Road to a job

It happened. I have been hired for a communication job in Melbourne. And what a journey that was.

Graduated from two master’s degree at good Belgian universities and with a fair amount of ambition and enthusiasm I thought finding a job would be easy.

But of course, I did not choose the easy road here and had some things working against me.

Having studied communication sciences and loving everything about it, I was determined finding a job in this field. However, being a non-native speaker, with no working experience, no permanent residency and no network, it wasn’t easy.

I have put together some tips and advice for finding a job as a graduate overseas. I am not an expert, but it is what helped me.

The road getting there was hard and I would like to share my five major frustrations.

  1. Not knowing anyone

I never realised how good my Belgian network was. You don’t think about it when you are just living life, making friends at uni, meeting people through same interests, joining the student newspaper or doing an internship, that these relationships help you later on.

Looking for a job in another country made me realise that knowing people is important. Because through your network you find the interesting job openings.

Without this, you need to become a pretty good investigator to find the good jobs. And applying for publicly available jobs means the competition is murdering. It will be ten times harder to stand out of the crowd.

  1. Not being an Australian citizen

It makes me angry, but it’s a reality to deal with. Lots of jobs ask specifically for Australian citizens or permanent residents. Even though I have a visa allowing me to work without restrictions and indefinite in time.

  1. Not having experience

This is something every graduate looking for a job is frustrated with. Recruiters want to hear about your previous experience to get the job, but how will you ever get experience if no one gives you that chance.

I found it often surprising that people with experience were applying for entry-level positions. This shows how many people were looking for a new job.

  1. Endless processes

Looking for a job is exhausting and disappointing and can take forever. For every interview I spend time and energy on preparing, researching the organisation and answering key selection criteria.

Then on to a second round of interviews, completing tests, meeting the team. And with every step I would get more enthusiastic about the job and wanting to work for this great company.

But more than once, after all these tests, I heard nothing back. No email, no phone call, nothing. Running out of patience I would contact them to hear that I did not get the job.

And after weeks of investing time, you often don’t get feedback about how you did. “You did great, we loved you. But we chose the other candidate,” is useless feedback.

  1. Accepting rejections

Being rejected over and over is not only bad for your ego, it affects your mood, self-worth and the willingness to move on and keep on looking. Taking in rejection after rejection is hard. But it is necessary to remember it is their loss, not yours.

What are/were your frustrations when looking for a job? Leave them in a comment or message!

Looking for some tips on finding a job overseas, read them here.


Finding your dream job

With my first days at my new job passed, I am looking back on the whole job process. One with ups and downs, but with a major reward at the end. A job that fits me perfectly!

When I got the call offering me a job, I was thrilled! However, it wasn’t easy to get there. If you want to know my frustrations and struggles, read my blog post about major hurdles here.

I would love to share some tips on managing to secure that dream job. Because I know it is hard to believe you can land a dream job when you are in the job seeking process. For everyone who can relate, some tips for keep going on.

  1. Don’t give up

When you are dealing with many rejections for jobs you thought would excel in, don’t start lowering your standards. I got close to just start looking for any job. And the people around me were also advising me to give up looking for a job in the field I wanted to work in.

However, I felt sad when looking at other jobs. Writing cover letters felt insincere. I could not promote myself for a job I wouldn’t be motivated for and it also doesn’t pay off.

Keep looking for your dream job, with patience it will come along.

  1. Find a good match

You will only land a job where there is a good match between you and the job you are applying for. If the job doesn’t feel like you, you probably also won’t get it. So, follow your gut feeling in applying for the right jobs. It is worth putting more time and energy in positions you feel confident about than to apply for everything that comes along.

  1. Stand out

Recruiters will never know how awesome you are, when you’re never invited for an interview. So stand out of the crowd early. I did this by creating an original resume for every job. Mine was an infographic, using the colour scheme of the company (easily findable on the website). I used Piktochart for this, but there are numerous ways to create an attractive resume.

Also think about what makes you special, and mention this in your cover letter. For me in Australia it was my European background (which is great on social issues), the languages I can speak (3 opposing to 1) and the degree I have (master’s anyone?). These are aspects my Australian competition would not offer, so I tried to leverage it.

  1. Build up a reference list

Australians are big on checking your references. If you are like me new to a country, it is hard to present these references.

Find a way to connect with people in your field willing to give you a reference. I started volunteering at Sacred Heart Mission, a charity helping people who are homeless. I volunteered in their communication team and was able to grow a network over there.

Their reference was essential in getting me a job offer.

  1. Get experience

Find a way to gain experience in your field and in the country you live in. By volunteering as a communication officer, I could show examples of my writing in English, for an Australian organisation. Without some relevant experience it will be hard to give good examples to new employers. However, don’t get stuck in unpaid work. Do it only as long as it benefits you as well.

  1. Do what you love

Nothing shows more confidence than being happy with yourself and what you do. I was stuck in a negative spiral when looking for a job. I felt all my free time should go to applying for jobs and writing cover letters. But I was being rejected more and more because I was losing confidence more and more.

Take a step back and spend time on your passions. I volunteered in communications for a great organisation. But I also took the time to read a good book and started writing again. This was not only a good exercise for me, but I felt more relaxed and better about myself. Don’t get sucked up in the job hunt and take time for yourself. It will show in interviews and you will get a job easier.