Jobseeking in Australia as an International Student
Many international students plan to work in Australia after graduation. Some of them succeed, some of them fail. After all, jobseeking is a challenging task in and of itself. Jobseeking in a foreign country as an international student? The challenge just doubled in size. But don’t let that discourage you. Yes, it can be difficult, but it’s absolutely doable.
Author: Aushaf Widisto
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
Why would you want to work in Australia?
Here are some common reasons why internationals might consider settling down in Australia:
Australia’s economy is the 13th largest in the world, with the 10th highest per capita income.
Plenty of job opportunities
As of 2021, Australia’s unemployment rate is merely 6.4% which is very low. There is a constant need for a specialized and skilled workforce so there’s always plenty of job opportunities, which are facilitated through programs such as SkillSelect.
Relatively higher pay
Workers in Australia receive a higher minimum wage than most countries.
Better quality of life
In the 2020 OECD Better Life Index, Australia ranked 2nd globally, with high scores on all the featured variables (e.g. housing, education, health). This essentially means you’ll have a higher chance to have a good quality of life.
Convinced already? Don’t lock your options just yet! As they say, nothing worth having comes easy—you have a lot of work to do.
What should you consider and prepare?
There are some important things you have to consider and prepare for before starting your career in Australia. We’ll go through the big ones here.
Visa and other supporting documents
First and foremost, you must secure a visa (obviously!). This is an extremely important, non-negotiable part of the jobseeking process. If you don’t have a valid visa, you’re not even allowed to apply for jobs, so better take care of it ASAP.
There are several visa options you can apply for to get working rights in Australia. If you’re already holding a Student Visa (subclass 500) right now, then you know you’re allowed to work while you study, although the timeslot is limited (40 hours per fortnight). To work full-time after graduation, you need to apply for a new visa, such as the Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485). There are more options, but we’ll discuss them in another article.
Other than a visa, you might also need other supporting documents depending on the type of job you’re applying for, such as:
- TFN (Tax File Number)
- ABN (Australian Business Number)
- National Police Check
- Working with Children Check
- Food Handling Certificate
- RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol)
Sounds complicated? It can be, but there’s plenty of information available online, many of which we have linked in this article to make it easier for you to navigate.
Competence + network
To obtain a job, of course, you must be a competent worker. More specifically, you need to be proficient in highly-valued skills. You can see a list of high-demand skills in Australia in the Skilled Occupation List. Some examples include:
- Civil Engineer
- General Practitioner
- Management Consultant
- Social Worker
- Software Developer
- …and many more
If your university major is listed there, then you’re off for a good start. If it isn’t, don’t fret! Uni isn’t the only way you can obtain qualifications.
Start researching! Are there any courses you can take? Any internship or volunteer work you can apply for? Build your resume and portfolio to prove your expertise.
To open more doors, make sure to build your professional network in Australia. After all, some good job opportunities are not advertised publicly. Even today, word-of-mouth still goes a long way in the professional landscape.
Overwhelmed? That’s totally okay, you know. While you may face some very real pressure, being an international student in Australia is not without its advantages.
Perks of being an international student
Being a foreigner in Australia, you might have some doubts about your employability.
Maybe you’re not confident with your English speaking skills, or worried whether your skills will be appreciated in the Australian job market. But if you shift your perspective, you actually have a lot of advantages as an international student, for example:
You’ve had an international education
As an international student, your university curriculum is designed to be applicable in an international context. This gives you an edge in the global job market, including Australia.
Independence, resourcefulness, and adaptability
Studying in a foreign country implies at least three qualities: 1) you’re independent enough to manage your life, 2) you’re able to optimise what resources you have, and 3) you have high adaptability to new cultures and environments.
If you’re not a native English speaker, it means you’re fluent in another language—and that’s certainly a plus! It’s even better if you speak a third or a fourth language.
The Australian workplace is highly multicultural, so if you can demonstrate an ability to work in a culturally-diverse team, then you’ll be highly sought after. As an international student, this should already be second nature to you.
Unique life experiences and perspective
With your unique background, you can bring a fresh perspective to the Australian workplace. Perhaps a perspective they didn’t know they needed.
We’ve all been dealt different hands, but if you can play your card right, you can win any game! What you see as a flaw might instead work in your favor. With the right guidance, you’re golden. And iDibs is here to provide that guidance.
Ready to kickstart your career?
As an international student, finding good jobs in Australia can be really challenging, but that’s exactly why it’s worth it. The greater the challenge, the more fulfilled you’ll feel after accomplishing it. And you can accomplish it.
With all resources you have, you can definitely tackle this challenge by yourself. However, should you ever need any help, remember that iDibs is only a click away.