I don’t have PR, I can’t get a job!

Don't have PR, can’t get a job

This would have to be the most common statement I hear from international students. While I’m not denying the increased difficulty international students face in the Australian job market, I’ll have to disagree with the statement.

Bear with me on this one. Being “employable” as a student requires a lot more than a Permanent Residence (PR) or a local citizenship status. Of course, that would help, but it doesn’t mean automatic disqualification if you don’t have it.

Having PR, great communication skills, good grades, a tailored resume, internship / work experience, interview skills, a strong professional network, decent LinkedIn presence are all factors to being employable.
To that, not having one of these does NOT mean you can’t get a job.

“I don’t have PR, I can’t get a job”
“I don’t have good grades, I can’t get a job”
“I don’t have a good resume, I can’t get a job”
“I don’t have work experience, I can’t get a job”
“I don’t have a big network / don’t know anyone, I can’t get a job”

All of these statements are made with the premise of a scarcity mindset, not an abundant one. Simply put, you should focus on what you have as opposed to what you don’t have.

“But I just want a job!”

Sure, you probably read this and think to yourself: “Theory is good but I just want a job”. So here are some practical steps you can take as an international student to get you closer to your first job.

1. Remove the visa status in your resume

The fact that you’re applying to any job should mean that you have full working rights in Australia. If you don’t, address it with your migration lawyer first before you apply.

Most job boards have screening questions about your visa status, so if you’re including “visa expires in June 2022” in your resume, you’re not adding any value but rather making the hiring manager hesitant about your commitment.

Of course, always be factual and honest in the interview, but putting visa limitations in the resume can mean no interview at all. (See also: International Student? Stop Doing This In Your Resume!)

2. Avoid big companies

I mean it! Focus your energy on small and medium employers, as there is a clear reluctance from big companies to hire international students and sponsor them. Such reluctance has led to the belief that there aren’t many jobs for international students.

I have addressed in detail why small businesses are the answer here, and further suggested 5 Ways To Get A Job At A Small Business!

3. Believe in yourself!

It may sound cliché, but nothing else matters if you don’t do this first. I know those emails containing “We regret to inform you…” or “Due to the high number of applicants…” might have you thinking otherwise, but you should remember that every rejection puts you a step closer to getting that job.

Come to think of it, after all, if you stop believing that you’re worthy and capable of getting a job, how do you expect an employer that’s yet to know you to do so?

So let’s get the right mindset and soldier on, you’re more employable than you think!

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