Landing a job by reinventing by yourself

A mistake that immigrants often make is to be so deadset on their specific skill set that they cannot see a way of applying some of those skills in a different capacity. Perhaps they do not realise that it is quite possible to change careers or to do something completely different.

During my time in China and Australia, I have learned this – you are more than able to reinvent yourself if you want to.

You do not have to be stuck in one job forever

Your skills are not limited to your job description.

I have an accounting background, yet have found my niche in marketing and these days, I also work in the advancement (alumni) field at a private school. Opportunities to reinvent myself came my way because of always looking outside the box, accepting challenges as an opportunity to grow and continued personal development.

People who changed jobs

Some examples of South African immigrants who moved to Australia and did not work in their chosen career are:

Suzette van der Heijden

Suzette originally trained as a journalist and went on to become a managing director of a freight forwarding company.

Eric (not his real name)

He was an attorney, yet his qualifications were not accepted in Australia, and he could not get a job as a lawyer. He found employment as a claims assessor. After a few years, he decided that he missed law and redid some subjects and his admission exams.

Danie (not his real name)

Danie could not find a job in Australia, and while his wife worked full time in nursing, he went to uni and studied education. He joked about being the second oldest in the class.


My friend Marlize also has a legal background, yet decided to stay at home and homeschool her children. In the past 10 years she bought and sold a 3D ultrasound business, and these days she is a real estate photographer.

There are many inspirational stories that I can tell you…

Plan ahead and think about how you can reinvent yourself

The message that I would like to give you is that you have to think outside of the box when looking for a job. If you work with a migration agent during your journey to immigrate, talk to them about your skills and whether they have any suggestions of how they can tailor your skills to fit a different job.

Have a look at some of the positions that are on offer, before you start your process and if you have to, enroll in courses at Australian online service providers. There are certain positions where you can apply for recognition of prior learning, but you will have to have a portfolio of evidence available. Start your research, and if that is the case, compile your evidence when you start thinking about immigration.

This is not necessarily an easy journey, but it is enriching. There will be many sacrifices along the way, but also many rewards. It is also the chance to do something completely different and to reinvent yourself.

Immigration is not an easy process, and neither is the job hunting process, but if you do your research, you may discover something new about yourself.

If you have reinvented yourself here in Australia, please share your experience in the comment section below, so that others can learn from you.

© 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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