When I came to Australia, I did not plan to stay after graduation. But five years later, here I am. In the time that I have been in Melbourne, several prospective students planning to come to Australia for higher studies are connecting with me via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. They all have similar questions about the job market in Australia – whether they can work part-time while studying and whether graduates are able to land a job in their respective fields.
As simple as these questions sound, the answer isn’t as straight. Once you find yourself in a foreign country, you must be open to change. And by that I mean, the professional nuances you get used to in your past career experiences become rather irrelevant and it is crucial to be able to learn the local (soft and hard) skills to be able to successfully adapt.
I’ve put together some important advice I want to share after having worked in Australia for over three years. Let me know if you have any specific questions in the comments section below and I’ll be happy to answer them.
1. Building your brand
Being a massive fan of personal branding, this one is my number 1 advice for students. Everyone is unique and has something special to offer – even for us marketers, some of us could be interested in paid advertising and others on mastering social media strategies. Having enrolled into your master’s course gives you the opportunity to reinvent yourself, find out what you’re most passionate about and build your authority on it. What does that mean? It doesn’t matter what your subject is – at university (unwillingly or willingly) you will dive into topics and areas of discussion that intrigue or might even have you raise questions. This is a great opportunity to further discuss these questions or opinions with your network on LinkedIn.
Pro tip: A great way to engage with your broader network is to rework your assignments (make them simpler to follow for the average person) and publish them as articles on LinkedIn (here’s an example). These are great ways to engage with your industry and build your brand over time on LinkedIn. So, by the time you’re done with university, the people you’re connected with on LinkedIn already know who you are, what your area of interest is and have a sense of your expertise.
Are you anxious about applying to jobs in Melbourne? Here’s what I learned.
2. Networking… and what that really means
Personally speaking I’ve found it useful to add recruiters in my industry as connections on LinkedIn. In fact, connecting to the HR of a certain company led to me landing a paid internship! Mind you, this isn’t a random click of the button “invite” and job done. When you send an invite, send a one-liner expressing your interest to be part of their professional network. Quote Reaching out (the right way) is extremely important.
This is a topic of debate along LinkedIn users – to add people you haven’t actually met or not. For me, it’s helped adding subject matter experts and professionals working in my industry, follow their work and opinions about the latest marketing trends.
Pro tip: It only makes sense to start connecting with people on LinkedIn once your profile is complete. This includes a quality professional profile picture, a detailed bio of your employment history, recommendations, and so on.
3. Unlocking ‘intentional learning’
A growth mindset is extremely vital to evolve – personally or professionally. This article explains everything you need to know about intentional learning. It will take you through how learning itself is a skill and what you can do to enhance this skill.
”Five best-practice behaviors help intentional learners get the most out of their experiences: setting goals, protecting time for learning, actively seeking feedback, conducting deliberate practice, and reflecting to evaluate yourself and determine your progress.”– McKinsey Quarterly
4. Create something that helps you stand out
One of my top pieces of advice to students is to create a side project – whether it’s a website, a vlog or even a Facebook page, it’s important to have that something extra to make yourself stand out when you’re in an interview. For me, it was @Humansofunimelb, a side project I created to curate student stories. Find that something special you like and can potentially add to your portfolio.