I finished Uni: Now, how can I get professional work in Australia?
Have you just graduated or perhaps you’re completing your degree? Maybe you’ve just arrived to Australia on a skilled visa? Either way – you’ve got a wonderful opportunity ahead of you!
Getting a professional job in Australia can be tricky – but not impossible. Many international graduates and new migrants have been successful.
It took me over six months to get my first job after completing my degree. Looking back, there are a few things I could have done better.
I’ve now had 10+ years management experience in Australia. I’ve screened hundreds of resumes and cover letters and chaired numerous interview panels. I now know what Australian hiring managers are looking for and what they’re avoiding.
I want to share a few things with you to help with your job search in Australia.
- Customised resumes are important.
There are two ways of getting professional work in Australia:
The ‘normal way’: You see a job advertised and apply. You get shortlisted for an interview, perform well and get offered the job. Sounds easy!
Through the hidden job market: This is when someone refers you to a job or when you network and find a job in the ‘hidden job market’ (perhaps through LinkedIn).
Regardless of your approach, you need a resume that has been customised to the Australian job market. Your resume should also be customised to every single job you apply for. Even if a friend refers you to a job, chances are, the hiring manager will want to see your resume.
I see so many candidates from overseas who have not customised their resume to the Australian market. What’s worse – their resume doesn’t sell their skills, strengths and experiences effectively. Your resume must promote you and get the reader excited so that they invite you to an interview.
- Cover letters are just as important.
In Australia, we use cover letters in the application process.
Most jobs will ask for a cover letter along with your resume. I’d say around 80% of hiring managers will read your cover letter first. If they don’t like what they read, they won’t read your resume so your cover letter must entice the reader to pick up your resume.
- Job interviews – the final hurdle.
If you get called for an interview, it means they believe you have the skills and experience to do the job. Now they want to meet you in person to ‘dig deeper’ and find out if you’re a good fit to the team.
Interviews are like performances and you must be a good story teller! You should have real examples that show how you can do the job better than the other candidates.
If you prepare answers (with good examples) to as many questions as possible – you will do well.
You will also need to have 3 – 5 good questions to ask at the end.
- LinkedIn – are you there?
There are over 5 million LinkedIn members in Australia. That means nearly every single Australian professional is on LinkedIn.
Did you know that 80% of recruiters are using LinkedIn to find candidates? It’s much cheaper, easier and faster! So if you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on connecting with recruiters and finding jobs that aren’t being advertised online.
Resumes, cover letters, interviews and LinkedIn. These are four key areas that need serious attention if you’re going to be successful in getting professional work in Australia.
Don’t forget: Going for a job is a marketing campaign about you. You are the product and the hiring manager is the buyer. They will only buy the best so it’s your job to communicate that you are the best. You can do this in your cover letter and resume, at your interview and in your LinkedIn profile.
I wish you well in your search!
Director and Career Coach,
The Australian Careers and Employment Centre for International Students.
To learn how to improve your resume, cover letter and interview skills, register for the free ACECIS 7 step course
Visit acecis.com.au for more information.