I think job hunting is the worst thing ever! One of the additional challenges I have in Australia is the working restrictions on my visa. I can work for anyone for up to six months but after that I have to be sponsored to continue working for them. The sponsorship process is a lot more complicated that people realize. An employer has to prove that the position cannot be filled by an Australian citizen along with paying all the fees that go along with the application process. For the cost and time that goes into it most employers chose not to do that route which makes my life more difficult.
I started applying for jobs two weeks after I arrived in Australia. I found out quickly that I had to revamp my resume (or CV) to clearly demonstrate what my role was and what I achieved while I was at each position. My first draft wasn’t cutting it. However, I did catch a break from a job I applied for through a recruitment agency. One thing that’s different in Australia is that a lot of companies use recruitment agencies to fill roles. It’s a bit frustrating to deal with them but that’s the way it is. Anyway, one of the agencies noticed that I worked for the Canadian Red Cross and contacted me for an interview. I went in and that’s when I was told that my CV was not portraying who he was talking to. He gave me a lot of tips and I came out of that experience with a better CV than before. That agency (along with another agency) ended up retaining me and I’m on their database. But they work for their clients, not for me, so I’m not holding my breath.
I continued to apply for full-time jobs (even with my restrictions) and decided that I would disclose my visa status if I was called back for an interview. That way if it wasn’t in organization’s means to sponsor me they could let me know right away. I applied for at least 20 jobs which included a cover letter, my CV, and some positions asked me to fill out the “Key Selection Criteria”. Most jobs posted will have a separate section that requires you to specifically address some key things that they are looking for in a position. Once you answer all of them it can be up to another three pages to your application. But I did end up getting two interviews: one with the Melbourne Airport and the other with Victoria State Emergency Services. Sadly, after the interviews, both organizations told me they were unable to sponsor me. To say I felt disappointed would be an understatement. I was crushed. I had put in so much work at this point and my visa was preventing me from getting a full-time permanent job. I knew I would have some challenges to find work on this visa but it’s always harder than what you anticipate.
After I left my pity party I touched based again with my mentor Jill. She has been an amazing support for me while I’m here. Plus she’s given me fabulous some advice. We chatted and decided I need to change my approach and start looking for short-term contract work and start building my network by meeting more professionals in the industry. So my homework was to take out two professionals for coffee and see what opportunities could come out of that. I got business cards made, pulled out my best dresses, and got started. I wanted to do well (a-type personality) so I took out four professionals for coffee and went to three networking events. The first girl I met over Twitter and she works for a big communications agency, the next lady I met by cold-calling and she sits on the board for IABC (International Association for Business Communicators) which is one of the biggest professional associations for communication professionals, then I went for lunch with the communication manager from Victoria State Emergency Services (one of the jobs I didn’t get) and finally a lady I met from a networking event. The three networking events were put on by IABC, a breakfast by PRIA (Public Relations Institute of Australia) which is another association for communication professionals, and finally a session on how to network by Oliver & York which is a small boutique agency. Side note: the speaker from the PRIA breakfast, which I ended up exchanging contact information with, is on the board of IABC. I wasn’t aware of this before I took the other board member out for coffee and later found out that they have worked/known each other for years. Fluke? I call that divine intervention 🙂 The three of us went to the same networking event and it was helpful to know two of the most influential people in the room.
After all of this you would think I would have a job… nope! I’m not giving up because I know I’m doing all the right things. So I’m going to keep applying, keep taking people out for coffee, keep going to networking events and I am confident I will find something soon. I’ve had some moment of discouragement along the way and I’ve had to pick myself up more time than I would like to admit; however, I know when I do land my next job I will appreciate it more than most because I know how tough it was to get it.
Prayers and words of encouragement are appreciated 🙂