How to adapt your CV to impress Australian/NZ employers.
Articles • Central Innovation • 21 August 2019
Newcomers to any country can often face a problem in entering the workforce. They may have all the skills needed to do the job they’re applying for – but their presentation lets them down.
This applies both to the way CVs are structured and how applicants come across in the job interview process. Every country has its own presentation styles and newcomers to the job market need to be able to adapt to how things are done locally.
Ana Ferreira of Central Innovation’s Recruitment team helps advise newcomers to Australia and New Zealand seeking work in the architecture and engineering fields on how to adapt to the expectations of the local market and offers some tips and hints on how to showcase experience and qualifications in a way that will impress potential employers.
“It’s imperative to adapt your CV to the local market,” Ana affirms. “If not, you run the risk of being rejected out of hand.”
“The way you sell yourself on your CV is very important. Some newcomers lay out their CVs very lengthily and they use jargon which we don’t use here, so potential employers may worry about their ability to communicate with other staff.”
For the Australian and NZ market, a CV which commences with a long list of qualifications is not the right way to go. “In Australia and NZ employers are looking for evidence that you understand the role you’re applying for and that you have the skills to do it – the qualifications should come much later in the CV. We are more focused on practical skills. Employers here are very pragmatic – the first question they ask is can you do the job?”
Many architecture and engineering firms in Australia and NZ tend to have less employees than in other countries and for this reason, more multitasking is required. “Job applicants need to understand this and be willing to be flexible,” Ana advises. “Communication skills therefore become extremely important as you are liaising with other departments. If you’re a designer in an engineering firm, you’ll probably have to go down to the shopfloor and interact with the staff there – and you need to be able to communicate effectively.”
Architectural firms in Australia and NZ tend to be very focused on whether potential employees will fit within their corporate culture. Therefore, making the best possible impression in the job interview is of paramount importance.
“Many newcomers have the skills to do the job, but it’s a question of making that clear to the potential employer,” Ana says. One way to do this is to practise interview skills in a mock-up situation. Talking too fast to be easily understood is often a problem, but this can be fixed through awareness and practice. Learning a list of local jargon expressions and colloquialisms and how they are employed in the industry sector can also be helpful – although as Ana points out, “There’s a fine line in preparing all this, because it has to sound natural during conversation, not rehearsed.”
Staying on point while answering job interview questions, providing succinct and clear answers and showcasing your ability to do the job and work well with others are all key points. Given the highly competitive nature of the job industry, another important consideration is to dress appropriately for the interview – this is often an area where newcomers to the country can benefit from expert advice.
Ana also emphasises that when seeking a first job in a new country, it’s helpful to consider it as an opportunity to find one’s cultural fit – and not expect too much from this initial entry into the local market.
“The second job will be the important one, not the first,” she says. “You need to learn the local expectations and get the cultural fit right first, and you do that in the first job. Even a contract position for a few months will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to pursue a more senior role later on.”
Ana and her team at Central Innovation Recruitment provide regular workshop sessions and one on one training including practice interviews, presentation skills and CV structuring.
“Workshops are particularly helpful, because everyone is able to learn from each other’s experiences, as opposed to being siloed. The more you educate yourself about the expectations of potential employers in the local market, the better your chances of securing a position sooner rather than later.”
If you’re looking for a position within architecture, construction, design and engineering in Australia/NZ, send us your expression of interest and Ana and her team will be in touch to help you secure the best position for your experience and skills.Express your interest