How to get a job in Australia – a recruiters perspective

Guest Author: James Wright, Co-founder and Chief Vision Officer at HiR

HiR, the recruitment agency which started a little over a year ago, is really good at helping clients with hard to fill roles.

This means we spend a fair amount of time headhunting candidates from overseas. As a result we also end up supporting spouses and partners to find a job in Australia for the first time.

With all of the jobs we recruit for we also get a lot of incredibly speculative applications from candidates who aren’t even a 20% fit for the role. We try our best to support these job seekers with their job search too.

We wouldn’t consider putting a candidate who in our opinion is anything less than an 80% match to job role specifications forward to a client. Our job as a recruiter is to work strategically and creatively for the organisations we support to find the right people to make those organisations stronger.

We can help position a candidate for a role in a stronger way than they might be able to do on their own. A recruiter is basically a talking resume, that gets listened to (most of the time).

At HiR we pride ourselves on offering the same strategic advice and creativity to our candidates with their job search and career management.

So here are our three ways to improve your chances of getting a job in Australia:

1. Be 100% upfront and honest about your situation in your cover letter or summary paragraph on your resume

For example we recently supported an Indonesian Digital Developer arriving in Australia on a working holiday visa to secure a contract with a digital agency. He was convinced he’d have to work in hospitality or pick fruit and fingers crossed he’d eventually get a job in IT.

Know your worth and if you’ve got high value skills start by selling those first.

We helped craft a resume and cover letter that explained the working rights situation for potential employers upfront and explained even before meeting that he was applying with a view to being sponsored should everything be going well after six months.

He secured two interviews within a week of arriving in Melbourne and is now working full time earning more money than ever in the job he was trained for.

2. Leverage all your experience

A candidate starting working with us recently who is in his early 30s. He moved to Australia from Nepal in 2019. When I read his resume I was alarmed to see that no work experience prior to arriving in Australia was listed. When questioned he shared that another recruiter had told him his overseas experience was not relevant and shouldn’t be included.

He hadn’t had a job interview for two months despite many applications. I dug a bit deeper and discovered that the candidate had been a driving instructor and car salesperson in Nepal. He was applying for job as a car sales person through HiR.

If he’d applied for the job directly his resume would have excluded four years worth of valuable experience and transferable skills that potential employers need to know about.

Our general advice is to include detailed information about the last 5 roles or 10-15 years of work experience and then summarise everything else. All work experience can be relevant to a potential employer if positioned in the right way.

3. KISS 💋 with your resume

Most companies now use applicant tracking systems and clever technology to read, analyse and store resumes.

Keep the format simple, avoid colours and graphics, maximum two fonts, avoid anything fancy. There is no requirement to include a photo, your date of birth, gender, religion or martial status on a resume.

Why KISS (keep it simple stupid) firstly the clever technology that reads your resume isn’t that clever and with the creative documents sometimes it can’t even find the candidates name, telephone and email address let alone scan for key skills. Lazy HR people and recruiters won’t even bother looking at these candidates unless they are desperate as the system will make it hard for you to be assessed and subsequently be seen properly in the clever reports. Make your resume easy for the technology to read.

Secondly make your resume easy for a human to read; all the things the technology finds difficult to process can also get in the way for a human making a decision about you based on your skills and experience. If you chose pink and their favourite colour is blue for instance unconscious bias can creep in and start pushing your resume down the preference list.

Don’t give the recruiter or hiring manager anything to dislike based on their personal preferences or inbuilt biases.

If you’d like more advice and support feel free to register as a candidate with HiR at and we’ll do our best to help find a job you love in Australia.

And, if you want to explore your options for an Australian visa, speak with the immigration experts at KU Legal:

+61 (0) 429 133 911

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