Skilled immigrants return to the classroom to get job search tips

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Settlement agency AMES is helping skilled migrants find their feet in Australia.

Qualifications, experience, even professional accolades provide no certainty for skilled migrants in their search for work in Australia's competitive labour market.

But as many new arrivals recently learned at a seminar run by the settlement agency AMES, the answer can be as simple as a relevant resume or industry networking.

Turkish immigrant Jim Deniz spent eight years in Europe studying a masters degree in geometric engineering. But he spent his first five months in Australia concreting.

The 26-year old left despondent at his inability to find work in his chosen field.

“Sometimes I cried and until this weekend I was crying in the shower and I said I came here for bright future but I start to lose my hope,” he said.

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It took some basic advice for Jim to change tack and land his ideal job as an engineer on Melbourne’s upcoming Tullamarine Freeway.

“I was applying many jobs and I notice something is wrong and I ask my Australian friends to help my resume so work with them and change my resume and I make some networking,” he said.

That's precisely the message at the recent forum for skilled new arrivals run by settlement agency AMES. Spokesman Laurie Nowell says sometimes the basics can be overlooked, particularly in high-end job hunting.

“When a lot of skilled migrants arrive in Australia they have no idea what an Australian resume looks like, how to network with people in their industry - how to behave in an interview - so this program is aimed to equip them with those skills and get into the workforce in a meaningful way,” he said.

Consultants at the forum explained the fundamentals of job hunting and interview technique to a group of enthusiastic medicos, engineers and IT experts.

The student body included Cambodian doctor and Dermatology specialist Bopha Sokhan, who currently works in childcare but says she desperately wants to pursue her medical career in Australia.

Bopha Sokhan wants to do what it takes to practice medicine in Australia.
Bopha Sokhan wants to do what it takes to practice medicine in Australia.
SBS

“Because it is my passion - my passion is to help people and I really happy to see people live in their good health,” she said.

The 32-year-old will need to pass an English test, bridging medical exam and practical clinical assessment over the next 12 months - but she says the skills learned at AMES will prove equally important.

“We do a resume and we have to do a networking and we have to knock the door and apply for the resume,” she said.

Jim Deniz begins his new job as an engineer next month and is urging other skilled new arrivals to spread their wings in their quest for that perfect job.

“They don't extend themselves - they don't extend their knowledge - they don't try to learn to have to live in this country so that's why they are stuck in that position in that role in construction or the restaurant,” he said.

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