Engineering – Australian Professional year starts in 2009

The Professional Year in Engineering

From January 2009, Engineering Education Australia will offer a Professional Year in Engineering.


From September 2007, all former international students now seeking permanent residency in Australia, and who hold a Skilled – Graduate (Temporary) 485 Visa must, within 18 months of graduating from an appropriate course of study in Australia either:

  • achieve an IELTS level 7 result,
  • be in employment related to their graduate status, or
  • successfully complete a specified Professional Year (PYear) Program.

In 2008, Engineers Australia (EA) along with Engineering Education Australia (EEA) were authorised to provide the approved Professional Year Program (PYear) in Engineering.

About the PYear Program

The PYear is a minimum 44-week, maximum 12 month ‘job-preparedness’ program aimed at equipping participants with the professional skills needed for a successful career in the Australian Engineering workforce; in turn helping to address the engineering skills shortage in Australia.

Designed to enhance the participant’s ability to obtain employment in his or her chosen engineering discipline through practical training and workshops in areas such as communication, as well as access to learning and career development tools and methods, the program includes an invaluable minimum 20 week (unpaid) supervised engineering intern placement with a host company.

Participant Eligibility

To be eligible for acceptance into the PYear Program, applicants must:

  • have graduated from an Australian university Engineering course of at least two years duration within the past six months,
  • hold a valid Skilled-Graduate (Temporary) 485 Visa or a Bridging Visa A or B,
  • hold a successful Migration Skills Assessment,
  • meet other entry criteria as set by Engineering Education Australia and available on application.


Requests for further details and expressions-of-interest for the 2009 PYear in Engineering intakes should be addressed to:

Extract from Ministerial Statement by Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, December 17,2008

International students who are enrolled in courses that are not on the CSL will still be able to apply for a permanent visa without a sponsor. However if they want their application considered as a priority they will need to focus on finding an employer to sponsor them. International students graduating from courses will have access to the 485 visa.
The 485 visa was introduced by the previous Government and provides students with a period of 18 months to find work in their occupation and improve their English language skills. They can also use that time to find an employer sponsor. These measures will provide an incentive for training providers to better link international students with employers and give students an incentive to study courses that will lead to employment outcomes in that field.

The PYear with its ‘job-preparedness’ program to provide international students graduating in engineering with the professional skills needed to land an engineering job in the Australian Engineering workforce will help address the engineering skills shortage in Australia.

Ian Little and Ailis Logan interviewed in The Australian Newspaper

“Other Side of Think Local” September 20th 

Demanding ‘local experience’ doesn’t guarantee the best person for the job, writes Karalyn Brown

‘BILL Gates wouldn’t get a job in Australia because he has no local experience,” says Ailis Logan, the founder of Tribus Lingua, a consultancy assisting skilled migrants find jobs. Logan is only half joking. She believes that Australian employers value local experience much more than their counterparts in Europe and the US.

For the many overseas professionals enticed here by the lure of a bountiful job market, the difficulty of finding a job without local experience is no joke.

What does “no local experience” really mean? Are we so parochial that we’d reject Bill Gates if he sent us his resume? Do we run our businesses in a uniquely Australian way? Many of us will go overseas to work, valuing the career and life experience we bring back — yet we appear to view the experience that others bring here with suspicion.

Ian Little, the author of Project Australia: Land that Engineering Job in Australia, suggests our geographic isolation has contributed to our conservatism. As the senior engineering manager at engineering giant Worely Parsons, he’s hired many overseas professionals. He believes that a lack of Australian experience is actually the biggest barrier any newcomer will face. Employers appear worried about the communication skills of skilled immigrants.

Poorly written resumes from overseas professionals may fuel employers’ doubts about immigrants’ communication skills. Little and Logan say they see many bad resumes from recent arrivals. This makes it harder for employers to assess overseas experience. Logan recommends that newcomers provide context around places they’ve worked, including the challenges and drivers of the businesses they’ve worked in. It can be difficult to read a resume in isolation of preconceived ideas about a nationality.

It would be naive to suggest that people never discriminate, but Little certainly doesn’t believe many Australians are inherently racist. When it comes to hiring he thinks Australian employers are just risk-averse. “People will still encounter difficulties when they want to switch industries,” he says. “Employers don’t realise how tough times are, and they need to get flexible.”

But even if everyone spoke English, misunderstandings about meanings can be common. Logan suggests our easy-going expressions can easily confuse newcomers. “Australians appear casual, but are not casual at all,” she says. “‘Come in for a chat’ can mean a formal interview, so you need to be prepared.”

But perhaps there’s more going on than verbal confusion. Body language plays its part in defining meaning and each culture uses this differently. Aparna Hebbani, an academic and researcher into intercultural communication in interviews at the University of Queensland says “non-verbals” such as a handshake and eye contact contribute to an estimated 66 per cent of meaning in social interaction.

She’s seen many cross-cultural misunderstandings in an interview. “If an Indian interviewee, for example, does not make ‘appropriate’ levels of eye contact with an Australian interviewer, they can interpret that as a lack confidence or not being truthful,” she says. “But the interviewee might not look into the interviewer’s eye out of respect.”

The way different cultures see interviews may be detrimental to their chances of success. Little claims some have a “servant attitude” when it comes to marketing their skills. “An employment contract is a two-way thing. I’ve not seen many overseas professionals who understand that,” he says. “They don’t understand that they have something to offer.”

Confused communication aside, what are other risks in recruiting a newcomer? Logan and Little say that new arrivals need to understand Australian law, regulations and codes plus the general rules of Australian business practice. But Little suggests in engineering that employers’ perception that newcomers can’t adapt is greater than reality. “Engineering is an applied science — the laws of science do not change,” he says.

In some professions the local learning curve is steeper and longer. Accounting is one example. David Smith, a former partner of accounting firm PKF and ex-president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, runs Smithink, a management consultancy advising accountants. He sees the employers’ concern over communication skills of immigrants and their ability to understand the highly complex Australian tax system and superannuation laws as major barriers for accountants new to Australia.

Logan says overseas professionals need to understand that the structure of the Australian economy is “old-fashioned”, with up to 70 per cent of businesses classified small-medium.

The accounting industry reflects this statistic. Smith suggests a typical small-business accounting firm will find it hard to embrace new arrivals who cannot hit the ground running. Small firms struggle to verify skills, have limited resources for training and perhaps less patience for the newcomer under pressure.

There are other barriers that make it difficult for newcomers to find jobs. Smith and Little suggest that employers need to assess attitude when it comes to hiring overseas professionals, as this makes a big difference in how quickly people will adapt.

Little says employers’ rigid recruitment practices can prevent this. “Many employers are stuck in a 1980s way of thinking,” says Little. “In that decade there were lots of people to choose from and some fairly militant unionism. Employers found that if they didn’t select the right person [the union] would be likely to challenge. They needed a bullet-proof system.” Little believes employers should build teams — instead of filling holes when they hire — matching weaknesses in skill sets with complementary strengths.

HR professionals would argue that recruitment processes have evolved. The larger firms often spend many thousands of dollars identifying what makes the company tick before writing it into recruitment practice, hoping to recruit candidates with the right attitude. Yet the “right attitude” is nuanced, notoriously difficult to codify and assess from an appraisal of a resume and the more traditional interview.

Also keeping candidates at a distance are recruitment consultants and online resume screening software. Many employers’ online careers pages do not have a contact name or number. It can be difficult for applicants to talk directly to someone with close knowledge of the core business who can give them a realistic appraisal of their fit.

Little sees many benefits for organisations willing to open their doors a little wider. While he has observed overseas engineers having a slower path to productivity than their Australian equivalents, he notes the longer term rewards of hiring them as a bonus. “They are less likely to move on than an Australian hire and they have a great work ethic and less baggage from their background,” he says. “They bring new skills not available in Australia, and support our international operations with their knowledge and language skills.”

Project Australia Engineers Migrate Australia Pack

Source The Australian Newspaper

The Australian News Link to Article

Polite migrant engineers offend Australian employers

Raj, an Indian mechanical engineer I met in Brisbane last Monday said to me. – “I called him Sir, I did not look him in the eye out of respect, and he nearly broke my hand when he shook hands with me. Why?”

Well Raj, Let’s look at some of the differences between Australian and Indian cultures. These three actions are some of the most important as they are critical to making a good first impression. Australians pride themselves in having an egalitarian society: we like to think we treat people as equals. Maybe this is not all that much reality, but there is one important behaviour that migrants need to understand to help make a strong first impression. In the Australian workplace there is social  equality in non work matters.

Here are three important behaviours you must practice to make that all important good first impression when being introduced to someone in Australia:

  1. Look people in the eye: meet their gaze. The employer interprets this as having confidence. You are equal. Australians interpret looking down or away as something dishonest or shy.
  2. In the handshake, grip the hand firmly: being limp wristed is seen as lacking confidence, or different.
  3. Use a persons first (given) name. This is a sign of friendship. It also helps you remember a persons name by saying it when you are introduced.

The basic cultural difference in these actions is that Australians show respect for each other by treating each other as equals, whereas Indians (and many other cultures) show respect by deferring to the employer.

Show Australian employers you understand the Australian workplace culture:

  • look people in the eye

  • shake hands firmly

  • use given names

Australian employers look for confident engineers. Migrant engineers must adopt the practices of the Australian society to succeed .

Australian Engineers get Jobs by Networking

Australian Engineers get Jobs by Networking. To get an engineering job in Australia you need to establish a network of Australian engineering contacts to replace those you have left behind; to help you get a job and to provide ongoing professional support.

In Australia, about 80% of job positions are filled without being advertised. Applicants learn about them through networking of one form or another. As a new arrival to Australia, one of your biggest challenges is to develop a network.

Networking is not just giving out your business card and collecting business cards of potential employers so you have a list to ask for a job. You need to establish a relationship for exchanging information. Keep in mind, the company with no vacancies today may win a big contract and need people next month. Maintaining contacts enables you to:
• Learn what companies do
• Find out when they, or their competitors win jobs and will want more people –before others do!
• Understand what particular skills companies are after

Many engineers new to Australia make the mistake of seeing networking as a one way relationship. When they meet a company representative they blurt out “Do you have
any vacancies for mechanical engineers?” If the response is “No.” the conversation ends. They head off despondent, to the next prospect.

Networking is a two way relationship. As an engineer you have your skills to sell. Australian industry needs engineers. Through the networking relationship both parties
develop a better understanding of what each has to offer.

Do not expect to be offered a job at an engineering networking session or the first time you meet some one!

Where to start

To start an Australian engineering network, go to events and places where engineers meet. This is through professional engineering associations such as:
• Engineers Australia,
• APESMA, and
• specialist industry and discipline organisations
The meetings of these engineering organisations are normally open to non-members. You may pay a little more as a non-member. Their web sites advertise their up-coming events.

Here is an example script you can use to help get started. Add your own questions and put this into your own words. Then practice it on a friend. Note that the questions re all about finding information about the person and their company, or other companies they may have worked for or know about. You do this so that you can work out hat you have to offer them. You have engineering skills that employers want.

• How do you do I am Rajiv Singh, what is you name?
• Who do you work for?
• What do they make/do?
• What technology do they use?
• What is you position there?
• What do you do every day?
• Does the company employ engineers? What types?
• Where are they located?
• Do they export any products?
• Who are their customers?
• Who are there major competitors?

Some Tips for success

Networking is building a relationship. This requires give and take. The more you share with others, the more they will share with you. This does not have to be your deepest, darkest secrets or company confidential matters. For example: in a discussion, a potential employer might talk about a new project and tell you his company is looking for electrical engineers. Unfortunately you are a mechanical engineer – but you know of an electrical engineer who is looking for a job. This gives you the opportunity to help this electrical
engineer and make an impression with the employer. They will both be willing to help you in the future as you will have helped them by making a connection.

From your international engineering experience you will have some specific technical knowledge, above your general engineering experience, new to Australia. As esperation sets in after being unable to find a job, people can become so busy thinking “Please give me a job.” they forget that they have their general engineering skills, plus something unique, to offer. Find out all about organisations, and the projects and work they do. Then think about where the opportunities are for you.

Maintain confidentiality in business relationships at all levels. This applies to networking. People will share more information with those they can trust. If I trust you, I am more likely to share unconfirmed information and opinions with you, which will give you greater insight or advantage. However, if I think you will spread this to everyone, including my competitors, I will give you less information.

In developing and maintaining engineering network relationships don’t rely on memory – keep notes. This will be both personal and business details. This helps you get a
conversation going whenever you meet. You can ask about their family, use family members names, how the holiday went, how the project is going. People are impressed
when someone remembers them.

Maintain contact with members of your engineering network. This may be simply by sending a Xmas card or catching up for a cup of coffee. Try and have some information
that others may be interested in – without giving away confidential information. Regularly attending engineering functions where you will meet a group of your network, such as through a discipline College of Engineers Australia function or a special interest group is very effective and more efficient than individual meetings.

Do not be afraid to ask questions.

Work at Networking – that is how 80% of Australian Engineers get Jobs.

This post is taken from Project Australia: Land That Engineering Job in Australia by Ian Little

©Ian Little. All rights reserved, no part of this may be reproduced without permission rights from the publisher. Contact us

Answers from An Australian CV seminar at Engineers Australia Careers Expo

Answers to questions from participants at a seminar An Australian CV at Engineers Australia Careers Expo, Melbourne, April 2008.

Q When customising my Australian engineering CV for a mining job application, can I just change the words to make my experience from another industry, such as oil & gas, to make it look like it was obtained in the mining industry?

A No! No! and No! – Everything in your Australian engineering CV and job application must be the truth and nothing but the truth. When customising your Australian engineering CV for an employer or job application, the changes you make must be from your experience. All this experience is in your basic (vanilla) Australian engineering CV. This is the database of all your experience from which your take a specific tailored view to suit each employer, industry and position. Your aim is to show an employer the the parts of your experience that he is most interested in.
Do not make up experience that is not true to try and impress. In an interview you will be asked questions about your experience. If you have written something that is untrue, interviewers will sense the lie from your responses in the interview. One lie will totally discredit your Australian engineering CV. The interviewers will think: “If that part is not true, the rest of the engineering CV may also be a total fabrication.” Your application will be rejected and you will never be able to work for that company as you will be viewed as dishaonest – not unfair if you do not write the truth.

Q For on-line applications I can only attach two documnets, what do I do? Do I include my selection criteria matching statement with the cover letter or with my Australian engineering CV?

A For on-line applications attach you selection criteria matching statement to your Australian engineering CV. You want to keep your cover letter brief, with short sentences and paragraphs that ‘pack a punch.’ Remember that the first thing that will happen with applications is the selection panel will want to reduce the number of applicants that they have to look at in detail. If your cover letter does not say “I have just what you are after” the readers may not even look at your Australian engineering CV.

Q What is the difference between a job, a position, or a situation vacant?

A None. These are synonyms – they have similar meanings. In newspaper classified advertising, engineering positions will be advertised under the professional section. Trade and unskilled jobs are advertised in the situations vacant section.
Other words you may come across are post, occupation, and function.

Anyone with similar queries, please let us know. We are putting together a page to help explain the mysteries of Australian English.

Q How many job applications should I be doing each day ?

A Quality is more important than quantity. If you are applying to companies that you are not familiar with, you could not do enough research to do more than one quality job application a day. You need to do research on each company to find out what they do and produce, their competitors, their values, where they are developing their business, and try and talk to an engineer in the company to find out in detail what the opportunities are for your discipline, experience level, particular skills and specific interests. Armed with all the company information, you then have to customise your Australian engineering CV and application to highlight the skills, experience and interests you have that the company is after.

This post is taken from an Engineers Australia seminar, An Australian CV, given by Ian Little

Read more about  Project Australia – The Engineers Australian Migrant Pack

Project Australia

©Ian Little. All rights reserved, no part of this may be reproduced without permission rights from the publisher. Contact us

An Australian CV – your name

Your Name

Australians like simple, monosyllable first names. Like Ian. Even David is too long for them. They prefer Dave. Likewise Bob for Robert, Tom for Thomas and Tim for Timothy.If your first name is long, unusual (to Australians) complicated, or difficult for Australians to pronounce, it will be shortened or you will be renamed. So in an Australian CV shorten your name yourself to a name of your choice rather than leaving it to others. It will greatly help acceptance if you adopt an abbreviation or an English-style name. Chinese people are good at this. In China, the children have English names for using on the internet, and Chinese students studying in Australia adopt English-style names. It is not necessary to take an English style name, but it should be a name that Australians can say easily such as Tad or Siva. You will probably feel most comfortable if it sounds like a shortened version of your native name.
Research has shown that if people cannot pronounce a name, they do not use it in conversation and then will exclude the person from activities. Ironically this happens because people are embarrassed if they cannot say a persons name properly and do not want to insult them by pronouncing heir name incorrectly. So they do not use the name at all, and this leads to exclusion.

If you choose to take on an “Australian” name, put your native first name in brackets after you Australian first name ? for example, John (Srivananapal) Ranje. Some people prefer putting their adopted name in the brackets, but this can be confusing because it can be difficult to work ut which is the family name.
Incidentally in an Australian CV, Australians put their family name last. They will assume that your last name as written is your family name. Cricket commentators still get this wrong sometimes when referring to Indian and Pakistani cricketers. No-one means to be offensive; they just make the wrong assumption.
Adopting an “Australian” name in your CV will make you feel more Australian, and shows employers that you are flexible and adaptable, qualities that employers look for.

This post is taken from Project Australia: Land That Engineering Job in Australia by Ian Little

Read more about Project Australia  – The Engineers Australian Migrant Pack

©Ian Little. All rights reserved, no part of this may be reproduced without permission rights from the publisher. Contact us

Interview Advice for Australia

Interview advice for Australia

Job interviewing in Australia can appear informal. A recruiter or potential employer may ask you in “for a chat?. New migrants to Australia often mistake this for a casual chat and don’t prepare for interview. It’s best to take a formal approach to all situations in Australia whether they are termed a chat or not! Always be professional and show courtesy and respect no matter how friendly the situation may seem.

Australians generally dislike arrogance so its important to pitch yourself well at interview without over selling yourself. New migrants to Australia can expect a variety of questions. A lot of Australian employers try to assess the applicant ability to respond quickly, asking hypothetical questions that require improvisation.
Australian interview preparation is essential so that you can answer key questions and show the potential Australian employer that you have the skills they are seeking and will add value to their company.

Before your interview in Australia

Ensure you research the company in detail. One of the most common questions at interview is what do you know about our company? An understanding of the company’s vision, products and position in the marketplace shows that you are serious about working specifically for this company.
Company websites are the best source of information. Use them to find out about the size and position of the company in addition to learning who key personnel are in the company. Detailed knowledge of the company will set you apart and show clearly how enthusiastic you are about this company.

Understand the job role and description

Analyse how your skills match potential Australian employer requirements. Spend time building a picture for yourself about what strengths you bring to the role. During the interview you will be able to demonstrate your skills and abilities by backing it up with evidence, showing that you have the skills to do the job based on previous experience. Practical examples support your statements.

Have questions ready

An interview presents you with the opportunity to further understand a job role, the interviewer expects to further clarify details about the job and what the position entails. The interviewer gets the chance to find out about you and your suitability for the job. You have an opportunity to ask questions about the role and the company. It’s important to understand exactly what the job is all about before you commit to anything. What is expected in your new role, how will your performance be measured, why did the position become available and when are they expecting someone to start.

Getting to the interview

If the interview is in a location you are not familiar which is highly likely for new arrivals to Australia, take a practice run and go to the location a couple of days, then you know the route and exactly how long it will take you. Know the name of the person who will be interviewing you. Make sure you arrive in plenty of time as this will help you feel more at ease.

During the interview

Once you have done your background research and preparation you will feel a lot more confident. People are nervous at interview- it’s perfectly normal. The key is to focus outside yourself on the interviewer. Listen carefully to the questions and take your time. Often when we are nervous our voice speeds up – so take a breath and answer the specific question you are being asked. Remember to use practical examples to emphasise your skills and show how they suit the role and the company.

After the interview

Keep a record of the questions asked. Identify places you felt you did well and areas where you found questions difficult to answer. This will give you the opportunity to really improve your performance.
Send the interviewer a thank you after the interview.

Some common interview Questions in Australia:

Q: “Tell me about yourself”

This is a 3 minute commercial about you! Have prepared thoroughly for this question in advance as first impressions really count. Prepare a list of what you do (your current or last job), your strengths (related to job skills only), and a summary of your career history, linking your experience to this job.
Your Australian CV will be a blueprint for your answer to this question. Pick your top three highlights focussing on skills you possess that match the job always including practical examples.

Q: “Why did you leave your last job?”

Respond positively — “…for better career advancement or promotion opportunities, increased responsibility, more greater variety at work…”

Q: “Why do you want to do this job / work for this company?”

Demonstrate your knowledge of the company and re-emphasise your suitability for the position.

Q: “What do you think you have to offer this company?”

This is a chance to demonstrate your skills and abilities — concentrating on the skills you have that are required for the position.

Q: “What do you think this position involves?”

This question is designed to reveal if you have thought about the position, done some research, listened to the interviewer, and can summarise all of this information clearly.

Q: “What do you know about the company?”

Demonstrate your interest in the job, and your understanding of the organisation and industry. Talk about the research you did into the company’s key areas of interest, its size, its products, its main customers or current status, making reference to your source of information. Include a reference to the key personnel of the company.

Q: “Do you have any questions you would like to ask?”

Always prepare a question to ask the interviewer. Ask about the position, request clarification of general information about the company, or What are your long-range goals and objectives?

Interviewers in Australia will often ask questions related to process, for example tell me about a situation where you had to handle a difficult customer. Australian employers are looking evidence that you have followed the processes necessary to resolve a situation.

In Australia executive level positions may involve up to three interviews. The first interview may be with a recruiter or HR representative from the company. This is followed with an interview with the person responsible for this area. The third interview is usually a final one with a senior executive or CEO.

Networking in Australia

Australia – Network like a local

BYO contacts

In Australia, BYO stands for ‘bring your own’ (particularly, bringing your own wine or beer to an unlicensed restaurant). As an immigrant, you might not think you have a useful BYO network or list of contacts from your old country, but it’s often surprising how many people you know who have contacts in Australia, or know people who do. Maybe they work for an organisation with a sister company in Australia.
If you are a member of a professional association, it’s likely to have connections with a similar body in Australia that could help you in your quest. Perhaps you have had involvement with a recruitment company with a branch or associate in Australia. If so, try to get the name of a consultant you can contact.

On arriving in Australia, a well prepared BYO list is a good start. If it doesn’t lead directly to useful contacts, it can open doors to finding them. The average adult has at least 100 contacts from all walks of life. To discover how extensive your BYO list is, follow these simple exercises. Create two lists: one of people you know personally and one of business contacts. For starters, consider:


Family members, Friends, Neighbours, Doctor, Accountant, Dentist, Bank Manager, Religious associates, Sporting contacts, If you have children, parents from their school, childcare, play group, etc


Professional contacts, Customers, Professional/industry association members and officers, Recruitment agencies/consultants, Business owners, Suppliers, Contractors, Networking groups, including virtual/online

Identify up to 10 personal and 10 business contacts. Then talk to them or email them. If appropriate, arrange to meet them after you arrive for a chat over a tea or coffee. Your aim is to build a rapport so you can make them aware of your situation.

Virtual contacts in Australia

If your lists of initial contacts in Australia are on the short side, there are ways to develop more contacts before you leave by using the wonders of modern communications technology. Consider subscribing to internet mailing lists, and update your situation with any personal or professional contacts you communicate with via email. It’s not as effective as personal networking through face-to-face associations, but it’s convenient and far-reaching. Email discussion groups and mailing lists connect people with similar interests, giving you a readymade foot in the door with them. Once you subscribe, you can access everyone in the group by sending one message, and reply to group messages other subscribers send to you. Sharing information and advice in this way is effectively an electronic ice-breaker. Mailing lists are an excellent way to learn about the companies in your field and any job openings. You can also keep abreast of issues and trends affecting your profession.

Australia Contact recruiters in advance

Depending on your industry, skills and other circumstances, you may be able to contact specialised recruiters before you leave so they are expecting you to approach them later in person. It may be possible to line up meetings with them advance. It certainly does no harm to call one or two to try to gauge the state of your relevant job market and get some industry specific background. They can sometimes even give you leads to follow up after you arrive.

As a note of caution, don’t expect too much from recruiters at this stage. Most recruiters will be very reluctant to propose you to their clients unless you are in Australia. Regard them as another opportunity to add to your business/professional contact list and as a possible source of general information.

Australia Industry and professional associations

Regardless of the industry or sector you are in, Australia has an organisation to represent you and your profession. You can research through the internet and email them so you feelconfident about becoming a member and getting involved when you arrive in Australia. The benefits of joining such associations include professional credibility and kudos, and access to best-practice standards, legal and political representation, and educational opportunities. They also present you with targeted networking opportunities through engaging with other members and attending seminars, workshops and conferences.

For your purposes, the cocktail evenings and other informal get-togethers after functions can be most valuable. Youcan mingle with members and talk to company leaders about their businesses. Always remember that you are out to build your network and find out what is going on in your sector rather than directly promote yourself. You will be in a group of professionals who share your industry and passion, so there will be plenty in common to discuss.

Some associations also directly assist job seekers by advertising positions in their publications and providing company listings and contact details. Membership fees generally range from $100-$400, and occasionally more, but they are tax deductible at the end of each tax year ( June 30).

Joining a professional association also helps you:

Get up to speed with your industry in Australia. Professional associations help you to learn about trends in your area of interest through conferences, workshops, newsletters, journals, magazines and website material.They often host web-based discussion groups and conduct online member surveys to obtain the latest statistics and other information.

Find out about jobs before they are advertised through job listings, informal group meetings, blogs, web chats, etc. Some publications, and other association material with job listings and info on who is hiring, are for members only. Some associations work so closely with organisations, they can put you directly in contact with employers.

Further your education in your field from an Australian perspective. Attending conferences, expos, workshops, and professional courses and seminars all contribute to your continuing education and professional development.

You can build your network and meet key players in your field of interest while learning about product and service developments, developing issues and trends, etc. Show you are assimilating in Australia and are committed to staying. Employers are concerned about how much prospective employees know about the way things work in Australia in both technical and cultural terms. Active membership in a peak professional body shows that you know what’s required and are making the effort.

Alternative associations

As a possible alternative to, or in addition to, a professional association, consider joining social and community-based associations such as Rotary, Toastmasters, a Lions Club, fishing and sporting clubs, churches, environmental bodies, cultural groups, political parties… whatever you are interested in.

While developing your personal familiarity with and involvement in the community, you can take the opportunity to build your network and get referrals.

Excerpted from Networking in Australia by Jill noble

Learn More about Networking in Australia…

Networking in Australia

©Tribus Lingua 2007 This excerpt may not be copied without the permission of the publishers. Please contact us for permission rights Tribus Lingua

Australia Informational Interviewing

Australia Informational Interviewing

As a newcomer or pending newcomer to Australia, you have much to gain by displaying such initiative and skills. In particular, you need to make contacts (and use those you already have) and take full advantage of them through ‘information interviews’.

Australia Information interviews

‘Information interviews’ are about asking appropriate people smart questions (see below) to gather information to help you with your job search. They are not about asking peoplefor a job. Don’t interview them about their work and then ask if their organisation has any positions available. You have approached them to listen—not sell yourself. Of course, if they suggest you send them your CV, ask if they would prefer a paper or an electronic copy and send it as soon as possible. They may well know of a job you can apply for or know someone who could be interested in employing you, and be in a position to put your CV forward. But leave it up to them to take that step.

On the phone or in person, always be well mannered and professional. Dress and groom well for in-person meetings. Even if the person isn’t forthcoming with the kind of information you want, be patient and polite. Try to leave everyone with a good impression. Also leave them your contact details—preferably your card with your phone number and email address. They may find the time or reason to be more helpful later, or think of someone they know who can help you. Creating a genuinely good impression and being easilyaccessible are the foundations of effective networking.

Who to interview

The best people to talk to are those who work in roles, organisations or fi elds similar to the ones that interest you in your job search, or who recruit professionals like you. However, you are unlikely to make much headway by directly approaching, for example, the head accountant at a major bank, the head engineer at a large engineering firm, or the human resources director at a hospital. They simply have little time to handle the many speculative enquiries that can come their way.

A better strategy is to make a list of people you know and more casual acquaintances who may be able to help or put you in touch with other people who may be of help. Start your list by considering:

Relatives, Friends, Neighbours, Teachers or lecturers, if you are studying, Other migrants to Australia. If you have children, parents of their school friends. Members of churches, sports clubs or any other organisations you join. Professional association contacts. Professional associations are an especially rich source of information and contacts. Chances are, there is one for people who do your kind of work, and it will have a website with allyou need to know. Professional associations hold conferences and seminars, and have special interest groups. They also tend to have less formal get-togethers and activities where members have plenty of time to get to know each other.

In general, try to establish an initial rapport with people by finding out a little about them and establishing common ground or interests. Don’t be shy about asking them if they can spare some time—say, 20 minutes—in the next few days or the following week so you can ask them for advice. If you are candid about your situation, they are likely to be sympathetic.

Exchange cards and suggest you meet for a tea or coffee. If that’s not possible, try to arrange a suitable time for a chat on the phone. While making the purpose of your conversation clear, it’s best not to refer to it as an ‘information interview’, which sounds rather interrogative and daunting.

If people don’t call you back


If you leave a voicemail message for a person and they don’t return your call, try one more time, but stop after that. If you email them and they don’t reply, likewise try one more time. Th en move to the next person on your list. If you phone, a colleague or assistant answers and the person you want is unavailable, ask them when is a good time to call back or when you are most likely to catch them.

Smart questions

The key to leading an information interview is to break the conversation down into sets of general, job-specific and more personally applicable questions. You might start with:

What are the growth areas—and therefore those with the greatest job opportunities—in the industry/profession/sector?

What are the key issues or recent changes in the industry/profession/sector?

What skills are in high demand?

Where are vacancies and/or skill shortages most likely to be found? (For example, in regional centres, poorer suburbs of major cities or small country towns.)

What local knowledge do I need to work in the industry/profession/sector?

Is knowledge of specific legislation, regulations, frameworks and/or standards needed?

If the conversation is about a particular organisation, your questions will be more focused. For example:

How big is the company?

What is its structure? (Head office, suburban branches, regional operations, etc)

Is it in a growth phase, and if so, what parts of it are growing?

Is it just sales and marketing, or does it do research and development as well?

What is the nature of the company’s employee and leadership culture? (For example, in terms of hierarchy, innovation, feedback, promotion, etc.)

Then you might focus on the organisation’s recruiting:

What methods does it use to find and recruit staff ?

What does it look for in CVs when recruiting for the kind of positions I am looking for?

Are there many people from other countries and/or diverse backgrounds working here at present?

Now you can get down to more personal matters, such as:

Are my assumptions about an industry, job or organisation correct? (Whatever those assumptions might be.)

How are my qualifications likely to be perceived? (Especially in the context of them being overseas qualifications.)

Do you think I have any gaps or shortcomings in my qualifications or experience?

If so, how do you think I can overcome them?

How are the roles available likely to be different or similar to what I have done before? (More or less specialised, more

or less autonomy, more or less valued, etc.)

How do you think I can increase my chances of gaining employment in your field?

Australia Addressing Job Selection Criteria

How to Address Australian Job

Selection Criteria

The public service, universities and, increasingly, private organizations use a candidate’s ability to address selection criteria to assist them to shortlist applicants for interviews. Some organisations, such as those in the public sector, go to great lengths to ensure that candidates fit their view of the ideal employee for a particular job.

Australian Job Selection criteria often include the knowledge, skills, attitudes, abilities and education sought in a preferred candidate. Australian Job Selection Criteria are treated almost with reverence in the public service, so ensure you state exactly how you measure up to each one. Failure to address the criteria explicitly is the chief reason why people are not called for interview when applying to the public service and similar organisations. (The importance of addressing Australian Job Selection Criteria is indicated by the fact that much of the information in this section was provided by the University of New South Wales Careers and Employment Service, which has extensive advice on the subject at

The document addressing Australian Job Selection Criteria is usually submitted with your cover letter and résumé. The three documents should be written to complement each other, each reinforcing the others without replicating each other exactly. Think of them as marketing documents that present an opportunity to reinforce what is presented elsewhere.

Paying due attention to such subtle differences in meaning can be crucial to your chances of selection. Australian Job Selection Criteria for all positions in the public service are available from the relevant human resources department or website, often under headings such as ‘Employment’, ‘Positions’ or ‘Human Resources’.

In some cases, criteria are summarised in the job ad. If you telephone the human resources department on the number in the advertisement, it will usually send an information package containing:

• Australian Job Selection Criteria

• Job description

• Employment forms

• Other employment-related and policy information such as equal

employment opportunity (EEO) and occupational health and safety

(OHS) guidelines

• Other legal requirements such as police checks for people working with

children and young people.

If you are not clear about some aspect of a job that you are considering applying for, request an information package, analyse it and the job advertisement, and speak to the contact officer or recruitment consultant. If possible, telephone the contact officer to discuss the criteria in more detail. This person may be your potential new boss or co-worker, so be prepared for a mini-interview. This is your first opportunity to make a good impression by being professional and focused on the information being sought, and demonstrating your verbal communication skills.

Addressing Australian Job Selection Criteria in writing is similar to compiling competency statements in that you write cogent, succinct statements that clearly demonstrate the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes you possess. A handful of criteria (note that criteria is the plural use while criterion is the singular use) tend to apply across nearly all job vacancies and, not surprisingly, are referred to in numerous parts of this book:

• Well-developed communication skills

• Teamwork skills

• Commitment to customer service

• Flexibility and willingness to change

• Enthusiasm and a positive attitude

Because these criteria become so familiar to job hunters, they can be easily overlooked. But their frequency makes them no less important to prospective employers. Make sure you address ALL the criteria as effectively as you can.

Addressing criteria step by step

1. Create a new document separate from your résumé. Include a header or title with your name, the job title and position number, and a brief title indicating the purpose of the document—such as ‘Selection criteria statement’, ‘Australian Job Selection Criteria summary’ or ‘Summary addressing Australian Job Selection Criteria’.

2. Use each of the Australian Job Selection Criteria as a heading for a statement addressing it.

3. Prove your ability to meet each criterion. Summarise how your

skills, qualifications, experience and personal attributes are relevant. Ensure you address all parts of the criterion. The competency statements discussed earlier in this chapter will help you with this step. Particularly with public service applications, step 3 requires use of the appropriate phrases and concepts.

You will need to pay attention to: • Understanding the key phrases. For example, ‘experience in costing of construction work’ means you have performed jobs requiring the task, whereas ‘knowledge of construction work’ means you know what is involved in construction. Paying due attention to such subtle differences in meaning can be crucial to your chances of selection.

• Understanding the levels of qualities being sought and providing evidence and examples to illustrate that you meet them. For example, “I have six years’ experience in…�?

• Understanding the differences in key roles or functions as described. For example, the roles of managing, leading, supervising, organising and administering are often confused or articulated poorly. You may need clarification of what is meant before you can effectively address the criteria.

• Demonstrating, with concrete examples, the skills and abilities being sought. Common areas include contributing to the work group, interacting with people, and managing your own performance. Evidence needs to be tangible—“I contributed to the workgroup by proposing an effective solution to the problem�? or “I worked effectively in a range of cross-functional and project teams,�? or “I worked independently on projects, developing my own project plan and progress checkpoints for management.�?

• Supporting claims or sales pitches about your skills. Avoid statements such as, “I have well-developed presentation and liaison skills.�? A better approach is to include evidence from your employment history or education to support assertions of competence. For example, “My excellent management ability is demonstrated by…�? The best examples illustrate the complexity and demands of the tasks. If you write, “I have excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills,�? you might follow with something like, “This was demonstrated by my teacher-effectivenessrating of ‘x’ from students after I had delivered an online module across five countries and three time zones.�?

• Using direct, active verbs that indicate exactly what your contribution was. For example, “I designed and delivered a training course to new employees.�? Be positive and specific, and try to make measurable claims—“I developed a targeted marketing plan which resulted in a 100% increase in course enquiries and a 65% increase in enrolments.�?

Smart move — When addressing criteria, you can sometimes use bullet points to summarise what would otherwise be overlong paragraphs, but don’t overdo it. This document is also important as evidence of your writing skills. The style and clarity of your writing speaks for itself— especially if it’s bad!

Excerpted from Land That Job in Australia: Successful job-hunting for Migrants

by Jim Bright and Karen Bright

 Learn More…

 Land That Job in Australia

©Tribus Lingua 2007 This excerpt may not be copied without the permission of the publishers. Please contact us for permission rights Tribus Lingua




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