Step by Step Guide on How to Land a Job in Australia

I have been reading the typical questions that would-be immigrants to Australia ask. The most obvious question is, “My wife and I are thinking of immigrating to Australia. My qualifications are XYZ. How do I go about getting a job in Australia before we move?”

There is no easy answer to this question.

I have been involved in helping people find employment in Australia for six years. Today I want to share some of the knowledge and experience that I have gained.

The list that I have compiled will not only save you time but may even save you money in the long run.

If you have finished reading this article, you would like more information on careers in Australia, here is a link to more articles that you can read.

How do you get a job in Australia?

1.        Pennywise and pound foolish

Once you start researching how to immigrate to Australia, you will meet many people, and every one of those people thinks that they know the ‘right’ way of doing things. You will quickly discover that everyone has an opinion and doesn’t mind sharing their opinions, so it sounds like the absolute only way of doing things.

Beware of cheap and nasty, and above all, think again before you DIY this process. (As many of the people may want to advise you in doing. You have to remember that many immigrated when the process was much less complicated and when Australia did not have as strict guidelines about immigration.)

When it comes to immigrating and finding a job in Australia, do not fall into the trap of ‘cheap’ service providers. Your immigration agent, resume builder and LinkedIn Profile builder should be knowledgeable and experienced. Yes, you can do it yourself, but ask yourself the question, ‘How many times in my life have I immigrated? Or applied for a job in Australia?’ If you are not an expert, please do not attempt it all on your own.

Do not trust Facebook as your sole source of information on the service providers there. Look at their websites, look at their LinkedIn Profiles and check their recommendations on LinkedIn.

Immigration and job hunting in Australia will be costly, but if you spend your money on trusted providers with a proven track record, you will not have to spend your hard-earned South African Rands on the same thing again.

2.        Immigration starts with a plan

We all know the saying, ‘Fail to plan and plan to fail.’ This is also true of the immigration and job-hunting process.

  • Do your research. There are books, websites, blogs and Facebook pages and groups dedicated to this process. A word of caution, just because the information is published on Social Media Networks, is not necessarily the correct information. In an age with fake news around every corner, you have to make sure that you get your information from trusted and reliable sources.
  • Do you know which visa route is best suited to your situation? MARA registered agents are valuable resources.
  •  Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If you have one, is it current?
  • Many employers these days scan the social media footprint of applicants. If there is anything that you need to remove from your social media accounts do so now. Ensure that you have adequate privacy settings.
  • Do not apply for jobs online. You can confirm this for yourself, by reading on many Facebook Groups, about people sharing posts about submitting their resumes hundreds of times without ever getting feedback. Many times, you hear that the positions they applied for do not even exist.
  • Work on your soft skills such as interpersonal relationships, written and verbal communication and empathy.
  • LinkedIn is a valuable tool in your career, both in your current country and when you are looking for opportunities in Australia. If you do not know HOW to use LinkedIn, get someone who has achieved results in helping people set up their profiles.

3.        Are you skilled enough?

Remember that many people from around the world think of Australia as the Lucky Country. When you apply for a job in Australia, you will be competing with others who are similarly qualified.

What can you do that will set you apart from them? Are there conversion exams that you can do to have your current skill set transferred to Australian Standards? Can you up-skill or improve on it? Is there an Australian qualification that you can obtain? With online studies these days, you can study anywhere.

Many business coaches recommend that you make a vision board. Why not do it? Make a vision board about your new life in Australia and put it where you can see it. Do not limit your dreams. If you have or make one, after reading this article please would you send me a copy? 


4.        If not Australia, then where?

We lived in China for four years before moving to Australia. Sometimes your Aussie dream may seem exactly like that – a dream.

Some of us have come to Australia via a detour. Some migrants teach English in non-English speaking countries and earn valuable dollars to help fund their Aussie dream. I believe that ‘there will always be work for anybody willing to do what no one else wants to do in a place that no one wants to live.’ If you decide to take a detour, it may just be one of the most inspiring times in your life.

5.        Knowing that a barbie is not something your daughter plays with

Though very similar to the South African one, the Australian culture is still a culture on its own.

Once you know which state and city you would like to move to, get to know it better.

If you have access to a cross-cultural training programme, enrol in it.

Read about Australia’s history, not just the current history, but since the beginning of Australia. Get an understanding of the various holidays and the origins behind it.

I recently read the beautiful biography of Jessica Watson, titled True Spirit – The Aussie girl who took on the world. Many movies and biographies will give you a bit of insight into this beautiful country that I now call home.

6.        Working in Australia

  • I have found that terminology and legislation in some industries vary between the different states. Become acquainted with the relevant lingo and laws about your industry.
  •  It is important to understand how to write for understanding. I like to use the example of ‘bakkie’ and ‘ute’. You may drive a ‘bakkie’ in South Africa, but you will not buy one here. You will have to ask for a ute. Likewise, we don’t talk about a CV but rather a resume. Learn what terminology is acceptable and what is not. The same goes for topics of conversation. Some topics, such as religion and politics, are, especially off the table.
  • Do your homework about the Australian companies and employers you would ideally like to work for.
  • Build your presence and networks within the Australian job market by contributing to conversations on LinkedIn.
  • Build bridges and make connections in Australia by establishing who the key players and influencers are.
  • Ensure that you have at least 500 LinkedIn (quality) connections before arriving in Australia (I always recommend quality over quantity.)

Know how to tap into the hidden job market; here, you can read my blog about How to uncover a job on LinkedIn.

7.        Update your resume

Your resume is critical, and an updated, job-specific one is invaluable. Your cover letter should be relevant to the specific job that you are applying for. 

In Australia, as in many other places around the world, a network is vital. One of the most important places to build that network is on LinkedIn. This article and many of the others that I have written will point you in the right direction to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and current. Using the skills that I have mentioned in this article and others, you should be able to apply directly for opportunities within the support network you have set up. In my experience, more than 70 % of people will land a job through their network.

I like to hear from you. If you have been able to get a job through some of the suggestions that I have made in this and previous articles, please let me know. If you can add anything to this article, please comment below. Together we can help others.

May you achieve your dream to live and work in Australia. Remember anything is possible when you put your mind to it!

© Chaleen Botha – All rights reserved

If you require help with creating a resume that highlights your Australian value proposition, or assistance with recruitment or setting up your LinkedIn profile, please feel free to contact me. Don’t hesitate to connect with me on LinkedIn and keep up with my frequent updates on both LinkedIn and  Facebook. You can easily reach me through a LinkedIn message or by finding my contact information here. 

About the Author

Having relocated twice from South Africa to China and then to Australia, and also moving from Queensland to Western Australia, has gained valuable insight into the intricacies of job searching in Australia.

Chaleen, who graduated from the University of South Africa with a background in accountancy, decided to embark on a new journey and discovered a passion for assisting others in their job search. Since 2012 she has played a pivotal role as a job coach, developing LinkedIn profiles and coaching job seekers.

Chaleen was eventually offered a position as a recruiter at a specialised recruitment company and later at an outsourced HR firm. It wasn’t long before she discovered that she had a passion for the recruitment process. Chaleen obtained her recruiter’s license and subsequently established her own recruitment company.

Chaleen enjoys reading, staying fit, and spending time with her family and their two furry pets when she is not working.

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