Ahh, the joy of graduation. The deed is done, the journey is over, it is a time of celebration, a moment to commemorate and a memory to forever cherish. At least, it is for the first few days after your graduation. Soon, the dread kicks in – now that you are a full-fledged adult, you are technically supposed to look after yourself and your parents may kick you out sooner than you expect. Should you continue with your study and pay the exorbitant tuition fee or do you wish to get out there and plunge yourself into the competitive world of adulthood? Both do not seem too tempting but amidst the conflict of your different future paths, some of you may choose to try your luck with the working world – and this is where it gets interesting!
If there is a label given to the vast majority of fresh graduates in the eyes of employers, it will be the huge tag that says “ZERO EXPERIENCE”. For international students, this label only gets worse. Not only are you supposed to deal with the fact that 90% of the jobs available are reserved for Australian PR and citizen, you will also have to live with the fact that your money is dwindling by the day with no one to help you in a foreign land. That is why landing that first crucial job becomes ever so important. With that said, here are some tips to help you land your first job in an increasingly competitive Australia job market:
Contact a recruitment agency
This idea seems to elude many fresh graduates. Contacting a recruitment agent will reserve you a front row seat of the job market whenever they find a suitable match for you. Agencies such as Hays, Indeed, Seek and Gradconnection are all good places to start uploading your resume or to ring for assistance. While it is not 100% foolproof, your focus here is to get someone else out there to do the job search homework for you – so why not call in the experts for help?
Internship to full time job pathway
Securing your first job does not have to be a direct entry into a full-time job. Rome is not built in a day – similarly, a strong trust cannot be forged by simply sending in your resume. However, if you are able to show them your dedication and enthusiasm, they may change their mind. That is why, it may be worthwhile to first start with an internship before progressing into a full-time position. It is all about playing your cards right, after all.
Leverage a community
The number of jobs being advertised on the job board is but a fraction of the entire market vacancy. By joining a community, not only will you be able to shake off the unemployment anxiety, you will also get the next best thing – word of mouth. Tell them that you are open for hire and ask them to refer you should they know anyone who is looking for assistance or a full-time employee. Never underestimate the power of referral – that is simply marketing 101!
Make use of all your available channel and network
LinkedIn profile, Facebook, networking associate, that business card from 2 years ago – they are all good places to start searching and asking for an opening. Does this make you look desperate, you ask? Maybe. However, desperation can go much worse than simply trying to maintain your ego. Before you run out of cash and live yourself off potato chips, water and instant noodles, it is better to go for broke and try everything. After all, when you have hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up!
You know yourself best so be sure to sell and advertise your good points. Feel the fury of not being given a chance, nourish the ambition boiling from your idle soul and find solace in ascertaining your abilities and marketable skills. Cold calls, follow-up emails and part time works are all good places to hunt for your future job. If you are concerned about being annoying and obnoxious in the eyes of others, be more concerned about the fact that you are competing in an ever saturated job market. It is time to give it your all!
The journey to securing your first job does not have to be a wasteful one. Take as long as you need, do everything you need to do and strike with confidence. After all, the pain of regret is more painful than the pain of failure. It is better to recall and laugh at your failure than to wonder on what could be had you taken the chance.
Text: Edward Tanoto
Photo: Various sources