Applying from overseas


Planned Resources recruit across the niche markets of planning, engineering, architecture and design, property, and government support. We operate across private and public sectors in Melbourne, Victoria, and Australia. Here, our Director Russell Locke gives his tips if you’re interested in making a move to Australia.

A combination of lifestyle and a relatively buoyant market compared to some nations, Australia continues to be an attractive proposition for many.

With LinkedIn, on-line job portals, email and Skype.  On the face of it, its never been easier to move Down Under but without a deliberate and strategic approach to your Oz-job search, quite frankly you may as well put your CV in a bottle, throw it in the sea and hope it reaches its destination.

An employer’s effort vs return

Broadly speaking the appetite for a company wanting to hire someone from overseas will come down to a simple question.  “Are your skills worth the effort required to hire you?’.  Incorporated into this simple question are several factors

  • How hard is it to find your skills in the local market ?– note we focused on hard to find as opposed to “Are your skills better than those in the local market” – Hiring candidates from overseas ahead of local talent, regardless of if they are “better” candidates can be hard due to the Immigration Departments requirement to consider local talent before they are allowed to sponsor. This means focusing on your niche, and typically project specific skills as opposed to looking at generic roles.  For example, a 10-year civil engineer may struggle to find a role, whilst a civil engineer with 10 years Tunneling experience is likely to be on the next plane out here.
  • What’s involved in hiring you? – The easier the process, the more likely you’ll get hired. A candidate who’s obtained their own visa is far more attractive than a candidate who an employer will need to sponsor.
  • Will the employer get a return on you? In most new jobs there is an initial period where you get up to speed before you become fully productive.  This is amplified when working overseas, for example in planning you need to know the local legislation and processes, in Architecture you need to know building codes.  Will you stick around long enough for employers to compensate for this down period and hoops they’ve had to jump through.  They will want to establish your commitment to Australia – Have you been here before (even holidays), have you got friends/family here? have you an idea of where you will live?  Will you come with a partner/kids – have you spoken to them and what will they do?  Do you have elderly parents? – the answer to these and a host of other questions, asked at the end of the interview will give clients the confidence that the move to Australia is a considered move that you are making for the long term.
Research, commitment and logistics

Employers and Recruiters receive a lot of overseas applications, many of whom to be frank are simply tyre-kicking (looking at something without any intention of following through).  Because of this overseas application can be treated with a level of skepticism, unless you can pre-empt the hiring managers concerns.

Research – Quite simply, do you know what you’re getting yourself into.

  • What visa will you need/what timeframes are involved?
  • Have you investigated the cost of living and done a family budget?
  • Do you have a rough idea of where you want to live?
  • Will you like living in Australia? (Have you been here before)

Commitment – The research you do will help inform some of your decision making, but will typically help you see the move through somewhat rose-tinted glasses.  Employers will want to know that you’ve asked yourself the hard questions.

  • Personal: Is your partner committed to the process and thought through what they will do over here?  Are kids at an age where schooling won’t be too impacted?  What will you do with your house? (employers won’t want to wait till you sell your house before emigrating).
  • Career: Are you prepared to take a step back in your role when you arrive? Your current level of responsibility, salary and benefits is based on you having developed your skills in your current market. Moving overseas means that you are likely to have to adapt your skills to a local context.  At a junior-mid level this is likely to be around your technical expertise (in property, simple things like not understanding the local real estate values, in Architecture, having to understand local building codes; in town planning, experience in local planning processes and legislation) At a senior level whilst you may have moved “off the tools” and be less reliant on the minutiae of technical details – you wont have local networks to win work from clients, know which support consultants are best suited to which project, or be able to influence people within government.

Whilst we recognize that candidates who have displayed an aptitude to perform a role in one country can transfer those skills to a new role in another country, local context and networks can typically only be done via doing the job locally – so candidates usually take an initial step backwards until they gain this experience, (they usually go back up fairly quickly as they already have the capacity to perform at a higher level).

Logistics – Having a defined process and timeline will make you appear committed and ensure employers are too.

  • If possible, have pre-booked dates when you are physically available in Australia for interviews. Target a range of employers and see them all in this period.  You can work to a future date and book flights once you have some commitment from employers so as not to waste money/holiday entitlements – but physically being here means your interview will go better, and you will appear far more committed to the process.  (Usually 2nd interviews can be managed remotely if required)
  • Notice period – Whilst emigrating to another country is a massive decision, the time period between job acceptance, (Post visa acceptance, companies typically look for relocation dates 1-2 weeks outside what the normal notice periods are) and any major delays caused by the candidate will be potentially perceived as a lack of commitment from the candidate, causing the employer to re-evaluate their decision to move away from looking at local talent.

Once you’ve done your research and formulated a plan of action, we find that the most important document that you have in your application is not your CV, but your Cover Letter.  Very often overlooked in the local market, a cover letter for an international applicant gives you the opportunity to outline the research you have undertaken, your commitment to the process and your plan of action for relocation, which will give employers confidence that you are worth investing time into interviewing.

In our opinion

I migrated here in 2000, and personally for me its been one of the best decisions I’ve made.  I was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to transfer out with my previous employer, but when offered the opportunity by director asked me to consider the opportunity based on lifestyle as opposed to career.  In doing this he wasn’t trying to sell me on sun, surf and barbeques; quite the opposite, he explained to me all the differences between the UK and Australia and things I may miss, pointed out the distance I’d be away from friends and family and that I’d be starting again from a career perspective in terms of my skills/network/local knowledge.

Since then I’ve been lucky enough to help numerous people find roles in Australia.  The one thing that they had in common is that they all managed to convey a genuine commitment to relocating and had thought through what was involved, had a plan of action.

Written by: Russell LockeDirector

0407 111 364

Note: Russell is not an immigration lawyer or migration agent, and whilst we have extensive experience in placing overseas candidates, you need to do your own research into Visa’s and sponsorship. A good place to start is


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