Marion, 29, decided to leave Spain last year to live in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa. She wanted to travel, but above all to gain experience abroad. Following her diploma and 5 years of professional experience in the Spanish communications sector, she finally got a sponsorship in Sydney. Marion gives her advice for working and most of all “getting” a professional job in Australia for foreigners.
From Europe to Australia
At first I thought I could find a job from my hometown. However, I quickly realised that despite having a good level of English, a good resume and experience in my field, it was difficult or impossible. Even though I got answers to my job applications, every time I suggested a Skype interview, I was ignored despite my reminder emails. I then realised that I had to be in Australia to give it a go.
Having sent job applications for various positions from home helped a lot when I arrived in Sydney. I had even compiled a list of contacts, including headhunters, who all included me in their database in my first week. With a valid work visa, like the Working Holiday visa, it was not a problem. There were a few vacancies.
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).
How to apply for a job effectively
In order to find a job in offices or “admin jobs”, it is obviously necessary to create your CV and adapt it to Australian standards. But that’s not all!
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. Personally, I have never been contacted this way and gave up this kind of time-consuming job 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.
Personally, I have always had more positive feedback when working with recruiting companies. They all compete for the same vacancies, with the goal of “placing” you in a company to earn a commission. So I recommend apply for a job via a Headhunter. They usually negotiate a better salary and also value building a long-term relationship with you.
To maximize feedback positive responses, I applied for dozens of job postings that were more or less in line with my profile. You lose track very quickly. So I created an excel spreadsheet with all job offers, links to ads, dates of my applications and reminder emails.
I also spontaneously contacted people on LinkedIn whose profiles interested me. This allowed me to ask people directly for advice or learn about the company. It was even so helpful that I found my third job this way. With determination and a little luck, you should never give up!
The interviews were quickly initiated. They often took place first at the recruitment agency and then directly at the companies.
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.
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.
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.
Here are the different types of visas you can work with in Australia:
- 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.
- Student Visa: This visa is certainly the easiest to get and is very popular among backpackers after the Working Holiday visa. However, there is the restriction that you can’t work for more than 20 hours a week, which is a barrier for companies.
- 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).
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.
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 possibilities. Of course you have to fulfil the conditions and be highly motivated. But many people around me were pessimistic and told me that sponsorship was impossible to get. With determination, I finally made it. No doubt you will succeed, if that is what you want!