How Did I Land my Jobs in Aus?
You might have seen this if you’ve read some of my other posts, but I completed my Clinical Fellowship Year [CFY] at an acute care hospital in the United States and worked there in total for about 4.5 years before I came out to Australia.
If you’re wondering if you’re able to do your ASHA CFY abroad, I don’t want to say it’s impossible – but it may be difficult – you would need to find someone with their CCC’s to supervise you. I don’t personally know anyone that’s done their CFY abroad.
I didn’t have a job lined up as a Speech Pathologist before coming out here, but did have my au pair job lined up before making the move. I didn’t look into any SLP jobs because I didn’t actually plan on staying in Australia for longer than the 4-5 months I’d be working as an au pair.
My first Aussie SLP Job in Darwin – Timing and Experience are Everything
I was living in Darwin, in the Northern Territory when I applied for and got certified as a member of Speech Pathology Australia.
I browsed positions online, but Darwin isn’t a big city and there were only a couple open positions I saw, which happened to be in settings that I didn’t have any experience in and with populations I didn’t have experience working with.
While working as an au pair and searching for SLP jobs, I ended up attending the Speech Pathology Australia branch meeting in Darwin to try and do a bit of networking. I ended up getting an e-mail the next day from one of the SLPs at the meeting – the public hospital was looking for a locum [short-term] SLP for about 12 weeks in acute care. I think I lucked out – they didn’t expect to find a locum SLP with experience in acute care for that short period – and I surely didn’t think I would find anything but the timing was perfect – so that’s how I landed my first SLP job in Aus.
Searching Far and Wide for My Next Job – and Ending up in Sydney
When my locum position at the hospital in Darwin was coming to an end, I started the job search again through job sites [e.g. Jora, SEEK, etc.].
I literally applied all over Australia to any jobs that I might potentially have a chance at. I had a few recorded interviews and some phone interviews.
One of the positions I had interviewed for in the Perth area [Western Australia] was still making a decision when I was offered a part-time position at a private hospital outside of Sydney [New South Wales]. I decided to accept the position in Sydney and within the next few weeks packed up my life and road-tripped to Sydney [the 40+ hour roadtrip that I did in 5 days is another post for another day!].
The position at the hospital in Sydney was initially through a recruitment agency – however I later ended up being hired directly by the hospital. This is the only one of my positions that I have found through a recruitment agency.
When I started at the private hospital, I wasn’t guaranteed more than a few hours a day. So of course, I knew I would need to look for a second job to supplement my first job. I ended up finding another position to apply for through a private practice – I think I found this advertised on SEEK. I ended up doing casual work through the private practice – mostly in aged care [which I did not have previous experience in] and some home visits [also did not have prior experience in home visits].
After a couple years spent in Sydney, I was ready for a change from Sydney and a different work schedule [I worked M-F at the hospital but didn’t know how long I’d be there each day, so it was a bit hard for me to plan how many clients/visits I could do for the private practice on any given day].
Funemployment: Taking a Few Months Off
When I knew I was ready for a change, I decided I wanted to look for jobs in Melbourne or Perth. I was applying for jobs, and definitely had my share of rejections. My Grandpa suffered a stroke around my birthday in September 2018 – this was while I was still working in Sydney/on the job search for my next position. I wanted to be at home to help out if I could and to spend time with my family and friends. So, I took a little “funemployment” break. I went back to the US for a good 7-8 weeks.
From the US, I went back to Sydney for a short-time and then took some time to travel. My parents and I went to South Korea [I’m adopted from South Korea] and from there, I went to meet some friends in Japan. From Japan, I flew back to Sydney. I was essentially still funemployed, but was still able to pick up a bit of work through the private practice I had been working for.
Moving Across the Country to Perth
Shortly after I was back in Sydney, I saw a contractor position advertised on an SLP Google Group – it was for a private practice, mostly in aged care [which I now had experience in] – I decided to inquire about it and apply for it, and was offered the position.
While I was traveling during my funemployment period, I had rented out my car through a company in Sydney. This ended up being a disaster as one of the renters got into an accident with my car and now the only thing holding me back from moving was not having my car. Long story short, once my car had been repaired, I took off across the country again for another massive roadtrip from Sydney to Perth.
Once I arrived in Perth, I began working and was again searching for a second position to supplement. I started my initial position in March 2019 and was only working 2-3 days a week. By August 2019, I was offered a second position that fit well with my current schedule – working a few days a week for an aged care company [and I could schedule the referrals myself around my other job].
So, that’s my job search story and how I’ve ended up where I’ve ended up - whether it be a combination of luck, flexibility/openness, experience/skills, timing, and motivation [and like I mentioned, a fair share of rejection as well].
Tips on Where to Look for Jobs in Australia
- Recruitment agencies
- The job I found for the private hospital was through Sugarman International [although as mentioned, was later hired directly by the hospital]
- There are heaps of recruitment agencies out there, although I haven’t gone through any others
- Job search engines
- SEEK, Jora, etc.
- Speech Pathology Australia Job Board
- Government websites for each state
- Google Groups
- Locum Register [specific to Western Australia]
- SPEEAR [Speech Pathology Employment Education & Relocation Opportunities] [jobs across Australia]
- Word of mouth/networking
- The locum position I found was through a SPA branch meeting
- Flexibility might be key! I literally searched all over Australia when looking for my second SLP job – as with travel therapy in the US, it might be a bit more difficult to find your dream job in your dream city [but hey, never say never!]
- Get used to phone interviews, video interviews, and potentially interviewing at random times of the day [I interviewed for one position while I was home in the US – so my interview ended up being 9 or 10 pm at night because of the time difference in Australia]
- Most places were agreeable for a phone interview instead of in person as I was usually interviewing from across the country