Over the past number of years, I have gathered a significant amount of insight on what WORKS best to land a job in Australia. It is my deepest hope that these notes would guide you and that you too will be successful in landing a job in Australia.

The Right Direction

I recently spoke to a PhD candidate and had quite a light bulb moment and confirmation of what I have said so many times in the past. To put our conversation in a nutshell – employers start from the TOP down when they look for employees. Meaning that they speak to PEOPLE. Employers will often, in the first instance, recruit within their company. Should they not locate the ideal candidate, they will ask their staff to recommend a suitable candidate. Job hunters often take the BOTTOM-UP approach; they search the internet for jobs – job forums, job websites and more. You guessed it….they are missing their target….the employers. You need to apply the same logic. Start from the top down – start with PEOPLE. Connect with as many people as possible. One little trick I have tried previously is by telling at least ten people a day that you are looking for a job. See below my paragraph about networking for further advice.

Consider your Skills

I have been noticing some trends, since finding a jobs group in 2012. One of the most significant trends is – that those with a trade or a certificate appear to find a job a lot easier, than those with a degree. You could increase your chances of employment by obtaining a (TAFE) certificate, tickets or (blue, white) cards. It would also be advisable that you do any conversion studies before you arrive in Australia. Here you need to ask for advice and references, as there are many options; online, part-time and full time.

Go Shopping

Yes, have a walk down the shopping mall, and chances are you will find a “vacant position/looking for” notice on a shop window. Walk-in bravely and offer your resume or CV. Make sure to ask to speak to the person in charge – the decision-maker.

Put up a hand

Volunteer in your community – there are extensive opportunities available to volunteer. Go online to http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/ to find the opportunities closest to you. Your children’s school, SES, Library notice boards and local council offices would also be a source of volunteering opportunities.   43% of hiring managers will see your volunteering experience as equal to professional work experience. Volunteering may be crucial in providing you with that much needed Australian experience. Chances are that you will connect with people, who might be your introduction to formal employment.

Network Network Network

We have all heard the saying “it is not what you know, but who you know” Join online and in-person networking groups. Business networking groups are found in every community. Do not expect miracles after your first meeting. Focus on building business relationships rather. Once the members have seen you a few times, you are on your way to building relationships of trust which could serve you for years to come.

Join the world’s largest online professional networking group…. LinkedIn. Get to know how the platform works, build a professional profile and focus on your LinkedIn objective of “finding a job”.

Pro Tip 1 – Connect with staff that works at the company you would like to work for – keep in mind that you should only connect on LinkedIn if you know them or if you can get one of your LinkedIn connections, to introduce you.

Pro Tip 2 – Make as many local Australian connections (on the ground) as possible, by for example joining LinkedIn groups.  Join the conversation and contribute your knowledge, learn from other professionals in your industry.  Get to grips with the local terminology in your industry.  Create a “presence” for yourself within the company, industry and area in which you are looking at employment.

Pro Tip 3 – regarding success rate – building relationships far outweighs any other method of finding a job.

Clean Up

It is no surprise that employers will have a look at your social media accounts. Clean up your Social Media Footprint on all of the platforms where you have an account. Be mindful of the groups you belong to and pages that you follow – this is often public knowledge. You may want to consider the views you have expressed online and the photographs you posted online. A headshot with a broad smile is always preferable to a photo of your pet. Never upload your CV or resume to any social media platforms, not even LinkedIn.

It’s all FREE

A number of free resources available to improve your skills through training courses, workshops and to create a resume are overwhelming. Our teenager built her resume with the use of online resources and managed to land three jobs with her resume. The only problem she had, was deciding which job to take. Truth be told, I very much doubt the piece of paper or resume had anything to do with her landing these jobs.  It was rather the relationships with the prospective employers, which got her two of the three jobs. See Pro Tip 3 above – The third position was a matter of seeing a notice on the door, approaching the owner on the spot and being able to start immediately.   This interview lasted two minutes, and he never looked at her resume.

Pro Tip 4 – Get out of your comfort zone, work on your communication skills and stay top of mind.

Should you still need assistance with drawing up your resume, there are many professionals available in Australia who can assist you.  Select someone who specialises in your industry and profession; the chances are that they are well connected and networked within your industry – a definite plus in building up your connections with professionals in Australia in your industry.

Please note that there is no such thing as employers will not accept your DIY resume!

Have a look here for some further information:-




Create your resume

I recently found the following post on social media, which is worth a read on the topic of CVs or resumes. This was written by KL Gibb a Human Resources and Industrial Relations lawyer practising in Australia. (Permission obtained from KL Gibb for quoting her words here)

“Australian format CVs”

With respect, may I just say that I have never seen or heard of an ‘Aus format’ CV, and I have heaps crossing my desk (all different formats).

The only difference I have found is that most (not all) are called ‘Resumes’ and not CVs.

And if you apply through an agency they will put your details into their own format, on their letterhead, before forwarding them to their client anyway. (And all agencies have different/their own formats!)

Please be cautious about spending your precious money to have your CV ‘Aus formatted’.

Whatever its format, if it tells you on the first page what you need to know, and enough to make you want to keep reading, that’s all it takes. Remember we get numerous applications for each job, I want a snapshot of why you’re the ideal candidate- not War and Peace, or the name of your pet dog when you were 6! Try to keep it to 3 pages, and note somewhere that a longer, more detailed version is available if they’re interested, or provide a link to your up to date, detailed LinkedIn profile. And please, NO PHOTO!!

Any resume format you find free on Google will usually be fine.

Rather spend your money on having spelling and grammar checked if English is not your first language. I will NEVER consider a candidate whose resume is not perfect (I mean, if they can’t even pick up a typo or spelling error in their own resume they’ve had hours to refine, why would I want them in my team?).

Also- spend time on your covering letter. Use it to explain why you are a good choice for THAT job. Read the ad and address the things they’ve asked for. And for the love of God, if you are asked to address certain selection criteria, make sure you do that and don’t write ‘refer to resume’ even if you are repeating yourself! If you can’t follow simple instructions in an ad, it’s not a good sign.

I don’t intend to offend anyone, this is simply my view..”

Do Phone Them; They will not Phone You

I often see requests – please contact me, with an email address provided or sometimes an overseas phone number. Please remember that you are competing with the rest of Australia and the world for the job. My best advice is for you to make contact, phone the company and submit your resume directly to the company. Make sure to follow up with a phone call a week later. Stay top of mind…See Pro Tip 4 above.

I wish you every success in your efforts to land a job in Australia!

If you found this post helpful, please share it with your connections or share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Should you need assistance in setting up your LinkedIn profile, would like to receive personal coaching or a tailored workshop in knowing how to use LinkedIn, you can contact me via LinkedIn message.  Alternative book for my next workshop here

© Chaleen Botha – All rights reserved

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