Returning Home: Job Search Tips
Thinking of returning to Australia? Keep these tips in mind:
1 – Don’t expect recruiters to understand you. Sadly, our research showed that recruiting firms in Australia consistently undervalue overseas experience. Combined with the fact that many jobs (particularly at senior levels) are never advertised in Australia, you may find that you are missing a lot of opportunities by relying on recruiters.
2 – Market-test your CV. Before you start applying for jobs, make sure your CV resonates with Australian employers. Have a former colleague or industry friend check it over and make sure you are using the right language to convey your skills and experience gained overseas. You might be surprised by the aspects of your overseas experience that are most (and least) appealing to an Australian decision-maker.
3 – Create and maintain a strong presence on LinkedIn and/or Twitter. While opinions may differ on whether this is generally important, returned Australians comment on the importance of this “proof” around what they did overseas. And enabling people to see your perspective (via your comments, posts and mentions) makes you less of an unknown to investors / employers / recruiters.
4 – Be prepared for, but not alarmed about, taxes. If you’ve been working in a low-tax environment, you may see Australian tax rates as a big negative. But most Australians find the costs balance out once health expenses are considered, as well as the cost/quality of the experience for children in the Australian educational system.
5 – Find your tribe. Joining a new professional network in Australia can help you understand the local issues, hear industry news, and meet people that can be a sounding board for you going forward. Check out the professional networking options listed here, to help you reintegrate into local networks. Or consider doing a director’s course to quickly meet a range of people at a similar career stage (see options at the bottom of this page). And if you find a good local network, let us know so we can share their name with other returning Australians.
6 – Consider a pivot. It’s likely that your experience overseas might not translate perfectly for current Australian industry needs. Perhaps the regulatory environment or the technology adoption was more advanced – or you’ve developed expertise in a niche field that is yet to take off in Australia. While you can try to pitch your relevance, it might be faster to develop your own business with your expertise, or build a startup targeting an opportunity you know well. Check out Advance’s partner, Antler, to see if their program might help you develop your business idea.
7 – Don’t settle for less. While the financial pressures may be real, try not to undermine your own skill set by settling for something less than your experience deserves. We know that jobs that require an ‘interesting’ or unique skill-set are usually created with someone in mind, or recruited for by word-of-mouth. If you can afford it, consider volunteering or getting involved in community activities while you settle back, to help you bide your time until the right opportunity comes up.