Sharon: How to get a job in Perth and Western Australia

16 April 2021

Hi, I’m Sharon, a neuroscience and psychology major at the University of Western Australia. Find out more about me here.

Now, let’s get right into it! As an international student I know it can be daunting to look for a job, I know I spent my whole first year in university looking for one but had no luck, until December of 2020, when I got my first job. Now as I write this blog, I have 3 jobs; one in hospitality, one in retail and one where I get to help an organisation run resilience and leadership workshops for high school kids! Crazy, I know right, we’ll talk more about how I manage studying full time Neuroscience and working another time. (Bearing in mind the maximum working hours are 40/fortnight during semester)

Work for free first to gain experience (volunteer) and don’t be scared to start small, it’s an investment.

It was a month since arriving in Perth and I was looking for a job but knew I needed some sort of experience, so I started by signing up to volunteer at the student guild at UWA, but due to COVID, I didn’t really have a chance to. Soon after, I saw that StudyPerth was looking for ambassadors, and so I applied for that, and well, here I am. Little had I known that StudyPerth was my foot in the door of employment, because now I had Australian experience I could put on my resume. It actually went a long way because I had something to put on paper outside of my school credentials. My advice is to be humble enough to work without getting paid, especially at the beginning, volunteer in organisations and give it your all! It’s actually an investment because not only do you gain some experience, but you’ll make networks that could land you your dream job!

Put yourself out there and network, and don’t forget to be yourself in the process.

Networking is SO IMPORTANT, especially when you are new to a country and don’t know anyone. I would recommend attending your university and StudyPerth networking events. Networking is less about impressing the people you interact with and more about being authentic and having genuine conversations with employers. That is what is going to set you apart from everyone else they talk to; authenticity is attractive to employers. That’s actually how I got my hospitality job at one of the best restaurants in Perth with no experience in hospitality - I attended a Student Job event hosted by StudyPerth and the manager at State Buildings and I had an intriguing and genuine conversation, where I expressed my curiosity and willingness to learn. She must have been impressed because I got an email the next day asking for my resume.

Do not give up and keep refining your resume in the process.

I have had 4 resume designs in the past year, and I think I had applied to over 50 organisations and got nothing. I would go from store-to-store handing in my resume countless times and get no responses from anyone, apart from the occasional “we just hired”. I was frustrated to say the least, but I didn’t give up, and neither should you. After each failed attempt, I would get home and either call my mum or ask my friends who had jobs if they could look through my resume and help me refine it. And then I would go again and hand out the new resume, sometimes to the same places I had handed in my old one. My fourth resume design was the winner! I had employers compliment my resume style saying it was professional and really nice! My search was done when I handed in my resume at a retail store in the city and the manager interviewed me and a week later I got a call informing me I got the job! MY FIRST JOB IN AUSTRALIA! The moral of this is to not give up, it can get discouraging but don’t let the failures deter you from getting a job, it’s hard but it’s possible.

Here are a few more tips that really helped me get a job:

  • Stand out from the crowd by adding colour to your resume.
  • Hand in your resume in person if you can.
  • Be humble and show a willingness to learn.
  • BE YOURSELF, authenticity is valuable in this process!

I hope you’re able to find the job you’re looking for! Give it time and be patient with yourself in the process.

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In collaboration with governments, educational institutions and stakeholders, StudyPerth provides a leadership role in building the profile of international education in WA and overseas.