Job hunting in Australia

Gabriel and I recently received an email from one of the bosses of a company we’ve worked in when we were still in the Philippines. He said that another employee of the company has resigned from the company and would be moving to Australia soon. Perhaps we could help her settle here by giving her some tips? Gabriel sent her an email introducing himself, offering any help we may give her given that she would be landing in Sydney while we’re here in Melbourne. She replied back and asked the usual questions regarding information on local customs, things to bring and most importantly, job-hunting.

Which reminds me to the time when I first landed here, worried of not finding a job. It took me nearly 3 months to find my first job. I later found out from friends that three months is the average time for other Filipinos in my industry to find work too. To some, a quarter of a year may not seem too long to find employment but for someone like me who has never had a gap of more than two weeks between jobs, it’s pretty scary. By the end of the second month, I was ready to be a Kingsley’s (fast food) store attendant. I even filled in an application form and anxiously waited for them to contact me. When they did, it was in the form of a “Sorry but…” letter. I guess I lack the experience they wanted since I wasn’t able to put in anything in the related relevant experience section of the application.

Anyway, to be successful at finding work here, make sure you’re in the country on a valid visa first. Although I’ve known of some lucky people who were sponsored by recruitment agencies from their home countries, that was all before the technology bubble burst. I haven’t heard of anyone who was sponsored to come here after year 2000. To learn about your options in coming here to work, visit the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs website.

Once you get your visa and have a target arrival date, it’s time to visit the job sites to announce your availability to prospective employers. Some popular job sites are Seek, MyCareer, CareerOne and JobNet. Most, if not all, of these sites feature a free service where you could sign up for regular email updates to be sent directly to your mailbox when new jobs meeting your search criteria are posted in the site. Be quick in sending in your resume once you get the email since some jobs could be withdrawn once they get a lot of responses.

One thing to know about the job adversitements is that some job openings are advertised in multiple sites by multiple recruitment agencies. Unlike employers in the Philippines who handle their recruitment themselves, a popular option here is for a hiring company to outsource the recruitment process to a recruitment agency (sometimes to multiple agencies).

This means account managers from different agencies are given the job specifications, who then advertise for the position in different job sites and wait for the applications to pour in. Once they’ve weeded out the resumes of those who lack the qualifications/skills needed by the position, they’d shortlist the ones who do have the skills. At this point, the job applicant may get a preliminary phone interview from the account manager or even be requested to go to an actual interview in their office. Note that this is only an interview with the account manager, he/she is not the employer and may only have a limited knowledge of the job advertised or the company that would do the actual hiring.

If your interview with the account manager goes well, your name would be included in an even shorter list that would then be submitted to the employer who would now decide whom to interview. From this point on, the recruitment process is similar to that of interviewing with an employer who hires people directly. Although you’ve made it this far, it is not a guarantee that you’ll get an offer of employment. You still have to impress the employer with your interview skills and job know-how/experience.

I’ve had some experience with account managers and although I’ve gotten to the employer interview step several times, I’ve never gotten a job through them. One account manager even got my hopes up by repeatedly pressuring me to commit to an earlier start date and then leaving me out to dry. He didn’t even have the courtesy of informing me that I wasn’t chosen for the job. Poof, he simply vanished and didn’t return my calls. I got the idea.

There are still companies who do their own advertising, sifting through resumes, interviewing and finally, hiring. However, the majority of advertised jobs out there go through the agencies so be forewarned. You may even get a sense of deja vu when going through job ads from different sites, that’s because the advertisements are identical in the different sites posted by various agencies! A method that has worked for me is keeping a list of the company name, positions and the contact person’s name/address in a notebook.

Anyway, this post is getting long so I’ll stop there. I might get into applying for jobs in the public sector and other tips in my next post but don’t hold your breath!

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Published in: on February 23, 2005 at 9:31 pm  Comments (2)