Nirmal Singh migrated to Australia from India three years ago on a skilled migrant visa. He already had a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and some work experience. But when he arrived he found it difficult to find a job as he didn’t have an Australian qualification or work experience.He also faced other challenges, including limited knowledge of:
- Australian workplace cultures
- Australian standards in resume and cover letter formation
- The working style of local recruitment agencies
- The transferability of foreign work experience
- Which level of jobs to apply for.
Nirmal found that resolving each challenge separately helped to simplify his situation.
Design a job plan
- Managing his immediate financial position. He worked in lower level positions at Perth Airport which gave him insight into the Australian work environment. He also became more confident in working with people of different nationalities and from all religious and cultural backgrounds.
- Finding friends and mentors through his local community organisations and networks. They guided him in how and where to look for jobs, updating his resume and cover letter to Australian standards, and how to understand the advertised job description and selection criteria.
- Completing a postgraduate degree to fulfil the Australian education requirement, and to update his educational credentials. He also made use of his university’s available resources such as learning how to use LinkedIn, and improving workplace communication skills.
I saw difficulties as opportunities, as I got a chance to complete my Masters degree which I was contemplating for a long time. On the way, I picked up many valuable skills which proved crucial in getting a job in my chosen field. I met many pioneers in my field who guided me in my professional development.
His commitment, determination and resilience paid off and Nirmal was successful in his application for the City of Stirling’s Kaleidoscope Initiative as Project Officer. It’s a win-win position for Nirmal, where he has the opportunity to use his experience in succeeding as a new immigrant and pass on his knowledge to help newcomers find employment in their chosen field.
Nirmal’s top tip for newcomers is to find a mentor in their chosen field who can guide them in preparing a job plan.
Initially, I was sending the same generic resume and cover letters to all the jobs that I found good and changing only the job title. Obviously, this resulted in a high failure rate leading to frustrations. My mentor then advised me to take more time and attention in writing a targeted job application / cover letter for fewer selected jobs. This would help me in matching the feedback from HR managers to the individual job application. This removed many of the frustrations with the process.
There are various resources from government and non-government agencies to help with finding employment. Creating a job plan is useful in selecting which resources to use or leave, to cut down the clutter and spend more time working on securing a job.
Newcomers must always try to get feedback from the recruitment agencies or HR managers on their job applications. This input can help newcomers to update or tweak their job plan, while learning what they are doing well.
I never hesitated or felt ashamed in asking for help or advice from anyone on anything. Australians are more than happy to guide you, you just need to ask.