One of the biggest issues for expatriates is how to conduct a job search when living in another country.
If you’re thinking of coming to Australia to work and live, one of the first things you will find is that applying for jobs is harder than you imagine. (For the sake of this article, we’re going to assume that you are not looking for an employer to sponsor you, and that you already have the requisite visas needed to reside and work here).
If you’re pursuing the traditional route (applying for advertised jobs), you don’t know who, if anyone has received your application or even looked at it. Typically, jobs advertised by agencies online are going to have the greatest amount of local applicants so the pool of candidates is going to be large. Job search consultants handling the search are always wanting a quick, easy, seamless process whereby the candidate ticks all the boxes in terms of skills, background, experience, and one of the most important ones… availability. Consequently if you can’t make yourself available for interviews at a moment’s notice, if you are going to take time to settle, and if it is difficult just to call you, then it is clear that the traditional route, may not be the one that works best for you.
Look for an employer where your background, culture and experience is not a set back
How? Time to do some investigation and explore the possibilities.
First, start your search on LinkedIn.
- Research companies in your current country that have a presence in Australia. See who works there and approach them on Linkedin. Find out what it takes for people such as yourself, in your occupation, to become an employee at their Australian office. You’ll most likely receive advice in the form of a name, contact title, email or telephone number to contact. Make sure you follow that advice. Picking up and going to another land takes courage and confidence. You need to be able to step outside your comfort zone… at least for a while.
- Do you already work for a company that is looking to expand their reach in Australia? If so, visit your HR department and talk to them about the possibilities of a transfer. This is the easiest, no-hassle way to arrive in Australia and start working. You know the company, you know what their products and services are, and you know what they want you to do. In return for your expertise, they’ll be handling the paperwork for you. The drawback is that you may not have much influence on where they place you. It can be difficult if you have family members in one state and you’re given a job in another.
- Do you know someone who works for a company in Australia? It is time to call in your favours and ask them to help you. Could that person identify a role that is vacant at the company that you may be suited for? Are they willing to give you a contact name, or better still, recommend you to someone who will interview you?
Find a way to talk to 15 people who used to live in your country and now work in Australia. They may be a Facebook friend, your cousin, your brother, a follower on Twitter or a connection on LinkedIn. These people can be invaluable to you. Ask them how they managed to find a job and what worked and what didn’t work for them. Find out if there are specific communities where people of your country now call “home”. Communities such as this know what it is like to arrive in a country that is different culturally. Typically they have set up links and resources to encourage people new to the country to secure work and be successful. They will know country-friendly employers who see your background as a benefit and your culture as one that will help their business grow.
Low-level networking such as this, can not just help you find your way, but help you create friends and allies before you arrive in a new country; this is crucial to help you feel that you play an active part in a community so far away from home.
Be As Available as Possible.
Look at your situation from a potential employer’s perspective. In a time-is-money world, you will need to show that you’re ready and able to settle in quickly and start work on a deadline. What could you do to alleviate the delays caused by time zones and the cost of international calls to the employer? Perhaps you have a friend in Australia who’s telephone number could be used on your resume. Maybe you could secure a local Skype number in Australia and list that on your resume instead? Again, you may have to step out of your comfort zone; a couple of hours worth of sleep may be a sacrifice worth making if you interest a recruiter sufficiently in your services to secure an interview!
While you are on the telephone, adjust the employer’s perception of hiring you as being difficult. Demonstrate and articulate how you are the ‘exception to the rule’ when it comes to people from your country. You may even have HR contacts who have hired internationally who may be willing to share tips on expediting the process.
Watch your “Self Talk”
Why would you be screened out of the application process? If you are always telling yourself that they’ll screen you out for one reason or another, it’s likely that is exactly what will happen! In what ways are you holding yourself back? An unwillingness to talk to people because you don’t “know anyone” is a defeatist attitude that won’t get results. If you doubt your level of expertise and believe that it won’t translate to the Australian market, then it probably won’t! You need to identify the things that you say or do that help people screen you out of the process. If you believe you cannot get hired and cannot pinpoint barriers to employment such as language difficulties, then this is something you will perpetuate throughout your job search.
Do you need to access more resources prior to your job search? Resources such as re-credentialing services, education, classes on conversational English or English-as-a-Second-Language? A cultural mentor? Coaching to minimise an accent? Books or websites on the Australian work culture, resume writing services, etc.? You may also want to find information on fitting into the business culture in Australia, ways of communicating and showing respect, valuing time, and more.
Insight without Action
If you are reading this article because you’re looking for ideas when job applications have failed, remember the following phrase: “Insight without action, won’t give you traction”.
You can be aware of all of these things, but unless you take action, step outside your comfort zone and start making something happen, nothing will happen. It’s time to start now.
Start by asking yourself:
- What are three different perspectives, possibilities and paths you can use to move forward and reach your goals?
- How can you apply any insight or learning this week?
- Are you willing to experiment with some different ideas? To stretch yourself out of your comfort zone?
- What are some different ways to look at your current situation in a positive light?
- Do you really have the desire, motivation and courage to see this through?