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Graduates decide to pursue a higher qualification for a variety of reasons; some for a better paying job, some to develop skills for a greater management role and for some others, it is an exercise to just get a job. But the underlying factor for all reasoning is some sort of progression in career or in life and the most important attribute to make it happen, the aspiration to succeed. However, aspiration alone does not guarantee success. Although, academic skills/grades do help in a job interview but the fundamental issue really is how does one get to an interview stage?
Purely speaking from my experience of being through all these stages not too long ago, I can safely say that one thing that gets you there is networking!
Upon graduation, I had religiously applied for every single job advertised on seek.com.au and all other job search sites for a good six months but my resume didn't get through to the next stage of the recruitment process. In the seventh month, I finally made a break through and got my first job offer for the position of a Corporate Real Estate & Infrastructure Manager (Australia and New Zealand) for one of the largest blue chip client of a fortune 500 real estate company. And I gladly accepted! My job includes working very closely with the corporate leadership team for strategic real estate planning, managing day-to-day infrastructure operations, workspace management, sustainability, projects, change management and leadership.
It was only through my networking initiatives that I landed this job. I did not have PR nor did I have relevant local work experience but what I did have was a sound cultural understanding, communication and presentation skills that I had developed before and after graduation from the Deakin Business School. By 'networking' I don't just mean collecting business cards of every potential employer you come across and email them your resume the following day. It should rather be a mutually engaging experience, an experience that generates enough interest in the mind of the potential employer to see how you could add value to their organisation or team.
I would recommend that all international students spend as much time as possible, while at uni, developing essential communication, presentation, inter-personal, and most importantly cultural skills, on top of your academic studies. To fully benefit from you studying experience as an international student, it is imperative that you allow yourself the opportunity to interact with the international and Australian student cohort and participate in as many self-development activities as possible. These can be public speaking / presentation programs like Toastmasters or forums like the Deakin Business School Society (DBSS) to develop leadership and organisational skills.
Cultural understanding and appreciation go a long way in building the necessary platform to present your skills and qualification to a prospective Australian employer. Organisations are increasingly looking for a 'cultural fit' and it forms a significant criterion in the selection process as well. Employers are out there and are continuously looking for competent employees who are skilled, not just academically but also culturally. Now is the time to stand out, so get involved, engage and realise your true potential. Just remember, the organisations need you as much as you need them but the essential question here is that: are you up to the challenge?