I worked in China for almost 4 years as a Telecommunications engineer before March, last year; I resigned and came to Australia to marry my husband. After that, I was home all day long worrying about my career.
I found it hard to fit in the life in Australia due to a language and culture difference. My education background and working experience was quite competitive in China, however in Australia, nearly all the job advertisements require local experience which made my advantages seemed meaningless.
I hadn’t felt a deeper lack of confidence ever before. I knew that I needed to make a change but I just didn’t know where to start.
I was not confident, afraid to go out and talk with people. I had no clue on how to find a job in Australia was afraid to take the first step and easily got frustrated.
My new friend Joy, who was once a volunteer at Fitted for work got to know my situation and told me to contact Fitted for Work, to either consult as a client or be supportive as a volunteer. So I took the suggestion and contacted Fitted for Work and that’s when things began turning around.
My experience of attending Fitted for Work in Parramatta was that I felt that finally there were people who understood my struggle. The staff and volunteers treated me like warm friends.
I still can remember the first time I went to FFW, Liz was so nice and patient while I was so nervous, struggling on how to express myself properly in English. Julie, as my first mentor, provided me lots of practical advice based on my situation at that time, covering a wide range from language skills improvement to Australian job market.
As a client ,I attended their Multicultural Women’s Job Preparation hub and got help with my CV writing, interview practice and I also attended an outfitting appointment got some perfect outfits for interviews. Besides, I participated in a workshop of Elevator Pitch which was facilitated by a staff member from IBM.
As a volunteer, I went to their Sorting Circle every Thursday between April and September. This is where you can help sort clothing and talk with the other volunteers, which was a way to improve my English skills. I also volunteered at reception for 1 to 2 months, to add to my customer service skills.
Because I had no local experience in Australia before, I didn’t have any references. If it was not for my experience at FFW, I wouldn’t be able to have my two adorable teammates Candice and Julie as my reference.
They were very supportive and gave me the most professional advice at each stage of my job seeking. Every time I got stuck, I came back to Fitted for work, and then I would have a clear clue of what to do next. From inside to outside, I became much more confident. If it was not for Fitted for work, I might still being hesitating about what to do next and refuse to put all my thoughts into action.
The biggest benefit from my time with Fitted for Work was gaining confidence. That’s the biggest change for me compared to how I was when I was in China. The simplest things in China could be a huge challenge for me in Australia. After the interview practice, I believed that I was a professional woman. After the fitting, I knew I was professional.
(I also gained a sense to dress smart for work from FFW during my volunteer and outfitting experience.)
I felt much more confident in my job seeking, to meet employers trusting they gain a good impression of me. In the meantime, I also tried to develop my language skills as suggested by another adorable mentor Ann.
I became a client of Fitted for work in April 2017 and got hired by a telecommunications company in September 2017. A few weeks ago, I was promoted to another team too. Working for me in this new country means gaining independence.
Although I left all my close friends and family members, which was hard, when I moved to Australia with my husband, I can live a better live if I work hard for it.
I would definitely encourage other women to connect with Fitted for Work. FFW help with suitable clothing for your interview and work, what they provide is far more than that. They help you all the way to the stage of interview and then prepare you the best look for it.
*Image has been changed for privacy.
Photo by Mimi Thian.