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6 important Lessons to Learn When You Don’t Have Local Experience

Considering a new job? 

I received a resume from an engineer (whom I’ll call Ali) a few days ago. His story is like many people who come to our shores. A young man looking for a better and safer life to raise his family.  

Many migrants arrive here and discover that they need to gain further education to compete for work. Still others arrived and complete their whole degree here, in the hope of finding career opportunities. Lawyers, accountants, engineers and other professionals.  

Ali, arrived from the middle east after working as a mining engineer in Saudi. He arrived during the commodity downturn and after applying for a few jobs with no success went on to complete a PhD in his field. He supported himself by tutoring at university  

Eventually when he finished his degree, Ali went on to apply for work again. Ali soon learned that it wasn’t just qualifications but local experience that employers were after. Although Ali had 5 years of industry experience, it made no difference to employers who wanted employees that can “hit the ground running”. 

6 ways to get a job without local experience 

Getting a start can be a real challenge without local experience. So how do you get a job when you don’t have local experience? 

  1. Research the market 

Research the industry you’re interested in and determine how your current skill set could align with a future job. Make sure the industry you are wanting to move into is growing and won’t be devastated by the economy or technology.  

Companies don’t always advertise when they are looking for staff. As many as 80% of successful job placements are not advertised. And that is another reason to research companies before you start looking. 

If you don’t know what industry you’d like to move into, seeking advice from a career advisor is a great step. They can assess your current skill set and personality and see what jobs would be a good fit for you. 

  1. Connect with professionals in your Industry 

Without doubt, the most powerful job search strategy – bar none – is through networks. Start attending networking events with people in the industry, look for information on social media pages such as Facebook or websites, attend conventions with workshops and seminars. Learning to build and sustain networks is a skill and like all skills, building networks or networking can be learnt. 

  1. Accept that you can’t plan a perfect career path 

We all have our ideal of what our career path should look like; Complete a degree, get some work as an intern or as a graduate, move on to a more senior position.  If you were already working in your profession at a senior level, perhaps start at a slightly junior level before your talent is recognised and you’re promoted to your true worth 

But career paths don’t always develop that way, particularly if you have recently moved to a new location.   

For one thing, economic factors play a big part in whether opportunities even exist. For example, the recent downturn in the oil and gas sector has left many experienced professionals without work, even with local experience The finance sector is another sector going through a downturn at present. 

There can be also strong competition for roles that to you may appear an easy step for you to start on. Just because you might think that you can easily do the job, doesn’t mean that you will be viewed as the best candidate for the role.  

Even differences in work practices such as safety, team dynamics, even culture, can play a significant barrier for new entrants to the job market.  

As you can see, there can be a myriad of unexpected barriers to kicking off your career in your new home 

  1. Know When to Ask for Help 

Getting a start in a career doesn’t have to be such as struggle. It is important to get professional help early. It sounds crazy but the reluctance to make a small investment when first looking for workcan cost you years of high income.  When you consider that the average professional can easily earn in excess of $100,000 each year, the loss of income and opportunity cost can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Getting professional career advise should be a priority for anyone trying to gain work without local experience.  

If Ali had used his resources wisely, he could have hirea career coach to help him create a job search plan with actionable steps tailored for him Having someone there for support to create goals, and hold him accountable for taking action, and motivating him throughout the process would have made life so much easier for Ali. 

Working with a career coach would have helped Ali become clearer on an entry point into the industry that he could have gotten relatively easily.  Work he could do based on his existing skill set that would have set him up to eventually use his engineering skills.  

Having met with and spoken with Ali, I discovered that Ali was afraid of networking because in his mind it involved meeting with people that he didn’t know which made him feel anxious.  

Most people feel awkward networking, even though the reasons for our insecurities might be different. As his adviser, we would have created a plan that helped him find and reach out to the right people via social media.  

  1. Most of all – Be flexible and keep going! 

Be energetic and don’t give up. Surround yourself with positivity, it is easy to fill your mind with doubt by asking if this was the right choice or other doubtful people bringing you down. Don’t listen to it, remember why you chose to do this and keep track of your progress to keep your mood high.  


  1. Invest in yourself 

If you are stuck in your job search then you should invest in job search skills. Basic job search strategies are relatively easy to learn, however developing advanced skills and strategies requires more sophistication. The best way to do this is to seek out the help of a professional career coach. Ironically it will save you time, money and get your career on track.  





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