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Finding a Job, CVs, Interviews and Etiquette for Expats in Australia

Submitted: August 2013

Finding a job

The most common and convenient way to search for jobs in Australia is to use online job portals. These enable you to filter your search according to job function, industry, salary and location or search for keywords. Among the most prominent job search sites in Australia are:

Other specialised job search sites include:

Most daily newspapers also publish job advertisements in their print issues and online. Typically, the newspapers feature an extensive careers supplement in their Saturday edition. Some of the most widespread Australian daily newspapers include:

Job seekers in Australia also frequently turn to recruitment agencies to help them find employment. Recruitment agencies are a good choice as they can guide you through the entire application process. However, due to the large number of recruitment agencies in Australia, the greatest challenge is to select a good one. For a list of accredited agencies see the Website of the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association, RCSA.

Another option is to visit a job fair in your home country. For example, the organisation 'Working In' regularly organises Opportunities Overseas Expos in the UK, Ireland and Canada, where you can meet potential Australian employers.

Finally, make sure to look directly on the websites of Australian companies/organisations that interest you. These will often include a section called Employment or Vacancies, where their present job openings are announced. For more information on the availability of work, see Work Culture and Labour Market.

CVs

Australia has become a popular destination for expat job seekers, therefore you will need a convincing application to attract the attention of the employers. In particular, you will need a strong CV (curriculum vitae) or resume, highlighting your academic qualifications and professional experience. Although there is no general CV template and different sectors have different preferences, there are some core characteristics that are common to all good CVs.

First of all, your CV must be concise. You should tailor your CV to the job you are applying for and exclude any irrelevant information. Opinions vary as to the ideal length of the CV. However, standard Australian CVs are 2-4 pages long. CVs in the academic sector can be even longer since they include a list of publications and conferences attended.

Secondly, your CV should be well-structured. This is easily achieved by dividing the CV into various sections and using subheadings to denote these sections. Typical sections include Personal Information, Employment History, Education and Training, Skills (including IT and languages), and Interests. Commonly, Australian CVs also include the sections Career Objectives, where you briefly present your short-term and long-term career goals, and References, where you list two to three referees (academic and/or professional) and their contact details.

Generally, your personal details should be listed first with your name and surname on top and your contact details (address, telephone number and email) underneath. In Australia, you are not legally required to include your date of birth, nationality or marital status on the CV, therefore these are best left out. It is also not common to include a photograph unless specifically requested.

Sections on education and work experience are generally arranged in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. When listing previous professional experience, it is important to indicate the start and end date, job title and name of the company/organisation you worked for. You should also include one or two lines about primary responsibilities and achievements in your recent jobs. In case you worked for a non-Australian employer, it is advisable to add a sentence about the nature of the company/organisation you worked for.

Last but not least, your CV should be written in a positive tone, emphasising strengths and achievements throughout. At the same time, make sure that your spelling and grammar are correct and avoid using informal language.

Additional information on writing CVs can be found on the Australian Government Website at How to Build a Resume and on the CareerOne Website at Career Advice.

Cover Letters

Australian employers will typically request a cover letter as part of your job application. Cover letters should be one A4-page long and drawn up as a formal business letter. The purpose of a cover letter is to explain your motivation for applying for the position, how your skills and qualifications match the employer's requirements and what you will bring to that particular role. When writing cover letters, pay attention to the requirements mentioned in the job advertisement and comment on how you fulfil these. Useful information on writing cover letters can be found on the Government Website at Applications or on the Seek Website at Cover Letters.

Interviews

Job interview types in Australia vary from employer to employer. They differ in length, interviewing technique and the size of the panel. Usually they take place in person. However, in recent years telephone and Skype interviews have also become common, in particular if interviewees are located abroad at the time of interview.

Generally, interviewers first give you the opportunity to introduce yourself, present your motivation and argue why you are a good candidate for the position. Following on from this, employers ask questions about your previous employment and test how your skills match their requirements. Finally, you will have the opportunity to ask the employers about your potential future role. For more information on interviewing techniques and sample interview questions see the Government Website on Interviews or the CareerOne Website on Job Interviews.

Note that certain large Australian companies also use assessment centres as their recruitment technique. Such assessment centres last a day or two and include a range of tasks, such as presentations, group activities and written tests, to test your suitability for the position. To read more about assessment centres see Assessment Centres.

Etiquette

When applying for jobs in Australia always use formal language and polite wording throughout the application process. Avoid using slang and colloquial expressions and explain all abbreviations you use. In written applications, short versions such as "don't" or "isn't" should be avoided and instead spelled out as "do not" or "is not". It is also advisable to use Australian English spelling. You can use the Microsoft spell-check for Australian English and check specific terms or spelling in the Macquarie Dictionary.

When attending a job interview in Australia, remember that punctuality is key! It is better to arrive a few minutes early than keep your employer waiting. Another important rule is to dress appropriately. Even if the company/organisation does not have a specific dress code it is still advisable to opt for business-wear in discreet colours and avoid using eye-catching jewellery or heavy make-up. Throughout the interview make sure to sit straight and make appropriate eye-contact with the interviewers. Show that you are professional and do not forget that a smile can take you a long way!

 

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