How to Find a Job Before You Move to Australia

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Originally Published on Half a World Away by Katie Milne

So, you’ve decided to move to Australia. You’ve been lured in by the warm weather, mile-long golden beaches and the idea of BBQ’ing everything for dinner. Sure, this sounds great, but when you actually have to start thinking about the serious stuff like finding a job, where do you start?

Here are my tips to help you get the job search rolling before you move down under.

Decide if You Want to Travel or Go Straight into a Job
This is the first big decision to make. Ask yourself a couple of questions to help you decide what you really want to do. Do you want to travel, move around and avoid settling? Or do you want to move straight over to Australia and start working? As I traveled Asia first, I was kind of ready to get back to the nine-to-five, however, I managed to buy myself some time to travel the east coast before starting full-time work. It is possible to get the best of both worlds, but do try and have a rough idea of what you want to do. I recommend trying to see as much of Australia as you can first before settling on a permanent job.

Understand the Visas
Whatever you decide to do in point one will then determine which visa you need to enter the country.

1. If you decide you want to travel Australia first, then you should apply for a Working Holiday Visa. This will allow you to enter the country for one year to travel and work (as the name suggests) with the option to extend this to two years after completing 88 days of regional work. Check if you are eligible by visiting this link for a list of countries.

2. If you’d prefer to move straight over to Australia and work, you will need to obtain sponsorship (457 visa) through the company you want to work for in Australia. 

3. Or, you can do a combination of the two: Come over on a Working Holiday Visa and then obtain sponsorship. 

In my case, I was told it was fine to come over on a Working Holiday Visa as the company would then sponsor me after six months (if I got the job, of course). This isn’t always the case, unfortunately; it can be very subjective, so try and get some answers from your prospective employers beforehand.

Have a read of my honest account of living in Australia on a 457 visa.

Update Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is a great way to get yourself noticed in the Aussie job market before you move over. Ensure your profile is updated showing your previous jobs and add a line to your bio such as “Looking for new opportunities in Melbourne in March 2017.” You could even go one step further by adding this to your professional headline or sharing an update on your feed.

Update Your Resume/CV
This is a bit of an obvious tip, but not to be forgotten. You will need updated copies of your CV to send to recruiters and to submit to job applications. Spend a good amount of time getting this right—do some research online, sell yourself and proofread.

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Start Networking on LinkedIn
This is one of my most valuable tips. It might not seem particularly groundbreaking, but I found this super effective when I was trying to line up a job in Australia before I moved over. I booked a day off each month in the run up to my departure and dedicated a few hours to trawling LinkedIn for recruiters based in Sydney and Melbourne in the digital marketing industry. Connect with consultants and talent managers from both agencies and internal teams to start getting yourself noticed. You’ll find they will be keen to speak to you over the phone and on Skype so factor in the time difference.

Assess the Industry You Work In
Knowing your industry is key to being able to land a job before you move. Is your job in high demand in Australia? Are they short of talent? What kind of roles are available? What salary can you expect? These are all great questions to ask recruiters to get a feel for the Australian market. This is also very important to gauging sponsorship opportunities. The more in demand your skill-set is, the higher your chances will be of finding a sponsor.

My work Christmas party in Sydney last year.
My work Christmas party in Sydney last year.

Leverage Existing Contacts
And, last but not least, use your goddamn contacts! Leverage colleagues, friends or even twice-removed cousins to put a good word in for you. It’s likely that someone you know will have worked with someone that has moved to Australia, so this is a great way to get your foot in the door and, trust me, it works!

Do you have any tips on finding jobs in Australia? Drop me a comment below and let me know!

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