Getting work

The following are tips are drawn from experience of job seeking, being a referee for colleagues and former students, and also recruiting in this field of practice.

You’re invited to join OOFRAS on LinkedIn to find and share information about jobs and professional development to build career in this field of practice.

If you are already responding to human displacement please join the ‘Who’s Working Where’ directory and map.

Sector awareness

  • Subscribe to peak bodies, service providers, and advocacy bodies.
  • Set up ‘Google Alerts‘ with key words to monitor relevant themes such as ‘refugee employment’ or refugee disability’, and use RefWorld for country information
  • Set up table of content alerts with key journals about forced migration

Self awareness

  • If you are a new graduate or haven’t had a relevant experience, demonstrate your professional reasoning process for how you would approach plan A, and then options for all the obstacles that may arise.
  • If you have personal migrant or refugee experience, analyse and articulate how you can use it as an asset for the position you are applying for.
  • To really stand out demonstrate awareness of potential challenges such as managing boundaries, cultural pressures, or burn out risks and how you will manage.

Job search

  • Job search websites may be general or specialist. For example, humanitarian, government, commercial, ethical job boards. Use the university career support.
  • Sector website and communications. For example, peak bodies. Service provider organisation website or communications. For example, Facebook, LinkedIn.
  • Expect positions to be described by output, outcome, or responsibility rather than discipline. Learn to assess and analyse positions in terms of alignment with occupational therapy.

Deciding to apply

  • Assess the position description – does it intersect with the occupational opportunities, life skills, and inclusion of displaced people?
  • Assess the required qualifications are specified or indicative – sometimes they may be specific because it’s tied to the funding, or sometimes they may be indicative
  • Don’t ask the contact person on the advertisement if you should apply or not – that’s your job to determine, and the purpose of the application process is for them to determine if you’re the best fit for what they need.


  • Does your resume have experiences that indicate a commitment to this sector?
  • Does your resume have professional development reflect relevant specialist skills for work with this population (e.g. intercultural practice, work with interpreters)
  • Does your resume reflect development of literacy with a breadth of relevant approaches (e.g. community development, project management)


  • Draw on aspects of your life that demonstrate relevant skills, capacity to function in this or similar sectors.
  • Do the work to demonstrate the connection between your skills and experience and the position description, even if you think it’s obvious.
  • What would be challenging about the position or practice setting? Demonstrate skills to manage in practice settings with similar characteristics.


  • Never leave people to guess how occupational therapy adds value, tell them and better yet, illustrate it with how you solve problems.
  • Ask relevant questions about the position that also demonstrate you have researched the organisation, team, program, and funding.
  • Ask about supervision and professional development arrangements.


Applying for a position is hard work, don’t waste it if you were not the preferred candidate this time.

  • Ask about application. Could it have been improved?
  • Ask about development. What directions would better prepare you for that type of position?
  • Ask about engagement. Look for ways to stay involved and develop with the organisation.

Did you find what you were looking for? Feedback, questions or other tips welcome.