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Essential Dos and Don’t for How to get a job in Australia

Australia is definitely the lucky country when it comes to weather, lifestyle and a pretty strong economy. Australia welcomes new migrants with valuable skills and qualifications, however searching for employment is a challenge for many new migrants. 

You will need to be committed, resilient and focused on your future lifestyle and career once you are here to remain strong through the job search process. 
It is important to be realistic and understand that you may not be able to find your perfect job straight away. Being able to put your best application forward is the first step.
I’m a manager who has done a lot of recruitment and spent a lot of the time being disappointed at the quality of applications, especially from overseas applicants.  I decided that I wanted to help and do something about that.  So from a recruiting manager of 16 years experience here are some tips that will help you apply for a position in Australia. Good luck I hope you get the job!

Here’s a few REAL Dos and Don’ts to help you on your journey : 


  • Do visit the various Australian job websites BEFORE deciding to emigrate to familiarise yourself with the job opportunities in your field.
  • Do check eligibility and, where possible, apply for your permanent residence visas. Very important. Prospective employers will ask about your immigration status and having your residence visas (or at least being knowledgable about the application process) is a “prerequisite” for many Australian job vacancies.
  • Do start applying for advertised job vacancies from OVERSEAS, but only 1 to 12 weeks before a possible start date or a visit to Australia.
  • Do send a cold letter of application and C.V. to EVERY potential employer and recruitment agent in the region of Australia you intend settling in to let them know that you are available. Use to locate details.
  • Do prepare your C.V. in the Australian style and write a short but clear covering letter indicating your visa status.
  • Do check your current qualifications are recognised in Australia and look on this website for more information. Many overseas qualifications are not recognised in Australian and a bridging course may be needed. Particularly in the health fields.
  • Do get an Australian dictionary and beware of not using Americanisms. Australians are not American.
  • Do provide an Australian postal address and Australian mobile/email address in your C.V. where possible.
  • Do tell employers you are available for skype webcam or face-to-face interviews.
  • Do make a positive impression in the interview. Be confident, show good body language, ensure you’re communication is focused and clear, be flexible and have copies of your residence visas and references available for employers to sight.
  • Do be aware that there are strict rules in Australia about equal opportunities and be very aware that Australia believes that women are equally competent to men in any job.
  • Do apply for any jobs that you believe your skills are suitable for.
  • Do get really good at speaking and writing English. Also watch Australian shows on YouTube to give yourself a real understanding about the language and behaviour of Australians.
  • Do understand that many employers are looking for someone to FIT IN with their business immediately and are wary about hiring overseas. Make it easy for them to see how well you will fit in with the other people by communicating clearly and focus on the outcomes you can bring for their business.


  • Don’t apply for absolutely every job you see and use the same letter. We can tell when you’ve done a ‘bulk’ mail out. Target you letter to the job and highlight your relevant skills.
  • Don’t focus on any town or city. Sometimes your best opportunities are in small rural towns where it’s difficult to recruit people.
  • Don’t get upset if an Australian employer questions your ability to converse with their clients. This is important and a concern for employers when hiring. Demonstrate your confidence and competence with good communication skills.
  • Don’t apply for job vacancies OR visit Australia for job interviews more than 1 – 12 weeks away from a possible start date. Employers may not be interested. They generally will only wait for you for a short time.
  • Don’t expect everything to work like home. Be flexible and willing to fit in with local ways of doing things.
  • Don’t expect a job at the same level or higher than you had overseas. You may lack Australian local knowledge and may need to take a step back in order to advance later. Wait at least a year to move to something higher.
  • Don’t expect the same salary or more than you had overseas. The cost of living and income tax rates are high in Australia, so look at your NET INCOME not the gross amount  to understand the realities of living here.
  • Don’t expect a job offer in the first week. On average, it can take local resident Australians 1 – 8 weeks or longer to find a new job.
  • Don’t “over negotiate” the contract with your first employer. Be flexible and under-stand that employment law and contract terms may be different in Australia.
  • Don’t give up. It may take time but if you have the skills that an Australian company needs AND you can show your ability to fit in to the Australian way of life you’ll be successful.
If you use these tips and have reasonable expectations they will help you with your job hunting.
The people who struggle to get work in Australia are those that are not skilled in the Australian way of getting a job. They may struggle for years without realising it’s not their qualifications or skills, but HOW they are applying that’s letting them down.
If you are really committed to getting a job in Australia, you need to do what it takes to get the employability skills to make it happen.  Without the right skills you’ll be getting a lot more cold rejections. If you are serious, then go to the next page for a virtual training program that teaches you the Australian way of job hunting.
Only the truly skilled and committed get the jobs.
Happy hunting & good luck.
Michelle is a leadership, career and success coach and has been helping people get employment through skills development in Australia for over 16 very successful years.
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