ability to upskill. It provides the flexibility to explore different pathways and choose what is right for you.
Jess Wills didn't necessarily choose a career in the construction industry, the industry chose her.
Carpentry was something that Jess was passionate about, but when she was offered a job in cabinet making she grabbed the opportunity and has never looked back.
Jess has spent over 4 very successful years in the industry as a cabinet maker, the physical aspects of the job have no doubt been challenging and being a visual learner, her job forced her on to different pathways to learn and not just the way she knew.
I’ve definitely had a few people be unsure of me being a girl in the trade and wanting to talk to someone else but it’s mostly been a pretty positive reaction from people
Jess's job gives her diverse days, some days she is on onsite installing cabinets and other days are spent in the workshops building cabinets where she is on the cutting saw or edging or anything and everything that goes into building beautiful cabinets.
Jess alludes her success to
Pushing myself, constantly engaging to learn, asking questions and having a good attitude about things is what helped me become successful. Being positive is the mantra.
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Jess says : It’s probably the best thing you could do, the skills you’ll learn are never ending and you’ll have them with you for life. It will be tough at times but you just have to keep pushing and the reward is worth it at the end of everyday
Gabrielle always wanted to do a physical job that entailed working with her hands. She had an interest in carpentry from an early age but was steered from pursuing a career in the trades as it was not considered suitable or safe for young women.
However, a chance opportunity to do some labouring work with her partner at his workplace reignited her passion for the trades. She loved working with her hands so much that she went out and started looking for her own cabinet making apprenticeship and she did find one, just within a few weeks.
The real challenge that Gabrielle encountered while working in the industry was mostly about just finding someone to give her a go. She has immense potential and a lot to offer as an employee, but getting a foot in the door was the real struggle
Now as an apprentice Gabrielle's workday typically starts at 6 am, she cleans and preps the machinery she would use for the day, she does a quick toolbox meeting to work out who’s doing what for the day, then she is either out on site, or in the factory cutting on the CNC, cutting on the saw or building jobs. Her work day includes planning and managing her inventory as well.
Some of the things that Gabrielle did to become successful at her was listening and asking ALL the questions. She knew being honest would allow her to grow and most importantly learn, if she didn't know something or was not confident she spoke up and said so. She knew there was no point going into her trade career with half the knowledge and making mistakes because she was to proud to ask. Gabrielle says
If you’re an apprentice you’re there to learn, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing everything in your power to be the best tradie you can be.
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Gabrielle says : See if you can find labouring work with someone, even if it’s just on the weekends. Familiarise yourself with some basic tools, drills, etc, relevant to the trade you wish to enter. Complete a pre apprenticeship if there’s one available.
Bailee has loved being creative and hands on, which lead her into loving woodwork. What started out as a hobby quickly turned into passion which inspired her to take the plunge and ditch her mainstream study and career. She turned her love for wood working into building a career in carpentry. Post her apprenticeship, Bailee wanted to have a crack at running her own carpentry business and that lead to the birth of B.Claire Carpentry.
Bailee's first job and taste of the building industry was straight into an apprenticeship after a trail period with a local carpentry business. They worked on framing, finish carpentry, and doing everything else in between! It proved to be a great start to her career, she had immense learning and got to experience doing many different tasks.
Bailee faced many challenges within the industry, she found it hard just being a “beginner” and tackling her apprenticeship; she believes that,
"whenever you take on learning something new on you just have try your best and trust you’ll get quicker, better & stronger, it might not happen straight away and honestly you might feel a little useless at times but practice makes perfect, and you’ll get there!"
She found it challenging at times to feel accepted and worthy. She did have experience misogyny and the odd sexist comments that got thrown around, but her work ethic was soon realised by others. She was there to work, she was just as good and worthy of respect as anyone else who walked onto site, no matter their gender.
Bailee now specialise in finish & 2nd fix carpentry, mainly doing new home internals; hanging doors, doing all architraves, skirting and other feature timber works inside homes. However running her own business solo means she also does all the schedules, phone calls, admin, accounting, planning and shopping on top of that; adds up to a few extra hours of work off the tools over the work week as well! She says,
"There is no recipe to success. You just have to work hard and back yourself. If you have enough passion and persistence to work at it, you WILL get there!"
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Bailee says - "Any women who wants to have a go, do it. Doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, if you’ve never been on the tools in your life; you just have to have a go! And if you find your niche within the industry don’t be scared to go against the grain or social norm and get into it!"
Tammy decided to choose a career in the construction industry as she loved the hands on day to day aspect of it. She also loved the thought of being able to use her skills around the world and have the ability to travel with her qualifications. Her first job in the industry was in 2013, she worked as an electrical apprentice in commercial/government locations. Tammy challenges when she started in the industry were more personal in nature as she felt she lacked confidence and she spent a large amount of trying to fit in within the industry.
A typical work day for Tammy starts early where she heads off to the gym before work, once she is at work she see the workers off for the day and make sure they know their jobs for the day. Post which she then begins her own office work which can including quoting, invoicing, emailing, reporting and other admin tasks. Tammy likes getting out onto the site to either help the workers out on their tasks if required, or check in with them to see how they are travelling on the job. She ensures she splits her time between the office and tools.
Tammy says she took some key steps to become successful. She mentions "I really needed to work on myself when it came to confidence and leadership, I decided to take some day courses in management and admin to help build my knowledge in this area. I also had moments where I just needed to make the decision and had no other choice which really pushed me and helped me grow. Also learning to trust myself in my position and being speaking up more just came with time."
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Tammy says
If you're interested definitely look into it, the community of women in trade is getting bigger and there is a lot of support for women out there now. Be prepared for some knock backs along the way but I think it all helps you to build resilience and grow overtime.
Amanda has always had an interest in carpentry/woodworking and loved doing hands on jobs growing up. After graduating from high school, Amanda didn’t think a trades career was possible, so she decided to study business at university instead. She studied at university for a bit and discovered quite quickly that it wasn't for her. By the end of her first semester she decided to leave and enrol in a carpentry pre-apprenticeship at a local TAFE. Turns out she loved doing the pre-apprentice and followed on through to find an apprenticeship which she is completing now.
Amanda's first involvement with the construction industry was doing a bit of work with her cousin in high rise building. Her cousin showed her the different areas in construction from being on the tools, to site management and project management. Following this, Amanda got her first paid job in the industry as an apprentice carpenter which she is completing now.
At the beginning the physical aspect of the job was a bit daunting for Amanda, although she is already quite fit. Jumping into a job where physical strength is required everyday, was quite a shock to her system. Amanda says
Starting my apprenticeship with little knowledge of carpentry was challenging. But that’s what an apprenticeship is for and everyday I was learning something new and building my carpentry knowledge.
A typical day for Amanda involves waking up an hour before having to leave for work. She uses that time to collect herself, have a good breakfast and relax before she starts a busy day. Some days she goes to the gym for a quick workout before work, to keep fit. She ensures she gets to work at least 15 minutes early so she can get her tools out, open the site gate and start setting up, so at 7am hammers in hand and it’s all go go go. She breaks for lunch at 11am talks about the what’s going on in week with the team and at 3:30pm it’s tools down and time to head home.
Always sticking to her work ethic and being proactive are some of the key steps that have helped Amanda become successful. She always takes pride in her work and ensures she does everything to the best of her abilities. She says
Being proactive is definitely a huge part in being successful. Thinking ahead about making the next step will always put you ahead of the pack and make you stand out from the rest.
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Amanda says : Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid of taking that step to enter a career in trades, trades can take you places you wouldn’t imagine are possible. Contact companies, network and hand out your resume, you’ll never know who might have a position vacant that might be perfect for you.
Joey or Jo as she likes to be known, loved lego and building things as a kid. Her first choice was to be a Vet, but when she found out about the not-so-nice part of being a vet, she went with her second choice of being a builder. There was never a thought in her head that she couldn’t do it.
Jo's first brush with construction was when she was 16 and started working at Bunnings. She was in charge of the “nuts and bolts” aisle and she loved it, and would always ask for extra shifts. When she finished school she applied for an apprenticeship as a carpenter, and after many, many, many rejections she was signed on. In 1996 she was the only female carpentry apprentice registered with TAFE NSW. In 1997 there were 3.
Jo has faced many challenges during her time in the industry, she recounts that in the early days there was a lot of bullying and harassment. The men at the worksite wanted to make life as uncomfortable as possible every single day, so there was lots of verbal abuse, and sometimes physical or unwanted sexual comments. As things slowly went on, this subsided into more casual misogyny. When she became a project manager in Sydney, she was often dismissed in meetings as the “Coffee girl” and she also went through a really stressful period of being substantially under paid. As her career progressed, the challenges changed but all had the same under current that women are not as valued as men in construction, despite having the same, if not more, experience in the field. Jo says,
Don’t listen to people who say you can’t do something because you’re a woman. I created Build Like A Girl for that exact reason. We hear people say “You throw like a girl” or “You kick like a girl” all the time. Like it’s a negative thing. My job, as I see it, is to change the narrative so people say “You Build Like A Girl” and it becomes a standard you need to work towards, and something to be proud of.
Jo is now the General Manager at Kane Constructions in Canberra. One of the perks of the job is being able to retreat to the air con when its extremely hot or cold, but no two days are the same, which is what she likes most about her job. She still spend an extensive amount of time out on site, as she likes mentoring and coaching her team, as well as making sure her clients know that she and her team are fully invested in delivering their project. Days are still long, but she and her team are implementing mandatory 5 day work weeks, and reducing weekend work to give the team more time. Her workplace also encourages flexible working where possible and have recently done a lot of work with MIEACT on mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
Jo is a successful women in the construction industry, who started off in the trades and only grew from there. One of her attributes that great contributes to her success even to this day is NEVER GIVING UP. Even though there have been so many instances where she felt that she needed to. Jo says
I have found resilience and strength in adversity when I thought I had no more to give. My attitude has always been that you need to be the hardest worker in the room to get anywhere. And I feel that people expect success with the minimum amount of effort. It just isn’t how life works. I also thrive on criticism and find the more people who try and knock me down, the more I come back stronger and prove them wrong. So far I have proven every detractor wrong so I must be doing something right!
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Jo says : Be realistic, do your research and understand what this industry is, and what is expected of you. There is a fundamental physical aspect, as well as a willingness to be out of your comfort zone regularly. The industry needs a drastic shake up, and I believe women are the key, but there are also no participation awards, and you won’t be Instagram famous by not working. Everything comes to you from hard work, asking questions and wanting to be better every day.
Amber's interest into building things began when she was in grade 3, her class did a lesson on how their toys worked and how the batteries operated the power and the sound and flashing lights, from that moment on she was hooked, she was fascinated with how electricity worked, and how it powered lives.
Growing up Amber was strongly influenced by her stepfather and granddad who where both qualified Electricians, working on or running the gold mines or oil rigs. She knew early on that it was a stable career choice, however she never thought she would be any good on the tools and decided to pursue other pathways after grade 12. She started university with a nursing degree and wasn't very happy with it. She dropped out and got a full time job while she was contemplating on "what next". A couple of electricians were working at Amber's store, after a few encouraging words by an apprentice on site, she knew she had to at least just give the trades a try!
After looking for months for an electrical apprenticeship, Amber was offered a position as an apprentice Security Technician, installing and programming security cameras and access control equipment. After 11 months she decided to start her Electrical apprenticeship as she was intrigued and loved the electrical side of her job.
When I first started my apprenticeship I had pretty much no hands on experience with tools. It was a learning curve but I feel what I lacked in experience with tools I made up for in my drive to do well and succeed.
A typical day for Amber starts at 4:30 am to get to site for a 6am start. She ensures she is on the site, 10-15 minutes earlier than her shift time. They are usually allotted only an hour in the morning to do any loud work as they complete fit outs for commercial company’s in multi level buildings, and can’t upset the staff on the levels above and below. On fit out days they grab the rotary hammer drill and spend the hour drilling holes so they can install cable supports. After installing the supports they usually start ‘running in’ cable for power, lighting, and data. She takes a breaks to have lunch around 10/10:30am and finishes her working day any time from 2pm onwards.
It will take a few weeks to complete wiring the office or commercial space and installing the equipment, but the end result is like nothing else! A working live office space with some cool feature lighting you can look back on and say I actually did that.
One of the steps Amber took to become successful was always looking for opportunities to grow and learn. Whilst Amber was looking for an apprenticeship, she used her time to also labour for an electrical company one day a week. It gave her the opportunity to try the trade before she started and gain some hands on experience. She learnt as much as she could about different tools that are used in the industry which helped immensely when she started out as an apprentice.
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Amber says : Give it a go! Try out labouring with a company and completing a cert 2 career start in your chosen field, it might be daunting at first but you may find a job for a lifetime and learn skills you can use in everyday life!
Anita graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, which forayed her into building and construction industry. With a passion to gain more knowledge, learn and be physically involved on the building site, Anita chose to pursue a career in the trades. In 2018, Anita became an apprentice carpenter and her first project was working at CSIRO ACT.
The daily challenges at a work site be it problem solving or working with with colleagues who had big personalities or no site amenities for females drove Anita forwards. As someone who likes be challenged, this has helped Anita build her self-confidence especially in situation were she felt like she did not fit in.
Her motto at the work site has been and continues to be:
Women in the industry are working to be noticed as equals rather than as a woman. Regardless of gender or age, background/ethnicity we should all be treated with respect and as human beings. We are all people.
A typical work days for Anita starts with 7 am call time at the work site and she finishes by 3:30 pm. Before the 7am start, she unpack and set up tools/equipment for the first task. Work tasks vary through the day. 12pm is usually when she has 30 min break for lunch, post her break she continues to work until about 3:20pm. Then she starts winding down her workday by packing up her tools and equipment, cleans up the site and prepares for the next day.
Asking questions, asking for help and showing how eager she is to learn and improve has been one of the key steps for Anita to become successful. She has learnt to believe in herself and be patient. She says,
I challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone and remind myself it is okay if I fail. When I fail I learn from it. I try to keep positive and keep persevering.
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Anita says : Please give it a go. You will never know unless you try. Never be afraid to ask for help. There is so many opportunities for women to thrive in the building and construction industry.
"The construction industry found me!", Kirsty Reaks, a project Manager at Downer tells us when we ask her how she got into the industry. Kirsty's story is one for the books, she was completing her nursing degree when she needed a job that would allow her to work around her placements and study. She was drawn to the flexibility that working casually for traffic control gave her. This was the starting point for Kirsty, she received exposure to different elements of the construction industry and discovered that the industry was one that she wanted to pursue a career in. Kirsty worked as traffic controller before Downer gave her a big break in offering her a position as junior site administration clerk within their Roads business.
I think for a long time it was fear of not being good enough – not knowing much about the industry I was very inquisitive about what the roads surfacing business was because I felt like I didn’t know everything. 7 years later I still don’t know everything, but that fear is long gone and been replaced by confidence in my skills and ability and knowledge to source information when I require it.
Kirsty's current role is all about the road surfacing business. She primarily deals with local and state governments working with them to deliver road maintenance projects that meet the expectations of the public. She also spends time working on a national project called Ben Hur where Downer is looking to address the risks associated with working in live traffic on their worksites and her background as a traffic controller plus being on the crew has placed her in a fantastic position to provide knowledge to the larger business.
Having a good attitude and being adaptable were aspects that have been instrumental in Kirsty's success.
There is always change and 2020 showed us all how dramatic the change can be and while I might not always be comfortable with that, the ability to bounce back and simply bring a positive constructive attitude has lead me to hit my stride in times of change.
Women Building Australia's mentoring program was productive for Kirsty, it helped her realise and reshape “what are the things in her control?” and for her that was imperative, plus developing skills on having the tough conversations whilst they are not easier it’s certainly something she has been applying. Being able to let go of the things she cannot control, whilst giving control to the crew to deliver work and having the tough conversations when required has really empowered Kirsty in her role.
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Kirsty says: Give it a crack, there are so many different aspects to the construction industry there will be something that suits you. I never would have thought I would be interested and passionate in roads sector, but then there are other aspects in construction I doubt will entertain me - but that’s ok. I am sure there are people who will never be interested in a road but they will find passion in those other areas of construction.
Kymberly decided fairly early that she wanted to work towards a career in the mining or construction industries but it was deciding in what capacity that took her the longest to decipher. After years of applying for any and all apprenticeships/traineeships on offer she landed an electrical apprenticeship. This job opportunity had her move sixteen hours from home to a place she had never been before, with no friends or family to chase the crazy aspiration of being a tradesperson. She began her apprenticeship within the rail industry in 2016 and throughout her apprenticeship she was placed with other external companies to develop her skills and knowledge in the construction, industrial and domestic areas of electrical.
She believes that the challenges she has faced through her career so far are the typical (although she stringently hopes that one day in the near future they are not) trials women in industry face. The commentary on life choices, the opinion that you ‘took a man’s job’, the sexist and misogynistic comments that unfortunately happen and uncomfortable situations that no one at work should be subjected to.
I would be lying if I said that I found my time easy or took every day in my stride however was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY YES. I am very proud, not only of myself but the other women I now work alongside or have met along the way, who are also living their truths and working towards their chosen careers.
A typical work day for Kymberly looks very different, she is currently working in the infrastructure department on a mining site which in a day can have her fault finding, setting up new installations or routine maintenance on anything from fuel farms, lighting plants, crib rooms, office buildings, water treatment plants, the list is endless. She says her days are exciting and filled with unbelievable learning opportunities, surrounded by fantastic people eager and willing to teach her everything she wishes to know and learn.
Kymberly says be resilient if you want to be successful. She advises that if you get knocked back on the job application, find out (if you can) why you weren’t the chosen applicant and apply yourself to bettering that aspect whether it be study or tickets or just time. You may not be successful straight out of the gate but keep at it. You can teach skills; you cannot teach attitude. This mantra is written on her wall at her home. A company can 9/10 help you hone in on your skills on the job, but what they can’t teach you is attitude- this will come from your why.
Find your why, if you can get up each morning and face whatever the day throws at you by knowing ‘why’ you’re doing what you are, you’ve won half the battle.
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Kymberly says: My advice would be fearlessly chase the goals you have for yourself, if you want to start a career in the industry do the research on what you need to succeed in that area, reach out and gain industry advice from people already in those areas, join groups online to surround yourself with likeminded people, look into events held by industry groups such as WBA, NAWIC, SALT, WIMARQ. There are endless resources at your fingertips (thank you internet), mentorship programs, TAFE open days.
You are your greatest asset, build upon that, invest in yourself- you are so very worthy of that.
Karly's fist job at Bunnings exposed her to so many trades and a few women tradies as well. When she finished her year 11, she quickly realised she did not want to do year 12 and wanted to give trade a go. Her first job in the industry was painting & decorating and 6 years later she is still painting. Karly fell in love with painting during her first two week trail and she hasn't looked back since or wanted to explore other trades.
Karly has had a few, good and bad challenges, most they have been good challenges. She believes no matter what you do, it’s not always going to be easy but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth all the hard work that you put into it. Karly's hardest challenge she says was herself, thinking she wasn't good enough and mostly second guessing herself. She reflects back and recognises that one of her bosses was not supportive and created a toxic environment. As there was bad, there was good too! Falling in love with painting and enthusiasm she had when she first started kept her going. Karly says,
You’ll always face challenges, it’s how you react to it and go about it instead of dwelling in it.
A typical work day for Karly starts at 7:30 am and finishes around 4:00 pm. Prep is key in painting. Most often, she and her team prep first which is taping, plastic sheeting anything that they don’t want to get paint on and protect it. They fill, gap and sand. She advises that you need to ensure your prep is on point so that when you come to painting, it then becomes a breeze. After the prep is done, they start to paint. They do spray work, roller work and brush work.
Karly's been doing painting for a while now and she believes that still needs to work for the success she wants to achieve. She has always put her all in painting and knew on her first week of her trail that painting was something she wanted to do for the rest of my life. Karly says taking pride in your work, not giving up and being persistent is really important in becoming successful. Everyone is not perfect at the start but you practise and get better and karly is surely on that path. After 6 years, Karly believes she is a good painter and cant wait to see what the future holds for her.
Doing my apprenticeship was the best decision I ever made. It’s never going to be easy but I assure you that it will all be worth it, the good and the bad.
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Karly says - "It can be scary at times but don't be scared to give it ago, it may be nerve wracking at first and at times you may feel overwhelmed but coming from someone who is fully qualified, doing my apprenticeship was the best decision I ever made. It’s never going to be easy but I assure you that it will all be worth it, the good and the bad."
"Something my father has always told me and it has stuck with me is that “you will get out of something, what you put into it” and honestly it really is true. My whole apprenticeship and even now as a qualified painter, I do believe it has made me a stronger, more independent person and has taught me that gender has no bearings in my ability to do my trade."
Bardie's first job in the building and construction industry was as a labourer, she spent her first day taping windows up for the renderer and wondered why people chose this as their career. After labouring part time for a while, she started learning more and more about carpentry and the building industry, the more she learnt the more she wanted to know. Which lead to her taking on a trade that allowed her to be creative and to think analytically. Bardie is now a 3rd year Apprentice Carpenter.
Like some women who work in the male dominated trades business, Bardie faced some challenges, she found it hard to feel confident and deserving of her place within the industry. Most of her achievements were accoladed to her being a women and left her feeling undeserving of her accomplishments.
Bardie loves that working in the industry means that everyday is different and you are involved in a constantly changing process. She believes that a good finish comes from thought out and well approached beginning. What she enjoys is that working with plans making sure everything is set up so the details all come together.
The best thing Bardie every did was starting out with labouring, it gave her the opportunity to observe different aspects of the many trades that happen on a building site. She attributes her success to learning from her mistakes and voicing any questions that she had since they are crucial for growth and development.
"Try out some labouring work! This is my number one tip for anyone wanting to get into a trade. It gives you a really good idea about the industry."
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Bardie says "If you want to do a trade or think it could be a path for you I highly recommend labouring just to get a taste of the industry and what you might like to branch out into.
I would also say to any woman out there, if you are wanting to start a trade, hold your head high, put in the work and remember that no matter what other people voice about your career choice, it is your choice and nobody else needs to understand or give you the okay to choose what you want to pursue in your life.
And if you are in a bad company or working with a tradesperson that makes it hard, know that person or place is not representative of the industry as a whole. There are so many people that are willing to teach you and support you in your journey to becoming an awesome tradie."
During high school Renee developed a passion for wood work and she loved learning about all the different tools and making the most obscure projects. She found it rewarding to look back and see what she had created and feel a huge sense of achievement. She loved being hands on and learning about the why’s and how’s of different projects. She believes that there is much more to things than what meets the eye and often being able to break it down into smaller manageable tasks is what she enjoys the most.
Renee's was thrown into the deep end right with her first job - building framing. We was part of a small crew that focussed on single and double story new build houses. Her body took a few months to adjust to the reality of the type of work she was doing, despite being regular at the gym, the days of heavy lifting was hard on her body. Sometimes people did not respect her position as a female apprentice at the work site so she put her energies into her work and allowed it to speak for itself.
A normal work day in Renee's life involves getting up bright and early, take some breakfast-to-go, jumping into the car and getting to the site early to set up all her tools. A lot of the time with the new developments that she works involves getting straight into the work and smashing it out until lunch time which is usually around12pm and then she keeps pushing through until the 3:30 pm when her work day ends.
Renee believes that she still on the journey to success but some rituals that she says have put her in good stead are waking up 30 minutes earlier so she can prep her food, clean her room and get ready for the day. She tries to keeps her car fairly clean and organised so tools and materials are easily accessible and everything has its own spot.
One of the biggest things you can do to be successful is to put yourself out there as a person, look respectable for the job and be committed to the work you are doing.
For all the women who are interested in the industry, Renee says "Try a pre-apprenticeship and make good connections with the teachers and staff as they can be your number one resource for finding work and improving yourself. Find someone that will give you a few weeks trial to get experience on the tools and slowly making the adjustment to the fast-paced trade lifestyle. Contact volume builders, supervisors, gumtree, seek to find work - there are people out there but you also have to put yourself out there and promote yourself. Keep your resumes interesting and your cover letters short- what will make you stand out from everyone else, is it a photo of yourself, a link to your social media etc. Start promoting yourself via social media pages, following inspirational trade accounts because you never know where you will find your next job."