I have been a recruiter for a number of hospitality and corporate positions and there are some mistakes that I see many tourists and International visitors making time and time again. So here are my five tips and tricks to help you land a job in Australia.
- Use your words wisely. What you say matters. If you say something you have to be able and willing to follow through with it. There are many cultures where it is normal to make plans with no expectations of following though on them. Aussies are different. If you say that you can easily life a 50kg bag on bananas then you better be able to! If you tell your potential employer that you have no car but working later after public transport stops is not a problem for you, they will know that you are lying and you will not get the job. Be honest and do not embellish upon your skills just to get the job. It wastes everyone’s time.
- If you’re running late, let them know. Turning up to a job interview or your first day late is the easiest way to loose your job. If you have plans for a phone interview with your potential employer at 2pm, then call at 2pm, not 2.30pm. Show respect for their time or be prepared to have them ignore you when you do call.
- Respect the trade. The fact that you came to Australia with a University degree doesn’t not mean that you know how to make a good coffee, pick a strawberry or be a labourer. Australians are very proud of what we can do with out hands, this is a working country that still values tradespeople as equally as university graduates, if not more. As a café manager I had many international students and backpackers tell me that they knew how to make coffee. I would ask them to make me one on the machine and they would look at me blankly, unable to even turn on the steam wand. That showed me that they did not respect the trade, they though that the job was below them and that it was a job that anyone could walk into, not one that should be respected as a profession. If you do not know how to lay bricks, then do not tell your potential employer that you do, just because you figure ‘how hard can it be?’. You need to be aware that not every job is for you, and that you do not know it all. Be willing to learn, be willing to admit that you do not know the trade and understand that it is a skill that your employer has spent many years, and much money to learn and perfect.
This goes for fruitpicking jobs also, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Do not go for a supervisor position or a farm manager because you have a business degree and think that working the fields is below your level of education. Farm managers are highly skilled and experienced professionals even though they may not have a piece of paper to prove it. Keeping a pot plant alive in you apartment is not the same as being able to grown miles of crops.
- Mind you manners. Ever walked into a shop in Australia to have the shopkeeper strike up a full conversation with you, not at all trying to sell you their goods? Have you noticed that strangers will say hi to you n the streets? We are friendly and polite people us Aussies. Many culture are very direct compared to Australians. They do not take time with pleasantries or small talk. We do. The important words you can use daily are please and thank you. Be sure to ask how your potential employer’s day is going, ask about their business, use please and thank you at every opportunity and generally make small talk, instead of rushing to get the answers you require.
- Resume. Aussies do not put our age or a photo on our resumes. Infact it is illegal for an employer to ask your age in the interview process, unless it relates to legal implication, such a servicing alcohol. You can write a short intro on your resume, but jeep it short, a few sentences at most. The rest of the resume should be in dot points. We do not read your resume fully unless you make it through to the second or third round. Make sure that your most relevant qualifications or employment history are easy to find at the start of your resume. Do not waffle on about unimportant info. Short, concise sentences are best.
Secret 6th tip for those who read to the end. The internet is not some magic job-finding resource, the best way to get a job in Australia is to get off your butt and hit the pavement. Go door to door and you will find work a lot faster than applying online.