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Relocating to work in Australia, or in any other country, can be challenging and exciting. Use your Career Tools to make your move a success and to find the right job.

Pre-Departure – What do I need to do before I leave my old location?

Busy, busy, busy.  Packing up and moving, there is always so much to be done.  Whether you have lived there for three months, three years or a whole lifetime, it is not just a case of putting your belongings into boxes.  There are so many phone calls to make, forms to complete and arrangements to be changed.  You also need to work out how to get to your new location and secure somewhere to live – at least temporarily.

It is very easy during all of this rushing around to focus on the most essential items and forget about having fun at farewell parties, spending time visiting people and places you will not see again for some time and collecting all of your records, contacts and resources so that you can use them again in the future (and having back up plans if you have left some tasks incomplete).

This is also the reason why many job seekers do not start their job search process before they leave their current location.

However, if you are reading this article, you are either planning ahead (congratulations, well done) or reviewing some ideas on what you can still do if you are currently looking for work.

1. Choose three types of work that you would like to complete in the future

You may be very clear on the type of work you would like to do in the future – perhaps something similar to what you are already doing now.  Alternatively, you may want to change careers or be open to new opportunities.  You may not have any idea what you would like to do in the future, you may want to arrive and then see what happens.

If you are uncertain about the types of work you would like to complete, it may be time to pay for some professional advice from a career advisor.  These people have different titles in different locations (career practitioners, career development experts, career psychologists, outplacement consultants etc), but you need to find someone who can offer you impartial advice (preferably paid on an hourly basis rather than a total fee covering several months).

If you decide to complete some career tests as part of this process, the career advisor needs to be qualified to interpret the results and make practical suggestions for you.  Ideally, the career advisor will have a broad range of experience across many professions and industries in the new location so that if you have questions, you can ask for local advice.  It would also be helpful if you have some ideas on the industry or profession you could be interested in and you can find a career advisor that has connections to people in those areas.

In Australia, you can find these people through the Career Development Association of Australia www. ‘Career Practitioner’ section.

2. Prepare for the new location context and factors affecting your work choices

By making some choices about the type of work you are seeking, this will help you select the most effective strategies for securing that work.  Some factors that you may need to consider when writing down your top three choices are:

- do you need to have local experience to secure this type of work?

- do you need to have your qualifications assessed by the local authorities?

- do you need to complete further local training?

- do you need to have local business networks (particularly important for sales type roles)?

- do you need a personal introduction, recommendation or professional association membership to work in the industry?

- do you have realistic salary expectations?

- do you understand the nature of the local industry?

 - do you need to have additional cultural training to understand the nature of the workplace in the new location?

In Australia, you can find some useful information about career, work and training choices on the following websites.

Australian Skills Recognition Information - 

Trades Recognition Australia - 

My Future -

Job Guide  - 

Australian Jobs 2010 - 

Job Services Australia - 

National Training Information Service - – will be going to

Training Information - 


3. Collect all of your current relevant information for your future work choices

When preparing to leave your current location, you may need to follow up on any outstanding items:

- do you have original certificates for training or education that you have completed?

- do you have copies of work appraisals?

- have you prepared a portfolio of your past achievements?

- do you have award certificates ready to show your new employer?

- have you obtained written references from your previous and current employers?

- have you recorded contact details for the people you know in your industry and profession in a database including phone numbers, email addresses etc in a portable digital format and on paper?

- have you updated your resume/curriculum vitae recently? (consider that the format may need to be changed for a future location so make sure you collect any additional information you may need – like summary statistics of results achieved, organization title names, company details, dates etc)

- do you have the necessary work visa or permit to work the hours you would like to in the new location?

Many professionals around the world have a profile on LinkedIn -  This resource is also used by recruiters looking for employees.

4. Start the Job Search process

It may sound impossible when you are not living in a location to start looking for work there – but the world is a much smaller place now thanks to the internet.  It is never too early to start.  The main priorities during the initial stages are:

- to create an email address that you can access from anywhere in the world (and tell everyone you know this email address)

- to tell everyone you know that you are about to move, the type of work you are seeking and ask them if they have any tips or suggestions for you

- to ask people you already know if they have any contacts in either your new location or in countries close by

- to personally thank everyone who speaks to you, provides information or contacts and also to give them feedback after you have followed their advice

- keep a diary or record of what you have done, who you have contacted etc as it can become confusing

- to learn more about the industry and the profession in the new location (and the well known key people)

- to find people in the industry or profession who can answer questions and give advice

- to find people that you can ask to be your mentor

- to contact people who are currently advertising jobs and find out some local information about the types of people they are seeking for the role

- to find out the details of any relevant professional associations that you may join either before you arrive or shortly afterwards

- to make appointments with people that you can meet after you arrive (for research purposes, do not demand a job immediately)

If you do not have time to do all of these, make sure you have all of your current location information prepared (as mentioned in step 3) and concentrate on the first five items in this list.

5. Prepare for the worst and allocate regular time to the job search process

Oh no – not the worst! If you expect it to be challenging and it is, you will cope much better than if you expect red carpet and five star service (which you will not get).  If you are hoping to find work within one month and it takes one or two years to secure a position that you would like, how will you cope?  Do you have enough financial reserves if you cannot find work immediately?  If you become overly anxious whilst looking for work, this can come across in interviews and jeopardize your chances of success.

Approach this task strategically, develop multiple concurrent strategies and as soon as you arrive in your new location, allocate two hours per day, five days per week to looking for work.  The rest of your time can be used to take care of household matters, explore your new surroundings and go to a variety of free or low cost events that will increase your local knowledge.  After being so busy before the move, allow some time to adjust to your new pace of life, recover from jet lag and cope with the different weather, housing, language, facilities and food.

Finally, remember that life is a journey, not a destination.  You can choose to react and be upset in your new surroundings or you can view each experience as a learning opportunity.  The more preparation that you can complete before you arrive, the sooner you will be able to focus on the most effective strategies for finding the work you are seeking.  Throughout this process, remember to take care of your own personal needs so that you can remain in good physical, mental and emotional health.

Remember that the skills to find a job are different to completing a job, so if necessary, consider seeking further professional advice (again, preferably paid on an hourly basis).

Sue's photo

Sue is the Founder and Director, Newcomers Network and the Convenor of Victoria International Human Resources Management Network, Australian Human Resources Institute. Sue is passionate about helping newcomers to Australia make the most of their new work life in their new country.
Sue has published websites, e-books, and articles in various forums worldwide and is also a proactive networker, hosting a variety of events, seminars and workshops and continually participating in innovative projects with multiple stakeholder groups.

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