Top 10 Things I Learned About Job Hunting in Melbourne, Australia


Recently I decided to expand my online adventures by not only creating a potential cash flow muse, My Podcasting Tutor but bringing on full time staff, namely a full time web developer.

Small problem. I don’t make enough to cover all these expenses and was quickly approaching a cash deficit.

What Is a Brother To Do

As much as I didn’t want to go back into the job market, stopping or moving backward are not options so I bit the bullet, got in my car (and my computer) and got tarmacking to get me a J-O-B.

Progress So Far

It is now 3 business days later and I:

* Got an old job back with a nursing agency.

* Got offered a new slightly-over-minimum-wage one position as a cleaner.

* Am in talks to become a virtual assistant to my former lecturer ( muuucchh better pay so wish me luck with this one).

Update: I got the job and its double my old pay with huge upside potential, so definitely a 3 days well spent :D

Most importantly:

* Got offered my old virtual assistant job at much higher pay (enough to cover my expenses).

So in short, it’s

Mission Accomplished :D

Lessons Learned

Here’s what I have learned through this process.

NB: I have a high school diploma, no college degree and experience in the aged care/community services and Internet marketing worlds.

1) If you have no proper qualifications for a job you are wasting your time searching on online job sites: I have applied for about 30 customer service positions, no call back…..considering I have never worked in customer service, no surprise.

2) If you don’t have a Linked In Account get one now: This is the social network for business professionals and definitely comes in handy when transitioning between jobs.

3) Ask your LinkedIn Network if they have any job openings for someone with your qualifications: If I do get the second VA job it would be all thanks to Linkedin.

4) Tell as many people as you can that you are looking for a job: Carry your resume everywhere and give it to all your friends, you never know who might help you get a job.

5) The easiest jobs to get: I wrote about this before. Hands down the easiest job to get is sales. Don’t dismiss this job immediately. If you are good looking (NB: to be considered good looking, people outside of yourself and your family have to tell you, without being paid, that you are) or charismatic or love the career this job has a lot of cash flow potential.

Other easy jobs to get:

* Cleaning jobs.

* Labourer: Mover, unloading trucks etc etc

* Working in a supermarket: The big chains have websites and relatively long hiring processes but if you can handle this job, go for it. I know people with all sorts of qualifications who’ve worked in supermarkets.

7) Face to Face is the Least Crowded Channel: A lot of people get 100s of emails a day and dozens of calls a day.

Going somewhere, looking someone in the eye and making your case for a job is probably the least crowded channel in this knowledge economy.

So get your resume, your best clothes, some transport and hit as many places as you can face to face.

In order, from the least crowded ( in my estimation) to the most crowded job channels:

* Endorsements and recommendations from third parties.

* Face to face and Registered letters/ Fedex packages

* Normal snail mail

* Phone

* Email

8 ) Your Local Paper is Awesome: This is how I got the slightly-over-minimum wage job. The key here is to apply for jobs that you are qualified for as soon as the paper comes out. Calling a week later many times is as good as not calling at all.

You want to be quick on it. Also get a copy of the local paper from surrounding areas if you can handle the commute.

9) If You Have Qualifications, the Number of Jobs on Seek is Insane: Yesterday alone, more than 30+ pages of jobs were posted up on Seek. This is probably about 300 new jobs in one day!!!

You don’t believe me, head on over to Seek and just search for all the new jobs posted up today.

10) Always ALWAYS ALWAYS keep authenticated copies of important documents separate from where you are: You can use online storage services like Amazon S3 and Cache Fly or keep them in a box at home or a bank or a trusted friend’s house or wherever you feel safe but always make sure you have a number of authenticated copies of important documents including:

* All education transcripts and certificates

* Anything to do with citizenship, travel documents etc

* Anything that might stand in the way of your getting a job.

Trust me, as someone who worked as an aged care nurse for 2+ years but can’t get a new job in the industry because I have no certificate to prove it, you don’t want this to happen to you so stay safe.

I hope these tips are of use to you and yours.

If you have any questions or anything to add, email me

Be blessed and bless others,



  • By Henry, December 3, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

    I think it would be safe to say that these lessons learned and the job-hunting tips apply just about everywhere else, not just in Melbourne. Thanks for the useful post.

  • By Mwangi, December 3, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

    @Henry: Welcome to tDA and thanks for leaving a comment. I am glad you see the post as easily translatable.

  • By People Power Granny, December 4, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

    In my post tonight at, I discuss what it was like when I got laid off a little over a year ago, and how I finally landed something…not as good of pay, but a chance to live in a more desirable place and change my lifestyle. Are you concerned about job layoffs. Will they affect your family? Vote in my poll!

  • By Mwangi, December 4, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

    @PPG: Wow that is a helluva long first name :P Thanks for sharing a link to your story and welcome to the tDA comments thread.

  • By Pink M, December 5, 2008 @ 1:03 am

    First off, to just encourage you even as you go back to employment. Many people view this as a step backwards, but I disagree, as what value is it in sticking to your undercapitalised business, only to have it collapse? All the best with the job, and also the business thing (which I never understand but it’s the thought that counts right?)

    I always get amazed at how many jobs are out there for graduates, while back at home, many people’s degrees are rotting in their suitcases. SMH

  • By Mwangi, December 5, 2008 @ 3:17 am

    @Pink M: Hey Kelly. Don’t worry understanding is one of those things I have come to accept I’ll probably never get from my countrymen or peers when it comes to how I see my relationship with my occupation.
    I have just never seen employment as an option. In fact to tell you how far that was from my idea of my future this last month is probably the first time I ever thought of myself having an office job.
    Internet businesses and undercapitalization go hand in hand. One of the beautiful things about functioning online is that there are no overhead costs, unless you hire staff like I did, and the costs of doing business are very very low.
    So sadly I still feel I have taken one step back…….here come the two steps forward.

  • By Gayle Howard, December 5, 2008 @ 11:20 am

    Congratulations on your post and on your success. This is the type of can-do attitude that is so often lacking in people. Your hints are spot on. The key is not to place yourself in the largest pool of candidates–that only works when you have “round peg, round hole” skills. Outside that, the hidden job market is where you need to go with the least amount of competitors. This is secured through networking on and offline. Great job.

  • By Thomas Shaw, December 5, 2008 @ 1:54 pm

    Nice post, I will follow you on

  • By Mwangi, December 5, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

    @Gayle: Thanks! Yup, I think it was through Timothy Ferriss or Dan Kennedy’s work that I first learned about how crowded email is, and as a result old forms of communication like snail mail and face to face interaction are now much less crowded. I wonder if they’ll be a swing back to old school forms of communication in mass in the near future in response to the overwhelming amount of email.

  • By Mwangi, December 5, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

    @Thomas Shaw: Cool, next time you pass by let me know your thoughts on the post. Cheers!

  • By Jason Alba, December 5, 2008 @ 11:52 pm

    Mwangi, this is a brilliant post. I had to keep scrolling up to see what jobs you were shooting for… you talk about jobs on the lower end of the pay scale but every point you list here applies to executives also (yes, executives can get value out of intelligence research from the newspaper and job boards).

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Jason Alba
    CEO –
    Author – I’m on LinkedIn — Now What??? (second edition)

  • By Mwangi, December 5, 2008 @ 11:54 pm

    @Jason: Thanks for the kind words. To be honest I am quite surprised at how transferable these tips are. When I wrote the post I really thought it was only for minimum and mid wage job searches in Western cities……thanks for the pleasant surprise

  • By Brandon, December 29, 2008 @ 3:39 am

    Good Post and congrats on your Job! In this great thing called Internet Marketing, we still must use “Common Sense”…. the element that pays the bills, while we all dream of our products making that big time cash!

    Thanks for the tips!

  • By Mwangi, December 29, 2008 @ 11:17 am

    @Brandon: Thanks for the kind words. I am actually typing this from the computer of the new job where I now managed to x2 my salary thanks to the tips above. I hope other people can get such great use from the tips.

  • By oliver omotto, February 8, 2009 @ 4:56 am

    Losing a job is a painful experience. I once resigned from a job that i felt was presenting me with very tough work conditions and they pay was equally unstable. Little did i know that i was to tarmack (job hunt) for the next 4 months! At one point i almost went back to my former boss to beg back the job i had just resigned from.

    But now i can say that it was a blessing in disguise. That experience opened my eyes to fresh opportunities beyond my field. After resigning as a magazine reporter, i got a job 4 months later as a communications officer and now (2 years later) as a trainer of media studies. Its a drastic and rewarding career growth that i could not have found at my first magazine job.

  • By Mwangi, February 8, 2009 @ 5:04 am

    @oliver: Thanks for sharing your story. Do you have any tips or tidbits on how you got your new and improved job that may be of help to others?

  • By oliver omotto, February 8, 2009 @ 5:47 am

    Hi Mwangi, you are doing a god job…
    Mine is a Kenyan experience and we all know how tough the job market is in most developing countries.

    Partly i can say the networks that i created through internship programs that i went through while in campus came in very handy. Most of these guys were my mentors (seniours in campus) and later became my bosses and colleagues. I still use them as referees and they came in handy in information whenever there are job openings at their places of work. So, don’t burn old bridges even when you have to leave a job, keep contacts.

    Secondly, i keep up to date with newspapers. In Kenya, ,jobs are advertised every Wednesday and Friday and it is just good to find out your job value even if you feel you are stable at you r current job… i do exactly that to test my worth in the market at least once in 5 months! And that is how i landed my current job.

    Thirdly, keep your cv and certificates closer all the time. With me i have even a template cover letter that i just edit fast to suit the job advertise and forward it through email. All the jobs i got were done through email!!! And it was just part of many applications i did on that day.

    So try and collect several email adresses of HR departments and employers from newspapers and send your resume in application for specific position even if they have not advertise vacancy. They may just be thinking of you. That is how i got my second job after tarmacking for 4 months!!!

    Currently, I am doing what i call international job seeking. Most of these positions are advertised online and through professional networks where employers frequent. So try and register online and also join professional body within your field to network with people. Another thing is to show regular career growth in your field: attend seminars, workshops, register for online courses, etc and get certificates. It show you are up to date with current trends in the field.

    At local level i have had a bad experience with Job Seeking Bureaus. Even after paying registration fee to several of them, i never got any response. Most employers nowadays avoid recruiting through agents and would rather interview directly to get that interpersonal contact with potential employee. That is my experience though the situation my be different in Australia or other developed world.

  • By Mwangi, February 8, 2009 @ 5:57 am

    @oliver: Thanks so much, that was awesome. Nope, it appears networking is quintessential, speed to application is important….I guess the only place I see as differing significantly was how powerful email was for you, then again, you were qualified and I wasn’t.

    Thanks for that Oliver

  • By Terri, February 24, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

    Came across your post today and was I inspired! I’m Kenyan, can’t find a job in chosen career path despite many, many qualifications. So I’m looking outside Kenya now.

  • By Mwangi - the Displaced African, August 30, 2009 @ 1:08 am

    @Terri: I just came from Kenya about a month ago and unfortunately your problem from what I have heard is all too common. Whichever way you choose to go, I wish you godspeed…….

  • By Daudi Muli, October 8, 2012 @ 8:44 am

    Hey Mwangi I thank you for your posts I’m a frequent reader. This one in particular hits home because I have gone through a lot of what you said and I have gathered new points to apply in my California experience.

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