"Do not put limit in your ambitions"


We spoke with Abdullah a skilled migrant, a civil engineer currently working for a private company. 

Please tell us about your experience moving to Tasmania?

My name is Abdullah and I come from Bangladesh. At home, I used to practise and teach law. I moved to Australia in 2012, but to Tasmania, I moved in September 2019. Before moving to Tasmania I did a little bit of research on the job market, and I found that the job market is already saturated. Since I was moving with my family, I needed to find a job to feed them. I found that the disability sector and childcare sector still have a shortage of labour, so I completed Certificate III in Individual Support. This helped me to find a job in Tasmania as soon as I moved here, and I have been working as a support worker ever since.

This is not the career I used to have when I lived in Sydney. I have a law degree and another one in finance. I used to work at a foreign exchange company. However, all this didn’t help to find a job in Tasmania. A lot of people do courses in Aged Care and Community Service that help them to establish themselves on the market. I am quite happy that I decided to take this course.

What was your career journey on the mainland?

I completed a law degree in Sydney, and I was really upset that I hadn’t been able to find a job. I spent a lot of money and energy on that degree and was very disappointed. Many of my colleagues ended up working in entry-level positions in supermarkets after completing the same degree I had. At that time I thought that having an accounting degree might help me to be competitive in the job market. So I completed this degree, but so did many other people at the same time. And when the supply is higher than the demand, it is very hard to find a job. But I was lucky to find a job at a Foreign Exchange company slightly relevant to my studies.

Why did you decide to move to Tasmania?

But I needed to go to Tasmania to get a visa, so I realised that neither my accounting degree nor my law degree will help me to find a job here. And even my extensive experience in the hospitality sphere and customer service might not help.

With Certificate II in individual support, I managed to find a job in the disability sector within two weeks under NDIS, so I think it was a really good choice.

Was this career change difficult for you?

There is quite a lot of difference between what I have expected and what I am doing now, but to be frank with you, I’ve already reached a certain age when I want to be settled. So I am quite happy with the industry I’m working in. I didn’t have much experience. But when I started working I realised this is probably the most comfortable job I have been looking for. Apart from the monetary value, the satisfaction, the sense of completion this job gives you is not comparable. When you realise that you are working for someone, and they are smiling at you, or you are smiling at them (and you might be the first or only person smiling at them) and someone’s life or some of their important tasks completely depend on you, it gives you a lot of satisfaction about your job. Every day at the end of my shift I feel as if I’ve done something good.

What are some mistakes some migrants could avoid while looking and applying for jobs?

One acquaintance of mine keeps saying that it’s hard to find a job in many sectors, and it’s better to go with customer service or a hospitality job (this is what many of my community members do). And this is not a bad idea for when you first arrive in Australia. But that is not your limit. The sky is your limit.

My ambition was limited, my job search was limited, and it shouldn’t have been that way.

My advice to people who are studying, who are looking for a job is not to limit your ambition.

It is difficult sometimes, because many people do not have the English level to match the requirements, but the language level is not always the main deal-breaker.

What is that the employers are mainly looking for?

In my opinion, when the employer is looking for someone, they are looking for a sincere person that fits their purpose. They don’t look at whether you are local or international. If you have a good academic background, if you are sincere, if you can prove that you can serve them well, there is no reason for them not to hire you. When you are doing the job search, go beyond your limits.

What other practical advice can you give?

I made a lot of mistakes preparing my resume and cover letter. I didn’t pay much attention to them. During the shortlisting process, the employers don’t see you, they cannot know how smart you are. You probably need to speak to your local friends or those who are already working in this industry. Each industry has different applying procedures. Some industries prefer you to go physically and submit your resume, the others prefer you to apply online.

But the first thing is to pay attention to your resume and cover letter because that’s the first thing the hiring person is going to see. That’s the bridge between your employer and you.

About MRC Tas

Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania (MRC Tas) is a not-for-profit organisation that has been supporting people from migrant and humanitarian backgrounds to settle successfully in Tasmania since 1979.

About Migrant network tasmania

Migrant Network Tasmania draws on the goodwill, stories and tips of migrants and the wider community to help fellow migrants to establish lives and careers in Tasmania.