Job Seeker Extends Networking Reach to Australia

Paul Witschey was ready for a change of scenery and fresh career challenges. The OpsLadder member found both with a new position in Perth.

Paul Witschey’s job search brought him the best of two worlds – his desire to see more of the globe and his need to settle down in one place.

A citizen of both Mexico and the Netherlands, he enjoyed living in Texas; he worked in Houston for the consulting arm of the leading oil field services provider until 2007, then as an independent business consultant for one of his former clients, one of the largest Latin American oil and gas companies.

As much as he loved Houston, though, he was feeling restless. “I was fortunate that one of my former clients wanted me to work for them, but after a while, I realized I wasn’t doing the kind of work I liked,” he said.

Witschey was looking for a new position, and a change of venue. “I applied for international positions,” he said. But he admitted he wasn’t working that hard on his job search. “I mainly focused on using headhunters,” he said. “I didn’t want to spend time looking through postings and filling out tons of applications. It takes a lot of time, and so much of the time you don’t hear back from anyone.”

But the most headhunters could offer him were positions for jobs in Saudi Arabia. “That was one place I wasn’t interested in going,” he said.

To take more control of his search, the OpsLadder member tapped his worldwide professional network to find consulting jobs.

A job board meets personal network

Witschey noticed that one of the Big Four consulting firms had posted many open positions on Ladders. He entered his profile in the company’s corporate Web site and was able to apply for nearly 40 positions around the globe.

Still, he wasn’t hearing back from the firm. So he reached out to his network. His reach extended all the way to Australia, to a friend from the United Kingdom who now lives in Sydney. “He didn’t work for this company, but I asked him if he knew anyone who did,” Witschey said. “He actually knew someone who worked in the IT Advisory side in Melbourne. I was introduced to him, and that is how I began the interview process.”

IT is not Witschey’s discipline, but the firm tried to see if he would be a good fit. After three rounds of interviews via video conference and phone, he said, “they realized I was more suited to General Performance Improvement because of my background in oil and gas. After two or three months of interviewing, they passed me to the Perth office.”

He then had another four or five interviews with the firm’s partners before he was offered a position in November as manager for the Performance Improvement Business Unit of the Advisory Division. He will begin his new job in early January, the end of the Australian summer.

Because all his interviewing was done through phone lines, he has yet to see his new office. But he lived in Australia before, in 2002, and saw Perth and much of the country. Australia, he said, is a mixture of U.S. and European cultures, and Perth in particular offers a much more laid-back lifestyle than he has been living in Houston.

Moving to settle down

The job will pose new challenges, since Witschey will need to support mining as well as oil and gas companies. He is also looking forward to a job that will let him stay in one place for a while.

“Perth doesn’t have a hectic approach to life,” he said. “The stores close at 6 p.m., except for Thursday; people don’t work past working hours; it’s a very healthy lifestyle. I’m at a stage in my life where I want to settle down, so I need a job that doesn’t involve constant travel, where I can continue with a top-notch consulting company and have a life.”

But first, he’s back home in Mexico City, where he is coordinating his move from Houston to Perth.

Witschey said using his network was the most important part of his search. “Try to find access to someone who can pull that resume out of the pile and start the interview process,” he said.

Of course, being willing to relocate was a big plus. In Witschey’s case, he’s hoping this one big move will mean a chance to stay in one place for a while.