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.


Strategies
All information below is from my personal experience. It may differ from person to person.
I came across two major strategies

  1. Aggressive - where it's all the number game
  2. Quality

With the Aggressive strategy, you build up your LinkedIn connections exponentially. Connecting to anyone related to your domain/profile and recruiters in the same field. Talk to them, understand the market, ask for referrals inputs that could get you a job. Call up recruiters before applying to ads seen in LinkedIn/SEEK. Try to meet recruiters as often as possible. In short as I said earlier, it's a number's game. The more connections/conversations/meetups you have, the better your possibility of getting a job. This is the CLA strategy

The quality strategy on the other hand is all about applying for the right job. Just have 2-3 quality applications a month. Take time to research and draft cover letters and Resumes tailored for the opening. This is the strategy advised by OBP

The aggressive strategy is best applied when you have just arrived, your job is in demand and it almost guarantees you a job within a few weeks. But will this work for everyone? I doubt. This might help you put yourself in the market, and yes this worked perfectly for Anitha too. But, as an Embedded Software Engineer - this probably won't fetch you results. Here is my explanation on why -

  • The Embedded systems market in Australia is very limited. There are only a few companies in the field, and most of the opportunities would need certain niche skills(Eg: Embedded Linux, strong C++, Finance exposure etc.)
  • The recruiters in this space are not very vibrant, approachable. Unlike recruiters who work on popular domains(Full stack, .NET, Java, Testing etc.), you won't see many posts by recruiters in the embedded space. They are specialised, have their own closed network and have a good technical knowledge as well.
  • Because of this, it's also important to have technical jargons present in your resume. Don't overload it with Achievement and Skills as told by Google. It's a common assumption that the recruiters would prefer achievements and numbers to tech stuff. But if the recruiter is technical, your resume will go unnoticed
  • Majority of embedded jobs are not sourced via recruiters! Yes. This was one late realisation for me. In fact, the only access to these opportunities would be via internal referral. This is where your LinkedIn network could be helpful.

Because of these, I started getting frustrated a few months down the lane. You try to connect and call up recruiters to get their attention, and unfortunately it doesn't work. And then I started the recruiter names coming up again - as in the same recruiter started posting multiple requirements over the months. Knowing that you had already called them up, sent emails, messages over LinkedIn - it becomes hard to reconnect. It's like they know you are here, but you still aren't.

After around 6 months of countless rejections and silences, I approached OBP. Before I go on to that part of the story let me explain a little about the silences I mentioned above.

As already known to many job applicants, there is a high probability that you'll never hear back after an application, test, interview, or what not. Things are not different here. There are some recruiters that are really nice and helpful(Thank you guys!), but there are some that really don't care. Let me highlight a few experiences here - I will not be doing any name shaming today

  • The first recruiter I met, was a wonderful experience which turned out eventually to a very sour one. Being the first meetup, I was anxious and excited. It was in one of the tall rises in Melbourne, and the people, reception and everything screamed corporate suits to me. Everything was incredibly professional and scary in a way Software Engineers aren't used to. The recruiter I met was very friendly and I realised that all this fear was just in me and I was very comfortable in the talk. He offered my couple of roles and asked me to reply with a resume and a cover letter to approach the clients. I was very happy at the end of the chat and came home with high hopes. Later that day he sent me the job descriptions and I sent across the cover letters and resume. Little did I know what was coming. I waited for a week patiently to see a response and then mailed him. Nothing. Mailed him again - nothing. Called him up - no response. Called up the work phone - went to reception and left a message. Still nothing. Texted him, messaged him on LinkedIn. Still nothing. This shatters you. This might not be anything for someone who is already working and just looking for a job change. But for someone who is job hunting for survival, and just counting on a response for experts/recruiters - this is heart breaking.
  • This was about 3 months after I arrived. At 8.20pm I suddenly receive an email saying a company X would like to proceed with my application. It was a very friendly and honest email, and they asked me to take an online test. The test had 3 questions and 90 minutes to complete. I took a couple of days to prepare and gave the test. In my opinion, I solved all the questions to my satisfaction. I replied to them and waited. And the wait lasted forever. This was even worse than the first one considering that I had given time and put effort on doing the test. And I knew I did well too. What happened? Guess no one will ever know...

I understand that recruiters are really busy and get thousands of applications everyday. But it's their job as well to connect to candidates like me and keep up the relation. Personally, I feel there is no excuse in not replying a mail, message or call. If any recruiters have taken the time to read through this, please spare a few seconds to respond to a mail you have received recently. I would be happy to see if someone has done this.

I think this post has gone long enough. I'll explain the second strategy in my next post. Feel free to contact me over LinkedIn. I will try to help in anyway possible. If you have any questions, concerns or different experiences - feel free to leave a comment. Who knows? Your story might be an inspiration to someone else.

Read all the posts related to my Journey to Australia -
  1. The Beginning
  2. Road to get a Visa
  3. Cracking PTE
  4. Visa granted, now what?
  5. Job Hunt Part -1 
  6. Time to Fly!
  7. Arrival
  8. Job Hunt Part - 2
  9. Job Hunt Part - 3