My Journey as an International Student
and Part-Time Professional

By Kriti Garg

My journey in the Land Down Under has been everything I did not imagine. Only because it has been so much better!

I relocated to Brisbane not so long ago, in July 2019. To say that since then, my Aussie experience has been anything like I imagined would be an outright lie. I mean other than the beautiful beaches that I saw and the kangaroo, nothing was what I expected.
Truth be told, I was sure I was going to pick up a job as a Barista in a café, and if I was lucky get a referral to a coveted international student job at a legal rate in Coles or Woolworths. Alas! I have to say the number of times Coles has rejected my application is a number I shall never disclose (must remember to send them a thank you note).
Fast forward to my second month in Australia, I realised the utopian dream of getting my first job in Australia – as a marketing and administrative assistant. A professional role! Yay!

Believe it or not, I secured my professional experiences as a result of reaching out proactively to the hiring manager and showcasing the skills I have and how they align with their business.

Here are the top 6 things that I believe make all job seekers more employable:

Volunteer your time

Australian workplaces value volunteering. You can learn a lot of skills that help in the professional workplace by volunteering your time.  The small things that you learn, along with understanding business models will help you see the bigger picture. I volunteered in a project capacity, as opposed to an event-based role. This experience gave me an understanding of the office culture in Australia and I quickly learned how to fit into a completely different environment to what I had worked in previously.

Volunteering is a good experience for everyone, it enlarges your network and allows for some space to make mistakes (that you would rather not make in a paid job).

Network through your network

I found most of my professional experiences by asking around and meeting people, rather than seeing a job ad and applying. We all have a love and hate relationship with Seek right?

Australian workplaces are friendly and tend to be open to feedback. It’s always a good idea to seek meetings with supervisors or professors and ask them ways in which they could connect you with industry. Use your existing connections to make new connections and you can land the perfect job much faster than any online job board.

Make full use of your University resources

Something that most students ignore is the job portals, career counsellors, resume help and employment services that their University offers. Most University’s in Australia offer a multitude of services to ensure their graduates are employable, they just expect you to make the effort to register for them. If you are in a field where you think Excel skills are important, take that extra training via your library and ensure you upskill yourself. With COVID most of them are now available online, so you can access them when it suits your schedule.

Show your vision

Recruiters and leaders can catch a lie on the fly. Do not overhype your previous experiences, be honest and realistic about your achievements. If you are new to the job market, showcasing your previous volunteer or academic achievements, along with your vision and drive for your future will hold value in your interviews.

Generally, when someone hires a new employee, they have their own requirements. When you are talking to them about your future goals remember to put context like longer term time frames or “before I get to that I need to learn/study this”. That way you are not giving the impression of the job you are interviewing for as being a short-term stepping-stone.

Pivot when needed

Success spelled backwards is change…. Well no, but you get what I mean right? No one ever thought they would work from home for a whole year in 2020. But it worked out well in more cases than not.

It really pays to have an open mind. Say YES! to opportunities and support your employer when they need you. This will not only build trust but, you also demonstrate one of the most highly demanded professional traits…. integrity. When you accept a challenge or raise your hand for an additional task your initiative and desire to contribute will be noticed.

Be inclusive

Finally, with different backgrounds and nationalities, it’s easy to mingle with those who seem like you. Australia is a multicultural society with 1 in 4 born overseas, and it pays off to meet and chat with people from all backgrounds. Something that has helped me ask the right questions is watching ABC’s You Can’t Ask That and try and remove stereotypes from my own head.

Remember to be respectful to other cultures, gender and sexual preferences as well as people with diverse needs at all times. This is also an amazing soft skill showcasing emotional intelligence that will enable your professional relationships.

Implement these tips!

Well, not to harp my own horn, but I am sure following the above tips will help you land a perfect job. To summarise, be yourself and ensure that you are not siloed into the ‘expected’ job role for your degree, program or international student status. You just need to find the right role and run for it.

Also remember to enjoy the beaches, the hinterland, the barbies and the hot sunny days whilst you’re searching for the perfect job as well. Those are the things that you will remember and take back any day.

To end this blog, I need to thank my mentors. You know who you are and how much I appreciate everything that you do for me!


About Kriti Garg

Along with pursuing her Masters in Strategic Communication at The University of Queensland, Kriti is a part-time professional with a wide variety of professional experiences.

She joined Recruitment Central in 2019 where she has been an integral part of the marketing team.

Connect with Kriti on LinkedIn!


Readers also enjoyed: 

Looking for tools to help with leadership?

We have lots of resources and tool to make you a better manager. Click below to see more.