Part 1 (5min read)
For a professional career in most sought migrant destinations such as Australia, Canada, US and UK, preparation and persistence is required. Once we pass all the hurdles for the visa next comes the search for the right job along with stress situation of waiting period.
I am sharing my experience and migration journey and I hope readers will benefit from it. I migrated to Darwin, Australia in August 2016 on a skilled migration visa for Human Resources Adviser and joined Danila Dilba Health Services in October 2016 as their HR Manager, working with the Executive Management team. I have really enjoyed the move and the challenges came with it. Even though it sounds exciting, there was a lot that happened behind the scenes. Let me take you through the story.
Once anyone applies for a skilled migration visa, they should start searching for the job requirements and prospects that match their skills and desired future. Every Country has got own standards and legislations which the migrants should be prepared to adapt. When I looked at the HR landscape in Australia, I realised being a part of the industry body is an important part of the job search.
Hence I joined Australian HR Institute (AHRI) as a CAHRI professional member in 2015 even before moving to Australia. AHRI has various memberships available for students to established HR professionals. This helped me to build credibility of my profile for future employers.
I did a four week trip to Darwin in February 2016 prior to moving to Darwin permanently in August 2016. After applying for jobs from overseas I realized that without local experience it is tough to get into a managerial position. I was not willing to give up. During my visit in February, I met with a recruiter from Hays and he advised to do a certification IV in HR which will help me to understand the Australian HR practices and fair work.
I initiated Certificate IV in HR online from overseas through AHRI and it was a great learning experience and I finished the course in September 2016 soon after I landed in Darwin. The instructors were great and it significantly raised my confidence to apply for managerial roles. Simultaneously I also completed free online courses offered by Fair Work Australia.
I was working in Saint Lucia, West Indies before migrating and fortunately I could continue my previous job remotely for the first two months in Australia. To meet people locally as well as to pick up the accent, I joined a friend’s restaurant business helping them in the café and assisting them in HR matters as it was just a two month old business. Working in a restaurant added to my cultural and behavioural learning by meeting new people every day.
It gave me confidence and gave me a turning point which I have will share in the interview stage. Along with my online courses and restaurant job, certification course and job applications I utilised all the opportunities to network locally. The October Business Month (OBM) events in Darwin during October 2016 helped me to attend various workshops and network with management professionals. I met with recruitment consultants and local HR professionals and sought their suggestions to ensure that I stay current with the market.
I was mentored by a senior HR Professional towards interview preparation and basic know-how of local legislations. I also received advice from the course instructor of the HR Certification course. Most surprisingly I met an HR Consultant at the restaurant and later on realized that she was one of the consultants I had emailed my resume from abroad.
I contacted her the very next day via email and she was very happy to help me with suggestions on upcoming possible opportunities. Through her, I came to know about the HR Manager opportunity at Danila Dilba and this is the turning point I mentioned above. Compared to many job markets, Australian job market is small, and networking does play a big role.
We always have the assumption that applying for more jobs will increase job prospects. As an HR professional myself, I have interviewed and recruited a diverse workforce across the globe and I can assure you that every recruiter is expecting a near perfect candidate to fill their position. Hence instead of applying for many jobs, it is advised to focus on your career and apply for closely matched positions.
This will help you to sharpen the application and offers the possibility of a telephonic discussion or an interview. You may also ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and recommendations from your previous managers and colleagues can be of great help!
Employers have realized that a resume alone shouldn’t be a benchmark to schedule an interview and therefore unplanned telephonic discussions happen to map the communication and technical know-how of the candidates. Once the employer feels confident about the candidate, they schedule the interview. I prepared for my interview in Australia like there was not a second chance!
Over and above my last one year’s preparation for the right job, I equipped myself with more pertinent information about Danila Dilba by going through various channels. It was a great experience of being interviewed by the panel at Danila Dilba and at the end of the interview I provided them with a file named as “My Story” which had details of my career and achievements till date.
All my efforts of preparation, networking and local experience within Australia were rewarded and I was selected for the job. It was my first interview in Australia which got converted and I would suggest that a planned approach is better for Australian job market.
I hope you enjoy reading my experience and this is helpful for your career journey. In the second part I will share about my entrepreneurial journey which includes supporting migrants in Northern Territory and now become a Career Coach with Randstad Risesmart.
Sulal Mathai CPHR
Co-founder & Director – ACET Migration