Job Searching in Melbourne
Hot Tips to Find Your Dream Job

Melbourne is the most liveable city in the world with a very low unemployment rate. A lot of people each year come from overseas to find a job.

  • So, what is the reality of the job market in Melbourne?
  • Is it really easy to find a job if you are coming from overseas?
  • What do you need to know for the job searching in Melbourne?

I have done many times job hunting in Melbourne and each time I learnt some new tips.

Today, I want to share with you some hot tips including:

  • First time job hunting tips
  • How to look for jobs in Melbourne
  • How to apply for a job
  • How to prepare for a job interview

First Time Job Hunting in Australia

Your search for jobs in Melbourne may not always be an easy run.

It could be difficult particularly if you come from overseas and you are not familiar with the Australian job market.

I have been there and I have been one of you when I was looking for a job after I arrived in Melbourne.

It took me 3 months the first time to find a job. It has not been easy mainly because I did not know the Australian system.

I thought that I would provide you with my experience and tips to find a job in Melbourne.

Have the right visa

It will definitively help if you to have the right type of visa to work in Australia.

1) The best one would be the Permanent Resident (PR) visa. If you are already a permanent resident you have almost the same rights as an Australian citizen.

That means you can work for any type of employer and the employer does not need to sponsor you.

If you do not have the PR yet, you can always ask your future employer to sponsor you but that may be a constraint for him.

If you are a skilled worker you can  apply for the PR yourself under the Skilled Independent Visa.

This visa used to require a very long processing time but recently they have improved their process. Some people have obtained it within 2 to 3 months.

2) The second type of visa would be a Temporary Work visa like the 457 visa. The 457 visa is for skilled worker sponsored by an employer. It gives the right to work temporarily for up to 4 years for the same employer. The 457 visa can be extended but you need to stay with the same employer who sponsored you.

If you are a partner of a person who has the 457 visa then you could have a De-facto 457 visa which allows you to work for any employer but some government agencies.

In practice, you may find some employers who will prefer a candidate with same qualifications and has a PR visa or an Australian citizenship.

3) Another possible visa to work in Australia is the Working Holiday visa. This visa is for young people under 30 who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year.

This visa is super easy to obtain. If you meet the criteria you will have it within a day and everything is done online. This visa does have some restrictions for example you cannot work for more than 6 months for the same employer.

Some employers may not be so keen on the Working Holiday visa for a long term job.

However some job sectors like restaurants or cafes are used to employ people with a Working Holiday visa.

Visit DIAC website to find the right visa for your needs.

Having Australian References

If you want to succeed in the job search in Melbourne you need to be able to show some Australian references.

What do you do if you do not have any Australian work experience?

Try to find something relevant:

  • Ask your previous manager from overseas to send you a reference letter including his contact details to demonstrate your past experience.
  • Do a Voluntary work in your spare time and add them to your referee list. Voluntary work provides an insight into in the Australian workforce as well as valuable work experience to help you apply for jobs and develop your skills.
  • Join some relevant organisations in your filed and help them to organise some events. This one is good not only to have referee but also to build your network.

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How to Look for Work?

Online job boards

The largest Australian job search website is Seek.com.au

You will browse for jobs all across Australia. There is a large range of jobs including contract jobs, voluntary work and trainings.

There is also plenty of useful information and good advice for job hunting.

My tips is to create an account and several job alerts. If you are actively looking for job a daily job alert would be the way to go.

Some other important job boards are:

  • Careerone.com.au
  • Mycareer.com.au
  • Recruit.net
  • Applydirect.com.au (Not a lot of people know about this one. I think it is a very good website because it offers direct employer jobs only. Seek and the other have a huge percentage of jobs via recruitment agencies. I will explain later on why it is important to find some direct employer job advertisements)

Newspapers

You can also search for jobs within the national or local newspapers. Although I think the time where you can find a job by only circling in the newspaper is passed.

However it is important to vary your job hunting strategy. You may find something in the newspapers that you have missed. Especially for some of the local council jobs you may only find them in the local newspaper.

Most Australian newspapers carry job advertisements. See the following newspapers for more information about their job advertisements:

  • The Australian
    This is Australia’s national newspaper. It carries job advertisements through the week, with the largest job section in the Saturday edition. Certain daily editions will also focus on specific industries, for example ‘Epicure’ on Tuesdays focuses on the food and hospitality industry.
  • Herald Sun
    One of Victoria’s main state-wide daily newspapers. It carries job advertisements throughout the week but the largest job section is published on Saturday.
  • The Age
    Another one of Victoria’s main state-wide daily newspapers. It carries job advertisements throughout the week with the largest job section published on Saturday.
  • Do not forget your local newspaper that you will probably get for free weekly in your mailbox.

Recruitment agents

There is a lot of recruitment agencies in Melbourne. Sometimes I have trouble to picture all these people could make a decent living within a such competitive sector.

Recruitment agents are different from the hiring managers. They have been commissioned by different companies to fill a variety of roles.

For each role filled they will have a very good percentage of your salary as commission. So, their goal is to connivance their client that their candidate if the right person for the role as quickly as possible.

Some of the general recruiters have no in-depth knowledge of a particular industry. It may be very difficult for them to understand correctly the position description requirements and also the candidate's CV.

Maybe I am a little bit cynical. Of course there are plenty of good recruiters. And if you use them wisely they could not only find one job for you but even provide great tips to develop your career path.

There are some large general recruitment agencies in Melbourne:

  • Hays
  • Robert Half
  • Hudson
  • Talent International
  • Chandler Macleod Group
  • Randstad

There are also some niche recruitment agencies specialised in an industry. The best way to find them is to surf SEEK and look at who is advertising the most relevant jobs.

My tip #1: Do your homework. Find the recruiters with a history in your industry.

Even in the large general agencies you may be able to find one experienced recruiter with good knowledge of your industry.

Tip #2: Build relationships with recruiters.

It’s not just about this job. If you’re someone with great experience or potential a recruiter will place you five or six times during your career and may keep you in the back of his mind even when you’re not actively looking for a new role.

Sometime, you will apply for one role and not be successful. The recruiter may call you back when he has another role in 5 months time if you built a good relationship with him.

Tip #3: Sell your experience.

As I said before some recruiters may not have a full knowledge of your industry. So, helping him to realise that your experience could be a good fit is very important.

Tip #4: Dump the worst and keep the best.

You may meet some very good recruiters. Experienced recruiters who know how to help you to secure your dream jobs in Melbourne. Do not forget to maintain a good relationship with them even after you found a job.

You may also meet some very rude recruiters. Do not take it personally they are just bad recruiters. Forget about them for your job search Melbourne and tell your network to avoid them as well.

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Social media

Nowadays if someone tells me that he is looking for job but he does not have a Linkedin account I would think he does not seriously want a job.

You cannot ignore the power of the social media now.  Linkedin is a great tool to grow your network and to find a job.

As of June 2013, LinkedIn reports more than 259 million users in more than 200 countries and territories.

Some of the great features of LinkedIn for job seekers:

  • Interest groups: Join some interest groups in your field will allow you to grow your network and be informed of the latest news of your industry
  • Jobs section: More and more companies use Linkedin to advertise jobs
  • Passive job search: Linkedin is also great if you are not actively looking because your profile will be found by recruiters who will contact you

So please do yourself a favour if you have not had an account and go register immediately.

The "Hidden Job Market"

The first time when I started looking for jobs in Melbourne someone told me that 80% of jobs are in the "Hidden job market".

And I can tell you now: It is absolutely true!

Why? because quite often you will find a job through your network rather than via an online job application.

The principle is simple: everyone prefers working or do business with someone they already know about.

So, the key here is to develop your network and try to find all these job opportunities that are not yet published.

The following video details the 'hidden job market' in Australia, how to target job applications to attract recruiters, how to approach employers and take advantage of networking opportunities.

My tips to grow your network are:

  • Join associations related to your industry
  • Attend conferences
  • Voluntary work
  • Linkedin
  • Reach out and meet people
  • Have a prepared speech to present your background during the network events

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Understand a Job Advertisement

1) Position Description

It is very important to fully understand the job description before applying for jobs in Melbourne.

Many Australian online job ads also include a link to download a detailed position description if one is available.

If you have questions, want to obtain a position description or want to discuss the role in more detail before you apply, contact the person listed in the job ad.

It’s a good way to introduce yourself and gain further insight into the company and the role. It is also a good way to test if the recruitment agent has a real role or if he is just "fishing".

2) Selection criteria

Some job ads include key selection criteria that the company will use to evaluate your job application (for example government jobs.

In these instances, you are required to address the selection criteria as part of your job application. Use specific examples of your skills and work experience for each of the key selection criteria to demonstrate your suitability for the role.

If the selection criteria are not included you will need to use the Desired Skills and Experience section.

3) Job type

Pay attention to the job type as well. Set the filter on your online job board to find the type of job that suits you.

Permanent full time/part time: You will be an employee of the company with a permanent contract.

Fixed term full time/part time: You will be an employee of the company but your contract will finish after the fixed term duration.

Contract: You will not be part of the company headcount and you will work as a contractor either with our own company or via a contracting organism.

4) Salary package

It is important to understand how the salary is packaged.

The salary package for an employee is usually broken down in Australia with follwoing items:

  • Base salary
  • Gross salary= Base salary + Superannuation
  • Other Advantage such as bonus, car, ...
  • Package= Gross salary + other advantages

A contract job will usually have a daily rate. They are usually higher than the employee salary but you will need to pay for your annual leave, insurance and superannuation yourself.

Some job ads will include a salary range or a salary package. It is important to find out the fair salary range for your profile.

When you speak to a company, they may ask you what your expected salary range is. They will usually talk about the full salary package.

It could be some time hard to answer the salary question early in the recruitment process. My advice would be to try to give your expectations as late as possible.

No point to discuss salary if you do not know if you could fit the job, isn't it?

A note on Superannuation:

Superannuation, commonly called Super, is the Australian retirement scheme. This is a mandatory contribution your employer has to make. It must be at least 9.25% of your base salary. This contribution is pre-tax and you will not be allowed to use this money before you hit 60, unless you leave Australia but then there is a massive tax impact.

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How to Apply to a Job?

Importance of an Australian CV

A good CV is the most important thing of your job application.

Your resume should be clear, concise and easy to read. It should always be tailored to the specific job for which you’re applying. It should also be current and include the details of your most recent work experience.

When I was looking for jobs in Melbourne I used to update hundred times my resume because I think I need to improve my CV until I obtain a job interview.

I highly recommend you to ask people to review your resume and provide critical feedback.

The following is a suggested format for your Australian resume: 

  • Name and contact details including address, email and telephone.
  • Career overview - a brief relevant statement of your main qualifications and relevant experience
  • Career goal or objective  - this is optional, and can focus the reader on the career path you are seeking
  • Employment history - list the employers you have worked for chronologically.
  • Education and qualifications - list any education or training, including the name of the education provider and years attended. List your most important qualification first
  • Professional memberships - include a section on professional memberships, especially if this is required in your industry
  • Certificates
  • Referees or references – if the job application requires a referee, list two to three here or otherwise say that they are available upon request.  

The first page of your resume is very important. Most often a recruiter will not spend more than 30 seconds on your CV. So if you cannot manage to convince him that you are a good fit you will likely not get an interview.

Always customise your cover letter

Quite often I have received this question: Should I spend time to do a cover letter?

Yes, absolutely! It is a key point of you job search process.

There is a lot of competitions for good jobs in Melbourne. So with a great cover letter your CV may have a chance to be read instead of finishing directly into the rubbish bin.

You need to customise your cover letter for the job. Please do not send the same letter to everyone.

The only purpose of the cover letter is to attract the attention to your CV and then get the interview.

Your cover letter should be no more than one page and include:

  • The title of the job you are applying for
  • Why you are interested in the job and employer (I know it is hard but please try to do your homework about the employer and tell them why this is your dream job)
  • How your skills, qualifications and experience match the requirements of the job and make you a suitable candidate for the job (in a paragraph or two)
  • That your CV has more details and you are available for an interview

How to prepare for an interview?

You have managed to have a job interview. Bravo you have done well!

Now you need to prepare your interview. If you succeed to the job interview then you are probably very close to obtain your dream job.

Here is my technique to prepare a job interview. It may not be perfect but it works so far for me.

  1. Research the organisation and gather as much information as possible. (Use Internet, newspaper, your network,...)
  2. Review the position description and prepare one example of achievement to address each of the selection criteria.
  3. Familiarise yourself with the standard interview questions. You can find easily some standard questions on Internet.
  4. Practise responses to common interview questions and have friends or family help you with trial interviews.
  5. Make a list of any questions you'd like to ask. You should always ask questions at the end of the interview.
  6. Thank them at the end of interview for their time.
  7. Ask for the next steps and when you can do a follow up with them.
  8. Do a phone follow up if you have not heard from them within the defined time frame.

All the Best for your job search in Melbourne!

One last tip: Have a daily action plan to try something new everyday and Never give up!

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