Job hunting tips for migrants in Australia

So you’re thinking of moving to Australia? You’re certainly not alone. Each year, thousands of people migrate to Australia’s sunny shores in search of a new life and a new career. But although Australia is filled with job opportunities it doesn’t mean finding a job will be easy.

Finding the right job anywhere can be tricky, but finding a job in a foreign country can be much harder. You need to get your head around a completely different market, learn the subtleties of a different culture and sometimes speak a new language. But as long as you make the time to learn the basics, you’ll be well on your way to finding an Australian job in no time.

Australian work visas
The first things you’ll need to research before moving to Australia are the types of work visas available. In order to work in Australia you’ll need to have the right visa – and employers will ask you about your visa status so it’s important to know where you stand.

The most common is the temporary skilled visa (subclass 457), which allows you to work for up to four years as long as you have a sponsor (an Australian employer). If you’re under 31 and you can’t secure a sponsor from overseas, you can always try to enter on a working holiday visa – this allows you to live and work in Australia for 12 months, giving you plenty of time to find a sponsor while you’re there. But there are lots of other visas available so the best thing to do is head to the Australian Department of Immigration’s website and see which one is right for you.

Update your CV
Every country does things differently and how you write your CV (or résumé) is no exception. Before you start looking for work, redo your CV following an Australian template to make sure potential employers take you seriously.

Ideally, you don’t want your CV to be longer than two or three pages. Split your information into clear, concise sections and make sure you only include experience that’s relevant to the role you’re applying for. Just remember – employers who aren’t familiar with the city you’ve been working in likely won’t know the companies you’ve worked at. So take the time to explain why each position is relevant to give your experience context.

Most importantly, make sure your spelling and grammar are correct – often employers will reject a CV simply due to spelling mistakes, so this isn’t something you can afford to be sloppy about. Your potential employer will also want to speak to your references, so be sure to include contact information regardless of whether they are in Australia or overseas.

Finding a job
The best plan is to start job hunting before you move; this will help give you an indication of the demand for work in your field and what options are available. Check out job listings websites like Gumtree to keep an eye on opportunities in your line of work. You should also look at, a website dedicated to connecting migrants with employers offering sponsorships.

Interview tips
When you meet with potential employers for interviews, it’s important to know what they’re looking for. Yes, they’ll want someone who’s competent for the role, but they’ll also be looking for someone who fits the company culture. In fact, some people are hired because they’re a good cultural fit over others who might be better qualified. So always be yourself in interviews, make lots of eye contact and let them see your personality – being likeable and confident in an Australian job interview is just as important (if not more) as proving you have the right skills.

One thing to keep in mind is that while Australians may seem as casual, you always need to be professional. If someone tells you to "come in for a chat” this can actually mean a formal interview, so dress sharp and come fully prepared.

Build your network
You may not land the perfect job when you first arrive in Australia, but by meeting new people and building your network, you’ll make connections that will help you get there eventually. Business specific networking is great, but making personal connections is also important.

One of the best ways to meet locals and start making friends is by living in share accommodation. Living with Australians will help you brush up on your English (if you need it) and give you a better understanding of the culture. Other great ways of networking when you arrive is through sporting groups, dance classes, volunteering or any other hobbies you may have where you can meet people with similar interests. Just because they’re not specifically work related doesn’t mean it won’t help you find work – and even if your networking doesn’t land you a job, it’s still a great way to meet people and make new friends.

Getting a job in Australia may be difficult at first, but as long as you get your CV looking right, practice your interview skills and persist in your job hunt, you’re bound to find something eventually. And once you’ve gained some Australian work experience it will be much easier if you ever want to switch jobs and try something new. Landing that first job will always be the hardest, but it will only get easier from there!     

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