How to find a job in Australia
Yesterday I presented at the Adult Migrant English Service Skillmax course – a free program designed to help skilled migrants find a job in Australia. I met some amazing people with a variety of backgrounds and nationalities including Engineers and Software Developers from Iran, Accountants from India and China, Global Mobility Consultants from China, and a Researcher from Germany – and that’s just a sample.
I have been visiting AMES for a long time. They contacted me originally after they read an article I wrote for the Australian – on how to find a job in Australia without local experience. In fact “how to find a job in Australia” has been on of my pet topics ever since I started to answer hundreds of emails on behalf of CareerOne. One of the most frequent questions I received was “I am new to Australia and have no local experience. I can’t get a job in Australia without local experience. I can’t get local experience without a job. What can I do?”
Yep – that’s a tough one. And I am still writing on it.
I didn’t get to give my top ten tips in the class on finding a job in Australia – we got sidetracked. So here they are:
1) Networking, networking and more networking. Find out as much as you can about the similarities and differences between your job in your country of origin – and the work you will do in Australia. That way you can work out what local experience, if any, you actually really need. So when someone says you need local experience, you can challenge that with some knowledge…politely of course.
2) Make many friends with the locals. Play sport. Volunteer in something you are passionate about. So many barriers are broken down this way. People are likely to offer you a role if they trust you and know you as a friend. It’s hard to trust just a piece of paper – your resume that floats in with one hundred other resumes.
3) Fix up your resume beyond the grammar and expression (which need to be perfect). Make sure your expression is correct. For example – I read a resume recently from someone overseas who described her skills as “remarkable.” While they may well have been remarkable, a better word might be “strong.”
4) Practice your English with the locals – get feedback on your communication skills. But make sure you use words in the correct context, and be wary of slang. Many Australians have potty mouths. We also add “ie” and “o” to the ends of words – just because we can. Be warned and check your dictionary, and don’t use slang in an interview.
5) Don’t just rely on the one means of job hunting. It’s not quite true that 80% of jobs are not advertised. However a substantial proportion of jobs are filled by means other than advertising. Go back to point 2)
6) Get online. Jason Ball from Good People Japan is a member of my LinkedIn group. He is an Australian Expat living in Japan and a big fan of LinkedIn. He described having an online presence as having “social insurance.” When he was looking for a job in Japan people could check him out and see his thoughts and experience on a variety of topics. When people have endorsed you, referred to you or even commented on your blog, that’s an example of social proof. It gives you more credibility.
7) Remind yourself your job hunt will take time. Don’t be hard on yourself when it does.
8) Be yourself in interview. Focus more on whether the other person understands you, rather than on what you are saying – and don’t stress about text book language. We never speak in grammatically correct phrases. In fact it sounds weird if we do.
9) If you need to take a casual job, make sure it is one that improves your English and gets you mixing with the locals.
10) Don’t try to do too many things in the one step. Many people want to change countries and career at the same time. It’s hard enough sometimes to change industries, let alone career, let alone countries.
11) Sign up to my blog. Read these great articles from John Job Hunter – a skilled migrant I met through the Skillmax class. Read this first piece I wrote on how to find a job in Australia with no local experience. It was inspired by an email I sent out to hundreds of people at CareerOne.
Ok that’s eleven tips to finding a job in Australia – I got a little inspired.
Speaking of inspiration. It takes a lot of courage to up and move countries. Remember that you have that and be proud of the skills you have – no matter how tough you may find that at various stages of your job hunt. Australia actually needs you.
We might make it hard for you at the start – but we actually do need you.
If you’d like to find out more about getting a job in Australia, download this free e-book from one of Australia’s top interview coaches.
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