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What are the most frequent career development issues raised by young professionals?


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International Students and Graduate Programs

The issue for International Graduates is whether they are eligible for local Graduate Programs. Most employers want to hire graduates who have permanent residency or citizenship. Here is an explanation of common employment eligibility terms for graduates.

Unrestricted Working Rights. A graduate can work indefinitely with the organisation. Typically this is PR or Citizenship.

No Sponsorship Required. A graduate can have a 485 visa and is eligible to work for 18 months and be intending to apply for permanent residency. An International Graduate may be able to apply for the Graduate Program.

Permanent Residency at the Time of Application. Graduates who have applied for PR but have not yet been granted PR are ineligible. Graduates who have been granted a Bridging Visa, pending their PR may be considered by employers. But this will depend upon the company’s hiring policy.


How Do International Students Gain Graduate Work Experience?

The three most common reasons international students are unable to gain graduate employment are:

  • Communication skills and cultural fit (compared to local graduates)
  • Working rights restrictions eg. no PR
  • No career-related experience while studying

Local Graduate Programs

For the majority of graduate programs, this puts international students at a huge disadvantage. Chances are they will be unsuccessful at the first round of online applicant screening. Although if you want to learn what it takes to make your way through the graduate recruitment process, take a look at 12Hurdles. This is a resource put together by Peter Pychtin, founder of Northeast Quadrant, to help interns and new and recent graduates to land their dream job.

 12 Hurdles



Career-Related Non-Graduate Roles

The alternative to a graduate program is to apply to entry-level jobs that use a graduate’s technical skills (Accounting, IT etc). It might be an Accounts Payable position or a Service Desk Support role. While these positions are not part of a formal graduate development program, they provide initial career-related experience. It’s important to have a career plan to progress from this entry-level to a more advanced position within two years.

If working rights are an issue, an alternative to a permanent position is a temporary or contract position. Again it helps you start your career.

But be aware, the longer you go without career-related employment after graduation, the harder it becomes to gain a relevant job. If a graduate has been 12 months out of university and is still employed in a typical university retail / hospitality job, employers will think twice about even interviewing you. The logic is “if a graduate is good, they should already have a graduate job by now”. This applies to local and international graduates.


Internship Programs Offered by Training Organisations

For international graduates there is the option of internship programs offered by training organisations. The upside is that they guarantee 3 months industry placement with career-related experience, structured skills training and the potential for permanent employment. But it comes at the cost to participate in the program. It’s a personal decision. But when you weigh the financial investment to live and study in Australia, the program cost is small by comparison.