If I had a dollar for every time a young professional asked me about the job scenario in Melbourne…
Despite the large number of international students in Australia, there is a significant lack of information about the employment market. In fact, almost everyone that I’ve met on my post grad journey in Melbourne did not know what to expect after graduation. How long will the post-study visa last? Are there companies hiring people on this visa? Since career portals like Seek and Indeed are full of jobs seeking candidates with Australian citizenship or permanent residency, these questions quietly haunt the minds of international students.
When I applied to the University of Melbourne, all I researched on was the reputation of the institute and the availability of my course. I hadn’t spoken to any professional in the marketing industry who had graduated from UniMelb (or any other university) who would give me an insight on how the job market was doing, especially for international students. My focus had been on getting my master’s degree ticked off my list but now that I was studying in Melbourne, I had to start thinking about the possibility of gaining work experience in Melbourne. In the duration of my two-year course, I reached out to a few alumni through LinkedIn – but received no substantial response. On the other hand, I did find LinkedIn useful in getting one internship in New Delhi and one in Melbourne.
Getting a job as an international student in Melbourne
There’s an obvious gap between international students, alumni, and especially those who get work here Down Under. So, I thought I’d share my story – hopefully giving you an idea of how to navigate your way through the job market in Melbourne. But before I get to what I learned while looking for a job here, I should emphasise on how you, as an international student, must reach out and grab opportunities in your university. It could be a club, a journal, a volunteer position – everything you do in uni counts.
Every university has its own career portal and resources that aren’t necessarily highlighted – you need to be looking for these. If you’re passionate about a subject or topic, this is the time to connect with like-minded people including peers and professors. And since we’re talking about connecting with people, I may as well add how important it is for every university student to have a LinkedIn profile. Keep your online CV updated, be part of discussions and explore industry trends. LinkedIn is not only a great way to stay connected with people you meet at university, but also a fabulous way to build your personal brand.
For international students looking for a job, I found this article by Jack Gaffney extremely helpful. Current University of Melbourne students can also take a look at my top 15 tips here. Click on the ‘resources’ section here and dive into a world of websites that will help you get started.
Getting a job in Melbourne after graduation
It’s no surprise that the number of international students in Australian universities is on the rise. Needless to say, there is an explosion in the number of graduate visas.
After I got my Temporary Graduate visa 485, I officially began my search for a job. Three months in, I finally got a position in the marketing team at a reputable US-based company. Here’s what I learned:
Networking, networking, networking
There’s a reason why this is the number one on my list. A great way to start networking is by getting involved during your good ol’ uni days. While university projects connect you to peers, internships and part-time jobs give you a chance to get to know your potential future employers better. At the end of the day, connections made through these routes make for much-needed quality references to give your future employer. Additionally, check out these tips on how you can prepare yourself while looking for work in Melbourne.
Every country has a different idea of what a CV should look like. I’ve literally edited my résumé a bajillion times since my time in Melbourne. After first adapting it to a friend’s CV, I went on to get tips from specific seminars held to guide students on how to optimize and design CVs better. Your CV is how you make your first impression, so make sure it’s a good one. Starting with stating your career purpose, recent employment history – make sure you highlight your achievements at uni or/and at internships.
Meet as many recruiters as possible
There are several recruitment companies in Melbourne that you should connect with. You can either try connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn, or directly apply to a job they’re seeking candidates for on their respective websites. Meeting them in person is a step closer to differentiating yourself from heaps of resumes they receive every day. Not just that, but recruiters also provide helpful tips on how you can make your CV better. A total win-win situation. Don’t forget to dress for success.
You got your first interview – now what?
One of the many amazing recruiters I met told me to take examples of my work to my interview with a potential employer. Isn’t it just a fantastic way to wow people with what you’ve been up to? A great way to showcase your passion, print out your best work and be equipped with examples when you’re being interviewed. Another great pointer is to ask your interviewers relevant questions towards the end of the interview. Not only does this help you get more information about the role you’re applying to, it’s a great way to show your enthusiasm as a candidate. Moreover, be honest about your work experience during the interview.
I cannot emphasise on how much your communication and professional skills matter. Coming from another country, note that people here in Australia deals with things differently. For instance, the time it takes to get a response on an email or getting a call from a job you applied to – while some people might ask you to get in touch in a few days, others can take months – make sure you don’t come across as pushy. Nobody likes that.
Your uni days are the perfect time to start building your personal brand. Although it takes a considerable amount of time for your brand to gain traction, it will definitely be worth it by the time you’re looking for a job.