It is a common story: a migrant in Australia, holding professional qualifications, good grades, an IELTS results sheets of 6, 7 or maybe 8s, that provides them with the opportunity to hold a Permanent or Temporary Residency.
With all that, the migrant may think: “the study part is ready, most of the tuition fees are paid, the difficult part has now passed and all I have to do now is find a good job in my area!”
So, you get ready to start your job search and still fresh in you mind, the words from your teachers at the university – They said something along the lines: “CEOs prefer graduates from our university”, or “Now you are ready to apply to any of the big four” or “you know what is better than you current title?… a double title!” or anything similar to assure you that your new education has given you all the right tools and now you deserve the best job in the world.
Then, reality hits…. months keep passing, you keep spending the mornings applying for jobs on Seek and your afternoons/evenings in that part time job you hate!, (I know, I have been there… waiting tables, giving change in a 7 Eleven, cleaning offices, washing dishes, driving a taxi, we have done it all) time passes by and the phone does not ring, no interviews, no phone screening or if it rings you usually get the dreaded “we will contact you soon”.
Why? why is this happening to me? why can’t I get an interview or the job I deserve after all my study and effort? (you may ask)… well, the story is the same for thousands of internationals in Australia and many other countries and the reasons for this are many and the reasons are clear:
Companies prefer hiring employees from their same culture. It is understandable. We all feel more comfortable around people from our own culture, it is easier! So if you do not have an Australian name, your resume would not get as much attention and the chances of being called are very slim.
You are only one of many applying for the same job, all of them with brilliant and expensive qualifications, all of them deserving a good job, all of them with similar sets of keywords in their profiles and all of them… the same.
Then, what makes you different? what makes you deserve that call, that interview, that job?
If the interviewer asked you this one important question: “why should I hire you, what makes you a better option than any other applicant? what would be your winning answer?
If you are still looking for that answer, here are some ideas for people who want to show something different, who want to stand out, who want to show companies from the beginning that they have initiative, that the can make decisions, and that they are the right choice to fill the job.
Write a blog
More and more employers are reading candidate’s blogs and online resumes. It is key if you want to stand out to offer more than a resume. You need to show that you really are an expert in your field your experience and results.
You know why in chess, the pawns are allowed to be taken? It is because they have not shown any value beyond doing their part. This is similar to when a company decides to down-size. They look for the employees offering the least “perceived” value, and get rid of them.
Start your own company and charge for your services
If your field is information technology: Start a company today, walk round to twenty small businesses in the business park nearest you and ask them “if you had a button on your website and the customer could press it, what would that button do?”
Listen to what they say. One of them will be something you can create, and hey presto, real customer, professional experience.
Your field is accounting: make tax returns for students, help small business with their bookkeeping, help them save money, get real professional experience.
Marketing: go to small company and help them promote their products online, or enhance their social media reach or designing new menus… then add it to your portfolio.
Go to networking events
You can find them everywhere in Australia, for most professions, for internationals, for entrepreneurs for everyone! go there and hand some business cards, smile, chat away, do not ask for an opportunity but be friendly and make friends. When they know about a job or an opportunity, they may call you.