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A new immigrant, asking for employment advice

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


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emigre 6:02 am 17 Dec 13

Katietonia said :

Getting some experience with content management systems might help. .. such as drupal. If you fail to find work as in print you appear to be interested in web too.

@Katietonia

Yes, web can be a good option, indeed I have a long history of web design and teaching web design. For example, until recently I used to teach HTML/CSS/ActionScript for more tan 5 years in two private institutions. One of them the largest non governmental institute in my country.

However, I need to update my skills, because you know, web design technologies change faster than dress fashion trends these days!

Thanks for the advice!
-E

emigre 5:57 am 17 Dec 13

Katietonia said :

Also for these kinds of jobs they will want to see examples of work or a portfolio. I’m guessing any referees you have will not be in Australia too so make sure they are contactable. I’m Australian but have moved back here twice after long stints living overseas and that was an issue. Luckily email referee reports are OK for many places.

@Katietonia

Thanks for the very helpful advice! I’m coming from a country with a very complicated business system and many businesses that I work with them are difficult to find and contact now, renamed, moved, closed down or merged. That’s why we Iranian designers used to the idea to put our signature on our works as much as possible and it’s always a source of stress and challenge with clients and authorities (how don’t like a designer sign e.g a billboard because they consider it “double” advertising). However, I have a large print portfolio, from magazines,product labels, to package design and references for teaching for more than 5 years. I usually take a carton full of physical samples to my job interviews in Tehran! I hope it doesn’t look unprofessional in Canberra. I hope potential employers will understand that the chaotic world of a third-world immigrant is very different from their own organised, well documented business system.

Our employees / clients are very uncooperative when it comes to providing you references and sometimes even remove your name from the work you did (e.g. a web site) after the project delivery. Many companies that I work with prefer to hide the fact from costumers that their designer is “Iranian” and they won’t let you even tell other companies you work for their brands. They sometimes simply refuse to pay you some part of the fee, and there are no legal frameworks that protect a designer or her/his IP.

I’m sure the work atmosphere in CBR is way more humane and professional. After all, that’s why I worked hard for and waited for about 5 years, and accepted many hardships to come to your democratic, rational and free country! I’m sure Australia won’t fail me, and because it’s a democracy, I’m sure I’ll be 100 percent more happy, no matter how much I lose my resume/business reputation and social status I used to have here. But i digress, and became emotional. Excuse me 🙂

Thanks,
-E

emigre 5:39 am 17 Dec 13

ausbradr said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

I don’t know if the market is still that tough. Has anyone recently been involved in looking for rentals to confirm or deny this

Nope, the market has been a piece of piss to get into. We nabbed the first place we liked, at a good rent, decent landlord and all. Bidding wars / such sound like the situation in the inner-west of Sydney at the moment.

@ausbradr
@wildturkeycanoe

It’s certainly very good news for me! But the thing is , at least from online property listings, it doesn’t look like that, specially, when you look for very small places. CBR certainly has lack of small, budget apartments. Maybe the prices are not that high once you get Australian salaries…Anyways, I set aside around 50K to burn until I find a job. Hope that suffices.

Thanks!
-E

emigre 5:33 am 17 Dec 13

Ryoma said :

Hi Emigre

I just read something in either the Canberra Weekly (http://www.canberraweekly.com.au/) or the City News (http://citynews.com.au/) about a firm called Focus Press expanding in Canberra. Their website says there are no roles available at present, but I suggest that you try to make contact with them. I’m not sure if they need your skills exactly, but they might know who could help.

Even if you simply suggest you’re new in town and you’d like to take someone to lunch, that may be a good way to break the ice.

Here are some links about Focus Press:
http://www.focuspress.com.au/about-us/careers/
http://print21.com.au/focus-press-gets-set-for-canberra-expansion/63819

@Ryoma

Dear Ryoma,

I hope all is well!

Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, They have both prepress and design, so theoretically I’m fit for apposition. I will look for it.

Warm Regards,
-E

Ryoma 6:34 pm 14 Dec 13

Hi Emigre

I just read something in either the Canberra Weekly (http://www.canberraweekly.com.au/) or the City News (http://citynews.com.au/) about a firm called Focus Press expanding in Canberra. Their website says there are no roles available at present, but I suggest that you try to make contact with them. I’m not sure if they need your skills exactly, but they might know who could help.

Even if you simply suggest you’re new in town and you’d like to take someone to lunch, that may be a good way to break the ice.

Here are some links about Focus Press:
http://www.focuspress.com.au/about-us/careers/
http://print21.com.au/focus-press-gets-set-for-canberra-expansion/63819

ausbradr 9:55 am 14 Dec 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

I don’t know if the market is still that tough. Has anyone recently been involved in looking for rentals to confirm or deny this

Nope, the market has been a piece of piss to get into. We nabbed the first place we liked, at a good rent, decent landlord and all. Bidding wars / such sound like the situation in the inner-west of Sydney at the moment.

Katietonia 7:31 am 14 Dec 13

Also for these kinds of jobs they will want to see examples of work or a portfolio. I’m guessing any referees you have will not be in Australia too so make sure they are contactable. I’m Australian but have moved back here twice after long stints living overseas and that was an issue. Luckily email referee reports are OK for many places.

Katietonia 7:15 am 14 Dec 13

Getting some experience with content management systems might help. .. such as drupal. If you fail to find work as in print you appear to be interested in web too.

emigre 2:59 am 14 Dec 13

BimboGeek said :

I’m also in no condition to drink, just very curious. My Russian friends are all a little unusual even by Russian standards so nobody ever mentioned raisin vodka to me before. Hurray for The RiotACT. 🙂

@BimboGeek

🙂

I have this Walter Mitty personality of dreaming sitting in a bar, dressed in a dark suit, and ordering Martinis, one after another, just like James Bond, but in reality, even two glasses of red wine is enough to reduce my already dwindling IQ level to half for the next day!

BimboGeek 10:54 pm 13 Dec 13

I’m also in no condition to drink, just very curious. My Russian friends are all a little unusual even by Russian standards so nobody ever mentioned raisin vodka to me before. Hurray for The RiotACT. 🙂

emigre 8:07 pm 13 Dec 13

Watson said :

No, hustle and bustle you’re not really going to find here. But lots of nature, yes. It’s only a relatively short bus ride to Sydney if you want to get your crowd fix though.

I came from a town with a similar population as Canberra, but in an area about 10 times smaller.

I rented a granny flat in Braddon for a while and that was great. Walking distance to Civic where you can get fast buses to any other town centre during the week. There are lots of units to rent there too.

If you’re not going to live walking distance from a town centre, you really need to get a car asap. I remember I found it extremely depressing to live in the suburbs at first. Only the local shops to walk to and nothing else really. Push bike is better, but again it depends on where you live how useful that would be. I used to ride 18kms one way to work for a year. Never again! I’m too slow. Beautiful ride though… Plenty of nature and photo opportunities.

@Watson

Thanks for the advice!

Braddon looks like a nice and crowded place (in CBR terms). I can’t believe it will be affordable for me, since it’s in the centre.
Yes, I have those fears about going to suburbs, but right now my priority is budget, to a large extent. One thing that I don’t get is, going to suburbs doesn’t actually reduce rent. Is it so?
Also, I don’t mind sitting in a bus for an hour, but I’m afraid long distances affects my capability to be on time in workplace, which I really, really hate to be in that position to be questioned for my attendance in workplace.

Again, many thanks!

Warm Regards,
-E

emigre 7:56 pm 13 Dec 13

BimboGeek said :

What is raisin vodka? It is the only part of your party kit that doesn’t sound disgusting. In fact it sounds delightful! Is it a very pure brandy? Is it a vodka made from grains and subsequently infused with raisins?

Also, in the interests of appearing to remain at least partially on topic, Charnwood and Kambah might have their nice streets but it’s just not worth it!!!

@BimboGeek

Hahahah! Google “Russian snacks for vodka” and you will get a picture! (Not sure it will reduce the disgustingness factor!) Raisins are dried grapes that they make vodka with. I guess one has to experience the thing as a while to develop a taste. Of course after having some shots of this 68% pure alcohol, one develops taste for everything 😉

About partying hard, I was just kidding, any way. At mid thirties, that I’m , drinking makes me too tired. Those were the days…. 😉 But I like the nostalgia of partying hard and dancing carefree….

Take care,
-E

emigre 7:38 pm 13 Dec 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

Accommodation can be found on “Allhomes” website. I just did a quick search for 1 bedroom studios and the cheapest was $150, in Mawson. The rest started at $200/week and quickly went up from there. I haven’t had to rent for many years now, but when I did I found that good references and having an income will definitely assist you in getting a place. Look at it from the point of view of the landlord I suppose, someone with a job is a much better tenant than someone who isn’t employed. It was very difficult to “win” somewhere to live due to the number of applicants and we found ourselves applying for many places before getting accepted. There used to be bidding wars between prospective tenants where they would offer more rent than was being asked, just to get the property. I don’t know if the market is still that tough. Has anyone recently been involved in looking for rentals to confirm or deny this?
I hope you do find a place quickly as it can be very frustrating to spend time and money whilst not succeeding in your objective.
It might not be a great idea to find accommodation before you get work. Consider this. If you were to live near Civic for instance and you ended up getting a job in south Canberra, perhaps Tuggeranong town center, your travel time to and from work would be much more. Renting closer to work may then have saved you a lot of money. I have regularly had jobs in Queanbeyan but lived in west Belconnen and the hours spent traveling, in retrospect were a waste of my time. Public transport may also not be direct, as you usually have to go to a town center first, to connect with another bus to take you to the next major area and so on.
I think getting a job first would be a priority, but in saying so, of course you need somewhere to live in the meantime, so a short term lease would be most practical in case you do have a long way to travel.
Good luck, especially with the current climate of redundancies and a slow down in our economy.

@wildturkeycanoe

Thanks for all the detailed advice and good wishes. I totally understand the point of view of landlords. I’ve lived in a city for most of my life that you have to pay deposits the amount of one year rent, pay all your monthly rent in 12 cheques in advance, and give another cheque for about the price of the house (e.g. ~300,000 USD) as a guarantee for not refusing to leave. In my country landlord has all the powers and the one seeking rent is treated like a serf.

One thing that I can do to assure the landlord is to pay a major portion of rent in advance. Does it make them feel safe? Can it be helpful in case of bidding wars?

As you can see, the work/accommodation issue is a chicken and egg paradox for an immigrant. Obviously I can’t stay at hotel while I’m waiting for my occupation condition resolve. So, as you mentioned, the short term lease can be a good solution, if found.

Living in one of the most polluted, chaotic and congested cities in the world, I’m a big fan of finding jobs based on closeness to home and vice versa. In my city a 10 km drive can take 3 hours of sitting in traffic. At least from google street view, CBR doesn’t remotely like this and perhaps I can listen to a podcast or do something while in bus.

Thanks again, perhaps with such friendly and kind citizens, the life is a lot easier than what it seems!

I don’t want to sound naive, but I’m falling in love with CBR already, if I only could secure a decent job.

Warm Regards,
-E

Watson 11:14 am 12 Dec 13

No, hustle and bustle you’re not really going to find here. But lots of nature, yes. It’s only a relatively short bus ride to Sydney if you want to get your crowd fix though.

I came from a town with a similar population as Canberra, but in an area about 10 times smaller.

I rented a granny flat in Braddon for a while and that was great. Walking distance to Civic where you can get fast buses to any other town centre during the week. There are lots of units to rent there too.

If you’re not going to live walking distance from a town centre, you really need to get a car asap. I remember I found it extremely depressing to live in the suburbs at first. Only the local shops to walk to and nothing else really. Push bike is better, but again it depends on where you live how useful that would be. I used to ride 18kms one way to work for a year. Never again! I’m too slow. Beautiful ride though… Plenty of nature and photo opportunities.

BimboGeek 7:04 am 12 Dec 13

What is raisin vodka? It is the only part of your party kit that doesn’t sound disgusting. In fact it sounds delightful! Is it a very pure brandy? Is it a vodka made from grains and subsequently infused with raisins?

Also, in the interests of appearing to remain at least partially on topic, Charnwood and Kambah might have their nice streets but it’s just not worth it!!!

wildturkeycanoe 6:12 am 12 Dec 13

Accommodation can be found on “Allhomes” website. I just did a quick search for 1 bedroom studios and the cheapest was $150, in Mawson. The rest started at $200/week and quickly went up from there. I haven’t had to rent for many years now, but when I did I found that good references and having an income will definitely assist you in getting a place. Look at it from the point of view of the landlord I suppose, someone with a job is a much better tenant than someone who isn’t employed. It was very difficult to “win” somewhere to live due to the number of applicants and we found ourselves applying for many places before getting accepted. There used to be bidding wars between prospective tenants where they would offer more rent than was being asked, just to get the property. I don’t know if the market is still that tough. Has anyone recently been involved in looking for rentals to confirm or deny this?
I hope you do find a place quickly as it can be very frustrating to spend time and money whilst not succeeding in your objective.
It might not be a great idea to find accommodation before you get work. Consider this. If you were to live near Civic for instance and you ended up getting a job in south Canberra, perhaps Tuggeranong town center, your travel time to and from work would be much more. Renting closer to work may then have saved you a lot of money. I have regularly had jobs in Queanbeyan but lived in west Belconnen and the hours spent traveling, in retrospect were a waste of my time. Public transport may also not be direct, as you usually have to go to a town center first, to connect with another bus to take you to the next major area and so on.
I think getting a job first would be a priority, but in saying so, of course you need somewhere to live in the meantime, so a short term lease would be most practical in case you do have a long way to travel.
Good luck, especially with the current climate of redundancies and a slow down in our economy.

emigre 4:35 am 12 Dec 13

carnardly said :

emigre – I can’t answer that or I’ll have to keeel you.

🙂

Seriously – no I’m not Persian but shared a house with a lovely Iranian lad for a few years. He was a lovely guy and he taught me a few of the basics. But i’ve forgotten some of it now.

He’s now an architect in Geelong Victoria. There is a huuuuge Iranian community down that way.

@carnardly

Oh interesting! In the past 3 decades so many Iranians left their country that whenever another guy leaves, instead of having a good-bye party in Tehran, they have a hello-party in Toronto, Melbourne, Stockholm, etc! I personally threw away my local phone book 3 times, because there wasn’t a single soul that I could call 😉

emigre 3:44 am 12 Dec 13

kumadude said :

Howdy emigre,
why not look for a granny flat ( a dwelling detached from a house), they should be cheaper than the average unit.

@kumadude

Thanks for the good advice! I love them because you have total privacy while having a very close neighbour.But, what do they call these type of houses in Australia? Secondary suite? I haven’t seen an option like that in real estate sites.

Many Thanks,
-E

emigre 3:40 am 12 Dec 13

BimboGeek said :

Sounds like you have a good sense of humour. You’re welcome at my tv parties any time!

Yes it’s hard to find a true city hustle and bustle in Canberra and CBD apartments are among the most expensive unlike most cities. Some people find Woden or Belconnen centres are a bit more authentic but I find them too commercial and trashy so I’ve been hanging around Manuka the last few years, which is as busy as everywhere else but when the dust clears and the weekend warriors go home all the locals maintain a friendly village environment.

The apartments actually within the precinct are expensive (although not completely unattainable) but there are options within a few blocks that are a bit more affordable, try Kingston, Griffith or Forrest and check the map to see what you are near.

@BimboGeek

Thanks for the invitation! I’ll bring 65% raisin vodka, chips, cold cuts, pickles and yogurt (Our national heavy drinking kit) and we will party like Soviet revolution! (and perhaps I will lose my hard-earned visa a few days later!) 😉

Thanks for the advice on cosy neighbourhoods, the way I’m searching CBR using satellite imagery and google street view, I think if I don’t find a proper home, at least I will get a decent job in real estate 😉

Warm regards,
-E

carnardly 9:44 am 11 Dec 13

emigre – I can’t answer that or I’ll have to keeel you. 🙂

Seriously – no I’m not Persian but shared a house with a lovely Iranian lad for a few years. He was a lovely guy and he taught me a few of the basics. But i’ve forgotten some of it now.

He’s now an architect in Geelong Victoria. There is a huuuuge Iranian community down that way.

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