Looking for a job in a foreign country can be daunting because each coutry is unique. Australia is no different. You don’t know what to expect of the application process, where to start and what the requirements are. Have a look at my tips for a successful job search in Australia and get the process started.
Disclaimer: this is not a visa guide. When we moved to Australia, my visa was already sorted due to my husband’s job. I was in the lucky position to not have to worry about it and was allowed to work from the beginning. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily a given. Nonetheless, I think this guide is helpful for all kind of stages in your job search.
1. Online job portals
For most job seekers a job search begins online. The best and most common online job portal in Australia is seek.com.au.
Every company – major or small – advertises on that platform so setting a job alert should show you all the positions that are of interest to you.
2. It’s all about your network
Australia is one of those countries where relationships play a huge part in all aspects of life. Looking for a job is no exception.
Because there are so many different networking groups an online search should be fairly easy.
Here are a couple of the bigger ones:
Business Network International www.bni.com.au
Women’s Network Australia womensnetwork.com.au
Business Chicks businesschicks.com
Business in Heels businessinheels.com
Melbourne business network melbournebusinessnetwork.org.au
Another option is to join a business meet up group or if there is nothing for you out there, you might even set up your own meet up group.
Friends of friends of friends
When you first come to a new country you don’t know that many people so don’t be shy to use the ones you already have and expand your network. Let your contacts introduce you to people that could be interesting in your job search. In Australia, it’s quite common to ask for help and use connections, therefore lots of positions are filled that way.
Consider reaching out to people on online business networks like LinkedIn. After all that’s what it is there for – to expand your business network.
3. Tailor your CV to local requirements
One of the most important things for a successful job search in Australia is a top-notch CV. Depending on where you are from, Australian CV and cover letter might be different from what you are used to. In Germany, a CV is rather short and only gives a brief rundown of your previous positions. An employer in Germany has to give you a written reference which you include in your application. In contrast, Australia (and most English-speaking countries) use a CV differently. Your CV is more detailed and longer because you basically list all your duties and achievements.
As a German, this was a bit odd at the beginning because I wasn’t used to “brag” so much about all my achievements (it really felt like bragging). For me they were just part of my jobs.
If you come from another country people may not be familiar with the education system and companies there. If you can, try to explain to what Australian companies your previous employers compare to. This way they are able to put your skills and experience in perspective and better understand if you are a fit.
4. Consider a temporary job or one a level down
If you struggle with finding a permanent job consider a temporary position. They are quite common in Australia and therefore a good way to get experience in the market or field you want to work in. If you like the company, it’s also a great way to get exposure. More often than not they will turn a temporary position into a permanent one or consider you for another job.
Another thing to think about is taking a job a level down. I know this is not the ideal way you want your career to go, but if it helps you from being without job and losing important time to get experience in the Australian market, it’s worth a try. It will also give exposure and experience which will come in handy for another, maybe better job.
5. Write a letter of interest to a CEO or manager
I’m sure the first thing you do is check out the website of your favorite brands to see if they have any openings. If this isn’t the case why not send a letter of interest. I know this is nothing new but I really encourage you to put in the work and do some research. Find out who the head of the department is you’re interested in and send him your CV and letter of interest. Or if the company is small or mid-sized, be bold and send it to the CEO.
6. Don’t put your hopes in recruiters
Unless you fit 100% to a job description. From my personal experience, I haven’t found recruiters to be very useful. And here is why. First of all, they make money from finding the right fit. So logically, they will chose a candidate with the highest probability to satisfy their costumer. That is why they chose someone with the exact same experiences stated on the job description. If the candidate they choose is not the right fit but looked perfect on paper, they can at least say it wasn’t their fault. I’m still a bit disappointed how little they think outside the box and how unimportant the right mindset and the ability to transfer your knowledge is. Just because you worked in the same industry before doesn’t mean you are perfect for the job.
Don’t get frustrated, keep on networking and put yourself out there
If things take time, don’t get frustrated. It took me a couple of months to find my first job. I sent out tons of applications, talked to a lot of recruiters, met with people who knew people and so on.
I talked to other expats and foreigners looking for a job and they had very similar experiences to mine, so you are in good company.
But in saying that, you might not have to wait that long till you find you (dream) job down under. If you follow these tips, hopefully nothing stands in the way of a successful job search in Australia.