THE question “Do you intend to stay on after your studies?” is bound to pop up at some point in your time overseas. Eunice Seow shares how she found herself a job she loved here in Australia.
Thinking of working in Australia after your studies?
As international students in Australia, the mandate that most of us have is to study, experience living independently overseas, gain some cultural experience, obtain our qualifications and then head home. However, at some point during your time overseas, the question “do you intend to stay on after your studies” is bound to come up in conversation.
Whether or not you intend to stay, it is always good to get as much out of your time overseas – even if you don’t end up working in Australia.
Having undergone the process, I thought I’d share my personal experience on how I ended up working in a job I love, which will hopefully help you land that dream job.
This is probably not new to many of us, but I can’t emphasise enough the importance of internships when it comes to getting that first job. Regardless of whether this is part of your curriculum at university, it is always good to gain “real-world” experience to get an understanding of what is expected in an entry-level job. Not only does it say to the employer that you have an idea of what the job involves, it can sometimes lead to permanent employment given the right time and opportunity – which I had the good fortune of experiencing.
While this might not pan out the same way for everyone, a successful internship still leaves you with the experience, referees for your next job interview and potential referrals to other employers that are looking to hire.
Actively participate at university
Some people do it for passion, some do it to enhance their resumes. Whatever your motivation is, there is nothing to lose but everything to gain by getting involved in the various clubs or societies available at uni. There are many ways to get involved with a club/society of interest, which could benefit you in unexpected ways when you apply for that first job.
At uni, I participated in the Singapore Students Association, undertaking a public relations capacity. This was my field of study and not only was it good experience for me to apply my knowledge, it was a good way to demonstrate to employers in Australia that you are proactive in getting involved in extra-curricular activities and have a life outside of uni.
While academic excellence is important, it is often not the only thing Australian employers look for. Extra-curricular and volunteer activities are often viewed upon favourably as well.
Attend industry events
Look for the industry body of your field of study and participate at their events. Being keen on getting into the PR industry, I often attended events held by the PR industry body in Australia. Not only do you benefit by learning about the latest that is happening in the industry, it is also a great networking opportunity. The people you meet there are exactly the kind of contacts you want to be making, especially when you are an international student who may not have a large network in Melbourne.
Keep in touch with your lecturers
Your lecturers are constantly in touch with people within the industry. Often, lecturers get approached by employers looking to hire fresh graduates. Keeping in touch with your lecturer (this is of course based on the assumption that you’ve been attending classes!) means you are more likely to come to mind when they are thinking of putting forth potential candidates. It also provides leads on job opportunities that are sometimes kept within personal networks and not advertised.
While this was not something that directly helped in my pursuit for a job, it is definitely an effective way and one that has helped many of my peers – and hopefully will help you too!
Eunice Seow is a Senior Account Executive at Edelman.