Once you decided to move to Sydney, one of the first things you need to start working on is getting a job. You can either get a temporary visa and start looking, or you can interview from overseas and get a visa once you got the role. There is no right or wrong way. Before you start looking to find a job in Sydney, you need to start by writing an Australian CV. After that, it’s time to start job hunting. This article will help you with tips on where to start looking, how the interview process goes, how to prepare and get a visa.
Find a job in Sydney – where to start looking?
Friends and old colleagues
The easiest way to find a job in Sydney is to contact people you know who are already there. Especially if they are not Australian, they were in the same situation as you, and they will be happy to help. Even if it’s someone you don’t know that well, I would recommend reaching out. This is how I got my job: I messaged a guy I used to work with a few years back. He made some introductions for me and 2 months later I had an offer. Old colleagues also know your industry well and are familiar with the recruitment agencies specialised to your field. Many companies have a friend referral scheme, meaning that if you get hired to their company they even get some money. So don’t be shy, drop a note to then on Facebook or LinkedIn.
My second go to is LinkedIn to find a job in Sydney. First of all make sure that your job seeking preferences are set to ‘Actively looking’ and you set the location to Sydney. This way headhunters will be able to find you.
I would also recommend frequently checking LinkedIn’s job board for new roles. Instead of just waiting for the right opportunity to come along, start contacting the people who posted jobs relevant for you. This will help you identify the recruitment agencies who are working in your area. You can also find the HR person or an employee in the company you are looking to get a role and ask if there are any vacancies.
I found most of my jobs through working with recruiters. If you find a good one, they will not only try to fill a position they are working on at the moment, but find a job for you. They will speak to you to understand hat you are really looking for and send you multiple opportunities. I love working with recruiters, because they advocate for you. You don’t have to write motivation letters and negotiate salaries, they will do all of this on your behalf.
As I said, the best way to find them is setting your LinkedIn preferences to ‘Available’ and they will find you. You can also search for *your industry*+jobs or recruitment agency. I always recommend to work with head hunters who are specialised to your industry. They will understand how the different roles work, and will have better connections to companies and people.
Industry magazine job boards
Another great way to find a job in Sydney is browsing industry magazines. Most trades have a few websites where industry news, professional articles are shared. Many of them have an up to date job board. Just google *your industry*+news+Australia to find them.
Company job boards
If you already know which companies you would like to work for, you can check their websites and see if there are any vacancies. Most of the time, you can directly apply on the company website. To be honest I would recommend to use this as more of a guideline. Large companies receive hundreds of applications and don’t have the time to filter through all of them. If you find a role you would like, try to find the role on LinkedIn, or the headhunter who works with that company and ask them to make an introduction for you.
Similarly to other countries there are large generic job boards in Australia. The most well known ones are Seek and Indeed. These are a good places to start when you are looking to find a job in Sydney. Don’t only look at the job posts, but try to identify the agencies who are posting opportunities in your field and start engaging with them.
When to find a job in Sydney
There are opportunities all year round, but there are key times in the year you need to be aware of. Most offices shut down for the Christmas and New year holiday period. Just before Christmas everyone is busy with planning for the next year and wrapping up before the break. Most people are only back in the second half of January, and it takes some time to settle back into things. Therefore December and January in general is not the best time to find a job in Sydney.
The Australian tax year is starting on the 1st of July. Many companies get sign off on their business plans and new head counts for the new tax year. As a result, there is an increased number of jobs available around July and August time.
This doesn’t mean that you should not be looking in December, or only be looking in July, it’s just good to be aware of these movements.
The interview process
The hiring process usually consists of 2-3 rounds of interviews. Some companies have a structured process, why others add in more interviews as they go. It is preferred to do the interview process face to face, but not uncommon to do it over Skype if you are abroad. It is absolutely possible to find a job in Sydney without having to be here already. This process is based on my own and my friends’ experience. It’s probably more applicable for corporate/office jobs.
First round: casual chat
The first interview is a casual chat, this is usually on the phone. Either you will be talking to the hiring manager or someone from HR. If it’s the latter, you will be asked for another chat with the hiring manager. The purpose of this interview is to gauge your experience and cultural fit. There is no right or wrongs here, just relax and be yourself. Remember, as much as the interviewer is sassing you out, this is an opportunity for you to find out if this is what you are looking for.
Second round: skills assessment
Many companies will ask you to come in for a second rounds for a skills assessment. Depending on the role you applied for they will ask you to prepare a presentation or do a test. At this stage they would like to understand your way of thinking. It’s okay, if you are not fully aware of the company’s offering and strength.
Third round: meeting a senior person
The third round is often a chat with someone senior from the company. This could be the line manager of the hiring manager or the CEO/MD if it’s a smaller company. This is a very casual chat, they will ask you about your experience, what you think about the industry, why would you like to work for this company etc.
Preparation for the interview
Preparation is absolutely key if you would like to find a job in Sydney. Make sure that you do as much research about the company as you can. If you are working with a recruiter, they often share a small summary for you to read. Make sure you check the company’s website, and read all the recent articles published about the firm and the industry. You can find these by searching for the company’s name, and search for news results on Google.
Do your research
Make sure that you have an opinion on the biggest conversation topics in the industry at the moment. If the company or a competitor recently announced a major strategic move (merger, rebrand etc.), make sure you have something to say about this.
Have an answer prepared for these questions (most likely they will ask them at some point):
- Why would you like to leave your current company?
- Why would you like to work for this company?
- How much are you getting paid at the moment?
- What are your salary expectations?
If you know anyone working for this company ask them about the company culture and the biggest conversation topics at the moment. Look up the company on Glassdoor and read what current employees say.
It is part of the standard process in Australia to speak about salary expectations during the interview. It’s hard to come up with a realistic figure, especially when you are coming from a foreign country.
Many job posts have a salary range included which will help you to get a ball park figure. Glassdoor is also a fantastic resource. You can search for a specific company, choose Australia and see what the average salary is for the type of role you are looking for. It’s worth checking the same for competitors as well.
If salary comes up during your interview, and they offer something lower than you expected, make sure you don’t agree to anything on the spot. Just say that you are very interested in the job, and would like to continue the interview process. Also, you would like to look at industry benchmarks and come back to the salary discussion later. You can also quote what you found on Glassdoor as a benchmark. The point is that you don’t want to come across like it’s all about the money, but at the same time get what you feel like you worth. Don’t worry, salary negotiation is very much part of the process and it won’t ruin your chances at getting the job.
When you negotiate salary, make sure that you specify the salary inclusive, or exclusive of super. Super is a mandatory private pension scheme in Australia and it takes up a minimum of 9.5% of your wage. Read everything you need to know about superannuation fund here.
It is expected from candidates to show interest and preparation by asking questions. Make sure to have a few before you start. It’s good to have a few very specific ones that demonstrates that you have done your research. You can also ask these generic ones;
- What do you enjoy most about working for this company?
- How does the company ensure employee development?
- What are the biggest challenges the team faces at the moment?
- What do you consider the biggest USP’s (unique selling points) of this company?
Use the interviews as part of your research as well. You can use the answers of the hiring manager for a question to the senior manager.
If you are coming from abroad, you will likely to need a visa sponsorship in order to be able to work in Australia. Before you start engaging in a discussion for any role, tell the contact person that you will need to be sponsored. This is a very common practice in Australia, most employers will have a ready answer for you. In fact, many of the job advertisements already specify whether sponsorship is available or not for this particular vacancy.
Most employers prefer to start your employment on a Working Holiday or Work and Holiday visa, if you have the opportunity. Once you passed your probation they will move onto a sponsorship. Having said that, it is also possible to start straight up on a sponsored visa, this is what I did. Read more about how to get an Australian visa here.
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