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Graduate Student Association presents

An online booklet dedicated to help international students in navigating the Australian job market and launching their careers in Australia

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Welcome to GSA Pro A note from Graduate Student Association

GSA Pro is our industry panel series which provides students an opportunity to learn about various topics from industry professionals. Historically, this series has covered a wide range of themes. These range from developmental topics such as ‘How to score a successful interview’ to industry-specific job market insights in Finance & Accounting and Technology industries. Given the unprecedented events brought about by the COVID19 situation, we unfortunately could not go forward with GSA Pro: International Student Experience as an in-person event. As we remain determined in providing international students with great insights on navigating the Australian job market, we decided to bring GSA Pro to you despite the circumstances. We hope you learn a great deal from our industry panel and get to apply their advice to your own professional journeys. All the best! GSA UNSW 2020

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" Redefine your international student experience" Are you an international student who wants to establish a career in Australia but is finding the process daunting and challenging? Are you driven to land a job in Australia but just don’t know where to start? You’re in luck – this GSA Pro: International Student Experience online booklet is made just for you. This booklet serves to provide international students with an understanding of how to maximise your time and experience while in Australia and how to carve the right pathways towards a successful career. Learn from established professionals who were previously international students as they recount their experiences and learnings from transitioning from their home countries and cultures to launching their professional careers in Australia. Read on and be inspired to take your international student experience further!

GSA UNSW 2020

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CONTRIBUTORS Alice Thachasongtham Data Analytics Auditor, ING Australia Previously: Tax Technology Consultant, PwC; Graduate Data Analytics Consultant, Satori Group; Data Analyst Intern (Internal Audit), HCF Australia Australian Education: Master of Commerce, University of Sydney (2016-2018)

Patty Jintanaroj Founder, ImpacU Previously: User Experience Designer, Cyrius Media Group Pty Ltd; Client Engagement Specialist, Winc Australia Australian Education: Bachelor of Design Computing, University of Sydney (2013-2015)

Amit Ranjitkar CEO, IntroCept | Agentcis Previously: Tax Accountant, Perpetual Limited; Business Development Manager, Visa Experts Australia Australian Education: Master of Professional Accounting, Curtin University (2008-2010)

Anny Chan Senior Consultant, PwC Co-Founder, China Entrepreneurship Network Sydney (CENS) Previously: Policy Research Assistant, OECD; Financial Analyst, Amazon Australian Education: Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws, University of Sydney (2012-2017)

GSA UNSW 2020

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Alice Thachasongtham

Data Analytics Auditor, ING Australia

GSA UNSW 2020

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Alice Thachasongtham Data Analytics Auditor ING Australia

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

How difficult was it for you to find a job in Australia after you graduated? I’m not gonna lie, IT WAS HARD. Good news is once you manage to get one, anything after won’t be too hard anymore. Fun fact, I applied for about 250 roles before I landed my first job. If you apply as many and still no luck, please remember you are not alone!

What advice do you have for current international students on how to approach their job search? Confidence: A lot of international students think they have no chance to successfully squeeze into leading corporates because of their English. I would say being able to communicate fluently is important but it is NOT EVERYTHING. In the end any skills including language can be improved over time but you need to believe that you can. Naturally, people want to work with someone who has and can demonstrate a can-do attitude. Good Network: Knowing the right person is like an open door, not only that the person can become your referee but you may also be able to learn from them what the industry you want to work in is like. With all the insights you have, you can easily be another step ahead of your counterparts. Growth Mindset: Being able to keep your eye out for any opportunity that will help you grow is a musthave quality. For doing so you will be able to catch up with Australian job market and skills they are after. It is also important to wave goodbye to self-blame even if you fail in the interviews or whatnot. The quicker you can bounce back up the more you get done and achieve. Right Resources: Apart from knowing ‘who’ you need to reach out to, you may need to know ‘how’ to job hunt effectively as well. That includes How to make the best use of Job Applications/Platform, How to refine your CV, How to rock an interview, How to present yourself online (e.g. Linkedin) and How to invite someone for a coffee chat. Cultural Sensitivity: Hard skills and a stellar profile might not be enough to convince them to hire you, especially in a big corporate where people from different backgrounds have to work together. They will look for how well you adapt to the local culture - Are you able to do the quick chat/greeting like Aussies do? Are you aware of how things work here? Do you have a common courtesy? etc. GSA UNSW 2020

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Alice Thachasongtham Data Analytics Auditor ING Australia

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

How should international students look for jobs that they are eligible for? Should they start with small companies/start-ups? There is no correct answer to this - it depends on what you want. Smaller companies will get you to do pretty much everything (because they are small so they can’t afford to hire a person for each task), so usually you will learn a lot from them. However, the big corporations will deal with more matters and regulations, they mostly have better structures, more budgets and more advanced technologies for you to get hands-on experience and have a broader view of what’s happening in the market.

How can international students stand out during the recruitment process? 2 Things that could help you: • Consider your native language your strength. Sometimes you may come across the roles at a multinational company where they are also operating in your home country. You can surely bring this up as the value you can bring to the team i.e. you may be able to help them deal with any difficult situation or to take part in projects in which having native speaker could be a game changer. • Acquire extra skills that not many local people have. There are skills that are unpopular among locals out there, you just need to do your homework and find out what they are. With this, you can differentiate yourself and make it your win. This can be a particular computer skill, specific regulatory knowledge, deep understanding about the core system, etc.

What were the challenges of English not being your first language and how were you able to overcome it? Big challenge is you tend to always run back to your comfort zone, talk and stick with just your own people. This all actually happens in your mind. To fix this, from my experience, I have to be brave to talk more in English. Stop caring too much about grammar (as long as people can understand you, you are fine). Familiarise myself with English-speaking environment; hang out with people from different backgrounds more, watch more shows in English, follow Western social media accounts, anything I can do to stay away from my comfort zone I will do it.

GSA UNSW 2020

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Alice Thachasongtham Data Analytics Auditor ING Australia

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

What are the most important soft skills in Australia, especially for international students? Ability to adapt and fit into the new culture. We are talking about the ability to ‘unlearn’ and ‘relearn’ everything - it is very very important for international students to be able to question if what works in their culture/home country will work out here in Australia.

What were your success factors when securing a job in Australia? • Internship at TaxBack (6 months during my study) - used my native language as my strength (I found out they have a business in Thailand). • Internship at HCF Australia - from my network working there giving me a hint about how the team I was going to interview with was like. • Full-time permanent at Satori Group Australia - from my network (job referral) • Full-time casual role at PwC Australia - from my network (job referral) • Full-time permanent at ING Australia - from my network (job referral)

How did you adapt to Australian work culture and how different was it from your home country? In Australia… • Casual conversation is expected at the start of any meeting (life is not all about work!) • Texting someone about work on his sick day could be seen as a serious crime • It all comes down to “mateship”, even with your boss… • Work From Home is a common practice (we barely work from home in Thailand until COVID hits… really)

GSA UNSW 2020

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Alice Thachasongtham Data Analytics Auditor ING Australia

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

What advice can you give to students to maintain networks and leverage them to find opportunities? Be active on Linkedin. Constantly reach out to people to congratulate or check in on them not only when you want their help or want something from them. Be sincere and upright, you will be fine.

When should international students start applying for full time jobs when they are still studying? As soon as you can, or as afford to get one. Internship experience during study will help you to land a job much smoother after graduation.

GSA UNSW 2020

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Patty Jintanaroj Founder, ImpacU

GSA UNSW 2020

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Patty Jintanaroj Founder ImpacU

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

How difficult was it for you to find a job in Australia after you graduated? It was fairly difficult for me to find a job in Australia despite spending more time here than other international students. That is because the job market is over-saturated with generic style applications with very few differentiating factors about themselves. Unless you have a strong network that could refer you directly to the relevant stakeholders, then your resume may drown in the stack of 200 other resumes written by people who are probably more qualified, more skilled and more experienced than you. So do not underestimate the importance of adding value to anybody’s lives that you meet along the way, because those people may be the key for you to land your next full-time role.

What advice do you have for current international students on how to approach their job search? The advice that I have for international students for job search is to make your character versatile. But more than that, also spend a lot of time working on the skills that you enjoy and getting really good at it. I find that when we talk to industry leaders about our passion (even if it doesn’t relate to their field) they tend to want to stay in touch and help recommend us to their network if they can see that we have ambition beyond just getting a regular job. At the end of the day, what they mean by: “Adding value to customers, to companies, to people’s lives”, it means that you first add value to yourself. The moment you are a complete cup who is abundant with knowledge, skills, and passion, people could sense that you are capable of uplifting them with your own perspective on approaching success (or life fulfillment) and are more inclined to want to spend time learning from you by hiring you.

How should international students look for jobs that they are eligible for? Should they start with small companies/start-ups? You can start with anywhere depending on whether the company value, team size and culture fits your vision of a great working environment. Let’s just say that you enjoy a small, intimate team that revolves more around innovating new ideas and experimenting with different things (e.g. AI and machine learning), then you are best to join a tech startup that will help expand on your interest towards coding, software engineering or UX design. If you prefer more structure and like to focus only on one skill such as data analytics, auditing, finance, etc in Big 4 or major banks then you can try to network with leaders that are already in that industry (E.G. become involved in organisations like FINSIA) and learn from senior mentors who have been through what you want to immerse yourself in so that you can upskill yourself in that area faster than figuring it out all on your own. GSA UNSW 2020

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Patty Jintanaroj Founder ImpacU

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

How can international students stand out during the recruitment process? This comes back to having a versatile character beyond just being extremely skilled or experienced in your industry. There may be 100 candidates like you who have the exact Master degree, exact experience in auditing and finance, and have a very similar style of internship experience as you. But if you have a passion for make-up, vlogging, baking, creative arts, music, coding, gaming, language or sports, then you could really connect to your hiring managers on an emotional level. I’m sure that we all love creativity in some way, and one universal language that we all can’t really deny is music - something that nurtures your soul and really make you come to life. From my experience, people tend to be really drawn to individuals who are very passionate about their field of interest and have the ability to tell a compelling story about their field of interest in great detail and enthusiasm. It also opens up their world view and teaches them what they haven’t known, which leaves a unique feeling that they will only remember experiencing with you. Whether that is nostalgia, youth, bonding or friendship - and that is how you truly stand out.

What were the challenges of English not being your first language and how were you able to overcome it? During the time I couldn’t speak English at all, I was 6 years old. I was teased for bringing brocolli in soy sauce and rice for lunch. I also literally had a boy who would look me in the eye and repeatedly say to me: “Talk to me!!!”. I was so intimidated and afraid that I would go home to my mum, almost crying just to ask her: “What does talk to me mean?”. But I knew that I had to adapt myself going into year 1, so I would start with trying to memorise the generic phrases such as: “Hi, how are you?”.. “Have a good day”.. “See you later”.. and understand multiple ways of communicating the same message in that social environment. Overtime, I would listen, absorb and understand people’s non-verbal ques and try to connect shorter sentences into longer sentences. This had helped me significantly improve my confidence when I then participate in public speaking and extra curricular activities that involved more people facing activities. It allowed me to practice phrasing my words and understanding how people from different environments communicate the same things in different kinds of sentences.

GSA UNSW 2020

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Patty Jintanaroj Founder ImpacU

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

What are the most important soft skills in Australia, especially for international students? The most important soft skill in Australia, to be honest is just understanding how to listen actively to the individual you are communicating with. It’s not really about getting the language perfectly spot on, but it’s about observing the non-verbal cues and mimicking their energy level so that the person you are communicating with feels that you are on the same page as them. People have different styles of communication, some may be extraverts that talk fast and loudly, while some may be introverts that prefer a quiet tone and pauses here and there when they are thinking. If you are able to mimic the pauses, the tone of voice, or the energy level, then it would be much easier to build that rapport. It is something that is similar to Pre-suasion. If the person feels like you are intentionally bonding with them, then they are most likely to open up and try to understand what you say and give you the opportunity to be the best version of yourself.

What were your success factors when securing a job in Australia? My success factor was definitely adopting the growth mindset. After each failed interview, I would reflect on exactly why I failed and improve on it. For the Creative Marketing Internship, the hiring managers liked the Youtube Video that I created on Pattysplatform doing make-up tutorials, so they wanted me straight away for my ability to present myself on camera. For my corporate sales job, I demonstrated that I was adaptive and willing to learn by having empathy towards the customer and understanding how to get their needs met, which allowed me to secure the job despite having never sold anything. One time, I also secured a store lead position at TOPSHOP, despite never working in retail, because I was able to communicate how I would help the customers who come into the store feel beautiful once they walk out. The best one of all was when the Chairman of Drake Recruitment - Bill Pollock offered me a position on the spot despite having never saw my resume. It only took less than half an hour for me to communicate genuinely to him that I was willing to help international students understand how to build rapport beyond what regular CV/resume workshops offered even though I had no recruitment experience. When I asked him: “Well what about ImpacU?” he then responded with: “You can sell it to us and we will take over”. This all came from the ability to do ongoing self-reflection and seeing how I can improve the way I communicate with people so that they trust in my ability to deliver.

GSA UNSW 2020

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Patty Jintanaroj Founder ImpacU

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

How did you adapt to Australian work culture and how different was it from your home country? I have never directly worked in my home country, but I did grow up working in my family’s business which is a Thai restaurant. There is definitely a major difference when it comes to immersing yourself in an environment where all of your colleagues are from Thailand. When working at my family’s restaurant, the colleagues are afraid of communicating directly to customers in English, so we usually talk about topics such as Thai drama, Thai food, Thai celebrities, Thai restaurants etc. But when working in an environment with more diverse culture, you have to understand the different topics that your colleagues could relate to such as: fashion trends, soccer match, Australian BBQ, dating apps, go-to restaurants etc. When I became more aware of what real locals (who were my colleague) mostly obsess talking about (in my case it was most Sephora make ups, online shopping on ASOS, Pretty Little Things and Misguided, or certain Netflix shows), it was able to help me improve my team performance since we have built the initial rapport outside of our professional task.

Is there anything that foreigners should look out for when it comes to working in Australia that is different to other countries (e.g. cultural differences)? Since I haven’t worked outside of Australia, the one thing that I say is universal for all the countries is understanding active listening. People from different cultures all crave the same thing: that is to feel understood and listened to. I noticed that when I listened to one of my colleagues not just through the words she was communicating with me me, but through her body gesture, her energy level and her emotional cues, I felt a deep, spiritual bond with her. We were just eating almond nuts for 15 minutes, but it was an enlightening moment for me when she finally opened up about her real pursuit of being a book editor. This had significantly improved my experience and working performance in that team. There may be smaller things you should understand such as Australian slang, some simple things Australians usually do on the weekend such as going to the beach and having BBQ with their family. But the most important factor that you should always adopt no matter where you are, is being the most present when your colleague needs you by their side. The rest such as hitting KPI, improving work performance, increasing efficiency, meeting the deadlines will follow.

GSA UNSW 2020

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Patty Jintanaroj Founder ImpacU

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

What university resources/experiences were most important in finding a job in Australia? The most important experience for me was not university resources, even though I graduated from Design Computing at Sydney Uni and participated in not-for-profit programs such as B.Inspiring. The most important resources for me was my learning from my own mistakes that I’ve made each time I failed a job interview. What I did do to get myself into the door was directly attend a free Digital Marketing workshop at WeWork and put myself in an environment to scouted by small business owners who were willing to teach me skills such as FB Ads, Digital Marketing and Drop Shipping etc. Those kinds of skills were much more important than only being an expert in UX Design. Later on, I would talk to other Founders in WeWork and they would offer me the experience to help design their website. This had taught me the importance of having a versatile character who was adaptive to different environments, which made it quite easy for me to be offered different opportunities after just a few chats with people while having coffee. This also has helped me to this day secure many Partnerships with ImpacU despite not having much experience running this style of business.

What were your experiences with networking in Australia, and can you share any tips that helped you build your network? My experiences with networking in Australia had taken me down a very interesting route. When I first started ImpacU, I was only filming videos from my brother’s bedroom and uploading it 2 - 3 times per week on LinkedIN. I had no idea who to meet. And I was so desperate to meet other Founders who could teach me how to run the business effectively. At first, all I received were ghosted LinkedIN messages and people being too busy to meet me. But as I consistently improved my content on those videos, I started having Big 4 Director, Founders of large and small recruitment agencies, Founders of an international students platform with Bill Pollock as their investors, and even leaders of Student Associations reach out to me to collaborate. All of these were very valuable learning experiences that allowed me to observe how effectively I truly communicated with my stakeholder beyond just generic “Hi nice to meet you, I’m Patty” networking. All of this doesn’t only start from me physically attending the event, but also coming back to see how I could make my online profile attractive so that people feel drawn to work with me. So don’t only attend free meet ups, university workshops and seminars for the sake of finding people to be friends with. Come back and also work on your own skills, your own profile, and your own character so that networking becomes a two way quality relationship for you.

GSA UNSW 2020

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Patty Jintanaroj Founder ImpacU

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

What advice can you give to students to maintain networks and leverage them to find opportunities? One strong advice I would give again, is that when you physically attend seminars, workshops and free university events, don’t only attend to just make friends. Attend to learn how organisers engage their audiences, learn how the most charismatic individuals attract people to want to be apart of their network, and learn how to build emotional rapport with people who are relevant to your industry. I found my confidence to have significantly increased when I volunteered to help other professionals greet their attendees and organise food platters because I understood exactly what I had to do to engage my own attendees at ImpacU X BESA event. But simultaneously, come back and work on your portfolio. Even if you are just going for an auditing, finance, or engineering role, it doesn’t hurt for you to build a website that includes your outside interests which involve learning Japanese, creative arts, fashion, vlogging or sports. These are the little things that stack up over time, and make people resonate with your interest and want to be a part of your journey long term.

Are grades necessary to secure a good job? If so, what constitutes a good grade and are there any sectors where grades are more important? The one thing I’ve always done with my own network, is to make the best first impression that I can. And when I say: the best first impression, I don’t mean that you go and boast about your career achievements to people. But you simply practice active listening and showing full presence when you meet people for coffee. In one of the articles that I’ve written: “How coffee catch ups transformed my life”, I always remembered how I would offer to bake cakes to MDs and Founders simply because I enjoy baking and I want people to enjoy my craft. Those little kind gestures which don’t mean anything to you, actually leaves a very strong impression to them because not many people would think about baking cake for every single person you meet. But I do it. I bake brownies, thai milk tea crepe cakes, macarons, and even protein balls for the people who require only gluten free food. I pay attention to what their favourite flavours are and deliver on it. No matter what problems you have from this point onwards, they will be there to support you because you gave them genuine friendship without expecting any returns from them.

GSA UNSW 2020

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Patty Jintanaroj Founder ImpacU

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

How should international students university if they intend to get PR?

prepare

themselves

during

Like in all my other answers, don’t only prepare to get the grades. Prepare to become versatile and competent. During university, don’t only think in a linear way such as attending class, go home, study, play games, go to drinks with friends, and try to find internships. Actually think about: “On my first semester, what can I do to build rapport with friends outside of my faculty?”. When I first met Anny Chan, the Co-Founder of CENS, we were at a friend’s graduation. Majority of my life from first to final year revolved being in and out of the Wilkinson Building in the Darlington Campus where in no way I would have run into Commerce Students. But I began to realise how boring it was to only confine myself to the people in my faculty, so I would attend Commerce Electives and make friends with international students, which led me to getting invited to different parties and graduation drinks. And 4 years from that day, we now are able to help each other out by having Anny speak at my event, or vice versa. So prepare to build meaningful relationships not only with friends, but also with your professors and tutors. Observe their way of learning and fully engage when they teach you practical things, so that you could adapt those lessons to suit your own strength and make it become apart of you. Sometimes, the best grades come from building great relationships with people who designed your exam paper, so instead of wasting 12 hours a day studying, why not just offer to help them carry some books, take them out to coffee and be the reason to make their day better? You never know if those people have correlations with individuals who could offer you sponsorship and hence, a PR in the long run, so never throw away the opportunity to make somebody’s day better by becoming the best version of yourself and adding value to their life.

When should international students start applying for full time jobs when they are still studying?

This depends from individuals to individuals. For somebody like me who never wanted to be confined to 9 - 5, I applied after graduation. But it was so much more difficult for me to secure a role compared to if I had just seek some support and applied for internships during my first - second years. Majority of people would say.. apply as soon as possible so you have industry experience, but I would say: Apply when you are mentally ready to juggle your studies and perform well at your work. When they say: “You didn’t get the full time job because you didn’t have enough working experience”, that’s actually not always true. Try and tick somebody’s emotional hotspot and paint the vision that you are capable of making them become better leaders at their company by increasing the company’s sales (hence improve their chances of getting promoted), and they will probably offer you the full time job regardless of your experience level. This all comes down to self-awareness and constant self reflection. How do you add value to other people’s lives, which will in turn improve the company’s profit and team performance? If you understand how to do that, then it’s not a problem whether you apply during the early years of studies or towards the final year of your studies. GSA UNSW 2020

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Amit Ranjitkar

CEO, IntroCept | Agentcis

GSA UNSW 2020

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Amit Ranjitkar CEO IntroCept | Agentcis

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

How difficult was it for you to find a job in Australia after you graduated? Yes, it was fairly difficult to find a job without any local experience and stable visa. Many employers in Australia are not yet open for hiring graduates with temporary visa.

What advice do you have for current international students on how to approach their job search? Job search is all about showcasing your talent to the prospective employer and connecting with the right people. Internship opportunities are a great way to enter into Australian job market and gain local experience.

How should international students look for jobs that they are eligible for? Should they start with small companies/start-ups? • The first step is to update your LinkedIn profile with most recent skills that you have gained and recommendations from your managers, colleagues and campus professors. Most of the employers look into your LinkedIn profile. • The second step is to start connecting with recruitment specialists and internship providers who can help you land in your first job or internship. • Start-ups are a great place to begin with, as you will be exposed to different responsibilities and face many challenges, which will prepare you for future roles. Unlike in enterprise, where you will only be assigned 1 duty and will be limited to that responsibility.

How can international students stand out during the recruitment process?

Communication is the key. Make sure you send LinkedIn request to interviewer and show your interest to work with them. Send an email to HR and recruiter to thank them for their time in the recruitment process.

GSA UNSW 2020

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Amit Ranjitkar CEO IntroCept | Agentcis

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

What were the challenges of English not being your first language and how were you able to overcome it? English is used everywhere in Australia and also many parts of the world, so there’s nothing escaping that. Practice verbal communication as much as you can. Meet with new people and practice your English. Poor communication can let down many job opportunities, despite having a great skillset.

What are the most important soft skills in Australia, especially for international students? Communication, Time Management and Proactiveness.

What were your success factors when securing a job in Australia? Show them the proof that you are curious about learning and also a quick learner. Demonstrate skills and knowledge, that adds value in the business of any employer.

How did you adapt to Australian work culture and how different was it from your home country? Australian work culture is quite unique, as employees in Australia are more focused on providing quality rather than quantity. The workplace here is more flexible and open.

Is there anything that foreigners should look out for when it comes to working in Australia that is different from other countries (e.g. cultural differences)? Speak up to your colleagues and show a positive and welcoming attitude. Involve yourselves socially in the workplace such as Friday Drinks.

GSA UNSW 2020

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Amit Ranjitkar CEO IntroCept | Agentcis

GSA PRO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

What university resources/experiences were most important in finding a job in Australia? University Alumni Group and Professors/Lecturers, who can advise you to find work in Australia and may also refer you to their connections.

What were your experiences with networking in Australia, and can you share any tips that helped you build your network?

There are many meetup events happening every week that is related to your study background. Many of them are even free. Attend those meetups, mingle with people and connect them on LinkedIn.

What advice can you give to students to maintain networks and leverage them to find opportunities?

Subscribe to job newsletters from various websites and companies. If you are connected with someone in the advertised company, then ask for a 15 minutes coffee catch up session and buy them a coffee. Demonstrate your interest in the job and ask if he can refer to concern department. Irrespective of whether you succeed in the job application or not, don’t forget to thank him/her for providing the reference.

Are grades necessary to secure a good job? If so, what constitutes a good grade and are there any sectors where grades are more important? Not really. I believe it’s more about understanding the subject matter in the practical way. However, there are some roles and companies, which focus on higher grades. But again it will come down to demonstration of skills and knowledge.

When should international students start applying for full time jobs while they are still studying? During the summer break, students can start looking for internships opportunities, so that you already have some local experience and understanding of Australian working culture by the time you complete your degree. I don’t think international students are allowed to work full time during their studies. Hence, you can start looking for full time after the graduation. GSA UNSW 2020

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Anny Chan

Senior Consultant, PwC

GSA UNSW 2020

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Anny Chan

GSA PRO

Senior Consultant PwC

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

How difficult was it for you to find a job in Australia after you graduated? It was challenging because many large companies require a PR status. And from my experiences with other international students, there requires a cultural understanding between graduates and employers. And I often think employers do not see the cultural differences as an advantage to the company so I founded the China Entrepreneur network to bridge that gap. However I was very fortunate that when I came back to Australia for my sister’s graduation, I saw a post about PwC on my University's career website so I applied for the graduate program. I was also very fortunate that the recruitment team member had a very similar background to mine as she also studied in the US so we had that instant connection.

Is there anything that foreigners should look out for when it comes to working in Australia that is different to other countries (e.g. cultural differences)? 1. International students, especially those from Asia, are very humble. We are very keen learners but at the same time we are too humble. However employers are looking for how we can demonstrate our achievements confidently. 2. In the workplace, Australians tend to speak up more. In many other cultures, we work hard and focus on results more. But in Australia, they appreciate that you are able speak out about what you have achieved at work and how you help others

What are the most important soft skills in Australia, especially for international students? 1. Communication skills. Even if you have good English skills, it’s about how you present it confidently. 2. Networking skills. It’s important to be able to network with people from different industries and different areas. As an international, we may not have the same resources as locals so it is important to have these networking skills. For example, being able to introduce ourselves in a professional manner. 3. Leadership/teamwork skills. No matter the size of a project, I would strongly encourage everyone to take a leadership role whether it be in University or outside of it. Because this is an area that employers will look at. Some international students will tend to group amongst themselves. But I would strongly encourage them to go out of their comfort zone. And to demonstrate their teamwork skills with people from other nationalities. GSA UNSW 2020

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Anny Chan

GSA PRO

Senior Consultant PwC

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

What were your experiences with networking in Australia, and can you share any tips that helped you build your network? One of the first steps to networking should be leveraging University resources such as lectures and student organisations. And when it comes it networking, my 3 main advice would be: • Be genuine. Introduce yourself to others and ask genuine questions to show that you are interested in that person. Instead of looking at them as professionals and you’re a student and thinking that you do not have enough experiences. It’s about having a curious mindset and wanting to learn more about the professionals. • Building that relationship. As a mentor of many students, one thing that I appreciate is my mentee caring about the relationship. As in you don’t only remember mentors when you need help, but you offer help as well. Also send some appreciation to show that you are invested in the relationship. • Network with your peers. Don’t just think that as students, you have to limit yourselves to networking with professionals. Make sure you build your relationship with your peers to make networks for the future.

What advice can you give to students to maintain networks and leverage them to find opportunities? As international students, your existing network is already a big advantage. Coming from Hong Kong, when I came to Australia to study, I already had the connection in Hong Kong. So I was able to connect with the people with similar backgrounds to me. For example, I joined a Hong Kong organisation. Also as a Chinese, I was able to join Chinese societies which was how I was able to leverage my original background to help me with my network. Now that I’m working, I will at times have Chinese clients where I am able to leverage my bilingual skills. When it comes to being able to leverage your network to find opportunities, understand that you have different types of networks. For example, I can have a network of friends, a network with my mentors, a network with the community. So when it comes to leveraging it to find opportunities it comes to understanding what you want to achieve out of your network. If you want to find work in the finance industry, the network will come from relevant student organisations, but also University professors who have extensive networks. Also organisations such as CA and CFA host events to join that network. After you have that relationship, you can nurture that relationship to help understand what are the gaps and what are the skills required to take the next step in your career.

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Anny Chan

GSA PRO

Senior Consultant PwC

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

What University resources/experiences were most important to finding a job in Australia? 1. Student organisations, University Professors, Career centre 2. Volunteer work. I strongly encourage students to look for volunteering opportunities. Large corporations often hire for internships in penultimate year and graduates for final year students. But in your first year, try and find some volunteer work. That’s the time when you can get exposed to as many projects as possible and different skill sets from different industries. 3. International exposure. Exchange programs and joining international organisations. So that you are able to create connections with different markets and different cultures. This will give a good impression on employers if they think you are open minded and culturally aware. As internationals, it’s important to maximise our strengths and look for other skills and opportunities.

How can international students stand out during the recruitment process? • Show your unique qualities. Something that makes you stand out to others. • Show what you can bring to the company. Aside from your skillset beyond your degree as everyone who studies it will have the same skills. What are the other skills that you can bring. For example, a network if you have a lot of connections in your home country that’s something you can use to add value to the company • Be genuine. A lot of hiring comes down to if you are the right fit for the organisation, so make sure you know about the culture and how your personality will fit in the company

When should international students start applying for full time jobs when they are still studying? I encourage students to look for part time jobs or volunteer work whilst studying. Australians value working experience and the practical side of it so start on it early. As for full time jobs, look for internships during the second year whether it is in Australia or in your home country. This will set you apart from other candidates. Employers value the experience you have from other countries and other industries so don’t be restricted by country.

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Anny Chan

GSA PRO

Senior Consultant PwC

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

Are grades necessary to secure a good job? If so, what constitutes a good grade and are there any sectors where grades are more important? If you are interested in Investment Banking or Strategy Consulting, then grades and a good degree will be a bonus. But in general, if you are hardworking, critical thinker and passionate at what you are doing then grades will not be as valued to employers. Based on my experiences as I often help out with the PwC recruitment process is that the difference between prospective candidates and successful candidates is a very unique identity. Understanding what makes you unique is more important than grades. So it is important to really be able to start working on deciding what is my story, what is it that I really care about and what I don’t like and what is it that gets me excited. Asking your peers about what they think about you really helps when it comes to career options. When it comes to finding out more about yourself and what you like, you need to be willing to get out of your comfort zone to try new things. When I was in my first year of University, I did a part time job. In my second year, I did an exchange in the US and took a gap year to work at Amazon. Even though some of my friends were graduating in my third year, I took an internship in China and went to OECD in Paris to learn more about the non-profit sector. After all these experiences allowed me to realise that I like working with people, like working in a multinational environment and really like numbers and analysis. This led me to PwC which allows me to work in all the areas that I am passionate about. Although grades are important, employers want to see how adaptable and flexible people are. Especially in light of COVID-19 and the impact of technology, flexibility and adaptability are even more important. Being able to adapt to new environments and flexible with working hours and communication skills. These areas are usually more important than just the grades.

GSA UNSW 2020

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Anny Chan

GSA PRO

Senior Consultant PwC

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

What were your success factors when securing a job in Australia? 1. Be curious and open minded. Personally, I would say I am courageous and culturally aware. Which means that I respect people from different backgrounds and their opinions. When I first came to Australia, I was very open minded and wasn’t constrained by my background. I felt it was important for me to understand the local culture and adapt to their environment and be curious to learn about other people’s stories. 2. I enjoy challenges. I enjoy doing things that I am uncomfortable with doing. For example, originally I didn’t enjoy drinking coffee, but I knew that if I was able to drink very bitter coffee, I would be tougher. So when I went to the US, because I wasn’t able to handle bitter coffee I would get decaf, but I would get long black every time so that I could handle the bitter taste. So when I came back to Australia, I was able to handle coffee. So be willing to get out of your comfort zone. For example if you want to improve your public speaking skills, if you have doubts about being judged in front of others for 3 seconds, just do it. My rule is that if I think I can’t do it for 3 seconds then I will just do it anyway. 3. Be very confident. This may be challenging as it comes with practice. But it’s not simply the smarter you are, the more confident you are. Confidence comes from our belief and our growth mindset, as well as being surrounded by a group of supportive friends, family and peers. That allows us to be confident individuals. For example, I enjoy public speaking and do a lot of it. It’s not because I’m not afraid of it but because I want to train my confidence when presenting in front of others which is why I do it and now I love it. Part of confidence is believing in what you can bring to an organisation. Even if you’re international and don’t have a large network in Australia, you already have advantages compared to others. For example, we speak a second language which is a big advantage. Even if you have an accent, many people will have accents but what employers will look for is how confident you are to present something you are not comfortable with.

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Anny Chan

GSA PRO

Senior Consultant PwC

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

How should international students university if they intend to get PR?

prepare

themselves

during

Just a disclaimer: I’m not an immigration agent but from my experiences with people who want to get PR is starting early. If you apply through the points system, it will be more difficult so make sure you start early to prepare for the English test, prepare for the translation class and the PY courses. However, one of my suggestions will be to not stress too much about the PR status. I have seen many examples of students without PR still be able to get into large corporations. You should prepare to get the PR, but at the same time don’t get too focused on it and give up other opportunities. For example, I have a mentee that was preparing all the material for PR, and she got so stressed that she missed the graduate application deadline a few times. Eventually after helping her prepare for interviews instead of stressing too much about PR, she was able to find a job in PwC as a graduate. So my suggestion is that whilst preparing for PR, make sure that you still find the opportunity to apply for other roles because there is a chance that people will want you. This also comes back to networking as if you have someone to refer you, that will be a bonus. However, in terms of getting PR, the best advice is to prepare as soon as possible.

How should international students look for jobs that they are eligible for? Should they start with small companies/start ups? I think that it is still worth applying for large corporations if they interest you. The Big 4 accept international candidates, and Investment Banks even though they say they don’t take international students, I have friends that were still able to get into graduate programs without a PR status. However, I know banks for sure are less willing to take graduates but you can still look at second tier firms. The important thing is to be ready, and try to get a mentor in the area that you are interested in so they can refer you if there is an opportunity in that firm. And also, because you will have a 2-year working visa, so companies will still take you. So it comes down to how you are able to highlight your unique points in your interview and resume.

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Anny Chan

GSA PRO

Senior Consultant PwC

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE

What were the challenges of English not being your first language and how were you able to overcome it? Even though English was not my first language, I was fortunate to learn English from a young age in Hong Kong. My main suggestions would be: • Immerse yourself in an English environment. Even though I would often speak Chinese to my friends as that was what they were comfortable with. But at the same time, in the lectures and tutorials I would set the goal that I would only speak in English. Although students can also join student organisations relevant to their background, I would also encourage students to join local organisations so that they are in an English speaking environment. The more you listen, the better you will speak. • Also find a part time job or volunteering opportunity in a local environment. So you can learn about different styles of English beyond the academic style. Workplace language is different to what you experience in University. • Take part in activities where you will enjoy the process of learning english. For example, I joined a debating society as that was an area that I found enjoyable when learning English.

How did you adapt to the Australian work culture and how was it different to your home country? In Australia, people value work life balance. As compared to my experiences in the US, people expect personal lives a lot. So we can leave work at any time as long as we complete our work for the day. Also they are aware that if we have any personal commitments, they will respect it and give us more personal time. As compared to Asian countries, people speak up a lot which even now I find challenging to adapt. They enjoy talking about their achievements and the way they communicate with their boss and juniors is very clear and direct at times. However one major similarity to other work cultures is that they encourage a multicultural environment. My experiences in the US and especially Paris where only one person in my team was from Europe all indicate the multinational environment that we work in. The division that I’m in in PwC, only around 50% is from Australia which exhibits the diversity of these organisations. So it is important for us whilst still at University to surround ourselves with people from different backgrounds. To give a diverse perspective and stimulate the exchange of ideas. This will make it easier to adapt when interacting with different people whilst at work.

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KEY TAKEAWAYS Constantly improve your communication skills and exhibit confidence when dealing with others. Go out of your comfort zone!

Immerse yourself in Australian culture and an English-speaking environment (join student societies, competitions, networking activities).

Build strong networks and professional relationships. Make an effort to network with peers and other professionals through coffee catch-ups.

Find part-time jobs, internships and volunteer work while you’re studying. This is how you develop your leadership and teamwork skills.

Invest in learning how to improve your CV, how to write good cover letters, how to ace an interview, and how to have a stellar and updated LinkedIn profile.

Explore jobs apart from roles in big firms – find smaller companies and start-ups and apply to as much as you can. Subscribe to job newsletters. Don’t let rejection demotivate you!

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This online booklet was brought to you by the UNSW Graduate Student Association. For inquiries, please contact us at info@gsaunsw.com. Visit www.gsaunsw.com and follow us on social media for updates on our future initiatives.

GSA UNSW

GSA - UNSW Business School

GSA UNSW 2020

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GSA Pro: International Student Experience  

Our very FIRST online booklet - GSA Pro: International Student Experience! This online booklet is a reliable source for international studen...

GSA Pro: International Student Experience  

Our very FIRST online booklet - GSA Pro: International Student Experience! This online booklet is a reliable source for international studen...

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