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How to get a job in Australia as an international student

By Jess 02 Dec 2019

My dream of studying overseas was not only to receive a world-class education in Australia, but to also experience its culture and lifestyle. Being able to work while studying is a great benefit to international students, so I decided to explore work opportunities within the university and local community. During the process of looking for a job, I learnt so much about job hunting. Here’s a recollection of my journey to employment in Australia, as well as some tips:

Before I started any job applications, I had to check my right to work in Australia. You can find this information on your visa details under ‘work entitlements’.

1. Resume sorted

After confirming my right to work, I then began to prepare a clear and easy-to-read resume and cover letter. I wanted to make sure that these were the best they could be, so I submitted my documents to USQ’s Resume and Cover Letter Advice Service for their qualified team to check them through. I found the resume service very helpful. They took me through some simple things, such as the structure of a resume and how to best tweak the layout to make it more professional. They also advised me to reorder some of my points to emphasise key skills appropriate to the job I was applying for.

2. Finding opportunities

Now armed with a great resume and cover letter, I then signed up for job alerts. When looking for a job while studying, I mainly looked for flexibility. I needed a job that was able to work within the work hour limitations of my visa and also accommodate my practical placements each semester. So I focused my search on casual jobs where I could choose the days that I work. I noticed that USQ promoted employment opportunities for students through the access webpage where I could view vacancies and sign up for job alerts. I also looked at other Australian job websites such as,, and

3. Waiting game

Once I had applied for a few jobs, I found that it took a while to hear back from them (or I heard nothing at all!), which I found a bit discouraging. So to keep myself motivated, I also read of some of USQ’s other resources, such as Social Hub blog posts about resumes, and I also found some other helpful information on USQ’s Career Development webpage.

4. Networking

In the meantime I networked, networked, networked! I pestered all my friends to see if they knew of any vacancies – anywhere! I asked around at my sports games and I also made an appointment with USQ’s Careers and Employability Team to get more support for my job hunt.

Networking can sometimes be awkward. It can be hard to make conversations flow naturally. I would try and break the ice first, rather than diving straight into a work-related conversation. It’s always nice to ask someone how they are, or how their week has been. Something as simple as that can help to ease the nerves and build familiarity. Networking can reveal a great surprise! If you are talking to someone in an industry completely unrelated to what you want to do, chances are they may know someone, who knows someone, who has a connection. My motto was to see each conversation as an opportunity, whether it was produced fruit or just provided experience.

After bringing all these aspects together and through trial and error, I finally landed an interview! I was so nervous, but I found a great resource called ‘Big Interview’ through the USQ Recruitment Support webpage. After watching a few of these videos, I felt much more prepared to tackle my interview. And it was a success! My first job in Australia was at USQ as a Student Ambassador. This was a great opportunity for me to meet other students, get more involved in the university, and get paid!

Although finding a job did not happen instantly, I learnt that this process did not have to be so daunting and was certainly not one I had to do on my own. With USQ, I had all the support I needed to get on the right track to land my first job in Australia. Through all of these experiences, I also felt better equipped to go through the whole process again when applying for a full-time job after graduation. The process was still daunting, but it was so much easier doing it with the resources and experience I had gained previously.

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