How To Find Your Dream Job On The Gold Coast As An International Student
31 May 2021
Captivating natural landscapes, top-level educational institutions, and a multicultural city. These three aspects of the Gold Coast already make it the best place for any international student. But it isn’t just that: this city is a place with endless employment opportunities for international students. It is the 6th largest city in Australia, with a 12.5% growth rate over the last five years, and it’s leading the employment recovery in Queensland since the COVID-19 outbreak.
On the Gold Coast, I landed my dream job, but it all started when I graduated in journalism back in Brazil. On the last day of my course, during the final presentation before receiving my degree, a former ESPN TV reporter asked me about my plans post-graduation. My answer was like everybody else: get a job. As he found my tone of voice not that confident about my next step, he mentioned that a friend was lecturing on an excellent course on the Gold Coast. That notion stuck in my mind for a few months until I decided to take his advice and enrol in that Screen and Media course.
With big lifestyle brands like Billabong and the World Surf League having their headquarters on the Gold Coast, I reasoned that it would be the perfect place to upgrade my skills, find a nice job while studying, and enjoy a great work-life balance. Today I’m working as a Digital Content Specialist for the leading company in the electric skateboard industry and I’m loving it!
Here’s the steps I took to land the job that I now enjoy:
Put yourself out there and network
As clichéd as it may sound, your personal brand is your most valuable asset, especially during the job hunting journey. Connecting with people, or networking, is a great way to promote your personal brand. There are many events organised by Study Gold Coast, YP Gold Coast, and others that you can find online.
When I was looking for a job, I used to go to meetups, engage with professionals, volunteer at events related to my professional area. While technical skills are essential, it’s also necessary for people to get to know who you are, and if you can impress them hopefully they’ll remember you if they hear about an opportunity in your field.
When going to an event, my tip is to research about it beforehand (Is it the first edition? Who were the speakers at their previous events? Who is organising it?), and what types of professionals you may meet there (seniors, young professionals, international graduates, etc…). Be someone that is plugged into the market and the world. People always engage more with those who have something to say that goes beyond general chit-chat or talking about the weather.
When connecting with people, ask for their LinkedIn profile. It’s currently the largest professional network globally, with more than 660 million registered users, with 303 million of those being active monthly. This platform was created to connect with professionals and overcome physical barriers. Make the most of it!
Develop your portfolio
During the first semester as a student on the Gold Coast, I created a lifestyle blog for women. The idea was to apply what I was learning in the classroom. Besides the blog posts and web development, I started a marketing strategy, including social media and email marketing. But I didn’t know which marketing tools were used by professionals.
I went to the LinkedIn profile of marketers that I admired and checked which software they had experience on, so I could use them. One example is an email marketing tool that I saw many marketers using: Mail Chimp. I created a travel guide to North Stradbroke Island and made it available to download for free. The only thing that the user needs to do is fill out a form with their email. With that, I created a mailing list where I shared my blog posts with readers using the free version of Mail Chimp. What I did was not out of this world, but it gave me a portfolio.
Ask for opportunities
When I was in my last semester, I started to look for internships. I sent tons of resumes and cover letters asking for internship opportunities. When I went for an interview in an app development agency, I was honest about not having formal professional experience as a digital marketer, but I used the blog to show that I had a basic understanding of its tasks. I got the internship (it was amazing the amount of knowledge I learned during those 3 months) and I secured a permanent position after that.
I want to highlight an important point here. When you are an intern you’re gaining experience, but having an intern is also beneficial for the company. They’re not really doing any favours; it’s a win-win situation. Always keep that in mind.
Use your background as an advantage
After almost two years in that agency, I applied for a position with a company based on the Gold Coast which has more than 40 distribution centres worldwide. One of the critical points of the interview was that I mentioned that besides English, I speak Portuguese and Spanish. As an international company, it differentiated me from the other applicants. I may not have the most perfect English, but my ability to communicate in the other two languages made all the difference.
Let your work speak louder than any challenge
Many times I doubted myself: “My English isn’t good enough”; “I’m an international student”; or “I don’t have enough skills”. I imagine that these thoughts may have crossed your mind when looking for your dream job. But I’ll tell you something: the Australian workforce is made up by many people like us, who also came from another background and that’s the beauty of it. Regardless of where you come from I can guarantee that a good worker is valued more than anything else.
Bear this in mind
I usually tell my friends that Gold Coast is a land of opportunities, and many other international students and I are the living proof of that. Set your goals, develop a strategy, apply yourself to the task and anything is possible.
*Gabriela Damaceno is a 2021 Mayor’s Student Ambassador. She is studying a Master of Philosophy at Bond University. On the weekends, you can find Gabriela freediving or hiking on the Gold Coast. You can connect with her via Instagram @gabe_damaceno_ or LinkedIn @gabriela-damaceno.