As an international student in Australia, you can work up to 20 hours a week during semester and full-time during university holidays. Tamara Stacey, National Coordinator of ACU’s Student Jobs on Campus, shares the six steps to finding – and getting – a great part-time job.
- Find a job to apply for
The first step to finding a job is knowing where to look. Online job search websites like SEEK, Indeed and CareerOne can be a good place to start, or you might see customer service or hospitality jobs being advertised in retail shop or restaurant windows. And don’t forget to tell your friends you’re looking for work. When they hear about a job through their professional networks, hopefully they’ll think of you!
ACU also offers some student-specific employment opportunities through the careers section of UniHub and the Student Jobs on Campus initiative. This employment service can connect you with on-campus job opportunities that are flexible, pay well and can help you build important skills and experience that can prepare you for your future career.
“We take a holistic approach to the job search process by providing information and useful resources on job search techniques, applications and interviews,” says Tamara Stacey, National Coordinator of ACU Student Jobs on Campus.
- Get your resumé right
A resumé, also called a CV, is a short summary of your professional experience that shows potential employers why you’d be a good fit for the job. According to SEEK, a major employment website in Australia, your CV should be clear and easy to read. It should only contain information that’s relevant to the job that you’re applying for, and should always be written using correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. However, including a photo or personal details like your marital status, your religion, or even physical characteristics like height and weight, are considered unnecessary in Australia.
The single most important thing you can do is tweak your resumé every time you apply for a job. (You should do this for your cover letter to – see #3 below). The aim is to emphasise how your skills and experience relate to the advertised role.
“Having one resumé and one cover letter that you submit for every job you apply for isn’t going to work. You need to focus on what the employer is looking for and make sure you put those skills and that experience at the top of your resumé.” Tamara says. “Writing a good resumé takes time.”
- Write your selection criteria and cover letter
In addition to submitting a resumé, you might be asked to write selection criteria as part of your job application. Selection criteria is a set of questions or statements about your previous work experience and achievements – for example, ‘Experience working in a team’. To write your selection criteria, you will need to reply to each question or statement and give examples of your achievements.
“You must answer and address each selection criterion and provide some evidence if you can,” says Tamara.
“Don’t just say, ‘Yes, I have worked in a team.’ Instead, say ‘I have worked as a team on my group assignment where I collaborated with my teammates and we received a high distinction.’”
You should also include a cover letter with every application you submit. A cover letter is a single-page document that lets you introduce yourself to the employer and show them why you’re a good fit for the job. Top tip: make sure you address it to the person advertising the position.
- Nail the interview
Once you’ve submitted your application, an employer might call you for a phone interview or invite you to a face-to-face interview. If you receive a phone call, it’s important to make sure you’re somewhere quiet where you can concentrate on the conversation.
“If you’re somewhere, like on a train, where you’re distracted or it’s difficult for you to talk, it’s okay to say, ‘I’m just on a busy train at the moment. Is it possible for me to give you a call back in an hour or tomorrow?’” Tamara says.
If you’re invited to a face-to-face interview, it’s really important to make a good first impression – you should have tidy, sensible clothing (it doesn’t have to be expensive); neat hair; a strong handshake; and a warm smile. Take the time to re-read your job application before you go and make sure you have some examples (some from your original selection criteria plus a few extra) to give when you answer the interview questions.
“Have some examples ready to talk about in the interview, such as that time you delivered exceptional customer service and how it made a difference to the customer,” Tamara says.
- Ask for help
Finding a job can take a bit of work. If you need help, there’s a Career Development Service on every ACU campus where you can make an appointment to speak to one of our careers advisors. You can also submit questions via the Career Hub website – a careers advisor will respond within three business days.
“Our careers advisors can help our international students get their applications ready for the Australian market,” Tamara says.
*The Student Jobs on Campus Team works within the Career Development Service in the Office of Student Success.