LinkedIn tips to boost your job hunt

Consolidating my LinkedIn posts for easy access
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LinkedIn Tip #1 : Use CAPS wisely

This might look surprisingly trivial for some, but take a look at the LinkedIn profiles out there, you'd see all sorts of casing out there. To explain this more, take a look at the following
     2. vinesh balan
     3. vinesh Balan
     4. Vinesh Balan
which one looks professionally appealing? The 4th one of course. The first one is the worst you can do. All caps means you are yelling! When I joined in my new organisation, for some reason my name appeared in all caps everywhere - I was hesitant to ping/email people with that name.

This is applicable to everything else as well. Take a look at your designation
   1. Software Engineer
why would you wan't to yell that you are a Software Engineer?

Organisation name
   2. Applied Materials
Which one looks more elegant?

Of course there are exceptions. For example as a heading of your description, or the name of some organisations -

Please note that if someone is trying to find you over LinkedIn, your name is the first thing that'll pop up. If that doesn't look professional, it might be an early deal breaker.

Journey to Australia: Job Hunt Part - 3

This has been an eventful week. Thanks to all my LinkedIn network for the comments and likes. Yes, I started working this week.

Lot of people have started asking me inputs for job hunting as well. I hope you'd get a lot of info through my blog posts. As always, I'd be happy to help - ping me on LinkedIn. This post is a continuation of the series. I'll be explaining the Quality strategy and how it improved my applications. I'll also add a few general do's and don'ts that would keep your spirits high during this period and how to retrospect your current situation.

When the Aggressive Strategy started to get more depressing and anxious, I met Terry(from OBP). He explained to me what he does, what I could've been doing wrong and what I can do differently. I was extremely hesitant to spend more money on these services as the first one hadn't worked out well. But desperation eventually took over and I decided to go with it. This is a more relaxed strategy(or rather I'd say less aggressive). A few differences from what I did -

Journey to Australia: Job Hunt Part - 2

Hope you have found my posts related to my Journey to Australia useful. So far I've outlined my journey starting from why, moving on to how and eventually arrival at Melbourne. This post will explain in brief of my experience with job hunting in Melbourne, as an Embedded Software Engineer. The post would be highly specific to Embedded Engineers, but there would be general pointers here and there as well.

Once you've arrived and all ready to fire all guns, what do you do next? For me, it was to put into practice all the inputs/strategies I had received from Career Launch Australia(henceforth mentioned as CLA). I can't go into much details on this. But in a nutshell it was to have a blockbuster resume, excellent network and communication skills, positive attitude, and an aggressive approach.

Did this work? This is where my journey hits a roadblock. Yes it works, for certain profiles which heavily use recruiters, and is in high demand. For example, in the case of Anitha. She is an Automation Test Analyst with experience in Selenium Web driver(note - this is in high demand over here). The second day after we arrived, she connected to a recruiter(with the help of CLA) and had a great chat in person! The following week she approached another recruiter, who arranged an interview for her with the client. The client had a 30 minute discussion(not very technical), and boom - within 2 weeks of landing in Melbourne, she had started working.

This was a great start, and my belief in the strategy was at it's peak. I had to take some time off all this activity as we had to move out of the temporary accommodation and house hunting is a full time job of it's own over here. But I was confident of getting something soon(if not 2 weeks, even a month). But did I? (Hint : it's my 8th month of joblessness right now)

So what went wrong? After 8 long months of my job hunt, here are my observations. I'll be explaining on the different strategies I adopted, why things did not work for me, what helped me, what boosted my spirits, and what put me down.

Journey to Australia: Arrival

This post elaborates things to be done at your Arrival to Australia(the following post focuses specifically on Melbourne).

Landing on an unknown country can be scary if you are not well prepared. With Internet, you can be best prepared for what is to come. But there are things you can still miss out. I'll try to put my experience in the best way possible. If you have questions/concerns please leave a comment.

The following points would be explained here

  • At the Airport
    • Immigration
    • Border Protection/Customs
    • Phone SIM cards
  • Day 1
    • Myki Card
    • Bank Account
    • Medicare
    • Centrelink(if you have kids)
  • Things to do
    • Tax File Number
    • Library Card
    • Driving License
  • Misc info
    • Shopping?

Journey to Australia: Time to Fly!

It's time to Fly!

Dec 2017
As per plan, I'd be travelling to Melbourne in about a month. I was on my notice period at my current company, and good byes and how did you do it comments were floating around me. I felt happy that I was doing something different, and excited about the future.
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With January fast approaching, I still had to make a few decisions. Summarising a few below

  • Flight - Which one? Where to? What route?
  • Accomodation
  • What to pack?
  • What documents should I keep ready?
These might be routine stuff to a seasoned traveller. But for someone migrating to an unknown country - preparation was key.

Journey to Australia: Job Hunt Part-1

I guess this would be the burning question for most people thinking of migrating to other countries. Most of us are used to have a job, and the thought of going jobless is uncharted territory. Will I get a job? What if I don't? What if can't prove myself? What if I go jobless for long? How will I survive?

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First things first, you have made a decision - you have to go now. Keep those worries aside, they are not going to help you at all. By this, I don't mean flush down all your worries and sit back and relax. You have a lot to do, and the earlier you are prepared - the better. I'm splitting my job hunt journey into two. The first part(this post) explains what I did before arriving to Australia. The second part is still going of for me(as of 04-Sep-2018), and will account my lessons learned through my journey.

Now what can you do before you get here? Lots. Let me break it down for you

  • Research
  • Prepare
  • Network

Journey to Australia : Visa granted, now what?

Sep 2017
When I got the call from an excited agent informing that our Visa is granted, I was surprised. 10 months back we were enjoying our new jobs and doing what every other software engineer does in Bangalore. We hadn't thought about uprooting to any other place, we had no plans at all. The Visa grant opened a new door for us, and we had no idea what lied on the other side of the door.
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I'll be summarising a few decisions we had to plan to open the door effectively. I'll categorise it as follows

  • Where to go?
  • When to go?
  • How to go?
  • Do we go as a couple, or one after the other?
  • How much money would we need?
  • What's the strategy for job hunting? - I'll be putting this up for another post

Journey to Australia : Cracking PTE

A test to prove your English proficiency is the only Exam you have to pass to get an Australian permanent resident visa. You have a choice to take PTE or IELTS. In case of PTE, you need a minimum score of 50 for all categories to be eligible to apply for visa. However, this wouldn't help you reach your 65 points as 0 points are awarded for a score of 50 - 65. 65 - 79 gets you 10 points, and 79+ gets you 20 points. If it's IELTS, you need minimum of 6.0. Above 7.0 fetches you 10 points and above 8.0 gets you 20 points. Note : You need to get the score mentioned for ALL the categories i.e., Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Details on the points distribution can be seen here -English Language Test and Points Table

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Now why did I take PTE? I never wanted to give a test per se, but unfortunately I had to be the primary applicant as Anitha was an Electronics Engineer doing Software Engineer and things won't be easy if she applies. But then why not IELTS? Because I've been hearing IELTS everywhere, and it was kinda a scary exam for me. I had no idea what it is, but somehow there was a frightening picture painted in my mind. Probably because it has popped up in huge fancy banners as seen in this picture - >

So how did I go about the preparation? As we engineers do in this generation - Google. I collected all the information I could, plus the free sample tests online. Here is a short list of useful information I've collected - Note : This is as per the test format in Jan 2017, things might've changed recently

Journey to Australia : The road to get a Visa

As outlined in my previous post, I'm kicking off my series, which shares my experience in making once in a life time decision. Please note that this is my journey. you are free to criticise and I would be happy to understand your views on this. Feel free to comment.

First of all, thank you to all who took time to go through my last couple of posts. As per the blogger stats, each of my past 2 posts have been viewed over 100 times. There is no better feeling for a blogger, and this is my best encouragement to keep going. I would love to interact with my readers as well - feel free to like, share or comment on my posts - I'd be ecstatic!

Now back to business, my last post ended at me giving a call to Visasavenue. In this post I'll briefly explain

Image courtesy -
  • the process to acquire a Permanent Resident Visa to Australia
  • my journey
  • some important info like cost, timeline etc.
The Process
After some extensive Google'ing, we decided to approach Visasavenue as our agent(Note : I'm in no way promoting Visasavenue. Just sharing my experience. The process of applying for a Permanent Resident Visa as per December 2016 was -
  1. Check how many points you get is the Points system. You can do this yourself here - Points Table. When I applied, the minimum points required for application was 60. It has been increased to 65 recently. A point to note, there are hidden points in each of those categories. For eg : if you are doing a job unrelated to your degree, the first 4 years(I think) of your job experience won't count. i.e., if you are an EC engineer doing software, it'll be tough for you. 
  2. Skills assessment - This requires a bunch of documents, mainly your resume. The process is different for Software Engineers(done by Australian Computer Society - ACS) and other Engineers (Done by Engineer's Australia). This step primarily validates your skill with the advertised job requirements by the Australian Immigration. If they are happy with your profile, you an assessment completion letter and you can move to your next step. Usually takes 2-3 months to get it done.

Journey to Australia : The Beginning

As outlined in my previous post, I'm kicking off my series, which shares my experience in making once in a life time decision. Please note that this is my journey. you are free to criticise and I would be happy to understand your views on this. Feel free to comment.

In this post, I'll be briefly jotting down the points that made me decide that it's time to move on. I won't go into intricate details, but will make sure that I paint a good picture of why I(or lot of people out there) tend to do this.

 It all started in 2016. I did not realise that it had started, but looking back I can firmly say that it was the beginning. I was the kind of person who had no intentions to leave India. Anitha being a person rooted to Kerala, and especially the cuisine - was a big reason for that. I remember my relatives asking me why I wasn't trying for opportunities abroad. My answer was - I'm not interested. When I met my professor Dr. Sudheep in 2015, he casually mentioned that he was proud that I was a person who had clear insights of what and where my future lies. This had reaffirmed my decisions and thoughts.

But then what changed? In 2016, Anitha joined Beckman Coulter, and I joined Applied Materials. Both of us got a huge pay raise, and our quality of life started improving drastically. As a first step, we decided to cut-short our treacherous journey through the infamous Bangalore traffic. Within 5 kms radius to Anitha's and my office, we found a perfect place at Marathahalli - Purva Fountain Square. We were paying huge rent, wow-ing friends and family. But we had the money, and it was time we upped our style, so why not? But the story would change soon.

I'm Back!

It's been almost 3 years since I last blogged. Time, priorities, work and life took over. After years of intensive blogging about Tech, my journey with TCS or anything that came across I was bored and lazy to find out topics to type in. Eventhough I tried to muster all my will power to blog again, it died soon.

So why am I back now? As I said earlier - Time, priorities, work and life.! I made a huge calculated risk that gave me plenty of those. I'm exploring something that I never thought I could. And as I did before, I trust that sharing information can help a lot of people.
Over the coming days, I'll be blogging about my journey that started a couple of years back. I'll be trying to share information on these-

  • What did I do?
  • What made me do it? Read here - The Beginning
  • How did I do it? Read here - Road to get a Visa
  • Was I successful, where am I now?
  • What could I have done better?
Now to those who don't know what I did - I, with my wife Anitha moved to Australia in Jan 2018. Starting a new life from scratch.