Networks of family and friends

Although sometimes people get work without help from others, it is very common to be introduced to a job through your networks. Sometimes, people expand their networks by volunteering and participating in internships or placements.

Existing networks of family members, friends and people from church or other community organisations are an important part of your networks that may lead to job opportunities as well.

In this video, you can hear about the experiences of the people we talked to of finding work via networks.

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It was difficult to find a job based on the many applications I had, based on my qualifications. That’s a symptom from the amount of people doing law degrees and the industry is saturated with law graduates. I think there was a statistic saying three or five to one job openings. And I think I applied for many places in Newcastle. There wasn’t much success. In Sydney, there wasn’t much success there.

And it was tempting for me to fall into the trap of thinking that it had something to do with my first and last name that they saw in the resume. And I guess, when I was in those tough times, I thought it definitely had something to do with that. But I found that my friends, the white friends who reached out to me, probably resolved around the merit of getting to know me. But in the early instances of an interview, that’s hard. And I was offered an opportunity by somebody who I was…I was actually a member of a committee, on a church committee. And somebody offered a job to me. I think they knew my presence on that committee and what I offered, considering my background and how vocal I was, I guess, eloquently vocal.

So somebody welcomed me in. I did an internship there.


When I was working for my uncle, a lot of people come to the workshop and they know me, and they know my uncle. So whenever they show up at the workshop and my uncle is not there, they just come straight to me and say, “Look, Chris, we got this job. We want you to come and have a look at it, measure it and give us a quote and if it’s good you’ll take the job.” So I thought to myself, oh, so if I make a quote, and if I ask for a certain percentage upfront, I will be able to get the money, pay for the materials, get the job done, and then they can pay the rest when the job’s done. That’s how I started.

It’s good starting from the islands is because people know each other, a lot of people know each other and that’s easy for myself to operate that way because they ask, “Oh yeah. I know your uncle, that’s fine, come and do the job”. So I started working for myself for about…I would say about 10 to 13 years now.

And while I was working for myself. I come across a lot of…I learned a lot during my sole trading business. I’ve learned good things. I’ve learned bad things. And I’ve learned from my mistake and other people’s mistakes. And I’ve learned one thing is to always…how should I say it, always allow yourself to learn from others, to get…how should I say clearly, allow yourself to get constructive criticism.


So after graduating, I was really fortunate, my first job where I applied, you can’t graduate from that uni until you get three months work experience, and I was really fortunate because my sister was working for a civil engineering firm. So she asked them if they had any contacts that I could send my resume to, and luckily that they did. Her boss was fantastic, and he flicked on my resume to his colleague who was a mechanical engineer in building services, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and he took my CV and he gave me a chance. So I did three months work experience, and then I graduated with that work experience and then they offered me a job straight away.

So I was very blessed to get straight from uni work experience and land a job without too much stress. I think it says a lot about how important social connections are, and being able to like really recognise and take opportunities as they come, because I don’t think, if I hadn’t, I’d been sending my resumes everywhere, but people don’t know you from a bar of soap. So luckily my sister had been working at this company for so many years, she’d already built that trust with her boss, so her saying, “Oh, this is my sister. Can you give her a chance? Can you ask around your friends?” That really opened the door for me to land a job, land a position at a reputable company, Australian company, but also set the foundation for the rest of my career.


I actually ended up driving a taxi for a while. And my father-in-law owns a taxi and he said, “If you want to pick up a couple of shifts just to help with some money, there.” And so I did that. And I did that for about six months while I was trying to work out exactly what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go.

I drove a taxi for about six months and was very fortunate that one of the guys I went to uni with had his own IT business. And he rang me up and said, “Hey, T, can you potentially give us a hand? We’ve got two guys. One guy’s going overseas for six weeks and another person’s injured his back and he’ll be off work for about 6 months. Can you come in and help us?” So I did and that was my foot back into the IT world. And I went and worked…I ended up working there for four years, instead of six weeks. After working there, as much as I loved it, I needed to move on. And I took a senior manager’s role at another IT place. And was only there for just under a year.

And Bonnie and I were in a position fortunate enough where money wasn’t so much of an issue at the time, so we took the leap of faith and we went out and started our own company. So I started a boutique IT MSP business, which is a fancy way of saying that we fix computers for businesses, basically. And I started that in the shed at home, about seven years ago. Within four months of being in the garage at home, we were too big and we moved to an office here in town. And we had three staff working for us at the time…sorry, two other staff, three being myself. And within six months of being in that office, we found that we were actually too big for that as well. And we moved a third time and again, hired more staff.

We ran that company for about two years and we were working in partnership with another IT company here in town, where we would offer the hands and feet that they required and in return, when it came to some specialist hosting and…they would support us for that. And then an opportunity came up for us to try and do one together, so we did. We went into business together on that particular role and it was extremely, extremely successful. And it got the conversation moving for the merger of the two companies.

And so we did that. And we’ve merged since then, we’ve merged the companies to be one. And, yeah, I would say that from that perspective, we’re probably one of the larger MSP businesses in Western Victoria. And I think the reason why we are where we are is, in my opinion and in my mind and the reason why I’ve worked so hard and I strive every single day, is because I think of not just my father but all the other aunties and uncles and other people that I’ve watched in Robinvale just get up every single day.

  • ‘Akesa – Community Facilitator
  • Ama – Lashing Business Administrator & Marketing Coach
  • Annie – International & Community Development Specialist
  • Ashirah – University student
  • Cass – English Teacher, Writer, Project Manager, & President of the Victorian Kiribati Association
  • Chris – Field Officer (HR)
  • Christopher – Carpenter & Stonemason
  • Crofton – Visual Effects & Animation Specialist
  • David – App company CEO
  • Elisabeth – Teacher
  • Elvina – Building Services Mechanical Engineer
  • Fipe – Cacao Products Manufacturing Business Owner
  • Grace – Airline Customer Service Agent
  • Leki – Physiotherapist
  • Luisa – Registered Nurse
  • Malelega – Legal Assistant
  • Marita – Writer
  • Rose – Workplace Consultant
  • Sefita – Community Engagement Officer
  • Semisi – Lawyer
  • Talei – Lawyer & Community Engagement + Government Relations Consultant
  • Teisa – Medical Doctor
  • Tevita – IT Professional
  • Thom – Make-up Artist
  • Venna – Lashing Business Owner & Trainer
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