How to find a desirable job as an immigrant in Melbourne (or any major city)
Melbourne is a truly competitive landscape, notoriously known to immigrants and people all around the world for jobs being extremely hard to find. The stories of friends and families having to return to their countries due to lack of work never stop coming, and the prospect of having to do so constantly plagues minds. I have to admit, I am not a stranger to that feeling — even though I’m working in a job I love. Nevertheless, what’s stopping us from trying? Here are some tips on getting quality work for my fellow immigrants (from my experience).
Tip 1. It really is about who you know.
No, it’s not a fad. Building relationships with key people is undoubtedly the best way to get yourself a desirable job. As a job-seeker, you should seek to build relationships with individuals who choose whether you or someone else gets hired. I cannot reiterate how this is 100 times better than dumping resumes on countless Seek or LinkedIn applications (most of which may not even see the light of day). While you don’t have to quit headhunting websites altogether, I would recommend shifting your focus to speaking to actual people.
The 3 jobs I took on in Melbourne were not an outcome of submitting countless applications —but knowing and approaching the right people 3 times. Knowing the right people vastly improves your chances of such a thing happening, which leads to the next point.
Tip 2. Decide what you want, and get fully integrated into it.
The best way to know the people you need to know, is to be one of them. As a person who’s passionate about startups and entrepreneurship, I was a frequent participant in startup events and a part of various startup-y communities. One of the guys I met frequently at these startup events — a fellow immigrant and startup enthusiast — graduated before me. He got a job at Stone & Chalk and brought me in when I informed him I was hunting for a job. We’re now good friends!
If you know what you want, you should deeply integrate yourself in its associating communities. The people in it are heading on identical journeys and a portion of them will likely end up in your most desirable workplaces. As long as you feed your connections and not just constantly use them, you’d have set yourself in position to know the right people meaningfully.
Read this article — written by the former editorial director of Twitter and a self-professed introvert — on how to build meaningful connections.
Tip 3. Alone time is a great opportunity to develop and grow yourself.
As immigrants or international students, alone times are aplenty— and much more so when you’re without the friends and family you grew up with. Instead of mulling over being alone, a great way to spend your newly found free time is to simply — become better.
Spend time to get to know yourself, what your purpose is and what you need to improve. You can do that by indulging in the plethora of self-development books, podcasts, blogs and/or simply spending more time thinking and reflecting where you think best (I personally think best when I’m in the shower).
Done correctly, and with the right resources and advisers, you can create a clear vision of where you want to be in the foreseeable future and an idea of what you need to do to get there (and wherever unclear, speak to those who are already there). This also leads to the next tip.
Tip 4. Be able to sell yourself.
If you know what you want, know the right people and read plenty of self-help books, but can’t properly sell yourself — you’re probably not going to get that far. The act of selling yourself is simply the act of demonstrating that you know what you know, you can do what you can do, and what you know and can do is a match for the job.
Everything ties together in this final point → In order to sell yourself well, it’s important that your personal attitude and intellectual skills are well-developed. It’s also important that you are reasonably (ideally, actively) integrated into your relevant communities, because your level of involvement indicates your level of passion and care for what you do. The more of the above you are, the more confident you will be in conducting yourself and discussing relevant topics with the right people.
Sometimes, candidates may be very capable and have the right attitude, but can’t seem to reflect who they truly are in job interviews and interactions. In that case, it helps to think of the job-searching process objectively. Job-searching isn’t simply about you looking for a suitable job, it’s equal parts the employer looking for a suitable candidate. Treat interviews as an opportunity for you to get to know the interviewer, and for the interviewer to get to know you — as a person.