Moving to Australia …. A True Story


Two years ago a Brazilian lady, aged 28 spent thousands of dollars getting the right visa to come to Australia to work and live. This girl had a bachelor degree in engineering and three years of work experience in her field. She was extremely driven and extremely intelligent and although her English was not 100% fluent it was certainly good enough to get by.

Having arrived in Australia with her brand new visa – Her and her partner quickly found accommodation and were loving life in their new country. It was summer; the weather was fine everything was going along perfectly.

Then it was time to start the job search. She wrote her own resume and then started applying for jobs online at seek and other job websites. She was applying for 10 jobs a day all in her field of expertise. She even told me one of the jobs she applied for was identical to her job she had back home.  She was certain she was going to get that job but all she received was a

“Thank you for contacting us email – we will be in touch with you if you are successful”

For an entire month every day she applied to jobs but had no luck. No one was calling her back.

As many people will know the job search can be an extremely depressing time in ones life. Stressful not just for her but for her partner. As every day rolls on her money was going out and nothing was going in. Times were getting tough and she knew she just needed to take any job for the time being to get by. Before long she was working night shifts at the local supermarket – packing shelves, stocking new items.

Her big dream of coming to Australia was fulfilled but here she was – a professional engineer with working experience – working long hours in a job she despised. She had spent so much money coming to Australia and now she found she hated it.

So my question is why does this happen?

Why does a girl with fantastic qualifications and experience end up working at the local supermarket. To me the answer was simple. She was not giving herself the best opportunity to find a job because her resume was just not good enough

She had all this fantastic experience and qualifications but because she was unable to present them properly, her resume was being deleted before it was even being read.

It was only by chance that I met this girl and found out her story. When I first saw her resume I could see straight away why she had struggled so much in her job search.  We sat down together and completely rewrote her resume.

We started off by writing a short career summary and a list of her 5 main achievements to be included on her resume. I want a hiring manager to be able to identify within the first 10 seconds her skills and achievements and the value she has to offer.

Next we included her education – bolding her qualifications to make it stand out to the reader. She also informed me she had been on the Deans List for 2 consecutive years of her degree so we included this information as well.

I asked her if she had belonged to any membership organisations related to her degree and she had. When I asked her why she had not included this on her original resume she shrugged her shoulders and said I didn’t think it was important.

When it came to her work experience I asked her to write down 5 duties and responsibilities she performed in her job and then expand on these points.

Once she was done with the duties and responsibilities I said to her I want you to think what you did at your job that ADDED VALUE TO THE COMPANY. What did you do that made you stand out from the crowd? What did you do that your next employer is going to say “Lets hire this person”

Without a doubt the most important aspect of any resume is highlighting your achievements. And standing out from the crowd

The best achievements on a resume are always specific.

For example – A lot of people will list achievements such as “helped to increase sales,” which is far from effective. If you did increase sales, tell me a little more about this. What did you do to achieve this?  Therefore Instead of the generic “helped to increase sales,” include something like “Increased sales by x% over a 6 month period – Tell the reader what you did, how you did it, and how successful you were at it.

We repeated this process for all her previous roles before we chatted about specific skills she had which we could include on her resume.

Again the most important aspect of including skills was mentioning skills that added value.

I asked her how many languages she spoke – obviously Portuguese was her native language and she also spoke English. She told me her father was Brazilian but her mother was Spanish and her family spoke both Portuguese and Spanish.

Right there we had her first skill – She was Trilingual!

After sitting together for a couple of hours – writing , formatting and presenting her resume we had turned her 4 page half Portuguese half English resume into a chronological 2 page resume highlighting her Qualifications,  education, job experience and her achievements.

For me it was a great feeling to see her smile and give her the confidence to re-enter the job market. Less than three weeks later she was offered an interview and job.

Fast forward 2 years – and she is still living in Australia and as little as 6 months ago was headhunted to go work in a competitors company.

© RedStarResume Publications –

© ResumeWords Publications –

Views: 253

Comment by Paul Alfred on April 2, 2011 at 8:28am
This a great story Galvin ... I wish folks coming into Canada were as lucky ... Some firms will not even look at you if you don't have Canadian and or North American experience and I have seen Killer resumes.   Lots of Engineers in Toronto driving Taxi Cabs ...
Comment by Suresh on April 2, 2011 at 10:44am
Great story..Most immigrants can relate to this at some level.

In a perfect world we could all find great jobs within 50 miles of our birthplace, but then again that wouldn't be much fun.
Comment by Charles Van Heerden on April 3, 2011 at 7:25pm

Hi Gavin, great illustration that behind every resume is a real person, with not only dreams, but good skills.

Great recruiters can find these diamonds, but far too often people settle for boring jobs. 

Job search is particularly difficult for immigrants.

Comment by Gavin Redelman on April 3, 2011 at 11:46pm

Unfortunately it is the same story all over the world. Great skills, great domestic experience but can't get an interview. It goes without saying that no matter who you are or where you are from, when job searching you need to give yourself every opportunity to be able to succeed. If your unable to present your skills, knowledge and past achievements in a professional document which clearly and adequately displays this information than it makes finding a job that much harder.  

Comment by Suresh on April 4, 2011 at 11:00am

As a jobseeker after grad school, I still remember this hotshot recuiter who did not give me the time of day. He basically brushed me off, because my resume was a tougher sell for him. I am sure he had good reasons, but I was pissed at his attitude nonetheless. (He was one of the few recruiters who was prominent in that niche)

After years, I decided to start one of the first job boards in the very same niche..

(a little revenge..huh)


Comment by Leah Davis on April 4, 2011 at 4:54pm
Her CV must have been horrendously written. Engineers are on the most wanted list in Australia and if a recruiter can sniff a good candidate behind a CV (even a poorly written one) they will jump on it to give her advice and ultimately make the placement. If, as you say, it was half written in portugese I agree with Simon that she needed to do a lot of research around entering the Australian job market. There arent a lot of recruiters in Australia that can read portugese.


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