If you’ve recently arrived in Australia and have been unsuccessful with your job applications so far, don’t despair. It’s tough finding a job when you don’t have one and it’s even tougher applying for roles when you don’t have any previous experience in the Australian job market. So how can you achieve success?
There are several things you can do to increase your chances of securing your first job in Australia. Here’s a few areas you could start with:
Check Your Qualifications: the first thing you need to do is make sure your qualifications are relevant and applicable to the local job market. For example, many medical, legal and technical roles require bridging courses or additional study in order to translate your qualification to the equivalent local qualification. Check this out with local industry associations to confirm what you need. Likewise if you have a qualification that is equivalent to something here – make sure to mention that so recruiters immediately understand.
Volunteer: if you have arrived in Australia, volunteering provides a great opportunity to build your local experience, while meeting new people and brushing up on your English skills if that’s an area of concern. It will help you acquire new skills, learn about the Australian culture and meet new people, while also demonstrating to recruiters that you are proactive. You can also ask for a reference after a while, which is another positive for local recruiters.
Research: if you’re applying for roles, make sure you know the industry, and do some specific research on the company. If you can mention something about the company in your cover letter and relate that back to your experience, that could be the key factor that makes you stand out in the recruiter’s eye as a viable candidate.
Network: connect with people in your industry through LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media. Attend network and industry events, join a local industry association if you can, and search for internships or other unpaid work experience opportunities to build your contact base.
Take Advantage of LinkedIn: follow companies you’d like to work for and influential people in your industry, as well as joining relevant groups and forums. Post responses to questions and start to get your name and opinions out there – doing this will help demonstrate that you are an expert in your field and will also contribute to the development of local networks.
Audit Your Skillset: make a list of skills and capabilities required to succeed in your target role, then work out what you’ve got and any areas you’re lacking. Within your Resume, it’s important to be able to demonstrate how you have these skills by using examples, rather than just saying you have ‘good communication skills’. Don’t forget to include relevant transferable skills or skills picked up during volunteer work.
Review Your Resume: make sure your Resume conforms to Australian standards which differs from many other parts of the world. Australian recruiters are interested in your accomplishments and what you achieved in previous roles as opposed to day to day ‘responsibilities’ in isolation. Make sure to provide some information about the company, the challenges, and the market – anything that shows context or scope of the role you held, because the recruiter may not have any knowledge or understanding of your previous company in another country. If you’re not sure about structure and format, ask a recruiter for advice, conduct some online research or engage a professional Resume Writing Service.
Brush up on Your English: many Australian employers worry about communication skills of skilled migrants which is often unjustified. However, poorly written Resumes might confirm this fear, making it hard for you to secure an interview. If English is your second language and you think it may be holding you back, take some classes and practice speaking English as much as possible. This includes while at home and by joining groups, volunteering etc. to get as much practice conversing as you can. Try speaking slowly and clearly to help improve your pronunciation.
Be Flexible: to other types of work – contract, freelance, part-time etc. If you are struggling to secure your dream role, open yourself up to other opportunities. Once you have proven yourself in this role, other opportunities may open up, or you can move on with more confidence and local experience under your belt.
There is no magic answer to this question, and there are many factors that will influence your success, however there are lots of things you can be doing to improve your chances. Would you like assistance from a professional resume writer or coach to prepare a winning Resume or conduct a customised job search for your next application? If so, please see our Resume Writing Services and/or our Job Search Coaching Services.