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Local experience a necessary start for skilled migrants

14 September 20170 comments

Gaining local work experience through temporary jobs and volunteer positions is a proven way for migrants to enter Australia’s employment market, according to a recent successful foreign jobseeker.

Polish accountant Magdalena Galazka found work at the City of Port Phillip after completing a number of temporary work assignments in Melbourne.

Before migrating to Australia, Magdalena had studied Computer Science in Poland before pursuing a career in accounting.

She said her husband had always wanted to live abroad.

“First we moved to Denmark but we didn’t like the weather and we didn’t want to learn a third language – Danish,” Magdalena said,

“We heard a lot of great things about Australia, so we thought it was a great place to live and maybe we should try it out” Magdalena said.

Magdalena gave herself three months to settle in Australia before attempting to look for a job.

Once she was ready, she said she didn’t know where to start.

“I began searching for job opportunities on Seek, but I have to say, it’s not the best idea to do this because everyone does it,” Magdalena said,

“Every job opportunity on Seek is seen by a very large number of people making it very competitive to find a job, especially with all the new accounting graduates,” she said.

Magdalena realised that she needed to increase her networking skills and learn how to write a cover letter and resume to attract Australian recruiters, so she enrolled in AMES Australia’s Skilled Professionals Migrant Program (SPMP).

“I thought it would be very helpful and definitely something that will help me get a job” Magdalena said,

“I am very lucky to have been mentored through the program because my mentor Keith gave me so much support when I wasn’t confident,” she said.

When Magdalena realised that she wasn’t having much luck finding a job through Seek, she turned to LinkedIn.

“Through LinkedIn I met a guy who had a very similar profile to mine and was also a migrant in Australia from France” Magdalena said,

“When I asked for his recommendations he referred me to someone in a recruitment agency who I contacted and I got invited to an interview,”

“Through him I got two temporary jobs,” she said.

Magdalena recommends other migrant jobseekers look for the people with the same title as you on LinkedIn and see where they work and what they can do to help.

Magdalena says most jobseekers look for full time permanent positions because they want to be guaranteed a stable job for a long period of time.

“The best idea is to get a temporary or part-time job because then you can say that you have local experience” she explains.

The local experience gained from temporary work assignments is what Magdalena believes helped her to land her new contract position at the City of Port Phillip as an Accounts Payable Officer.

She had heard about the job opening from another SPMP student who had gotten a job in the local governmental organisation.

“People don’t often like to apply to government organisations where you have to fill out a key selection criteria because you have to spend at least one or two days answering questions instead of just easily uploading a cover letter and resume,” she said.

Magdalena said she spent three days on her application and landed the job in three weeks, despite having only two years of accounting experience.

“In Australia you have unlimited opportunities to grow and develop your career whilst maintaining a good work/life balance,” Magdalena said,

Magdalena said Australian recruiters want employees who have initiative and willingness to learn.

“I have found that they want people who are eager to work, they don’t want to see people who think that this is only a job and once they finish it they don’t care,” she said.


Magy Mekhaiel