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A new immigrant, asking for employment advice

By emigre - 1 December 2013 67

Greetings,

It’s very difficult to understand a country only by web browsing!

I’m a self educated graphic designer, planning for my settlement in CBR in near future. I’ve been granted a permanent work visa by the government.

Both being proud of having this golden opportunity to live and work in Australia -hopefully forever-, and concerned at the same time about wether my skills will be adequate for such an advanced, competitive job market, naturally I’m very concerned about how to position myself to get the right job.

About me:
Being active in various fields in design and print for many years, I can position myself as a graphic production person or a prepress tradesperson.

For the technically interested, I have experience working with the following software,code, OS’s and tools: Studio Visualiser, Lightroom, Dreamweaver, Indesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, HTML, ActionScript, MacOS and Linux. My portfolio is mostly consist of print jobs like magazines, package designs,posters , advertisements and branding / identity. I also do amateur street photography and landscape photography in my free time.

Although I’m a self educed person, (University dropout), my about 15 years of experience of working with design studios, prepress companies and various design and print clients gave me enough good reputation to be able to teach in design web design and technologies to B.A graduates in private institutes for about 5 years.

However, I know that sadly I can’t ship my work reputation overseas and I’m anxious to know wether local businesses will give me a chance to show what I can do, or I’ll be rejected outright due to lack of related academic education.

My questions are:

1-How should my general approach to job market should be? Posting on job sites and waiting is enough or there are more active ways of looking for job?

2-Is there a chance that I get basic job and modest salary that make ends meet (rent+other basic living expense+transport) within 2-3 months after my settlement finalised? Or I should prepare myself for a long period of unemployment and be very careful about my expenses?

3-Is it a possibility that a private institute accept me as a web design teacher in it’s very basic courses? (perhaps after I getting a certificate or passing some exams myself?)

It would be highly appreciated if you advise me how my approach should be. I’m willing to work with competitive salary, because I’m interested to learn the local business culture as soon as possible.

Thanks for your help in advance,

Émigré

What’s Your opinion?


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67 Responses to
A new immigrant, asking for employment advice
1
Pork Hunt 10:20 pm
01 Dec 13
#

“I’m a self educated graphic designer, planning for my settlement in CBR in near future.”
If you are responsible for CBR, eff off we’re full.
No, only joking, good luck.

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2
emigre 12:39 am
02 Dec 13
#

Pork Hunt said :

“I’m a self educated graphic designer, planning for my settlement in CBR in near future.”
If you are responsible for CBR, eff off we’re full.
No, only joking, good luck.

@Pork Hunt :

:) Indeed I should admit I like the CBR branding design, but think these things should flow from within communities over time and can’t be mandated by government from top.

BTW, two things I discovered that is interesting about the Australians so far are: 1- They can make fun of everything, and 2-Every product they sell has a waterproof version!

and I like them both :)

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3
DrKoresh 1:30 am
02 Dec 13
#

I reckon than most people don’t have a bloody clue when it comes to IT/web design, so as long as you can demonstrate that you do then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to find employment. A lot of very talented IT people are self-taught.

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4
Ryoma 7:38 am
02 Dec 13
#

Hi Emigre,

Congratulations on being given a permanent work visa, and welcome to Canberra. In relation to the CBR comment below, it relates to this: http://www.brandcanberra.com.au/

I cannot speak directly about what it’s like to come to Canberra from overseas, but my wife has done so, and so on that basis, I think I can offer some (cautious) observations. I’ll try to answer your suggestions first:

1) By all means, posting upon job sites is OK, but it is not enough. If you have a look at this website more broadly, and other media sources, you’ll see that we have a new national government looking to cut spending. It is not entirely clear how much impact that will have, but as Canberra is the capital city, that means there are job losses happening, and this is having an impact upon general business confidence. This means that potential customers for your services may be hard to find for a while.

In terms of more active ways of looking for a job, I suggest you use Linked-In, and see if your existing network links through to people in the graphic design field in Australia. Making contact with people ahead of time will work better than trying it once you arrive in Canberra.

By the same token, get in contact with groups like Schmooze (Google it) and the ACT Chamber of Commerce. Both run networking events where you can meet local people from a wide range of backgrounds, and if will allow you to ask lots of questions.

2) I don’t know what the demand for graphic designers is like at present. One word of caution, though; while the ACT government has given you a visa, they are doing so upon feedback from local industry – and that feedback can of course be somewhat self-interested.

I would come to Canberra willing to work at anything – not only graphic design – and to save hard before getting here. The cost of living here is high in Australian terms because the presence of government wages tends to push the price of things higher, and because the city is not always big enough to offer much competition between businesses.

I’d plan for the possibility of it taking quite some time to establish yourself, and your reputation. Along those lines, I wonder if it may not be a good idea to look hard at the business sector in Canberra outside of government. Education is big here too, but as it is funded by government, I’m not sure how much need there is for your skill set.

Teaching people these skills by yourself could be lucrative, especially for the small businesses here, and if you are willing to work in a flexible manner as to location and timing.

Also, check out both of these websites: http://www.action.act.gov.au (public transport) and http://www.allhomes.com.au. It is helpful to have a car in Canberra, but if not, then living along one of the trunk bus routes or near Civic will help. The cost of housing is relatively high, but (thankfully) is starting to soften. One hint; don’t rent anywhere that’s too cheap; many of Canberra’s rental houses do not actually possess either heating or insulation, and in winter, you will need heating.

Finally, for a flavour of Canberra, check out some blogs, and keep reading the Riot Act website. You will soon see that the city’s people are diverse, progressive, and not shy about voicing their opinions (just read the comments!).

I wish you the best of luck!!! 😀

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5
Robertson 8:12 am
02 Dec 13
#

Let’s hope you have better luck than my ex-housemate who spent 12 months fruitlessly applying for graphic design jobs before finally accepting a job in Fyshwick designing covers for porn videos…

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6
Deref 8:36 am
02 Dec 13
#

Can’t help you with the employment thing, but welcome to Oz and good luck.

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7
Postalgeek 9:18 am
02 Dec 13
#

Robertson said :

Let’s hope you have better luck than my ex-housemate who spent 12 months fruitlessly applying for graphic design jobs before finally accepting a job in Fyshwick designing covers for porn videos…

That would be an awkward portfolio to present to future employers…

Report this comment

8
pink little birdie 9:28 am
02 Dec 13
#

I’d be looking at commercial printing and copying places. It’s entry into the field and you get the additional experience of printing designs (knowing whats do-able and what isn’t).

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9
Deref 9:29 am
02 Dec 13
#

Robertson said :

Let’s hope you have better luck than my ex-housemate who spent 12 months fruitlessly applying for graphic design jobs before finally accepting a job in Fyshwick designing covers for porn videos…

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

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10
Holden Caulfield 9:38 am
02 Dec 13
#

Give Design Emergency a call and arrange a meeting. If nothing else you’ll get a better understanding of what’s likely to be available and who you need to speak to.

http://www.design-emergency.com.au

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11
emigre 10:22 pm
02 Dec 13
#

DrKoresh said :

I reckon than most people don’t have a bloody clue when it comes to IT/web design, so as long as you can demonstrate that you do then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to find employment. A lot of very talented IT people are self-taught.

Thanks for your kind advice!

Report this comment

12
emigre 11:00 pm
02 Dec 13
#

Ryoma said :

Hi Emigre,

Congratulations on being given a permanent work visa, and welcome to Canberra. In relation to the CBR comment below, it relates to this: http://www.brandcanberra.com.au/

I cannot speak directly about what it’s like to come to Canberra from overseas, but my wife has done so, and so on that basis, I think I can offer some (cautious) observations. I’ll try to answer your suggestions first:

1) By all means, posting upon job sites is OK, but it is not enough. If you have a look at this website more broadly, and other media sources, you’ll see that we have a new national government looking to cut spending. It is not entirely clear how much impact that will have, but as Canberra is the capital city, that means there are job losses happening, and this is having an impact upon general business confidence. This means that potential customers for your services may be hard to find for a while.

In terms of more active ways of looking for a job, I suggest you use Linked-In, and see if your existing network links through to people in the graphic design field in Australia. Making contact with people ahead of time will work better than trying it once you arrive in Canberra.

By the same token, get in contact with groups like Schmooze (Google it) and the ACT Chamber of Commerce. Both run networking events where you can meet local people from a wide range of backgrounds, and if will allow you to ask lots of questions.

2) I don’t know what the demand for graphic designers is like at present. One word of caution, though; while the ACT government has given you a visa, they are doing so upon feedback from local industry – and that feedback can of course be somewhat self-interested.

I would come to Canberra willing to work at anything – not only graphic design – and to save hard before getting here. The cost of living here is high in Australian terms because the presence of government wages tends to push the price of things higher, and because the city is not always big enough to offer much competition between businesses.

I’d plan for the possibility of it taking quite some time to establish yourself, and your reputation. Along those lines, I wonder if it may not be a good idea to look hard at the business sector in Canberra outside of government. Education is big here too, but as it is funded by government, I’m not sure how much need there is for your skill set.

Teaching people these skills by yourself could be lucrative, especially for the small businesses here, and if you are willing to work in a flexible manner as to location and timing.

Also, check out both of these websites: http://www.action.act.gov.au (public transport) and http://www.allhomes.com.au. It is helpful to have a car in Canberra, but if not, then living along one of the trunk bus routes or near Civic will help. The cost of housing is relatively high, but (thankfully) is starting to soften. One hint; don’t rent anywhere that’s too cheap; many of Canberra’s rental houses do not actually possess either heating or insulation, and in winter, you will need heating.

Finally, for a flavour of Canberra, check out some blogs, and keep reading the Riot Act website. You will soon see that the city’s people are diverse, progressive, and not shy about voicing their opinions (just read the comments!).

I wish you the best of luck!!! 😀

@Ryoma

Sir,

I’m very thankful of your detailed and useful advice. I saved it to go to each site and re-read it line by line later.

Being from an authoritarian country, and not coming to Australia for accumulating wealth, but to enjoy the political and social freedoms that I value the most, I don’t have high expectations when it comes to securing a job. So maybe -maybe- my expectation of job satisfaction differs vastly from the average RiotACT readers. i.e, what I would do, they won’t do, and it’s completely normal and fair, because it’s their country and they have history, relatives , connections and even perhaps accumulated wealth from past generations that helps them make better choices, I guess.

So, as long as a job is within my physical and mental strength and skills and of course legal, I’m ok with that. But I’m afraid being too timid and stick to the first job I’ve been offered, maybe is not a good strategy either, because maybe it will have a negative effect on my resume for future employers. This is something I need you and other kind reader’s advice on.

One thing that I, as someone who never lived in countries with western job culture (Specially US and UK) is afraid of, is the rumours of workplace being very disciplined, very difficult, even brutal, and slightest mistakes in strategy, tactic and technic will result to sever reactions from peers and supervisors and immediate layoff.

For your information, yours truly worked in business settings as a designer, prepress tradesperson for 15 years of so, working normally 9-5, many months without one day of leave, and many days working until 7-8PM. There were times that I stayed 24 hours in office non stop to meet a deadline. My coworkers mention I’m tidy, organised, polite and friendly. I’m tolerant of good jokes and tough criticism and help others when I can. I’m usually very law abiding and observe the rules of workplace carefully. While I’m kind to my coworkers and people under my supervision, I usually don’t get into cliques and cover other’s wrongdoings. In my workplace, people usually come to me when they have a problem with upper management and use me as their mediator. (our job culture perhaps is very different from us and maybe this paragraph made many readers rise their eyebrows, or maybe not?)

So, should I be afraid or my experiences I mentioned suffices for surviving in the Australian workplace?

The advice on home searching is very appreciated. Being an urban guy, my ideal home is low maintenance, ~40 sqrm studio, near city centre with access to public transport. I’m not interested in suburban, big houses. Also I don’t like cars, never owned one and prefer walking, biking and public transport. Unfortunately it seems I can’t find anything like this with an affordable rent in sophisticated civic and perhaps I’ll be forced to go to suburban borders of the city. Hope I find a good bus to workplace.

I will note your advice on home A/C and check it with my real estate agency.

Thanks again for all the kind advice and well wishes! It was really heart warming and encouraging for me.

Warm Regards,

émigré

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13
emigre 11:06 pm
02 Dec 13
#

Robertson said :

Let’s hope you have better luck than my ex-housemate who spent 12 months fruitlessly applying for graphic design jobs before finally accepting a job in Fyshwick designing covers for porn videos…

@Robertson

Thanks for the comment! Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with working in porn industry if it’s done legally and ethically and with social responsibility in mind. But, I guess perhaps my resume will raise some eyebrows for future employers :) Specially it feels uncomfortable to work with lady co-workers afterwards, if they knew were I came from. Worse than that, imagine -heavens forbid- your porn job win a design award! You will be famous for all the wrong reasons 😉

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14
emigre 11:08 pm
02 Dec 13
#

Deref said :

Can’t help you with the employment thing, but welcome to Oz and good luck.

@Deref:

Thanks for your kind comment! Very hear warming :)

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15
emigre 11:11 pm
02 Dec 13
#

Postalgeek said :

Robertson said :

Let’s hope you have better luck than my ex-housemate who spent 12 months fruitlessly applying for graphic design jobs before finally accepting a job in Fyshwick designing covers for porn videos…

That would be an awkward portfolio to present to future employers…

@Postalgeek

Agree, I have no problem with job itself but I should bury my resume in a moonless night in the middle of desert afterwards 😉

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