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How to get a professional job in Australia for foreigners

How to get a professional job in Australia for foreigners

Australia has one of the strongest economies in the world. Its economy is dynamic and the country continues to grow and present many opportunities of employment. Even if the Australian job market for foreigners can be quite competitive, it is not impossible to get a qualified job in Australia. Here are all our tips and useful information to get your dream job in Australia.

Is it easy to get a job in Australia? 

Australian job market is very competitive. Since the pandemic, Australia is lacking manpower in various sectors. For foreigners, not all jobs and skills are in equal demand at the moment. For example sectors of hospitality, construction, and education are in high demand at the moment. But you can definitely find a job in other sectors!

Here are a few tips to help you in your searches:

  • Research your market to understand where you fit in
  • Check your visa options, you will need a valid work visa
  • Prepare your resume and cover letter
  • Speak the language and understand the culture.

Visa options to work in Australia

There are many different work-related visas for Australia. But here are the main different types of visas you can work with in Australia:

  • Student Visa: This visa is certainly the easiest to get and is very popular among backpackers after the Working Holiday visa. However, there is a restriction that you can’t work for more than 20 hours a week, which can be an issue for companies.
  • Graduate Visa: for international students who have recently graduated and have skills and qualifications that are relevant to Australia needs. This visa allows you to work full time for 18 months.
  • Employer Appointment Scheme (Subclass 186): A company appoints you directly. You need 3 years of professional experience in the industry. You will also need to provide a wealth of evidence on your previous work experience (including a detailed justification for you to get the specific visa and your professional skills). With this visa, you can get permanent residency in Australia.
  • The Skilled Visa (Subclass 189 or 190): This is a scoring system. With this visa, you can get permanent residency in Australia. It may be independent (visa 189) or sponsored by a state or territory (visa 190).
  • Sponsorship – Visa TSS (formerly Subclass 457, now subclass 482): Depending on the sector, the visa is valid for two or four years. This visa is directly related to your employer.
  • The partner visa or De facto visa: Your partner, whether he or she is a citizen or has a valid work visa, sponsors you.

There are several other less known visas on the Australian Immigration Department website.

Job search

From Europe to Australia

Most of us think that they can find a job from their hometown. However, most of the time, you will quickly realised that despite having a good or excellent level of English, a good resume and experience in your field, it can be quite difficult or impossible. The best is therefore to be in Australia to give it a go.

Start with compiling a list of contacts, including headhunters, who will include you in their database. With a valid work visa, like the Working Holiday visa, it will not be a problem.
The decisive factor is that you have already gained professional experience in the desired industry back home. Plus, it’s even better if you’ve worked in Australia, even if it was in a different industry. They also often ask you for references (contact details of your former employer/manager).

Prepare your resume and cover letter

In order to find a job in offices or “admin jobs”, it is necessary to tailor your resume and cover letter to the company’s needs.

In all cases, you should always adjust your resume to Australian standards. Keep the design of your resume simple, don’t include your age, marital status or a photo of you.

For your cover letter, stay focused on getting a job. Explain why you are suitable for the position and draw attention to your knowledge and relevant experience.

How to apply for a job effectively

Job pages like Seek and Indeed as well as LinkedIn Jobs can be quite helpful. There are two cases:

1 – The recruiting company has published an ad online

  • You send your resume and cover letter to a “real person”, either the HR manager or your potential supervisor. This is personal and you can customize your application to the person.
  • The ad takes you to the official website of the company and asks you to create a profile and complete your application.
  • You automatically apply by clicking on the job offers page.

2 – A Recruitment Company (or Headhunter) has created the job ad for their customer (the company that is hiring)

  • This is ideal because you enter your information in the database of the recruiting company. Based on your details, they will contact you in the future if they have a suitable job.

Recruiting companies all compete for the same vacancies, with the goal of “placing” you in a company to earn a commission. They usually negotiate a better salary and also value building a long-term relationship with you.

To maximize feedback positive responses, we recommend you to apply for several job offers that are more or less in line with your profile. You can lose track very quickly. So create an excel spreadsheet with all job offers, links to ads, dates of your applications and reminder emails.

You can also spontaneously contact people on LinkedIn whose profiles interested you. This will allow you to ask people directly for advice or learn about the company.

If you resume is selected, interviews will be quickly initiated. They will take place first at the recruitment agency and then directly at the companies.

professional jobs in Australia for foreigners 2

Successful interview

There is no recipe! If you aren’t an English native speaker, it is increasingly difficult to hold a job interview in a foreign language. Take a look at the branch-specific vocabulary before you go to the interview. You often realise that you don’t know certain technical terms, and therefore you can’t express yourself as well as in your native tongue.

These two questions certainly come in a job interview: “Why did you leave your home country?” And “Why did you choose Australia?

In general, job interviews are less formal in Australia than in other countries. While in many European countries the focus is often on the education and the degree, recruiting agents in Australia put more emphasis on the personality of the candidate.

The good thing is that headhunters / recruiters have no time to lose and come straight to the point. They ask specific questions to learn more about your personality and your professional experience. So they can quickly get an idea of ​​your profile and see if it matches the position.

If it is an employee of the company in question (the future manager, an employee, or the HR manager), the conversation may take more than an hour.

Being part of the company

Understanding cultural differences

Although life in Australia is certainly less exotic than, say Asia, you recognise the Anglo-Saxon culture, which may surprise you.

  • Work schedules are very accurate. Here it is customary to leave the office around 17:30. It is rare that Australians work overtime.
  • Young companies often organize group evenings. It is important to attend these events in order to integrate well.
professional jobs in Australia for foreigners 3

Stay with the company

The Work and Holiday Visa allows employers to hire you for 6 months (12 months under conditions). This is probably the easiest way for them to get to know you and see how you work and how you fit into the company. However, some companies often hesitate, because it can be difficult to keep you in the company at the end. The only way to stay with the company for longer than six months is to change your visa. It is helpful to hire an immigration officer who can advise you in your situation.

The most common is the “sponsorship visa” (TSS visa). To be sponsored, the company hiring you must be willing to act as a sponsor. The process takes up time, a lot of energy and money from the company.


  • You have the support of your employer. They contact an immigration officer to initiate the case.
  • You can get a large number of officially translated and certified documents.
  • Your position is on the list of jobs eligible for sponsorship. Formerly Visa 457 and now TSS Subclass 482.
  • You have to pass an English test (if not your native language).

It’s not an easy affair, which means you have to be determined and informed to get started. However, it is doable if your education and professional experience are among the desired occupations. These professions are listed in the SOL & CSOL list (Skill Occupational List), which you find here.

Working in Australia is definitely a very rewarding experience, on both a personal and a professional level. Finding a job for a few months is not difficult. And if you really want to stay, there are options. Of course you have to fulfil the conditions and be highly motivated. No doubt you will succeed, if that is what you want!

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The ultimate guide to work and travel around Australia with a Working Holiday Visa! Get all the tips and advice from other backpackers. The first travel guide written by Backpackers for Backpackers in Australia!!!


  1. Hello Marion!

    Excellent article! I would like to ask you which headhunter agencies you looked for?

    Thanks in Advance

  2. Hi, this is a really helpful and interesting post. Thank you.

    Is there a way to contact Marion to ask her for some advices?.

    Thank you in advance.
    Best regards!

  3. Hi..from malaysia..looking for job in australia with my spm qualification..hv gdl license in lorry..plz help me..in getting any job with good paid..

  4. Hi. I am a South African with qualifications to the level of doctoral in social sciences particularly in development studies and masters in monitoring and evaluation looking for professional job in Australia. What should I do? Please help.


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