With international borders reopening in Australia, many expats are looking to return home and start their job search locally. While overseas experience can be advantageous in the eyes of prospective employers, looking for work after years away from your home job market can be daunting. Get started with these job search tips for returnees.

Be realistic and flexible

Keep an open mind when it comes to role level, salary, sector and location. While you should not have to sacrifice building your career, it pays to understand that the local job market is currently very competitive and your experience overseas might not be completely applicable to the local market. For example, you may have developed expertise in a niche field that is yet to be fully adopted in Australia. 

In any case, being flexible and open to a variety of opportunities will help you get back into the job market quicker. 

Adapt your resume

Resume standards and expectations can differ significantly depending on the job market. Before you start applying for roles, make sure your resume is relevant to Australian employers. There is also the option of a CV which is a more detailed, in-depth document. It doesn’t usually change from one job application to another. A resume, on the other hand, is a more concise version and should be adjusted and customised for the job you’re applying for. 

Have a professional friend proofread it and check you are using the right language to sell your skills and experience gained overseas. Also, remember that the standard length can differ – resumes in the US and UK tend to be 1-2 pages while 3-4 pages are acceptable in Australia – so you may need to expand on your responsibilities and achievements.

RELATED: How to write a winning resume that will land you a job interview

Start networking now

Before you make the journey home, start networking on LinkedIn, contact ex-colleagues and managers and get in touch with recruitment agencies to help you get ready for your job search upon your arrival.

With virtual interviews now standard across many organisations, you may even be able to secure a job opportunity before you set foot off the plane if you start networking early and regularly.

Consider a contracting position

A contract role is a great way to get back into the market quickly without having to commit to a permanent position. Many Australian organisations are hiring on a contract basis to flexibly scale headcount, meaning contract jobs are currently available in a wide range of industries. 

If you’re considering contract work, one point to consider is that you need to be on the ground and available to commence work immediately, as they tend to move quickly. 

RELATED: Starting a new contracting role? How to fit in at work fast

Look for jobs at companies with an international footprint

Companies with a global workforce tend to be more open to, and even actively seek out, candidates with international exposure. 

If your overseas experience isn’t entirely relevant to the Australian market – or your former job title doesn’t currently exist here – try looking for opportunities with employers that have an international presence and will value your unique expertise. 

Be patient

While it’s impossible to say exactly how long it will take to find a new job, be prepared for it not to happen straight away. The time to employment depends on a number of factors, including how open you are to different roles, pay rates and sectors – and how well your skill set fits into the current market. Patience, as well as proactivity and persistence, will pay off.


Looking to find work in Australia in 2022? Talk to a Michael Page consultant about opportunities in your sector.

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