Finding a job
Canberra offers great job opportunities in the private and public sectors at all levels of expertise and across a range of key industries.
The key is knowing how to find them.
Before you move to Canberra
There are plenty of ways to get the ball rolling on finding a job, whilst overseas:
- Make sure your visa status is confirmed before applying for any jobs.
- Prepare your resume.
- Create a profile with LinkedIn, an online site that allows you to connect to people you know and view other LinkedIn profiles. Make sure photos and content are professional – not a picture of you on a beach wearing sunglasses! If you have a Facebook site with public access, make sure it’s suitable for general viewing as employers may also check it out.
- Register with a recruitment agency that specialises in your field of work and let them know of your arrival date. Your details will be logged in their database and matched to jobs that come up.
- Start applying for advertised job vacancies, but only 1 to 12 weeks before a possible start date or arrival in Australia as employers are less likely to be interested if you can’t start sooner.
- Send a letter of application (include confirmation of your visa status) and resume to potential employers in Canberra to let them know that you are available.
- Provide an Australian postal address and Australian mobile/email address in your resume where possible.
- Tell employers you are available for Skype webcam or face-to-face interviews.
- Ask current and previous employers, clients or suppliers to provide you with a written reference or testimonial and have these translated into English if necessary.
- Make copies of the following documents to bring with you:
- School records, diplomas or degree certificates and transcripts.
- Trade or professional certificates and licences – anything from school level onwards.
- Driver’s licence, including an International Driver’s Permit.
- Your residence visas.
Testimonials and references
Before you leave your country of origin, get some testimonials and references (in English) from previous employers or clients. You may also need to list contact details of your referees on job applications and your resume. Make sure you let your referees know that you have listed them and that they may be contacted regarding positions you’ve applied for.
When you get here
Now that you’ve arrived in Canberra, it’s time to ramp up your job search efforts.
The vast majority of job openings are never advertised - they’re filled by word of mouth. That’s why networking is considered to be one of the most effective strategies for finding work in Australia. It’s really about building relationships with people and there are a number of ways that you can go about it:
- Social media. Sites such as LinkedIn create opportunities for you to connect with industry leaders, join industry groups and have people you know vouch for your experience.
- Join local groups in your area. Getting to know people when you first arrive is essential for developing your network. Groups can include sports clubs, community groups – even your children’s School P&C Association.
- Join professional and trade associations. They provide networking opportunities such as events and conferences, business advice and support, training and education and advocacy on behalf of their members. Trade specific and industry publications may also advertise jobs that don't appear in newspapers or on general job websites.
- Contact employers directly. Make a list of local employers and companies you’d like to work with and contact their human resources department to explore job opportunities.
- Find a mentor. A mentor is someone in your industry who is more skilled or experienced and can offer advice, support and guidance. Alternatively, approach people in your profession whom you can ask for advice on how your overseas experience translates, and where you should start your search.
If you’ve already registered with recruitment agencies whilst overseas, make an appointment to meet agency consultants face to face. By building relationships with them, you have a better chance of being put forward for positions. Because they know your industry like the back of their hand and have strong relationships with industry leading businesses, they will also be able to give you an accurate evaluation of your experience and skills and how you can address any gaps.
Set up a personal account with as many jobseeker websites as you can so that you can have suitable job advertisements emailed to you.
Some of the most popular jobseeker websites include:
- Skill Matching Database
- Next Step Australia
- Australian jobsearch
Many businesses advertise job opportunities on their own websites, so it is a good idea to regularly check the websites of companies that interest you and that are similar to the ones you’ve worked at previously.
The Canberra Times Wednesday and Saturday editions contain a list of jobs advertised by Canberra employers.
Gain local experience
A common barrier to gaining employment is a lack of ‘local experience’. By undertaking voluntary work or work experience you’ll gather local referees as well as developing your skills and experience in the local industry.
Some of the ways you can find work experience are:
- Contact employers directly.
- Search online for internships and volunteering opportunities.
- Let family, friends and your network know you’re looking for experience.
Work Experience and Support Program (WESP)
The Work Experience and Support Program is designed to help Canberrans from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds enter the workforce by providing an opportunity to improve skills and confidence, as well as develop important networks within the ACT Public Service.
Register with agencies for temporary work
You’re more likely to find work for short-term assignments if you’re flexible and can start straight away. This is a great way to build up your networks and can lead to longer assignments, particularly if you’re reliable.
Understanding Australian Job Advertisements
Having an understanding of the job you’re applying for is crucial in determining your success. Some jobs in Australia may be advertised under a different job title than in your home country and may use language and terms that you’re unfamiliar with.
A job advertisement will usually include:
- A salary range or package (not all jobs will advertise this). Keep in mind that the amount advertised may not be your actual pay as it may include things like superannuation.
- A job description.
- Whether it is full-time, part-time, casual or as a fixed-term contract.
- The skills, qualifications and work experience required.
- A description of the organisation.
- Details about how you should apply.
- Who to contact for further information. It’s often good to contact this person and discuss the position. It may help your application stand out of the crowd if they have spoken to you.
- The closing date for applications.
Some job ads include key selection criteria – outlining the specific qualifications, knowledge, skills, abilities and experience that are required in a job. In your job application, you will need to address each of the key selection criteria with specific examples of how you meet the requirements. Selection criteria are often used for public sector positions.
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 practice your trade or profession in Australia.