Looking for a job in Melbourne? Here’s what I learned

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 emphasize 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. After three months of searching, I finally got a marketing position in an amazing company. Here’s what I learned:

  1. 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.

Photo by brittany gaiser on Unsplash



  1. How your résumé looks matters

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 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 at an internship.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Don’t rush

I cannot emphasize 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.

 

The X Factor – Personal Branding

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and even SnapChat are social media giants being used by individuals to connect with others, network and create their own image, ultimately, develop their own brand. Going back to how I got familiar with Personal Branding, when I was working in a startup’s Public Relations department, it was up to to me how we got out there – what we said, how we said it and what the company image looked like.  This was my first dive into Corporate Branding.

Within a short period of time, it was quite evident that creating a brand out of a healthcare organization was going to be relatively tougher than it is with others since the making of a health related brand requires the utmost level of human trust. This comes from ticking a bunch of checkboxes one of which being personal connection with the customer.

Paarul Chand, Editor, PRmoment India mentions the emerging significance of Personal Branding, “Among communication consultants, I am seeing a rising trend of professionals maintaining their own brands online. No longer are they content to be just behind the scenes coordinators. I often find such platforms useful sources of information about the world of PR. In a world where emotional connect matters as much as the sales connect, it is inevitable that the personality of the person doing the selling will come into play.”

Do you have what it takes?

Saurabh Uboweja, Founder, CEO and Chief Brand Strategist, Brands of Desire recently launched a first-of-its-kind online learning platform called Branding Institute to educate entrepreneurs, leaders and managers who want to build dominant organizations using the power of branding. He said, “There are many areas where a person might excel but the struggle remains to take the call and choose one. This is because being a jack-of-all-trades is the biggest downside for someone building a personal brand. When a person does set his mind to develop his brand around a specific domain, it should be something that comes natural to him – there’s absolutely no beating around the bush.”

Why Personal Branding?

People trust brands because they are brands.

But foremost, people trust people.

According to a survey conducted by a New York City based social media agency called Brandfog, CEOs who are active on social media are perceived as better leaders who can build better connections which employees, customers and investors.

Personal branding is synonymous with reputation and that’s what makes it so powerful.

The idea is to customize the product or service according to the company brand.  Taking a brand like Facebook, where Sheryl Sandberg oversees human resources, public policy, and communications among other departments, her personal branding revolves around women empowerment – further making use of her position to raise the issue of equal pay at workplace. This is a clear case where personal branding can be seen influencing the existing face of company to a more gender-friendly brand.

Paarul further adds, “With the entry of the start-up culture in India has come the concept of personal branding that helps sell a product, a service, an organisation. It’s hard to separate the personalities of co-founders of organisations such as FlipKart, SnapDeal from the organisations themselves. Internationally, too, you can see this in the impact storied entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk have on their brands like Telsa. It’s not surprising then that this is percolating into the non-start up world as well.  When it goes well you have brands such as No Nasties (where the personal commitment of the founders towards helping cotton farmers is tied strongly with the brand’s value proposition), Ratan Tata (whose personal integrity has a strong impact on the trust with which Tata companies are perceived) and Raghuram Rajan (whose personal credibility lent so much to RBIs policies). When it goes wrong you have a Rahul Yadav (Housing.com), a Donald Trump (who is doing incalculable damage to the idea of American democracy).”

Personal branding is subtle yet the results are extraordinary.

A brand is created over timeThere’s a lot of ground work that goes on to bring the focus on the brand:

  • Developing and working around a real-time calendar on industry news and trends;
  • Creating content around researched keywords relevant to anything from personal experiences, country and global concerns;
  • Persistent efforts and long-term commitment to these tasks with the help of social media platforms increase readership among the target audience, which facilitates customer loyalty and indirectly impact company website SEO and ultimately revenue.

 

When compared to corporate branding, personal branding is rather unpredictable.

Does it matter how many times a founder publishes an article on LinkedIn in a week? The answer is no. Prior planning is not instrumental, in fact impromptu ideas are more than welcome. In conclusion, personal branding is unpredictable especially since it’s based on how a person interacts with another.

No medium is the right medium.

Some medium might work well for one, while another medium may work well for someone else. A brand that comes to mind – Shradha Sharma. After the launch of YourStory, she came out as the real storyteller. Through self-written articles she shares on LinkedIn, she is honest, inspiring and down-to-earth.  She is active on all social media giants, especially Twitter where she has over 52K loyal followers. She is the perfect example of how Personal Branding aids Company Branding. Not that YourStory needs it (116K followers) but the fact that the founder is so vocal and focused on what she aims to achieve with her company is what makes it so appealing.

More and more influencers from all over the globe are focusing on developing themselves as a brand. While corporate branding is indispensable, Personal Branding is key in helping a person stand out in a sea of people and emerge as an expert in his domain. But does the increasing importance of personal branding mean that one day it might overtake the significance of corporate branding? Only time will tell.

 

Originally posted on Inc42 media.