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Can’t Find Work?

Can’t Find Work?

Just last week the Sydney Chamber of Commerce reported that the shortage of white collar workers has resulted in 53 per cent of companies looking overseas to fill vacancies. The media is currently full of “˜skills shortages’ and “˜increases in visa applications’. So, why are some of my relocated clients struggling to find rewarding employment in Australia?

Just last week the Sydney Chamber of Commerce reported that the shortage of white collar workers has resulted in 53 per cent of companies looking overseas to fill vacancies. The media is currently full of “˜skills shortages’ and “˜increases in visa applications’. So, why are some of my relocated clients struggling to find rewarding employment in Australia?

Marianne, a travel agent from Sweden applied for more than 30 jobs in three months and was invited to only four interviews. Elsa, who gained solid experience in office administration in South Africa was offered a work after 25 applications and then dismissed after only one week in the job. Robyn, a solicitor with valid qualifications is finding that she is applying for positions that are far below the one she left in the UK. These difficulties and disappointments are contributing to low self confidence, poor health, lack of motivation and general unhappiness amongst some members of the ExPat community.

I asked Carron, a recruitment consultant in Sydney if these were typical roadblocks for overseas applicants. She assured me that Australian employers value experience from different cultures and she attributed the difficulties my client’s describe to a lack of clarity over what they want and what they have to offer employers. She reported that competition for vacancies is strong and stressed that there is no shortage of candidates; it is specific skills that are in demand. The Department of Immigration’s required skills list includes IT managers, child care workers, HR managers, accountants, architects, medical specialists, interpreters and engineers to name but a few.

What are employers looking for when they screen applications? Melanie, an HR consultant working with recruitment managers explained that employers are looking for a continuous time-line with no unexplained gaps. They want to grasp the extent of the applicant’s experience and achievements. She advises applicants to research the local market to use local terminology and check that corporate structures are comparable so that reporting lines and responsibilities are clear. For each role, she recommends listing three achievements and an explanation of how they contributed to the success of the organisation.

Jodi Arthur, of JobWise in Sydney, knows about the difficulties people experience when they move locations or take a break from paid employment. Jodi helps job applicants with resume preparation, teaches interview skills and guides them in their job search. She told me that applicants really need to sell themselves and work on their confidence to compete in the current market. Employers need reassurance that the applicant is a good fit in terms of professional skills and personality. Thus it is crucial to tell your story confidently, focus on your strengths and make a good impression. If you do not feel confident, get help from people you know or hire professional support. Jodi added that sometimes people go in via the back door, make lateral moves and place themselves where they can learn the market. She recommends that you start talking to people in your industry, be patient and maneuver yourself into position.

Finally, looking on the bright side, not everyone has difficulty finding employment. Some people find it relatively easy to get jobs in new locations. One client told me how he found his ideal job after only seven days in Australia. He started with a list of industry contacts, used them as consultants to narrow down his prospective employer. He prepared a resume which boldly listed his achievements and outlined the skills he could offer. He found a perfect match and even got sponsorship. Remember, it is possible, and if you need help, you only have to ask.

Beverly Nerden works with relocated people who are struggling with building a life in a new environment. As the life coach behind Life is 4 Living, she facilitates workshops, coaches private clients and contributes to various publications. Beverly can be contacted on 02 9880 8373, 0403 028 373, by email [email protected] or via www.lifeis4living.com.au