MAKING A FRESH START…… Job Applications for Newcomers to Australia

As a skilled immigrant, migrant, refugee or asylum seeker, there are a number of mountains to climb in your new country including mastering the language, adapting to cultural differences and learning how to work and play like the “Aussies” do. So, it is no surprise that negotiating the Australian workplace and its job application processes can also be an uphill battle.

So, to put your best foot forward in relation to job applications, I have provided a few HANDY HINTS below.

BUT FIRST, to avoid disappointment, I would ask that you consider the chart below, and ensure you meet these criteria. You are applying for jobs in a competitive environment with legal and contractual laws.

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1.Stick with the same name

Sometimes when settling in a new country, you may choose to modify your name according to make it easier to pronounce for a native English speaker.

This is a personal preference but just remember that if you choose that name, it needs to be consistent across all your paperwork when applying for a position. Your email address, resume, application and interaction with all employers and services will create a relationship with you based on that name.

2. Ensure an Australian organisation has validated your qualifications.

Although you may have completed a diploma, degree or postgraduate qualification in your country it may not have the same status in Australia.

It’s important to check with the relevant organisation, university, TAFE or industry body that your skills and qualifications are looked upon with the same status.

3. Religious and spiritual beliefs

In Australia, it is an offence to discriminate against any person based on religious grounds, nor to enquire about your religious beliefs in an interview.

In a very ethnically diverse country like Australia, we respect the right of all people to practice their own religious and cultural beliefs. Consequently, we do not put our religion, God or spiritual entities on our resumes or discuss in any way at an interview.

4. Marital status

Every woman and man has equal right within the home, workplace and community in Australia, whether you are married, single, or have children. Again it is against the law to ask questions about your marital status, or not hire you because you have children or are a female. That is private information.

If you feel you need to disclose information regarding your family or children to the employer that is your choice, but do not include that information on a resume.

5. Age

Again, it is an offence in Australia to discriminate by age.

There will always be those who will judge by age, and is doesn’t matter where you come from, and what your skills are, preferences are sometimes given to a younger person or someone they wish to train. DO NOT put your age on your resume; it can influence how an employer may view you as a candidate for the position.

6. References

If most of your references come from your country of origin they must be able to be contactable, by email, phone or Skype and be able to speak conversational English. A written reference is no longer an acceptable way to validate your employment history. If you have any local or Australian people you know who can act as a reference for you, in any capacity, that is most favourable. Volunteering for an organisation can also become very useful in providing you with a referee.

7. Written and Spoken English

If you are not confident writing in the English language please, please get assistance. If you are seeking a position relevant to your industry and qualifications then maybe speak to a professional resume writer, Australian industry body or Australian colleague familiar with that industry.

Despite some immigrants having exceptional qualifications and/or conversational English, errors can be made in a resume or interview that can really jeopardise your prospects. Simple spelling or grammar mistakes may betray your talents and skills.

Get to know some locals, as well as other new immigrants who have lived here many years. They can guide you and educate you on how Australians generally live and work and can be a great helping hand. Make sure you socialise, play sport, volunteer and attend community clubs, anything to give you more exposure to the Australian way of life.

Most importantly “WELCOME”, you are taking a very important step toward your new life in Australia.

Written by Erika, our Workshop Wizard. If you are new to Australia and would like some help with understanding the local job market, please make an appointment with any of our advisors.

How to get a public service job.

The Skills and Jobs Centre recently held a government employer panel as part of our Festival of Change, featuring representatives from National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), WorkSafe and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). In addition to providing an overview of their organisations, the panel offered some excellent tips and tricks for those wanting to work within the sector.

Employer Snapshot: NDIA

  • Currently 7 sites and expected to grow to 95. Geelong will remain the central office.
  • Currently has 1600 employees and is expected to grow to 3000. 80% of the positions will be in service delivery.
  • For potential employees they focus on the person: their passion, their focus on making a difference and those who are flexible and game to stretch their skills out of their own comfort zone.
  • For the future there will be many planner roles needed. Those who can help individuals with plans for moving forward.

The key skills they look for are:

  • Contemporary attitudes to disability
  • A collaborative approach
  • Service orientation
  • Communication skills
  • System orientation
  • Participants at the forefront
  • Empathy
  • Ability to build relationships
  • Leadership qualities, if necessary

Process for applying:

  • Very useful website regarding the application process under jobs.  Values of the organisation are clearly laid out and are very important to the organisation.
  • Also in the vacancies area there is an Expected Vacancies Register for people to express an interest in working with NDIA.
  • As part of that registration process you will need to complete a Statement of Claim: 1500 words that addresses the Selection Criteria for the position. Spend time preparing this before you register.
  • For information about the application process contact the Contact Officer for the position.

Employer Snapshot: WorkSafe

  • Relocating to Geelong by 2018.
  • 1000 employees.
  • Recruitment is through the Talent Acquisition Team.
  • The focus of WorkSafe is on Education, OH&S enforcement, helping injured people return to work, insurance for employers and managing workers compensation scheme. So the roles are varied.

Employees need to show:

  • A passion for safety, be vibrant and dynamic
  • Technical skills, if required
  • Soft skills such as teamwork, flexibility and initiative
  • Values such as integrity and support
  • Leadership skills may be required
  • They are seeking Career Development
  • The right attitude

To apply:

  • The process for applying involves uploading resume online, phone interview to show your motivation, skills and background, then a behavioural interview.
  • See their website under careers.

Employer Snapshot: ABS

  • Has 2000 employees with 300 jobs being in Geelong.
  • Roles in Geelong are technology based.
  • The workforce is dynamic, professional, able to understand and exhibit confidentiality and responsibility.

Key skills required:

  • The sorts of skills or qualities they seek include integrity, confidentiality, motivation, teamwork and people skills. Work is repetitive, flexible, in a high security area and requires knowledge of MS Office and Lotus Notes.

To apply:

  • The website includes information about the application process including an understanding of the APS Code of Conduct and their values.
  • The application process is an online one and further tips are given with the vacancy.
  • It is important to match your skills to the skills required in the position.
  • Do your background research of the ABS on their website.
  • Read the selection criteria very carefully.
  • Give real examples and think about your experiences.
  • Ongoing positions advertised on the website.
  • There is a non-ongoing register.

Top tips from employers on getting a job in Health & Community Services in Geelong

The Skills and Jobs Centre recently held an employer panel as part of our Festival of Change, featuring representatives from Barwon Health, Karingal and the City of Greater Geelong. In addition to providing an overview of their organisations, the panel offered some excellent tips and tricks for those wanting to work within the sector.

With Geelong becoming a Health and Education hub, working in the Health sector offers secure, long-term work. There are a variety of roles available in addition to specialist medical positions, however these roles don’t tend to be highly paid. People who work in the sector do so because they want to work with and support others, not because they want to earn the big bucks. If this sounds like you, then one of these organisations may be the employer for you:

Employer Snapshot: Barwon Health

  • Employs over 7,000 staff across 22 sites located from Geelong all the way down to Warrnambool;
  • Upcoming additions include a new hospital which is being built in the north of Geelong;
  • In the near future there will be a focus on the areas of Telehealth (a collection of means or methods for enhancing health care, public health, and health education delivery and support using telecommunications technologies) and Health Promotion;
  • Positions, including the administrative casual pool, are advertised on their website and Seek.

Christine from Talent Acquisition made the following suggestions for those wanting to work at Barwon Health:

  • Connect with Barwon Health on social media to remain up-to-date on what is happening within the organisation. Mentioning an upcoming project and highlighting how you could contribute during the recruitment process shows initiative and a real interest in the work they do;
  • View videos on their YouTube channel to find out more about the different teams and roles;
  • Volunteer – not only will it provide you with invaluable experience and connections within the organisation, it also allows you to apply for internal vacancies. Available volunteer positions can be found on their website;
  • When applying, make your resume as clear and easy to read as possible, with your skills easily identifiable;
  • Include a summary/profile section at the top of your resume which provides a snapshot of your experience;
  • Incorporate Barwon Health’s values into your cover letter;
  • If you are successful in gaining an interview, make sure you know both the values and their definitions.

Employer Snapshot: Karingal

  • Employs over 17,000 staff across Victoria, South Australia and Queensland;
  • Provides aged care, disability and mental health support services;
  • Additional arms are Karingal Training and Kommercial (catering services);
  • Will shortly be merging with St Laurence, with specific dates etc. still to be determined;

Ashlan had the following advice for those wanting to work at Karingal:

  • There is no minimum qualification requirements for their individual support workers. Instead they will be trained through Karingal Training once hired;
  • People wanting to get a taste of the sector before committing to training/a full role should consider volunteering. Karingal currently have 100’s of volunteers in the aged care and disability areas;
  • Their positions are advertised on their website and on Seek;
  • They have 4 rounds of recruitment each year, which last roughly 6-8 weeks;
  • Karingal look for staff that want to be part of the team and share in their vision, mission and guiding principles.

Employer Snapshot: City of Greater Geelong

  • Employs 300 care workers, mostly in home support, working as a mobile care force;
  • Their philosophy is doing things with people rather than for people. The goal is to help people remain independent;
  • Aged Care is one of the most secure areas to work in locally;
  • Similar reforms will occur in aged care over the next 5-10 years as has been seen with NDIS.

Geoff from Aged and Disability Services had the following advice for those wanting to work at the City of Greater Geelong:

  • All recruitment is done through Direct Recruitment, including administrative support staff;
  • They tend to employ 3-4 new workers each month;
  • The minimum qualification level is Certificate III in a relevant area such as Aged Care or Individual Support;
  • In addition to the qualification, practical experience is highly sought after – having relevant volunteer experience will benefit your application;
  • The most successful Care Workers are able to help people but keep some professional distance and do not allow themselves to become too affected.

A final few tips:

  • The sector is a small community within Geelong – network as much as possible!
  • Create a LinkedIn profile and actively engage with the organisation/s you are interested in working for;
  • Research the organisations you are interested in, particularly their values and missions;
  • Ensure you have reasonable IT skills;
  • Keep up-to-date regarding changes to the sector and reflect this knowledge during the recruitment process.

So you think you’ve got the gift of the gab?

Phew! I’ve got an interview…

So I’ll be right now!

As a careers counsellor I sometimes hear people say,

‘Once I get to the interview, I’ll be right!’

‘I have the gift of the gab. I can talk to anyone about anything so it’ll be sweet!

This makes me want to cry!! An opportunity could be missed simply because you have not prepared.

It is never a good idea to speak ‘off the cuff’.

Even for politicians who believe they have the gift! They come unstuck. Regularly.

It is true you do not know what will be asked, so what can you do?

1. Be prepared, and you might have a chance to land the job.

2. Allow plenty of time. Seriously, it takes a lot of effort to think through what you might say.

Doing your research is essential. Research the organisation: online or through contacts, observations, talking to others, ringing to ask relevant thoughtful questions.

Find out as much as you can about who they are, what they do, plans for the future, what they value, what the culture of the place is?

  1. You can prepare some responses. Take a punt on other questions and prepare responses.
  2. Keep these responses brief. Dot points only.
  3. Use examples that demonstrate what you have done. Sum up by ensuring that it is clear how past training, volunteering or work has equipped you for this new role.
  4. Have a practice asking and answering.
  5. Transfer this information to prompt cards or notes with even briefer words that remind you of what you have been practicing.
  6. Practice your responses in front of the mirror, or family & friends.

Handy hint: As you go in you can ask if you can have your notes on the table.

If it is OK make sure you DO NOT READ the notes as you respond. Glance down to remind yourself, if stress has made your mind a vacuum.

These notes are a prompt resource only, to allow you to consider whether you have covered what you wanted to say and address it if not.

If they do not want you to bring these notes in, at least you have prepared yourself by practicing and you may in fact remember this information as you relax and enjoy the process of having a chat with the interviewer(s)!

Tips:

It is a chat! Enjoy meeting with new people and relax a bit. Smile. Look at the interviewer or interviewers.

They want to know if you have the skills and experience. So you have to be specific. You do have to talk about yourself and why you would be a good addition to the team. Don’t forget you are also trying to gauge whether you want to work for them. So listen carefully to their language.

You can do it. But only if you really prepare!

Written by our resident interview champion, Robyn. If you would like to find out more about preparing for an interview, come along to Robyn’s interview workshop at our Festival of Change.