Research Hacks

Research hacks are learnings from the best available research that you can apply to your career in Tasmania. 

This page asks “what did the research find?” and “How can I use it?”

At MRC Tas we are committed to finding ‘what works’ by integrating research into our programs and practice.

If you would like to contribute to research hacks page, or collaborate to generate research relevant to the Migrant Network Tasmania, please phone 6221 0999 or email migrant.network@mrctas.org.au

Photo credit: Dollar Gill on Unsplash

Research hacks are learnings from the best available research that you can apply to your career in Tasmania.
Research FindingsResearch HackReference
InterviewsTwenty seven graduate interviews were analysed.

Successful interviewees covered six out of seven important employability skills.

Reserve list interviewees covered only four of the employability skills.

Unsuccessful interviewees covered only three of the seven skills.
Practice articulating the employability skills required by Australian employers. These are listed on 'Your Transferrable Skills' page of this site.

Demonstrate your skills with stories. Use the most salient words and phrases related to employability skills in your interview stories.

Explore the key employability skills using a thesaurus. Then brainstorm examples of you demonstrating those skills. Being confident with the relevant vocabulary will help you articulate these qualities effectively.
Krishnan I A, Ramalingam S, Kaliappen N, Uthamaputhran S, Suppiah P C, De Mello G, Paramasivam P, 2021, Graduate employability skills: Words and phrases used in job interviews, Australian Journal of Career Development, 30 (1): 24-32. doi:10.1177/1038416220980425
GraduatesEight migrant postgraduate students were analysed as they transitioned to working life.

Not having a permanent work visa was a barrier to finding work.

Poor induction and inadequate communication skills were barriers in the workplace.

Jobs were found by recommendation via networking, internships and career workshops.

Mentoring helped with the transition to the workplace.
To secure work by networking, pay attention to how you participate in networking, internships and career workshops:

  • Add value to your networks - research people's interests, share relevant content, linking to people to other people.
  • Build broad networks during your internship - maintain them after the placement.
  • Workshops and events are opportunities to practice networking! It's not just about the content of the event, it's about how you engage with other participants and presenters and build reciprocal connections.
A mentor is someone you respect, and who cares about your progress. A mentor can be internal or external to your organisation.

All mentors want to know that you're a good investment of their time and treasured skills. It's your job to show them this.

Mentoring is a relationship, there is no need to wait for a program.
Ng W-H, Menzies J, Zutshi A, 2019, Facilitators and inhibitors of international postgraduate students’ university-to-work transition. Australian Journal of Career Development, 28(3):186-196. doi:10.1177/1038416219845392
Networking59 migrants were interviewed over a two year period to explore why equal educational attainment did not translate to equal occupational outcomes.

Research found that migrants didn't have as many strong network ties with people who know hiring managers, or as many weak network ties to broaden their access to job opportunities.

Research found that taking a lower paid job can build networks and soft skills valued by your next employer. However it can also be a trap that impacts your ability to search for your next job, or leads to employers making assumptions about your ability.

You need to be known by many people who like you and trust you.

They don't need to be hiring managers, rather your contacts need to know other people who are trusted by hiring managers.

For example, someone tells a friend that their husband is looking for a job in industry X. That friend has a work colleague whose husband works in industry X (example of a 'weak tie'). The introduction may lead to increased industry insights, a meeting, or an introduction to another industry contact, or even a hiring manager. 

Speed up your acculturation and job search by investing in your networks based on 'likeness' (this builds 'bonding' capital - same gender, cultural group, alumni, industry etc.)

You need to do this and network with 'different' people based on a shared interest (this builds 'bridging capital' - wider community networks with shared interest in food, sports, age of children, social causes etc.).

Hasmath R, 2012, The Ethnic Penalty: Immigration, Education and the Labour Market. doi: 10.4324/9781315616223. Access the full text via Research Gate

Mentoring

A study of 54 mentoring participants in health education (not exclusively migrants) examined what makes mentoring successful.

Successful mentoring relationships were marked by reciprocity, mutual respect, clear expectations, personal connection, and shared values. 

Failed mentoring relationships had poor communication, lack of commitment, personality differences, perceived (or real) competition, conflicts of interest, and an inexperienced mentor.

Look for formal mentoring programs, but don't wait for one. The best mentoring relationships were voluntarily entered into. 

Research hacks to being a great mentee:

  • Your mentor has more work demands than you - respect their time and meet in the way and time that suits them.
  • You are driving this relationship - come prepared to share your analysis, goals, plans and questions. 
  • You follow through and feedback about changes made - if the mentor has no impact what's the point? 
  • Don't assume - unless by mutual agreement, don't take for granted any work outside the mentor meeting.
  • You start with the end in mind - agree at the beginning how to review whether the objective is met or whether it's still effective.  
Straus S E, Johnson M O, Marquez C, & Feldman M D, 2013, Characteristics of successful and failed mentoring relationships: a qualitative study across two academic health centers. Academic medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 88(1), 82–89. https://doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e31827647a0 
Graduates

21 accounting and ICT businesses in a regional Australian town were interviewed.

The accounting industry was seeking:

  • Australian work experience and qualifications
  • communication skills beyond English language skills
  • person–organisation fit was more important than person–job fit
The ICT industry were:
  • more tolerant of overseas-based qualifications and experience
  • willing to accept candidates with ‘sub-standard’ communication skills
  • open to personal attribute variations

This research hack gives specific obstacles faced by specific industries.

Interview your local industry networks to gain knowledge that helps you level the playing field.

For example:  

  • What type of communication skills beyond being proficient in English matter in this industry? Can you give an example? (This helps you build industry knowledge so you know how to signal that you have these skills)
  • What does person-organisation fit can look like in your company or this industry? (this helps you build cultural knowledge so you know how to signal a good fit in interviews and networking)
  • What's the level of competition you face for the positions you are seeking? (this helps your mind-set, and can inform your decisions)
Almeida S & Fernando M, 2017 Making the cut: occupation-specific factors influencing employers in their recruitment and selection of immigrant professionals in the information technology and accounting occupations in regional AustraliaThe International Journal of Human Resource Management, 28:6, 880-912, DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2016.1143861

"What works" is using research, tapping into expertise, and deciding the approach that fits you and your circumstances.

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.