Finding an engineering job in Australia: 9 reasons why your job application is getting rejected!

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Would you like to move to Australia to work as an Engineer but your job applications just keep getting rejected? Here is the list of the nine most common reasons why.

You see a job advert and believe you have all the necessary skills and attributes to be considered for it. You are keen and ready to start and you would love to move to Australia. You apply for the job via the job advert link, or share your LinkedIn profile with the Recruiter, or write “interested” or “please review my profile” under the job advert on LinkedIn.

And then….your job application gets rejected!

Most job seekers have experienced this scenario many times and are very frustrated with the recruitment process. However, the reasons why job applications are rejected might be quite simple. Here is the list of the most common reasons:

1. You have no working visa for Australia and you are not currently going through the visa application process

Unfortunately, Applicants who reside outside of Australia and don’t have an Australian work visa have very slim chances of being considered for any job. Furthermore, it is difficult to become sponsored as sponsorships are expensive and require lengthy and detailed applications.

The majority of Clients that recruitment agencies represent want Engineering Candidates who:

  • are not in Australia but have already secured full working rights to work in Australia OR
  • are already in Australia on a working visa AND
  • are ready to attend interviews and start work ASAP if successful.

For some roles that are highly specialized or senior, and which can’t be filled through a local search, Employers might look for international engineering candidates and offer sponsorship.

What we recommend:

Explore your chances of getting a working visa. There are various visa types for Engineers you might be eligible for depending on your country of origin, qualifications, age, and fluency in English. Visit the website of the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs to explore your visa options. Australia has re-opened its skilled migration and working holidays programs so it’s worth applying for your own visa.

2. You write “Interested” or “Review my profile” under job adverts on LinkedIn

When you write “I am interested” or “please review my profile” under job adverts on the Employer’s or Recruiter’s LinkedIn page, you are decreasing your chances of employment! What the Recruiter will see is that you:

  • apply to every single job advertised
  • you don’t read job adverts and ignore job requirements
  • you can’t follow simple instructions (like clicking on the link in the job description)

Usually, the job advert specifies how you should apply and includes the link to follow where you can upload your CV. Make sure you follow this process!

What we recommend:

Once you have applied with your up-to-date CV to a job, send a follow-up, personalized message to the Recruiter on LinkedIn. In the message briefly introduce yourself (your name, your current location, qualifications, working rights including visa type) and explain that you have applied to one of the jobs they are advertising.

STOP: Never send blank emails or blank messages with attachments to Recruiters. Recruitment agencies use CRMs to easily manage Applicant details as they get thousands of applications.

3. Your English just isn’t good enough

You would be surprised to know that many CVs and cover letters are full of spelling and grammar mistakes. A Recruiter will not take the time to correct your resume so that he/she can send it to the client. Mistakes in your resume might also mean that your  English is not very good, and you might not do well at a face-to-face or over-the-phone interview.

What we recommend:

Improve your English. Ask someone who is a native or bilingual English speaker to proofread your CV. Use tools such as Grammarly to help you fix any mistakes that might be difficult to spot. Make sure your resume meets Australian standards (Read our guide: How to write an Australian CV).

4. You are not qualified for the advertised role

The job advert says you MUST have at least five years of working experience, you have only two and you still apply. You are a Civil Engineer with five years of experience working on a construction site, but you apply for a Civil Designer role because you want a career change and you have recently taught yourself Civil3D.

In both examples, you do not meet the job requirements. Recruiters report that over 50 percent of applicants for a typical job fail to meet the basic qualifications for that job.

What we recommend:

Read job descriptions carefully and make sure you meet all must-have requirements before you hit the “Apply Now” button. Tailor Your CV to the job advert you are applying for. Look for keywords in the advert and try to include them in your job application.

5. You have no local experience

Some employers might be skeptical about hiring people with skills from overseas, however, the situation for migrant Engineers in Australia has improved in recent years mainly due to severe skill shortages and border closures. Still, if you are a skilled migrant, to be considered for a job you will need to put more effort into your application than a local candidate.

What we recommend:

  • Use LinkedIn to grow your professional network.
  • Find overseas qualified engineers support groups.
  • Apply for internships.
  • Find Recruiters who have successfully placed candidates without local experience.
  • Prove your excellent English by posting an article on LinkedIn that you have written yourself (you could write about interesting projects you have worked on in the past and why you have moved to Australia).
  • Meet Recruiters in person
  • Be persistent
  • Don’t put “Looking for a job” in your LinkedIn headline or on your profile photo. If you do that most Recruiters will not be able to represent you to potential Clients.

6. You have a bad reputation

Your CV is never the whole story. The Recruiters will collect references and run some background checks on you to work out if they should present your application to the Client. If they find out that you are one of those troublesome candidates who get into conflict with colleagues or bosses, they might decided against putting your application forward.

What we recommend:

Treat your employers and colleagues with respect. Never badmouth your previous employer even if you didn’t enjoy your previous job.

7. The client has canceled the job or filled it internally or through another recruitment agency

While your experience, qualifications, and skills might be exactly what the Recruiter is looking for, the role you applied for might have already been filled internally or by another agency. From time to time, roles get canceled too.

What we recommend:

If in doubt, get in touch with the Recruiter to confirm the job is still available and if they have received your application. This also gives you an opportunity to make a good impression on the Recruiter and prove that you are genuinely interested in the role.

8. You are harassing or annoying the Recruiter

The Recruiter has acknowledged that they have received your CV, but you keep messaging him/her every day for an update. Don’t. It’s OK to send one reminder message, but if you haven’t heard back, you should read between the lines (that means you are not considered for the job).

What we recommend:

If you haven’t heard back from the Recruiter, follow up on your job application via phone and email. If the Recruiter confirms your application was not suitable, you can request feedback and advice to improve your chances next time.

9. And finally,…. the Recruiters receive tons of job applications!

Job openings often receive a large number of applications, and employers typically only choose a small percentage of applicants to move on to the interview stage. It’s important to keep in mind that rejection does not necessarily mean that an applicant is unqualified or not a good fit for a job.

These are the statistics: on average for each job opening there are 250 to 300 applications. The first resume is received within 200 seconds after a position is posted.

While some senior positions are hard to fill, entry to mid-level roles are popular and the competition might be fierce.

Sometimes, you might be the ideal person to fill the role, but you might have applied quite late and the Client wanted someone as soon as possible so they accepted a ‘less perfect’ Candidate.

What we recommend:

A good rule of thumb is that the fresher the ad the more chances it hasn’t been filled. Check job boards daily and sign up for job alerts that are relevant to what you are looking for so you don’t miss out on the perfect opportunity.


It’s important to not let rejection discourage you and to continue applying to jobs that you are qualified for and interested in. Additionally, seeking feedback from employers can help applicants understand why their application was rejected and what they can do to improve their chances in the future.

If you have been applying for jobs for a very long time and never make it to the interview stage, you might need to re-think your job-hunting strategy. You could re-write your resume and invest some time into upskilling and networking.

We wish you good luck!

If you are a Civil Engineer, a Construction Professional or a Surveyor who would like to be part of the infrastructure boom in Australia or New Zealand, register your CV here or search our jobs.

ConsultANZ Recruitment  –  We consult our Clients on their hiring needs and our Candidates on their career prospects.

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