Applying for a job
Whilst the application process for jobs will vary depending on the industry sector and position, there are some basic principles that need to be followed.
It’s the most important factor in your job search because it gives recruitment consultants and potential employers a first glimpse of who you are. Because some local employers can make judgements based on their lack of understanding about your experience in another country, your resume needs to work hard to convince them that you’re the perfect person for the position:
Communication – Make sure your spelling, grammar, phrasing and expression are 100% perfect. Adopt local expressions where possible and if you have any doubts about your English, ask someone fluent in English and whom you trust to review your resume. You can also employ a local professional resume writer to re-work your resume.
Context – In a paragraph above where you list each job, provide some context with a brief explanation of the places you’ve worked, the markets you’ve worked in or the competitiveness and demands of the working environment. Make some comparisons to well known Australian companies.
Tailored – Make sure your resume is tailored for the Australian market. Research Australian resume templates and guides and avoid including items such as a photo, religious or marital status, or anything else that could discriminate against you. Also take the extra time to tailor your resume and covering letter for each role you are applying for, and focus on the key words being used in the job advertisement. A generic resume that is being sent out to everyone will have less chance of standing out.
What your resume should include:
- Contact details including your name, address, email address and phone number.
- Key skills - reflect the job you are applying for.
- Qualifications and training.
- Work experience. Your most recent job should be listed at the top and should include the most amount of detail. You should also focus on recent jobs that show that you are capable of doing the position you are applying for.
- Work achievements and duties.
- References - the names and contact details of recent employers, clients or suppliers that your potential employer can contact.
Resumes in Australia are generally two to four pages long and items such as letters of commendation and other supporting documents are not normally included.
Your letter of application
Together with your resume, your written application is what potential employers will use to decide whether they should consider you for a position. It’s important that you research the company and position as much as possible in order to include the relevant details that will give you the best possible chance of being selected for interview or testing. Also remember that employers are very busy. Try to keep your application to one page unless you have a list of specific criteria you need to respond to.
Your application needs to demonstrate:
- An understanding of what the advertisement is asking for.
- Why you are interested in the job and employer.
- How your skills, qualifications and experience match the requirements of the job and make you a suitable candidate for the job.
Jobs may have specific requirements for your application. For example, if you are applying for a Government job you will usually be asked to respond to specific selection criteria. In these cases, your application may be longer then a normal written application so it can often be helpful to use headings for each criterion.
Depending on the type of job you are looking for there may be certain clearances or checks that need to be undertaken either at the time of applying or before starting a new job including:
- National Police Checks. Used by employers as part of the screening process to check for criminal convictions.
- Working with Vulnerable People Card. If you will be working with children in certain types of employment or volunteer work, the law requires that a national criminal record check is undertaken.
- Assessment of overseas qualifications. You may need to have your qualifications assessed in order to practise your trade or profession in Australia.
Applying for a job in the public sector
The Australian and ACT Governments are major employers in Canberra offering flexible and diverse career paths that give you the opportunity to be part of policies and programs that shape Canberra and the nation.
Understanding the Australian Public Service (APS) recruitment process and knowing how to apply can increase your chances of getting a job. The Australian Public Service Commission website has information about APS employment and a series of fact sheets on how to apply for jobs.