Careers advice in Australia blog

How to get local experience and a job in Australia?

Many people contact us to discuss why local hiring managers say without local work experience you will never get a job in Australia.

Do you have local work experience in Australia?

Unfortunately, this is something that happens even if you can offer much to a company. The reason is that hiring managers believe local experience removes the risk a skilled migrant or international graduate may bring to their company.

This risk may be seen in:

  • Difficulty with English (verbal and written)
  • Ignorance of business practices
  • Minor understanding of local culture
  • Missing technical skills
  • Restricted working rights
  • All the above

So how do you turn yourself from being a potential risk into a vital asset?

What you must do to get local work experience

1. English-language work

Make sure you continue with your English-language work. This is the most important skill you can have. If you can’t communicate with the locals then you will never secure work in Australia.

2. Transferrable skills and knowledge

Make sure your skillset is transferrable between the work in your home country and Australia.

For example, software developers have skills that are universal. This is because knowing, say, how to develop in SQL or support CITRIX are transferrable skills.

However, if you fail to get a job even with transferrable skills then you may show risk in other areas, such as English, local standards/codes/law/processes and procedures.

For other professionals, such as accountants, a lack of knowledge in local law, taxation and regulation will have you seen as a risk.

You need to secure knowledge on local practices through work experience or study.

An internship in Australia – at a host company in your field – is one of the most effective ways to overcome these objections.

3. Cultural and social familiarity

Any job dealing with stakeholders requires you to have local experience.

If you’re seeking a client-facing role – such as an accountant, support, sales or marketing jobs – then you will frequently be dealing with customers. So an understanding of local culture and social practices is necessary to interact appropriately.

Knowing and understanding local Australian humour, sport, news and events will be a big help here.

4. All the above

Most employers will know before an interview if you lack any local work experience. Yet they are willing to spend an hour with you in an interview. Why?

Well, for employers to say to you as feedback ‘Sorry, you lack local work experience’, it’s just them being polite. In reality – they could be thinking:

  • You’re difficult to understand
  • You’re not like what your resume shows you to be
  • You do not fit in with their team
  • You lack the skills for the job
  • You may have trouble communicating with clients

To be honest, no one wants to hear anything like that. So here are some bonus tips to help you out.

How to be an “asset”

  • Make your resume stand out

Show your care and determination by creating an outstanding resume and tailoring a cover letter for each job application.

  • Get a professional to review your resume

Have professional from your industry review your resume. Contact resume writers (ideally referrals from good ones as there are some shoddy ones out there too). Choose a resume writer or career coach who has a track-record of helping skilled migrants get interviews. ACECIS can help here too.

  • Be persistent and creative in your job search

Don’t just send in your application and hope for the best. Build an Employer List. Search LinkedIn or SEEK to find decision makers at companies you want to work for.

Also, get up to date on Telephone Interviews: How to Succeed and Australian Interview Etiquette.

Get among the locals

Make sure you have a good understanding of Australian workplace culture and language. You also may need to consider finding volunteer work or an internship to land your dream job in Australia.

Never give up – trust your instincts!

There are many things you can do to overcome risk and secure work in Australia.

Get in touch to find out more.

We wish you all the best in your job search!

Careers Team @ ACECIS

13 Responses

  1. Sanju

    I have been searching for software testing job in australiA but due to lack of local experience i couldnt get. Please help


    1. Naren Chellappah
      Naren Chellappah

      Hi Sanju,

      I have to say software testing internships and jobs is an area that even I struggle with! It’s tough to find internships for our software testing graduate clients. We know many skilled overseas professionals (mainly from India) with 10 years’ testing experience who struggle too. I think it’s a combination of offshoring, not many jobs in Australia, specific testing skills needed and job application quality.I’d love to help but it’s an area that’s tough – but feel free to send us a copy of your resume for an assessment. We’ll provide an assessment and details on how to maximise your prospects of getting employment. Please see

      We look forward to seeing your resume!


  2. Anoosha


    I have been looking for software testing job in melbourne.

    I dont have local experience.
    For local experience i want to do voluntary work

    I have 3 years of good experience in testing.

    Kindly suggest me where i can get software testing voluntary work.

    1. Naren Chellappah
      Naren Chellappah

      Hi Anoosha, thanks for the post. I think I recently commented on another post from someone else also looking for testing work in melbourne. It’s a very tricky field. There’s limited opportunities for testing in Australia (a lot of testing is done overseas). Having said that there are roles – but they often want people who have specific testing experience in the area that they are working in.

      I can see you have sent us your resume for review. We’ll get in touch with advice on how to get through and how we can help.

      Good luck.

  3. Atul Dhumal


    I am working in construction field from 1998 now i am looking for good prospects in Australia to enhance my career. I had completed my Diploma in civil Engineering full time on 1998 & Bachelors in civil engineering distance Education on 2003.I am seriously looking for job in India. Can u help me in this.

    1. Naren Chellappah
      Naren Chellappah

      Hi Atul, thanks for the post.

      It sounds like you have extensive experience in civil engineering. There are a lot of factors at play. Some of these include your visa status, location and knowledge on local construction standards and codes. Can you send us a copy of your resume please via the contact us page?

      Thanks and we wish you well.


  4. Razen

    Mr Naren
    Good morning. Can you tell me about job prospect of Agriculture consultant in Australia, specilly in NSW and victoria.

    1. Naren Chellappah
      Naren Chellappah

      Hi Razen,

      There are a range of agriculture consultant jobs available. There are positions in economics, policy, finance, international relations and also in the farming sector. Can you send me a copy of your resume and advise which area you are most interested in?


  5. srinadh

    Hi ,

    I am planning to migrate to Australia with dependent visa(spouse has ms student visa).So basically i am software engineer and have 5.6 years of experience in software field in India. i generally use dotnet technology and angular js(1 year of experience) , sql to do coding.

    I would like to know small information from you.
    1.Are my skills suitable to get job in Australia?
    2.can i go to Australia with dependent visa and find job ?
    3. IS this right time to migrate to Australia?

    1. Naren Chellappah
      Naren Chellappah

      Hi Srinadh, thanks for the post. With your dependent visa, I understand you have full time working rights which is great.

      Yes, I think with your background the non PR issue shouldn’t cause too much grief as a lot of dev jobs are contract. Have a look at SEEK and Indeed to see demand for .NET developers. Angular JS is also a solid area (compared to areas like C++).

      Getting a job will be tough (it’s hard for most people who don’t have local experience/PR) however in your case, if you implement a strategy that sees you networking, building relationships with recruiters and using a high quality application, you may be able to get through.

      Avoid coming to Australia in Dec/Jan as the market is quiet.

      Hope this helps!

      Feel free to send us your resume for assessment via

      Good luck in your job search and travels.


  6. Greeshma

    Hello Mr.Naren,

    I was serving in the Teaching field for past 3.5 years in Kerala. As I wanted a career change, I joined the Government sector as a Research Assistant on contract terms and have been working in the said post for more than an year now. My skill set would include analytical ability and training and counselling skills. Are my skills suitable to get job in Australia? Could you please help me with this?


    1. Naren Chellappah
      Naren Chellappah

      Hi Greeshma, thanks for the post.

      Step 1 is to obtain an appropriate visa that permits you to enter and live/work in Australia.
      Step 2 is to plan for your relocation. Which city? relocation costs/expenses? where do you have family/friends? what’s the market like? is it feasible/possible/the right time?
      Step 3 is to focus on job search.

      For teachers, you’ll need to get teaching registration i.e. with the Vic Institute of Teaching. Also have a look at AITSL. I know this area quite well as I used to work at Monash University.

      The three skills you mention ‘analytical ability and training and counselling skills’ are quite broad. All jobs require analytical skills. Training…check out the Cert in TAA. Counselling…you may need to get a qualification to enter this field. It’s not as hard as becoming qualified to work as a Psychologist but check out the ACA.

      Feel free to send us your resume via the contact form along with detail on your visa and we can provide more assistance.


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