Making the return to OZ

by 10 Feb 2010

Q I am an HR professional who has recently decided to move back to Australia from overseas after eight years. What practical advice can you suggest for embarking on a job hunt? I am worried things have changed quite a bit and that I will struggle to generate enough credibility at an interview.

A. First, it should not come as a surprise that you are feeling a little less than confident about yourself because you have been away from Australia for quite a while. But you should also remember that as long as you have con tinued working in HR, the experience you have gained will also hold significant value and, there fore, in all likelihood be quite useful to you.

The first suggestion I would make to you is to go online and visit some popular Aus tralian job search engines and search HR jobs in the city you are going to return to. This will not only assist you with current market rates but also suggest who the leading re cruitment players are in that city.

Connect with recruiters who specialise in HR recruitment and, if possible, with a re cruitment firm that has offices in the country you are migrating from and which has some scale to its business. These two points are important because if you speak to a recruiter from a larger HR recruitment firm they should, by default, have more opportunities available. Also if they operate in the geography you have come from they could quite easily have or gain an appreciation for the quality or complexity of the organisation you have just left or are about to depart from.

Second, prepare your resume in a mod ern and succinct way: ideally a three or four page document showing the remit of your most recent role, level of responsibility, and size of budget (in Aussie dollars). Elaborate most about your latest role and describe your effectiveness by referring to measurable fact. The use of metrics in today’s resumes is crit ically important. Try to encompass things into your resume that will be big-ticket items in Australia – business partnering, leadership development, minimising costs while adding value, improvements to engagement scores and lowering turnover and enhancing per formance.

Third, have a practice interview or two. Get an HR friend to ask you “What are you look ing to do in your next role?” and ask your self “Why is that?” Talk to the same person about the sort of business or the sort of peo ple you would like to work with – become flu ent and confident before you have your first interview.

Finally, check you have “Australianised” your resume. Make sure you have listed an Australian address if you have one. Make sure you con firm your residency status, even if you are Aus tralian. Convert your metrics into Australian cur rency and steer away from language or abbreviations which are too specific to either a corporate entity or to a specific geography. For example, if you stated in your resume you worked as an HR business partner covering M&A in EMEA and TUPE was one of the things you had under your wing, consider explaining your abbreviations because they might not be readily understood by the reader.

David Owens, Managing Director, HR Partners, 02 9019 1600 or