What skills are employers looking for and how can you get them? Trinity College Foundation Studies students Janice Halim, Jennifer Basuki and Frank Wang investigate.
Calvin Handoko is a 19 year old Indonesian in pursuit of a Diploma in Business at Monash College. He has been living and studying in Melbourne since October 2016.
Although Calvin intends to return to Indonesia to help grow and sustain his family business upon the completion of his overseas education, he hopes that he would be able to accrue plenty of work experience and build as many connections as he can before going home and helping his family.
In order to do so, Calvin would need to start thinking about what he can do now or in the near future to make himself more employable later in life.
Every year, students graduate with hopes of landing a job related to their degrees but many find that completing their degree doesn’t mean they have all the skills and basic competencies needed in order for an employer to hire them.
So what can students like Calvin do to increase their chances of getting a job in Australia?
Ross Montalti is currently the co-owner of MontaRosi and VoTech, director at Kalenti Solutions and Visette, and a mentor at the University of Melbourne. He was also the former national manager of Telecom Australia, better known now as Telstra. He says the qualities he looks for in prospective employees are open-mindedness, the ability to communicate well and the ability to use and manage time efficiently.
When asked what he couldn’t stand in a potential employee, Mr Montalti felt that if someone was “not flexible or open to changes”, he would have a hard time working with them.
To gain some of these skills, Trinity Careers & Alumni Coordinators Vivian Chan and Sarah Ansell advise students seek out volunteer opportunities in order to refine or acquire new skills. This includes securing an internship whether through their course or of their own volition.
On internships, Sarah says students “need to be actively networking [and] making contacts within the industry”.
Vivian meanwhile acknowledges that while “[internship] opportunities are hard to come by”, volunteer work is “a fantastic way of getting experience” as students can learn to skills in teamwork, negotiation and conflict resolution.
For recent graduates or students interviewing for a potential job or internship, Vivian and Sarah also recommend students do all they can to prepare, including filming yourself.
“By filming yourself, you can see how you are, whether you do a lot of ‘um’s, that sort of thing. Sometimes your body language also tells them what kind of person you are, whether or not you appear to be confident,” Vivian said.
“It also really helps to think about potential questions beforehand because you don’t want to be a situation where you’re in an interview and the interviewer asks you a question you haven’t prepared for,” Sarah added.
Though the job market is competitive with more and more students emerging from university with fresh degrees each year, having a positive attitude will inevitably help students find a place for themselves after university.
As long as students don’t lose hope and don’t give up, there will always be ways for students to gain new skills and meet new people to help them inch one step closer to landing the job they want.
This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.