Melbourne at a Glance
Jobs in Melbourne for Foreigners
In the previous part of our article on working in Melbourne, we have outlined the local economy and the sectors that offer employment opportunities for expatriates and immigrants. If you are not an expat on a foreign assignment, you should check out the following strategies for finding a job in Melbourne.
Occupations in Demand
First, check if your occupation is on the official visa sponsorship list for Australia in general or the state of Victoria. If its current status is marked as “green”, you can apply for an immigrant visa. In this case, you do not need a job offer from an Australian employer in order to complete your visa application, provided you fulfill the other criteria.
However, the Australian government made some important changes to the Skilled Migration Program in July 2012. Even if you have professional experience in an in-demand occupation and fit all other criteria, you may not be able to submit a visa application automatically.
There is now a quota system in place, where the government chooses visa candidates from the so-called SkillSelect database. Invitations for immigrant visa can also be issued by state governments, e.g. in Victoria. Please read up on this issue on the SkillSelect website.
At the time of writing, jobs currently in demand in Victoria include occupations as diverse as chemist, electrical engineer, midwife, software engineer, veterinarian, plumber, welder, or pastry cook. So, if you are able to apply for a skilled migrant visa, don’t hesitate to do so – but don’t forget to have your overseas qualifications officially assessed and recognized. Please get in touch with the Victorian Overseas Qualifications Unit for this purpose.
Strategies for Jobseekers in Melbourne
However, even if you can apply for a skilled migrant visa (without landing a job offer from a Melbourne company first), this doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed employment once you arrive in Australia. You have to search for a job sooner or later.
In any case, it is vital to be aware of the “hidden job market”. Personal and professional networking is often a better starting point for successful applications than replying to an advertisement.
If you do not have any friends or business contacts in Melbourne yet, start by finding out which industrial association best represents your job and join it. Moreover, the events organized by the Australian Chamber of Commerce in your home country or by your national chamber of commerce in Melbourne are good networking opportunities.
For example, if you are interested in working in Melbourne’s aerospace industry, you should become a member of the Australian Association of Aviation and Aerospace Industries. As an expat woman, you could look into professional networks for businesswomen in Australia.
Once you have exhausted these networking possibilities, you can try other ways and means. Major websites popular among jobseekers “down under” include SEEK, mycareer, and many more. Don’t forget to have a look at the homepage of any Melbourne-based company you might be interested in!
Last but not least, The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, and The Age are influential newspapers in Victoria. All three of them have a classified section with job offers in the region.
Writing an Application
When it comes to the application process as such, first make sure that all your documents (e.g. diplomas, degrees, professional certificates, work records, licenses, testimonials etc.) are up to date and translated into English. If your business English isn’t fluent yet, ask a native speaker or a translator to have a second look.
Cover Letter and Resume
Your cover letter should not be longer than one page, neither too formal nor too casual in tone, and address all the key selection criteria as mentioned in the job description. You should then attach a one- or two-page resume listing the following details:
- name and contact details (no gender, marital status, or date of birth)
- career overview
- career goals
- employment history (relevant work experience first)
- education / qualification
- professional memberships
When applying for a job in Melbourne, it is important to keep a few things about Australia in mind: First, pay attention to your soft skills in your cover letter and your career description. Just like soft skills, references are also considered essential by Australian HR staff. Therefore you should make sure to have someone who can vouch for you. At least one person who’s actually located in Australia would be a tremendous help.
In general, do refer to Australia whenever it makes sense to show that you are genuinely interested in working for an Australian company. Last, remember that most people in Australia use British English: sometimes, it’s the little details that matter.