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MIGRANT NINJA NOTE –  This is the second post in the two post series to supplement the webinar (LINK) event organised by Terry O’Reilly of OBP Australia. For the introductory post click HERE

Note – There was some data drop out at my end during the initial part of the webinar (8 minutes-11 minutes) during which time Terry was still taking questions. I do apologise for that.

POST 2 – QUESTIONS LEFT UNANSWERED

Note – Read my earlier Post which is a Part 1 of this write-up. POST 1 – THINGS LEFT UNSAID

There were heaps of questions pouring in during the webinar and although Terry and I tried his best to answer as many as possible, there were many that we were unable to respond to. Here are some of those questions:

1) How did I land my first job with no Australian experience?

In one word – NETWORKING. Whilst applying for all advertised jobs, I also began focusing on building a strong network through migrant friends. I also started approaching people in the industry directly, not with the sole intention of asking for a job, but rather asking for opportunities to volunteer and learn. I joined the local sailing club, volunteered at the maritime museum and even helped out at the seafarers centre in the port. Slowly but surely, people started noticing me and I started getting leads about job openings and avenues for employment. The other benefit of volunteering and making all these connections was that I was able to highlight all these jobs as examples of my enthusiasm, eagerness to learn and my ability to work in an ‘Australian set up’.

2) Should a survival job be reflected in the resume?

Australian employers value all local experience, however, if you are doing one of the ‘survival’ jobs, for example, working in a supermarket, do not include this experience as your latest experience on the front page of your CV, especially if you are looking for a highly skilled or professional job placement. You can include this in the ‘Other Experience’ section towards the end of the CV.

Also, it does not count for work experience if, for example, you are working in a gas station as a temporary employee, but looking for placement in the hospitality industry. What it does do, however, is to provide the employer with evidence of your ability to work and interact with your colleagues in an Australian workplace. Additionally, you now have a local referee whom your prospective employer can contact to get a character and work reference.

3) Can you provide some advice on how to get my first break in Australia with no ‘local experience’?

I have spoken at length about this in the book. Having no ‘Australia Experience’ usually is not that much of an issue if you can convince your employer that you have an in-depth understanding about local rules/legislations and practices, in short, how your skills and qualifications can be utilised in the Australian context.

More often than not it is a matter of being persistent in your efforts and flexible in your approach. A lot depends on the state of your particular industry or the demand for your particular skill set at the time. I arrived in Australia when the entire maritime industry was facing a slump. So not getting a job in my case had got nothing to do with me not having any ‘local experience’. It was just a matter of bad timing. Refer to the tips and pointer on challenges faced above to get an edge during your initial foray in the Australian job market. Remember, in Australia, as in most of the places around the world, it may just be a case of being in the right place at the right time.

4) Can I network and seek employment whilst I am still overseas?

Although you may have a valid visa in hand, the truth is until you get here most employers may not even glance at your resume. (Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule – think brain surgeons, computer programmers, mining engineers and the likes!). Think about it from the employer’s perspective. What is the guarantee that you will love the country and its culture? What if you like the job but are not happy living in that particular city? When do you actually arrive in the country? How long will it take for you to settle down? How much of additional training will I need to provide? – It does become difficult to address these concerns when you are not yet in the country.

Think about it from the employer’s perspective. What is the guarantee that you will love the country and its culture? What if you like the job but are not happy living in that particular city? When do you actually arrive in the country? How long will it take for you to settle down? How much of additional training will I need to provide? – It does become difficult to address these concerns when you are not yet in the country.

Your best options when overseas is doing all the ground work before you arrive so that you can hit the ground running. Connect with fellow migrants. Join forums and Facebook groups. Research all you can about your industry, identify the leading companies and the key players, join relevant industry associations and seek alternative pathways to get a foothold into your industry (Volunteering or temp jobs).

5) Does changing to an Anglicised name help?

This is really a 50-50 question. One person may say it makes all the difference and the next person may completely rubbish this notion. I belong to the second category. If I am the right fit for the job and can prove to the employer that I can be an invaluable asset to the organisation, they will employ me even if my name was ‘Ayonkule Arkhenkrel’!! (It is a real African name by the way). Remember that this is a nation of migrants and it is your name amongst all else, that sets you apart. Carry it with pride.

6) Is a heavy accent reason enough for not getting a job?

Yes and No. Is it a client facing Role? What is the demographic of people that you will be servicing? Most importantly how clear and legible are you in your speech and diction? You must remember that about 55-60% of communication is body language and there are factors like pitch and tonality which have got nothing to do with an accent but everything to do with being a good communicator. If your job is more administrative or technical, having a thick accent will often not be an issue. If you are in doubt or feel you need to improve your speaking skills watch youtube videos and hire professionals who will actually provide the necessary guidance and corrective actions if need be.

7) How to answer the dreaded question – You lack experience?

What do you say if you get this question in an interview: “ Gee, (your name), I’m concerned about your lack of experience in the (blank) industry”.

If you retort with “Yeah but…” and “You don’t understand…” followed by “Let me prove you wrong”. I doubt you will get the job. No one has ever gotten hired by proving the interviewer wrong. I think we all understand that intellectually, but in the heat of the moment, with a dream job on the line, we don’t always think rationally, if at all. Even the best of us can get defensive when challenged. It’s part of our self-preservation mechanism as human beings. But, it has no place in an interview, not if you want to be hired.

Important Points:

  • Lack of experience is rarely a deal breaker for landing a position. If that is the reason used for getting passed over, it’s often a veil for another concern that the interviewer may be reticent to divulge.
  • How you respond in the interview is a good indicator of how you’ll respond to peers or employees who question your lack of experience in a field they’ve been in all their lives. Your interviewer is paying close attention to if you respond defensively to this or any other potential liability question.
  • There are other skills, etc. the employer values more in a candidate that more than compensate for the lack of industry experience.

Here’s an easy, three-step way to respond to the raising of a perceived liability:

  1. Defuse the concern by seeming to agree with it.

“I can understand why you might feel that way. If I were in your shoes, I might feel the same way.” Your interviewer will be pleasantly surprised that you have tactfully agreed. Who is in control of the conversation now? You are!

  1. Now redirect the conversation.

“….but am I correct in assuming that what you’re really looking for, is someone who can come in and develop/implement ____________________? Don’t assume you know what the “Hot Button” is. Always verify. Don’t say “If I’m correct…”-you could be wrong. Always ask, “Am I correct…”

  1. Finally, get the “Buy- In”

“If I can demonstrate that I’ve done that and can do that for you, would that lessen your concerns?” Not, “Would that change your mind? That’s too confrontational. Instead, use “Would that lessen your concerns”. Close the deal with a story about similar accomplishments you have had: “let me tell you about what I was able to do for my last employer in that area.” Describe the situation in detail; share what action you took, and then end with the concrete results.Using the above process helps you to respond, rather than react, and keep yourself, and the interviewer focused on the key “hot button” skills that mirror what they are looking for!

Post originally found on maryelizabethbradford.com

8) Dreaded Question 2 – You are over qualified for this position. Why would you want this job?

 Here are some model responses to this question:

  • Overqualified? Some would say that I’m not overqualified but fully qualified. With due respect, could you explain the problem with someone doing the job better than expected?
  • Fortunately, I’ve lived enough years to have developed the judgment that allows me to focus on the future. Before we speak of past years, past titles, and past salaries can we look at my strengths and abilities and how I’ve stayed on the cutting edge of my career field, including its technology?
  • I hope you’re not concerned that hiring someone with my solid experience and competencies would look like age bias if once on the job you decided you’d made a mistake and I had to go. Can I present a creative idea? Why don’t I work on a trial basis for a month — no strings — to give you a chance to view me up close? This immediately solves your staffing problem at no risk to you. I can hit the floor running and require less supervision than a less experienced worker. When can I start?
  • This job is so attractive to me that I’m willing to sign a contract committing to stay for a minimum of 12 months. There’s no obligation on your part. How else can I convince you that I’m the best person for this position?
  • My family’s grown. And I’m no longer concerned with title and salary — I like to keep busy. A reference check will show I do my work on time and do it well as a team member. I’m sure we can agree on a salary that fits your budget. When can we make my time your time?
  • Salary is not my top priority. I will work for less money, will take direction from managers of any age, will continue to stay current on technology and will not leave you in the lurch if Hollywood calls to make me a star. And I don’t insist that it’s my way or the highway.

Source: DUMMIES

If you want to ace the interview you need to be genuine and motivated. No manager can make an employee do that. That is what every job seeker needs to approach an interview with when discussing how they are under-, over- or perfectly qualified for the job.

If the manager did not move on to the next step after the “overqualified” question, it’s because the hiring manager wasn’t convinced you would be a good match for them. Does it matter if they are right or wrong? It’s the job seeker’s duty to convey the message that they are properly qualified for the job. If you show the hiring manager how they will benefit from hiring you, you increase your chances of securing the position.

9) Answering tough interview questions

Terry has written a complete subchapter about this in my book. This topic is revisited towards the end of the book in a chapter called Interview Preparation provided by Successful Resumes

Here are some more links to help you answer those tough interview questions:

Best Answers to Are You Overqualified for This Job

Job Interview Questions – HUDSON

How To Answer Interview Questions

Answering job interview questions in Australia if you are a newcomer, migrant or expatriate

How to prepare for an interview – YOUTUBE VIDEO by Digital Find

10) What is happening to outsourcing and manufacturing in  Australia?

Although this question was meant for Terry and he gave an absolutely brilliant answer. He terms these questions the ‘macroeconomic‘ questions. I would like to add my comments as a footnote. These kinds of questions are what I would like to term as ‘sitting on the fence‘ questions. I’ve been there and I am familiar with that nervous knot of energy one feels before taking the final plunge, almost like a person tethered to the bungee cord moments before leaping off the bridge. My advice – There are so many things that can go wrong from the time you apply for your visa until you finally arrive in Australia. It is good to have a game plan but you can only procrastinate so much. Besides, there will be so many factors that will not be in your control.

My situation is a case in point. When I applied for my visa, the maritime industry was still limping back to normalcy after the global financial crisis. The Australian shipping industry, however, was facing a more severe recession at that time and when I landed here it had only got worse. Suddenly all my best-laid plans were washed away and the only option I had was to improvise and re-think my industry and position. My advice to all aspiring migrants is to put your best foot forward, hope for the best and be prepared for the worst. Once you have a Permanent Resident Visa and have arrived in Australia the roads will open up slowly. Maybe not quite the way you had imagined but you will have many options to advance in your career or even make a career change if things do not go your way. I personally came across at least three migrants whilst researching for the book who have switched professions and are quite happy with the decision. DO not sit on the fence for a long time. If you feel that Australia is the right country for you and that it will provide you with the lifestyle that you aim for then take the bold decision to move and all other aspects will fall

My advice to all aspiring migrants is to put your best foot forward, hope for the best and be prepared for the worst. Once you have a Permanent Resident Visa and have arrived in Australia the roads will open up slowly. Maybe not quite the way you had imagined but you will have many options to advance in your career or even make a career change if things do not go your way. I personally came across at least three migrants whilst researching for the book who have switched professions and are quite happy with the decision. DO not sit on the fence for a long time. If you feel that Australia is the right country for you and that it will provide you with the lifestyle that you aim for then take the bold decision to move and all other aspects will fall into place eventually.

Concluding Note – In summary, there is a lot of effort involved on the job seekers part to be suitably geared for entering the job market in Australia. Being a migrant and having no ‘local knowledge’ tends to make the task a lot more difficult. Practising all the nuances of job hunting as well as researching about the current events in your particular industry, particularly in the Australian context will prove to be the key to your success in obtaining employment in the shortest time possible.

I do not claim to be an expert on the topic of employment in Australia and neither do I suggest that buying my book will provide you with your first break in Australia. Only you can do this by your own efforts. What I do claim is to provide my followers and readers with in-depth research, practical solutions and access to the brightest and the best in the industry, all in one convenient location. Sign Up to follow the Migrant Ninja and Master Your Move ®