How to Get a Graduate Job in Australia

This article is sponsored by CQUniversity

After studying hard and completing your studies, it’s time to find your first job as a graduate. We’ve put together a simple guide to help international students understand how to find a graduate job in Australia. With this information, you’ll ensure that you’re set up for success from the outset of your career.

What type of jobs are there for graduates?

There are several ways to start your career as a new graduate. If you don’t have a lot of experience, it may be worth starting with unpaid or paid internships, work experience opportunities and entry level positions at organisations you’d like to work with.

Internships are great way to make valuable contacts, grow your professional network and learn on the job. There are both unpaid and paid internships, but bear in mind that paid internship positions can be highly competitive. Unpaid internships still offer you an excellent opportunity to gain valuable professional experience to add to your CV. Search for these types of opportunities through your university careers department, online through job-hunting sites, and directly via company websites.

For work experience opportunities, it’s a good idea to approach the employer directly or find a contact who works somewhere you’d like to work in the future. You should aim to build a genuine, mutually beneficial relationship with them, in the hope you might be able to work with them or their organisation in the future. This is a long-term approach, so it’s wise to start before you graduate. Contacts like this can be invaluable as mentors while you study, as well as for future networking, so put in the time and find out what you can do for them in return.

Entry level positions are jobs that require little to no professional work experience. These positions tend to open doors to more senior work-related opportunities over time. You can apply for entry level positions online, through alumni contacts and sites, and through networking. Research the job you’re applying for and focus on how your studies match the job criteria. Assess what skills you could bring to the role that other candidates might not be able to offer and be sure to address these in your application. After submitting your application, follow up for a little extra feedback and to continuously demonstrate a genuine interest in the role. Even if you aren’t successful in getting the job you initially applied for, you might receive some helpful advice for your next application.

What do employers look for in a graduate?

Graduate job criteria will generally focus on the studies you have completed, what grades you achieved as well as other extra-curricular activities, clubs or associations that you were involved in. Most organisations are looking for well-rounded candidates who can contribute to their workforce, solve problems, take initiative, work independently and fill missing skill sets in their current teams.

Make sure you look at your skills, qualifications and previous experiences to demonstrate these qualities to future employers. To address the criteria, use recent examples of how you have applied your skills and drawn from previous experience even if these weren’t directly work-related. Perhaps you solved a problem while volunteering, showed leadership at your university society or demonstrated teamwork at your sports club. All these real-life examples add weight to your application and offer something valuable to potential employers. You can find some more tips from a career experts on how to make yourself more employable as a graduate here.

What visas are available for graduates?

Before applying for jobs, you must ensure that you have the correct visa that will allow you to work and live in Australia after completing your studies. The Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) will let you continue to live and work in Australia temporarily following your degree. The duration of your visa will depend on your personal and educational circumstances.

What are the basic steps to getting a graduate job?

To find a graduate job, you can start as soon as you enrol with your education provider. Most institutions, including TAFE and universities, have an annual career fair where you can meet with potential employers. If they don’t host their own career fair, your school will be able to direct you to external expos and/or career fairs. These events allow you to talk to employers and find out if they run graduate training or employment programs. If they do, you can ask what the entry requirements are for these opportunities to give yourself a competitive edge early on.

Once you’ve found a job to apply for, you’ll need to prepare a CV that details the relevant subjects you’ve studied and your previous experience. You will also need to write a covering letter addressing the job criteria and why you would be a good fit for the role. Lastly, you must supply any additional supporting documentation the job description requires (e.g. writing samples, design portfolio, academic references).

Usually, the job criteria will specify how to send the employer your application. Most companies now run this process via their website or an online application portal. You might be sent confirmation of your application. If your application is unsuccessful, you may receive a note to confirm this. However, this is not likely if the employer received a large volume of applications for the position.

You can still follow up on your application for feedback, which is a good habit to maintain. Try your best to not be offended if you don’t receive a reply. Organisations are usually very busy and they simply may not have the time.

If your application is successful, you’ll be asked to attend the next round of applications. This could be submitting further details, completing a given task in a specific time frame or attending interviews. The company will usually let you know if you weren’t successful in any of these further rounds of the application process.

If you are the successful candidate, congratulations! You got the job! Now you just have to continue to impress the employer and embrace the opportunities that come your way. Well done!

Which universities will help me get a job?

A strong return on investment is not just important, but it’s what you deserve from an Australian degree. Central Queensland University (CQUniversity) has been ranked in the top five universities for starting salaries and employability in the Good Universities Guide 2021 for undergraduates. ComparED data shows CQU postgraduate alumni experience positive career outcomes, earning 17% more than the national average, with median salaries for full-time employees at $97,300 when the current average is $83,500 within four months of graduation.

Read more about CQUniversity and how they can help you here.