So you wanna go back to Egypt…

 

Some of you must think that I’m always happy as a clam here, never once having thoughts of returning home to Malaysia, FOR GOOD.

But I do. In fact, recently, I had a vivid dream where I cried out (to who, I’m not sure, but maybe to myself): “I want to go back to Malaysia! I want to go back to the job I had before! I want my life again!”

I woke up, both shaken and amazed by the power of the dream. Dream Me was almost desperate to reach me.

I am having what you can call career blues recently. Although I’m ever so grateful that my job gave me the financial security to pursue many of my dreams, there was a part of me that longed to be a white collar worker once more. I missed being Somebody. I missed feeling important. I miss having a title.

Back in Malaysia, people’s eyes would light up when I tell them what I did for a living. People took me seriously when I handed them my name card. They knew I meant business, and they knew my work would impact theirs.

It’s difficult to lose that, eventhough it was a deliberate act on my part. I didn’t want the baggage, so to speak. I wanted to focus on my dream – to be an authorpreneur (author and entrepreneur), I wanted to reforge my career (a nurse? though that seems more and more doubtful as the days pass) and build an entirely new way of living for myself. Yet, after a year or two of having people behave in ways that I’m not used to (mainly walk all over me, disrespect me etc), a part of me longed for that shield of prestige you get if you’re a white collar worker.

It shows that old habits die hard, and it also demonstrates how Malaysians (or perhaps people in general) are so hung up about status, titles and having careers to define their self worth. Because, really, that’s an illusion.

In Australia, I discovered that I’m definitely more than my career or status, the trouble is I needed to convince myself of that fact first. People in Australia don’t really care what you do. As long as you’re a good bloke they give you a thumbs up. So what if you’re a road sweeper (which, to be honest, I’ve not seen. I think they use machines for that)? That’s your business.

It’s not just the career insecurity that is bugging me, but it’s the fact that I have to make choices based on how much I earn (which isn’t fantastically much, but I’m frugal and I have decent savings). And one of the choices that bug the hell out of me right now is I want a place of my own but don’t think I want to do that just yet because of money concerns.

The gist of my long winded post is that I long for what I had before, the comfortable paycheck, the 1000sq-feet apartment, the yuppie-esque lifestyle, the witty colleagues and my name in print.

“You want to return to Egypt,” my friend said to me this morning. She told me to google the Keith Green song “So you wanna go back to Egypt“.

She and her husband faced tough times after moving from Canberra, and they used to sing the song to remind them why they had to perservere:

So you wanna go back to Egypt, where it’s warm and secure.
Are you sorry you bought the one-way ticket when you thought you were sure?
You wanted to live in the Land of Promise, but now it’s getting so hard.
Are you sorry you’re out here in the desert, instead of your own backyard?

You know the tale of how the Israelites were taken out of Egypt only to long for it once they were in the middle of the dessert? That’s what the song is about, and that’s me right there. I’m like the moaning and griping Israelites, longing for the ‘comforts’ of Egypt. And the only thing comfortable about Egypt was that it was familiar – you knew how things worked and you knew how to get what you wanted.

Life is uncomfortable in Australia now because I have to change. And change means discomfort. Discomfort means you are forced to learn new things, and learning new things are generally good for you. I have to learn these lessons first before I could reach the promised land.

Because of Australia, I learned how to order my time so that I could grow my writing.

Because of Australia, I was forced to be an entrepreneur, have an ABN number and work as my own boss.

Because of Australia, I am forced to live with other people and learn not to be so selfish and self-absorbed and to think about other people’s needs.

Because of Australia, I’m forced to deconstruct how I got my sense of worth. And I discovered that I got them from things outside myself, and therefore, out of my control, when I should learn how to validate and affirm myself. I have to get my sense of worth from inside myself, and from God.

And because of all these lessons I’m choosing to remain in Australia, because I’m not going to turn tail because it’s hard. It’s because it’s difficult that I should stay – how else am I to grow and learn? The years in the desert may not be fun, but one day I will reach the Promised Land.

So, fellow migrants and wannabe-migrants, there will be times when you wanna return to Egypt. You have to ask yourself: Why do you want to be in the Promised Land? Is staying on the desert road worth it?

The 35-hour rule

clockOne of the annoying requirements of the 475 visa i that we have to work 35 hours a week for one year. The problem with that rule is that we have no idea how strictly the immigration department will enforce it, and even how they will do it.

For example, if you work 69 hours per fortnight, is that fortnight a write-off, or can it be considered close enough to 70 hours? If you work 20 hours a week, does it just simply take longer for you to fulfil that 35-hour requirement (like this blogger suggests), or, again, is your job a write-off?

I called the Immigration SA department to find out, but they told me to confirm with DIAC. Well, DIAC ain’t responding to my emails. I’ve been asking everyone about the 35-hour rule as well and the answers varies wildly. I decided that damnit, I will just get my 35 hours per week then.

The first few months at my new job, I worked about 60 to 67 hours a fortnight. It was a wee frustrating (to say the least) when I can’t meet that magic number of 70 per fortnight. So, I decided to get a second job to be on the safe side.

Thank God in my industry, jobs are aplenty (I’m in Aged Care) so I managed to get a job with an agency. (Though I consider myself incredibly fortunate because I got a second job with  so little experience!!) They would call me when they have any jobs to fill. A lot of times they will call me an hour or two before a job! At one time, I was a few steps to the beach, a book in one hand and a picnic basket in the other, when they called me for a 4-hour job about 30km away from where I was. I gazed longingly at the sea and walked back to my car to drive all the way to Onkaparinga.

Sometimes, I’d get a 67-hour fortnight week (as a casual staff, my hours are not fixed) and would bite my nails, praying that I’ll get that extra 3 hours from my second job to plug the gap. So far, it’s working. So far.

But this is what I have to do to fulfil my visa requirements. This was the choice I made when I decided to embark on this adventure. I’m not going to moan and bitch about it.

Yes, I cannot deny it’s hard. I can’t rest as much as I’d like to and my social life is … well, reserved to a few very good friends. I make sure that I take at least ONE day off doing what I WANT. (Usually hiking in parks around SA. I love the parks here!)

But unlike many struggling migrants, I am working and working hard. I earn enough to have a good lifestyle and I save a decent amount of money. Furthermore, I have no dependants. That alone is something people would slap me for bitching and moaning.

Many would like to be in my shoes. I know of one Registered Nurse who has sent out a thousand resumes but has not been able to get a job. So, complain – I would mentally slap myself when I get out of hand.

So, yes, that’s my life now – I work, work, work to fulfil that damn 35-hour rule. A fellow 475-er, who just achieved his one-year of 35-hour work, had the habit of counting the amount of payslips he’d need to achieve the one year of 35 hour work: 26 payslips altogether. So far I’ve amassed about 6. (I’m not counting that time with the company that  gave me a sham contract job.)

20 more to go. That’s about 40 weeks.

GOLLY.

A working lady in Adelaide

Hello guys! Sorry I have been silent for so long but I was up to my neck with work. Yes, work 🙂

I am happy to report that I got the job which I interviewed for. Being a personal care worker for an aged
care facility us miles awat from my former life in the media but I love it because of that.

The job has challenges though. My first two weeks was terrifying and i still, often, am left so exhausted I cant move.

But i am grateful that I have a proper job with payslips and a contract. Sometimes when I drive on the roads of Adelaide to run errands or to just simply explore I am amazed that I am here in Adelaide making money and living here.

The realisation that I have fulfilled a long held dream to live abroad is the kind of feeling that is beyond words. You realise that you do have it in you to pursue your dreams and you dont have to remain stuck out of fear.

It pays to follow up! AKA I got a job interview

So, to be honest I was really morose today, thinking about the LONG LIST of companies I have to apply to. But nevermind, I told myself. I shall follow up on one of my applications. So faithfully I went to the company, fully expecting to be turned away with a vague “We’ll get back to you”. But because I know the name of the person who is in HR, I told the receptionist, “I’m here to see X.”

She asked me why. And I said that Y (from the RTO where I trained to be an Aged Care worker) told me I could see her in regards to my application.

She nodded and got X for me.

Again, I didn’t expect much, but when X finally came down, she said: “So, you’re here for the interview?”

I was like. WUH?! But I totally nodded and was interviewed there and then.

As per usual for an Australian interview, she asked me about every aspect of my resume (which she said was good – thank God) and then other stuff. And asked me about “difficult situation encountered” at the facility etc. Frankly I was nervous as hell because I was so unprepared, but I tried my very best, prayed to God really really really hard and just went ahead.

So lesson learned: Always be prepared for an interview! Even if you want to follow up on your application, I suppose. I mean to be honest, this is not something that always happens I think, but I did wish I wrote down my answers better ….

 

My personal brush with sham contracting

upsetworker

And you’re wondering – what in the world is this sham contracting thing?

Sham contracting is when an employer pays you like a freelancer (called subcontractor here) but in actual fact, you work like an employee. This is the employer’s way of avoiding to pay tax and pay you benefits such as annual leave, supperanuation and give you insurance to protect you.

Sham contracting, as I personally discover, is rife in Australia.

I first heard about it from my colleague at the restaurants months ago.

“If they ask you to use an ABN to pay you, it’s illegal. It’s not worth it. No matter how much you want the money, just walk away or else you’ll get into trouble,” she said sternly.

That made my hair stand on an end. Because that’s what my employer asked me to do – to apply for an ABN so that he could pay me. When I asked my colleague about why he would do that, she said that he most probably wanted to hire me under a sham contract.

My fears were assuaged when my employer later emailed me saying that I will be coming on full-time when he returns from his jaunt in Europe. It’s just that he’s not in Australia for the moment and couldn’t sign the papers.

My relief was short lived.

One month became two. Then, three. And he kept ignored my requests to know when I’ll be put on a proper full-time contract. After a third month, I accepted the fact that this full-time thing was a carrot he’s dangling in front of all of us. (My co-workers were employed the same way.) Remembering what my waitressing colleague said, I googled sham contracting and found a list of characteristics of an employee vs contractor. Looking at the list, I am definitely an employee. But I wanted to be sure.

The tax man speaks

Frustrated, and perhaps a little afraid, I visited the Australia Taxation Office.

When I told the tax officer – who, by the way, looked more like a member of a rock band dressed as he was in a T-shirt and ripped jeans than a starched-up tax man – he shook his head and made tutting sounds.

“Hmph, I don’t like that,” he said, as if the idea of sham contracting is a personal affront to him.

“So, do you think I’m being employed under this sham contracting thing?” I asked.

He asked me several questions, and when he found out that my employer emailed me an offer saying that I’ll be a full-time employee in what month and that the job ad on Seek.com advertised a full-time position, he immediately said: “Yep, you’re being treated as an employee.”

“So it’s a sham contract then.”

“Yup. See, it’s really cheap to employ people this way.”

I gulped. “Will I get into trouble then?”

He shook his head. “No, but your employer will. If you report him,” he said pointedly. “It’s really up to you now – do you want to stay or walk away?”

I looked at him. There wasn’t really much of a choice for me then. I needed the money and the local experience.

I chose to stay.

But I knew that my time was short in this company.

Eventually my employer became more and more difficult, demanding things that he shouldn’t demand of a subcontractor. When he sent me e-mails filled with F words, it was the last straw for me. No one should tolerate abusive language from an employer! Especially if you’re clearly being exploited…

Last week, we both came to a mutual understanding that we should part ways.

So, yes, I’m jobless again, but I’m curiously calm. Maybe cos I feel so happy to be free of the vicious office politics, liberated by the tyrannical rule of my boss and putting up with my frankly annoying and exasperating colleagues.

One door closes so that another can open…

Should you accept a sham contract?

Sadly, this practise is distressingly common and migrants will be exploited like I was. I guess I’m less idealistic than my waitressing colleague who had walked away from many offers like that. I had to fulfil my darn 475 conditions, save money to last a few more months in Oz and I needed to get local experience to get better jobs.

In the end, I didn’t quite regret my decision to stay. I got the money I needed to buy a much-needed car, I learned to work with Aussies (challenging!!), I worked on a few prominent projects (which stressed me out to no end) and met good people.

So, what if you end up in the same situation?

I think, sadly, migrants will be left with very little choice in these situations – especially if money is tight and they are in need of the ever-important local experience. You may have to end up gritting your teeth and tolerate it for a while … but don’t stay in this job for too long. Not being paid super, have tax taken out etc is just not on. It can also be dangerous because since you’re not covered by work insurance, if you get sued or injured at work, you won’t be protected. You’d have to pay it all yourself! And it totally sucks not to be paid when you’re sick!

Have you had a brush with sham contracting? What would you do if you were offered a job under a sham contract?

Tell others about this illegal and unfair practise! Share it on Facebook, RT on Twitter. And if you like, Like Malaysia To Adelaide on Facebook.

How do you get a job in Australia?

That’s one of the most common questions I get these days from readers of this blog. It’s a little bizzare for me to be asked this question because just a few weeks ago I was asking the same question. And suddenly, I’m on the other side. It’s really weird.

I wish I can give you a definite answer, but the truth is there’s no  guarantee that you can get a job in “x” amount of time if you follow steps A, B and C. However, you can improve your chances of getting a job if you follow certain steps. Notice the difference?

I can only share with you what I’ve done and hope that it would help you in some way. Frankly, I have no idea how in the world I ended up getting interviews for the two jobs I saw in Seek. I only applied for these two jobs, by the way. I will tell you honestly – I give all credit to God who proved that a miracle like this is possible.

But here’s what I can recommend that you do:

1. Research how to write a good Australian resume.

Holy crap there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. Try to research before coming over to Australia so you’ll save time trying to learn it while you’re in Oz. Two books that I found helpful are:

  •  The Secrets to getting a Job by Philip Garside (I wrote my cover letter based on this book, and the first company I applied to said that my cover letter stood out, so he must be doing something right.)
  • Australian Resumes for Dummies – One of the most detailed books about resume writing I’ve seen. Reading it you’ll realise how mind bogglingly complex Australian resumes are. If you want to apply for government jobs you better make sure you read this bible!

Of course, don’t forget friends who have gotten a job in Australia. I had a few dear friends who helped me out immensely here. So tap their wisdom if you can.

2. Don’t just rely on Seek.com

Probably contradictory coming from me since I got my job via Seek, but networking is really important. Read Cracking the Hidden Market will give you ideas and tactics to use. I got my first two casual jobs through friends and recommendations by the way.

3. Don’t think that any job is beneath you or above you.

I know this may sound contradictory, but here’s this: You’d notice in Australian ads that they have a list of skills or job requirements. (By the way, you need to prove, in your resume, that you meet all requirements.) A lot of times you may not have ALL the job requirements. However, don’t ditch that ad – apply for it anyway. You may never know. A friend of mine told me that many Malaysians wouldn’t even bother trying if they think the job is not a good fit. But you can never know. Heck, the job I applied for – I couldn’t meet all the requirements, but I applied for it anyway because it didn’t hurt to try. In the end I was rewarded for it!

Anyway, on the other side of the coin, don’t feel upset if you get a job “beneath” you. (Wah! I used to be a VP and now I’m just a clerk.) Every job experience counts in Oz, and over time you’ll have a different attitude about work. Work will be less about status and more about a way to enable you to live your lifestyle.

4. Have a good and positive attitude

Because that will impact how you interview. A dejected and dispirited person interviews badly. A bitter one interviews horribly. Be positive (gosh I know it’s hard when you want a job so badly and you don’t want your hopes to be squashed like a wet sponge under a tractor) and be interested.

Although I didn’t get the job at the first company I applied to, they said I interviewed well. I am really glad that my previous job in Malaysia trained me to think on my feet. And because I had to talk to intimidating/powerful/eccentric people all the time, I’m not easily frightened by these kind of situations. I’m able to come up with questions and answers just like that. I am so, so, so grateful for my job experience in Malaysia!

Okay, okay, so what if you don’t have my kind of job experience?

5. Write out your answers.

The first book, The Secrets of Getting a Job, is pretty good at explaining the interview process and how to answer the common questions thrown at you. Practise saying your answers in a confident, cheerful manner until its second nature. Pronunciation is really important so make sure that you speak slowly and clearly. Malaysians tend to speak too fast!

6. Most of all, have a little faith

Faith in your abilities and faith in God – to be honest, it’s my faith in God that carried me through, that He has me in the palm of His hands. I constantly remind myself that all things work out for good, even bad things and treat everything as an experience rather than a trial. This attitude will carry you far in Australia. Even if you “fail” so to speak, you would’ve done what so many people had not dared to do: Took a gamble to change your life. It shows what kind of person you are – really tough, courageous and very different from the 99% who think about changing their lives and never do anything to change it.

(In the future, when I have the time, I hope to go deeper into the technical bits such as writing a resume and cover letter and interviewing well.)

Class divides

So, thus ends my first week of work. Wow, time flies.

Frankly, I’m still in a daze. I just can’t believe that I have a job. Especially this job. I still can’t. Eventhough I shook hands with high-powered clients on Wednesday, eventhough I’ll be flying to Sydney to meet powerful clients next week and was told that I’ll be working a few blocks away from my client’s million-dollar mansion, I still don’t believe I have a job. I just don’t understand how I got here, really.

Things happened really fast and I still had no time to process it. One day I was with my friends in the Aged Care course, the next day I’m dealing with fancy clients, writing proposals and such.

The disparity between the two worlds couldn’t be greater.

I met so many wonderful people in my Aged Care course – migrants who are filled with such hope that after completing their course, they will get a job. At times, the hope is so thick in the air you could feel it.

But oh, their stories! I loved listening to them. One of my Indian classmates worked as a factory worker for a year to fulfill her 475 criteria for 35-hour-a-week employment for a year. She was a manager in India before. Or another man from India, who works nights as a kitchen hands in an Indian restaurant but is a dental technician. How about the Pakistani lady who has a Masters in Mediation and Conflict Management, but wakes up at 3am every morning to work as a kitchen hand in a university canteen? Or a Portugese lady who lost everything because her business collapsed but is literally the sunlight of the class, brightening up everyone with her jokes and laughter.

These people have a hard life, but they did not grouse or complain that their lives are miserable. As we pile into the dining room during lunch breaks with our cheap, modest food (fruits and sandwiches for most, roti for the Indians and Pakistanis, barely edible food for me) we spoke about overcoming hardships, being migrants in Australia and the hopes we have for our future. I love them all – they are the most honest, amazing, courageous people I’ve ever known.

Then comes the world I’m in now, where my colleagues eat oysters for lunch (okay it was just once), talk about wine vintages, have celebrity friends, wear designer togs and scarf designer coffee by the truckloads. It’s such a different world that I have whiplash trying to adjust. I feel like an odd duck in this world, with my cheap clothes, home-cooked lunches and bicycle, which I use to get to the city.

And I realised what a great divide there is between the world of the struggling migrant and the people who have already have it all or have made it in Australia. Will I change too? Will I be like them?

Because frankly, I love my simple lifestyle. I love spending only $30 a week on food and groceries by shopping at Central Market at 2pm. I love cycling to the city in my $70 Gumtree-bought bike. I love the fact that I buy clothes from Sunday markets, Salvos and Vinnies. I love being frugal and simple.

I feel almost guilty that I have this job. I keep thinking of my friends in class, and how much they too deserve a good job if Australia will only give them a chance.

But the great thing about Aged Care is that it’s an honourable and amazing job that can be so very fulfilling. I envy them for being able to taste that too.

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First day of work

Frankly, sometimes I feel like I need more than two hands to do the work I’m currently doing.

It’s my first week at my new company, and I feel like I’m in over my head! 😉

Not only do I have to grapple with Australian work culture (which is totally foreign to me now), I also have to deal with the stresses of being part of a startup company. That means setting up the office ourselves (assembling furniture!), setting up the office culture and modus operandi and on top of that, start working on projects without having any clear idea how to go about it because we have no seniors to guide us.

It’s all in all an exciting and disconcerting experience all at once. There are people who expressed reservations about me being in this company, saying that it’s not secure. Of course it isn’t, but I have to be practical. I’m a new migrant and I can’t be choosy. The most essential thing now is to get local work experience and I’m gonna grab whatever opportunity I’m going to get even if it’s tough work. And $%#! has the work been tough, dudes.

It’s my first job and I’m not fussy, and being at a startup means I can learn so much. It’s just been a week and I’m already learning so much. My colleagues are really really capable folks and I’m benefiting from their expertise.

I have to admit, however, that I cried tears of frustration sometimes though. You see, I had to postphone my work placement for my course, and I really wanted to get that Cert III. I grieved a little for losing that, but since I can return to the work placement in a year’s time – at least I still have a chance to finish the cert. Other times, I feel so sad that my planned life has been derailed – I wanted a more stress-free life. I wanted a job where I’ll be physical, not in an office. I wanted a work life where I don’t have to be mentally stressed and not bring my work back with me. I wanted a job that would enable me to write what I love on the side. So, I weep over that too.

(Yes, I’m quite emotional!)

But on the other hand, this job will give me a lot of opportunities to learn things I’d need to know to achieve some of my other dreams, such as setting up my own small consultancy service and writing e-books that will generate passive income. So, I’m keeping my eyes on the big picture.

So it’s all good, I suppose.

Of course, the steady pay doesn’t hurt either!

Anyway, so I got a job quicker than I thought. I’m not sure how long this job will be, but I have a good idea how employment works in Oz now, and I can tell you Malaysians that it’s quite different, from the resume writing, to the job interview and the employment contracts you sign. More on that later!

Like a yo yo! (Or updates on my life here)

Yes, I’ve not been communicating lately. Mostly because I’ve been so extremely busy it’s not funny 🙂 Here’s a quick update about my life the last few weeks:

  • Finally found a room. It’s a mere 2km from college. With unlimited Internet, thank God. My days of winging it by turning my handphone into a hotspot is over.
  • Yes, I’m in college. Doing a cert under Skills for All programme. Which is really awesome by the way. Basically, you get to do a course mostly free. Yes, even if you’re a 475 holder. In Australia, some people believe that having a Certificate is far more useful than a degree. After just a month and a half here, I’m inclined to agree! They have a cert for everything, even if you want to be a retail assistant or food handler you need a cert. Sometimes I think its nuts, sometimes I think that’s kinda systematic – ensures quality control and all that. It depends on my mood for that day! So, I’d encourage you to take a cert to get your foot in the door. But choose the right cert. Not all certs will lead you to a job. Some are a waste of money so research the market before you plunge in. The most worthwhile cert I can see is Cert III Aged Care and Cert III Children’s Services where there’s great demand for the graduates.
  • I bought a bicycle, and it takes me everywhere, and I love it. My bum is sore though.
  • Gumtree is my best friend. I bought my bike and got my room through it. I did, however, met my share of creeps there too.
  • Because I live near the city and I have a bicycle, I spend little or nothing on transport.
  • Got a job as a waitress in two restaurants 0. One dropped me quietly, but the other is employing me steadily – for now. There are absolutely no guarantees in the hospitality industry, especially if you work with Chinese employers! They tend to pay you below the standard wages – “cash in hand”. But I’m doing this to offset some of my rent money. I’ve saved RM4000 in the last 1.5 months because of my various strategies – via Helpx (despite the monstrous experience) and waitressing.
  • Discovered how important networking is. It got me my waitressing jobs, by the way.
  • Never think that waitressing or kitchen hand work is beneath you. A lot of migrants – some of whom are working on a professional level now – started out that way.
  • Resume writing is a pain in the hiney. Especially Australian resumes. Guys, especially if you’re from Malaysia, you really need to learn how to write a proper Australian resume. Really learn. A helpful book is Australian Resumes for Dummies which I borrowed from the Adelaide Council libraries. After reading this book, you’ll realise how different Australian style resumes are. I mean, seriously – it’s like learning an entirely new language!
  • Did I mention how damn awesome the Australian libraries are? I am a member of two libraries – Adelaide City’s and Burnside’s. The Burnside Library allows me to borrow 50 books! And 10 DVDs! My mind is blown!
  •  I applied for two jobs on Seek.Com. I only did it because they were media jobs that I was interested in. I wanted to focus on my studies but made an exception for them because they sounded interesting. I had no hope in hell I’d get a positive response.
  • But amazingly, both companies called me in for an interview, though one took nearly 1.5 months to get back to me. That’s normal, by the way. The other interviewed me on the phone when I called to enquire if I could send a resume! So you gotta be on your toes every second. Be prepared to be interviewed any time of the day. One offered me a job straightaway, another – well, I’m attending the first interview today. Wish me luck.
  • Because I wasn’t prepared for that company, I thought it was in an industry that it wasn’t. So. Damn. Embarrassed. It was a miracle they granted me an interview anyway!!
  • Have not done much in the way of touring 🙂 But I’m sure we’ll get there one day.

So that’s my life so far! Sometimes I’m really happy and glad to be here, like when I’m cycling to work and I have to go throgh this gorgeous park with pooches running around happily. And sometimes I’ll be crying because it’s so damn hard – like when I was  trying to get money, the uncertainty, the fear for my future and not getting how anything works. All this, apparently as I was told, is normal.

Frankly, I think it takes a special breed of person to willingly go through this. One who is adventurous, brave, positive to the point of being a Pollyanna and perhaps a little insane.

How to get a job in Australia: Tips from a reader

Chris, a reader of my blog, took six weeks to find a job in his field. That’s actually excellent as some migrants take months or even more than half a year to do that. I asked Chris to share tips on how to get a job from Australia.

How I did it:

1. Tailor-made resume for each of the job you apply, as well as cover letter. I rewrote my resume and cover letter for each position I applied for, focusing on what the role required, had strong key words that emphasized my experiences relevant to the areas the role is looking for. It has to be in Australia resume format though. I tried to keep my resume to not more than 3 pages. I had spent a tremendous amount of time working on my resume and cover letter.

2. Once you sent out resume(s), be prepared to receive any call anytime. We do not want to sound unprepared when any potential employers rang. This is the first impression you will give to the person who rang you, so, speak confidently. I noticed if we can communicate well on the phone, mostly likely we will get a chance for an face to face interview.

3. Next, once you are secured with an interview, you have to be well prepared for the interview. I checked out a lot of sites to see what are the most commonly asked questions during interview and prepared points on those questions. Do not write an essay for those questions and trying to remember it. The points only help us to speak naturally when questions were posted to us during interviews, at least we do not look blank. Remember to always give examples on each of the points you mentioned. In most cases, interviewers would want us to give examples, elaborating how we did it to deal/resolve a scenario etc.

4. Read the company’s background. Make use of the information to help you gain extra impression points during an interview. I had done that and I noticed the interviewers were quite happy that I knew a lot about the company. I tried to link the information to my experiences, i.e., understand the company products and services, directions that relevant to the domain knowledge I have.

5. Be prepared with some technical questions for those who looking for IT role.

6. Good references. Be nice to your current reporting manager because you still need them to provide good references when you apply for a job here. Trust me, they do call for reference checks.

7. Be positive even though it will be extremely exhausted when we are jobless. Only when we are positive, we will attract more good things to us.

The bottom line is “hard work”, there is no free lunch. The more you prepared, the more chance you will secure with an interview and do well in those interviews which eventually ended up with a job offer.

Photo by jsnflo.