How to find a job in Australia as a migrant

If you have just moved from overseas and are reading this article, you were brave enough to change your country of residence for a new adventure.

However, the excitement of this new adventure can sometimes be deflated through the challenge of (re-)establishing your career, even in spite of having relevant overseas education and work experience.

In order to increase your chances of finding a job in a new country, it is important to consider the cultural differences which affect getting a job in a new country.

The good news is that Jora is a true multicultural team: more than two-thirds of our team have a first language other than English. We have collected some of our experiences, including some tips from our HR consultant, so you won’t have to learn it the hard way.

We have grouped our advice into the 3 different stages of your job search journey, and have devoted an article to each of:

  1. Job Search
  2. Job Applications
  3. Job Interviews

Note that this article focuses on finding a job in Australia, but many of these principles also apply elsewhere.

Get Rid of Your own Biases or Misconceptions

First and foremost we’d like you to be aware of a few negative perceptions that could cloud your judgement, your determination and your will. If you have heard any of this negative talk from somewhere, don’t let it deter you.

Negative Belief #1: I don’t have local work experience, so I won’t be considered

This may be true in some cases or industries but unless you hear it from a knowledgeable source, it is wiser to not assume so.

However, even if this is the case, it is possible to overcome it. A member of our team received this comment initially, but successfully landed their first Australia-based role. Each role is different, each company is different, and each interviewer is different, so it very much depends on the individual situation.

How to overcome this:

If you weren’t successful in the role you applied for, ask the recruiter for a feedback. Don’t assume. Keep your chin up, improve what you lacked and work on getting better at it.

Negative Belief #2: My poor English is holding me back

This could be true. But we have found that many people underestimate their English ability, and overestimate the job requirements. Basically, if you are comfortable communicating in English, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

There is no better way to improve your English than by immersion in a working environment. So if your other professional skills are good, and people in the company are open-minded enough to give you a chance, your English shouldn’t be an issue in a few months.

(If you really feel that language is a problem, then find yourself an English-for-Business course.)

How to overcome this:

1) Don’t self-select yourself out

2) Use your native language as an asset, not an issue! Here at Jora, several members of our team got their position precisely thanks to their foreign language skills and overseas experience.

You can use your language as a ‘keyword’ when searching for jobs, for example, there are jobs that require French speaking candidates here.

Negative Belief #3: My name clearly indicates I wasn’t born here

This is largely untrue. More than a quarter Australians were born overseas. Australia is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, and one of the most tolerant.

How to overcome this:

If you strongly think that your name is hindering you, experiment with a different way of writing your name on CV. For example:

One member of Jora removed their middle name (it reads with an accent) and finally got a call for an interview at another company, and another friend of mine opted for using her ‘nickname’ that Australian friends gave to her because her real name is impossible to pronounce in English. She finally got a call.

So…

Whatever the view might be, don’t let yourself be consumed by any of it. It doesn’t help you getting ahead. Have an open mind, roll with it, and if not successful, get a feedback and improve.

Three job search tips for the newly arrived

Now that your head is in the right place, let’s get started with job search again! And here are our tips when searching for jobs:

Focus your job search to the areas you are specialised in or enjoy doing the most.

Our HR consultant sees many instances where someone will apply for ALL the open jobs at a company, even using the same resume / cover letter. This is less effective than focusing on a specific job to which you are most suited.

If you intend to switch industries or job type to something which you have less or no experience in, check out our other articles on switching industries and tailoring your resumes.

A) Online Jora, Jora, Jora :)

We have more jobs than anyone else in Australia which are sourced directly from job boards like SEEK and Gumtree, as well as company and industry websites.

B) Recruiters An important thing to note is that recruitment agencies in Australia may function differently from your home country.

C) Networking >Many jobs are not openly advertised, so your job searches need to involve a variety of strategies, including networking. >– from Looking for work after you arrive in Victoria

Don’t solely rely on job search websites and recruiters. Get into the network even before you get the job. There are also many online meet-up groups for expats that you can join to start networking with those who have established their career here. You can use meet-up groups related to career and business to help you out.

Tip #3: Be patient and have a plan

Last but not least, try to remember that job search is a journey, not a short ride. You need to plan wisely, research diligently and choose carefully.

Also, be aware that some job types / industries may only recruit at specific times of the year. Do your research to understand those cycles.


We hope this gets your mojo going. Are you ready to start your search now? And when you’re ready to apply, check out our article on how to apply for a job in Australia as a migrant.