Job Applications

How to apply for a job in Australia

Curricula vitae (CVs) are important in Australia when looking for work, particularly when jobs are thin on the ground.

Don’t forget that the purpose of your CV is to obtain an interview, not a job, and it must be written with this in mind. This means that it must be tailored to every job application. If you aren’t up to writing a good CV, you can employ a professional writer, who should be able to turn your boring working life into something of which Indiana Jones would be proud. A good CV should be: brief (four pages or less); typed/printed on white A4 sheets (one side only); without strange fonts or bizarre layouts; word perfect and user-friendly; without ego trips, salary demands, unexplained gaps in employment history or verbosity. Include a paragraph on your achievements. Your covering letter also needs to be word perfect and to grab the reader’s attention. The government organisation Centrelink offers free advice on the writing of CVs and job. The standard of many CVs in Australia is poor, so if yours is exceptional you’re way ahead of the pack already.

Job interviews shouldn’t be taken lightly, as making a good impression can be the difference between getting a foot on the ladder of success and standing in the dole queue. Although dress rules in Australia aren’t as strict as in some other countries, you should always dress smartly and appropriately when applying for a job (shorts and flip-flops are out). The secret of success is in your preparation, so do your homework on prospective employers and try to anticipate every question (and then some more) that you may be asked, and rehearse your answers. Be prepared to answer questions about why you came to Australia and what you think of the country and its people. Questions may be blunt and to the point, and answers should be positive – you should avoid criticising your home country or former employers (or, needless to say, Australia!).

In recent years, Australian employers and recruitment agencies have been increasingly using psychology and personality tests to select staff. Some employers also require prospective employees to complete aptitude and other written tests. Employers may require the names of a number of personal or professional referees, whom they may contact. You should take evidence of your educational, professional and trade qualifications and references from former employers. You may also be required to produce your passport and visa entitling you to live and work in Australia (if already issued), plus your driving licence.

This article is an extract from Living and Working in Australia. Click here to get a copy now.

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