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How students can become more employable after COVID-19

How students can become more employable after COVID-19

Our Co-Founder, Domenic Saporito, explains the lockdown silver lining for international students

Coronavirus lockdown sucks... We get it!

But, at this time, it is necessary as it could literally save your life.

For international students in Australia, getting a job in your field of study was difficult before the crisis. Imagine how tough it will be after. There is no doubt that there will be an increased number of skilled and experienced applicants for every job after the layoffs that business owners have unfortunately had to make to keep their businesses going during this time.

So what can international students do during this enforced lockdown to make themselves more employable when Australia emerges from this crisis?

The answer… Self-learning!

The current lockdown is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the latest and greatest software tools in your industry. Graduate roles are all about running software, so knowing about (and being able to use!) the most contemporary software tools in your industry is a great way to differentiate yourself and make yourself more employable.

self learn graphic

Self-learning: how do You do it?

As ridiculous as it sounds, it is not the responsibility of your university or education provider to teach you the latest and greatest software tools in your industry. University curriculum changes every 5 years or so, but new software comes out nearly every day! It’s up to you, as an future industry professional, to keep up with the latest trends and technology. In doing so, you make yourself more employable than your peers whom rely solely on their course or professors.

Yes, your degree looks great on your resume. The reality is that no one gets a job with just their resume anymore. The resume is there to get you an interview and it’s your performance at the interview that will get you the job.

So if you are the applicant that can demonstrate knowledge of and skills in the most up-to-date technology that gets the job done better, cheaper or faster, and the other applicants can only show what they did in their university project, who do you think is likely to get the job? (Hint: it’s YOU!)

Let’s look at a great example of a profession with constantly changing technology: Front-end development.

For a front-end developer, finding new tools, languages and frameworks can be as simple as googling “latest front-end development tools”. This Google search will reveal a whole list of new, cutting-edge web tools that you have probably never heard of, but are being used by the most innovative and tech-forward developers in your industry all around the world.

For developers, Vue.js, Chrome Development Tools, Google Flutter, Node, Meteor and React (not React Native – it’s no good! But that’s just my opinion) are just some of the latest tools that are fast-replacing old-world languages such as PHP, .NET, Ruby, C, C++, Perl or even Python. Knowing that these new tools exist is great. Knowing how to use them is EVEN BETTER.

If I were a front-end developer, I would make sure I knew what tools were trending, why they were gaining traction and, better still, have a working example of what can be achieved with these new tools available at all times. In a world where 85% of jobs are found through your professional network, you never know just who you may meet post-COVID19 as Australia gets back to business.

It's not just for Technical Skills... Soft & Critical Skills matter too!

Ask any employer and they will say “Technical skills are easy to teach, it’s soft skills we are looking for”.

Soft skills are the greatest contributor to cultural fit. For example, how you integrate with the company’s values and mission statement, other staff members and, most importantly, their customers and clients.

The same goes for critical skills like time management, initiative, communication and teamwork with your colleagues and stakeholders, and generally “being a good person”.

Most companies know that they will need to teach you their processes, procedures and, as a graduate with less real-world experience, how to actually do your job and what it involves day-to-day. These kinds of things are really easy to teach. Cultural fit isn’t.

Luckily, soft and critical skills are also something that you can teach yourself or work on during lockdown. Really poor at managing your own time? Brush up on your time management skills by learning tips, tricks and strategies used by some of the most organised and successful people in the world and find what works for you, then put it into practice by planning your days out.

Likewise, almost all jobs these days require some level of customer support or service and, without training, many employees may not meet the level of customer service that their employers expect. Make yourself stand out by doing some customer service training by yourself to impress your next potential employer.

Where can you self-learn?

The good news is that there are plenty of free resources available for many different professions to learn the technical and soft skills they need. We’ve done the hard work for you and listed some of these fantastic resources below. Happy lockdown learning!

EdX
This website offers thousands of online courses, from computer science and engineering to art and history. Many of their courses are free to join (though you have to pay for certification).

LinkedIn Learning
While LinkedIn Learning is not strictly free, you can often get a subscription through your university or Alumni organisation, or take advantage of the free month trial while in lockdown! Their courses cover everything from graphic design, to customer service, to time management skills.

FutureLearn
Similar to EdX, FutureLearn provides heaps of short-course content for free from leading providers across the globe.

YouTube
While YouTube is great for entertainment, it’s actually also a great platform to access free learning content from all sorts of people all over the world.

Mobile Apps
There are many free and cheap apps available to learn things like coding languages and actual languages! All you need to do is search in your phone’s app store.

Domenic Saporito is the co-founder of Outcome.Life and GADA Technology. Dom has started, run and sold many businesses throughout his career, ranging in industry from property to tech, and even golf! As a business owner, product developer and chartered accountant with 15 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, Dom enjoys sharing his knowledge, insights and advice with international students looking to enter the job market in Australia.

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions about internships, employability or being an international in Australia!

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Software Testing Intern to Full-Time Employee

By Domenic Saporito

Are you one of many international students struggling to get a job in your field of study here in Australia?  

Well, instead of sending out 100’s of applications to ads on job boards for no reply, perhaps it is time to try something a little different. Let me explain…

Sid & Bindu were two Computer Science students in their final semester at Deakin University. Knowing that completing a degree is only a small part of building a successful career, come enrolment time, they chose to do a work placement as an elective.

Sid & Bindu joined a software development company as testers. But not just ordinary testers… Automated software testers! 

Sid & Bindu implemented the company’s very first ‘automated software testing framework’ and, in the process, made themselves valuable, sought-after graduates.

Their first responsibility was to research and recommend the latest and greatest in automated testing frameworks. They looked for frameworks that suited the software applications being built. For this, they chose Puppeteer. Not just because the applications were being built in JavaScript, but because of a unique feature that allows multiple User Sessions to be tested at once – something not many other frameworks can do.

Throughout their 12-week internship, Sid & Bindu successfully built and implemented a comprehensive library of tests that they then integrated into the company’s automated build process called Jenkins.

Sounds amazing? It was! But not as hard as it sounds.

Both Sid & Bindu now have full-time jobs as Automated Software Testers in separate companies, applying the skills they acquired during their internship.

The stark reality is that in a competitive graduate market, today’s employers want more than just a qualification. They want graduates with real-world experience! Whilst a university can provide a degree, an internship will get you a job.

So, if you are here over summer and think that an internship may make you more employable after graduation, give us a call.  It may be the catalyst that kick starts your career. 

Internships are available in a wide variety of disciplines including Engineering, IT, Accounting, Marketing & Social Media.

Domenic Saporito is the co-founder of Outcome.Life and GADA Technology. Dom has started, run and sold many businesses throughout his career, ranging in industry from property to tech, and even golf! As a business owner, product developer and chartered accountant with 15 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, Dom enjoys sharing his knowledge, insights and advice with international students looking to enter the job market in Australia.

How To Complete Your Internship Logbook

How to Complete your Internship Logbook

Week 1: Getting to know the business and where you fit in

Your internship logbook

While your internship is a great chance to experience Australian work culture and get a feel for real hands-on work in your chosen industry, it’s important to remember that it’s also a learning experience for you.

To meet your required learning outcomes for the internship, and for your own valuable personal reflection on the experience you’ve gained, you are required to complete logbook for every day that you attend your internship.

Your logbook should contain all the key information needed to verify your learning and should include a summary of your experiences, learning and tasks completed each day.

The team at Outcome.Life will provide you with access to our easy-to-use logbook app, InternMatch. Downloaded to your phone, the InternMatch logbook app is an accessible and simple way to enter your logbooks each day.

What to include in your logbook

Your logbook should include information for each day that you attend your internship, along with the date and the number of hours that you attended the internship. This information is essential for your logbook to be accepted for credits.

Your logbook should include details of what you did during the hours of your internship. These could include:

  • Meetings you attended and any contribution you made to the meeting
  • Completed tasks or projects
  • Discussions with teammates
  • Programs or sofware you used to complete your tasks
  • Research you conducted and where/what you researched
You will also be required to write about your learning outcomes for the day. These should match or be directly related to the learning outcomes in your Training Plan.

Remember, your supervisor will be asked to check your logbook and sign it off to make sure it’s accurate, so you should ensure that you have included everything you’ve done that day (and don’t make it up!)
logbook entry internmatch

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Asking Questions During Your Internship

Asking Questions During your Internship

Week 1: Getting to know the business and where you fit in

jack sarah nathalia 1 small

It's important to ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s very acceptable, and even encouraged, in Australian workplaces to ask questions throughout your internship. You can ask questions to clarify requirements or tasks assigned to you and about the expectations about your work that your supervisor has set.

Asking questions shows engagement and enthusiasm towards your internship and will often lead to key insights which will improve the overall impact you make to your host company.

For example, closed questions are questions that only require a yes/no answer. They don’t provide a lot of information, so you should be mindful of using them too much during your internship. Remember, you are there to learn! How do you learn if you don’t ask good questions to find out things that you don’t know?

You will probably find open questions more helpful because they provide more information about the topic, allow you to dig deeper into the purpose of the tasks and give you the opportunity to learn a lot more.

Types of Open Questions

Clarifying questions help you understand what has been said or instructed more clearly. They help people understand each other more easily and can be very useful when you’ve been given a task by your supervisor or colleague but aren’t sure that you completely understand what they require you to do.

Examples of clarifying questions could be:

“Could you tell me more about this project?” “What’s the purpose of this task?”

Adjoining questions are used to explore parts of a task or problem that might not be discussed during an initial conversation and can help you to understand the purpose and impact of the task or project in a wider context.

Examples of adjoining questions could be:

What impact will it make the the project/business?” “How could this project apply to other industries?”

Outcome.Life founder speaking to international students about employment and employability
Two international internship students talking and looking at their laptops

Funnelling questions are used to challenge assumptions, examine a problem further or understand cause and effect better. They help a person or team to improve their methods or strategies by asking why something was done a certain way, or if it could be done another way the next time.

Examples of funnelling questions could be:

“How did you complete the analysis of this data?”
“Why did you complete that step the way you did?”

Elevating questions provide a wider view of the problem or project. Sometimes, it is easy to get stuck in the small details of a project and forget the bigger picture – the actual purpose of the work that you or the business are doing. By asking elevating questions, you can re-focus your attention to the larger issues and spend your time on the parts of the task that will really make an impact.

Examples of elevating questions could be:

What is this project trying to achieve overall?”
“How do each of these tasks tie together to meet our larger goal?”

Source: Harvard Business Review 2015, Relearning the Art of Asking Questions, https://hbr.org/2015/03/relearning-the-art-of-asking-questions

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

If You’re Sick Or Late To Your Internship

If you're unwell during your internship

Week 1: Getting to know the business and where you fit in

When you are unwell or Late

Each organisation and/or supervisor may have different expectations about how you should communicate an absence from work or if you’re running late, so this is something that you should ask them how they would like this communicated during your orientation to the internship.

However, there are some generally accepted rules about how to communicate with your supervisor about your illness or running late:

  • It is not acceptable to call in sick or late after your start time

     

  • Most supervisors will expect to receive a phone call if you are unwell or running late – a text message or email is not acceptable unless you have explicit instruction from your supervisor to notify them this way

     

  • Email our team at hello@outcome.life to let us know if you are sick

     

  • Make a note of your lateness/sickness in your logbook, who you have contacted and how you told them (e.g. phone, email, etc)

     

  • If you are sick, make sure you get an official medical certificate from your doctor and send a copy to your supervisor and our team at Outcome.Life as soon as possible.

Plan your travel carefully

Whether you are attending your first day of work or your 900th, or even just an interview, being on time is expected and required in Australia.

There are very few good excuses for arriving late, especially for an interview or in the first few weeks of your internship. While we understand that the circumstances for your lateness will be out of your control sometimes, you should always plan your travel time carefully to ensure that you have plenty of time if something were to go wrong, or your transport was delayed.

If you know that the public transport to your area is often late or delayed, or if the traffic is usually bad, make sure to leave plenty of travel time just in case your travel takes longer than expected.

We suggest planning your time to arrive at least 10 minutes earlier than the agreed daily start time for your internship. Arriving a little early helps you prepare for the day, grab a tea or coffee and maybe have a chat with your new colleagues. Remember, getting to know your new work environment and your workmates can be extremely valuable for your future employment in Australia!

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Internship Orientation Checklist

Internship Orientation Checklist

Week 1: Getting to know the business and where you fit in

When you arrive to the office

Upon starting your internship, you should formally request an office orientation from your supervisor. This is a great opportunity for you to learn the layout of the office, meet your new colleagues and get a feel for your new environment.

You should ask key questions about the company to get you off on the right foot. These are:

  • What are usual opening hours for the business?
  • Is there a dress code or any requirements for personal protective equipment? If not, what is appropriate for me to wear?
  • Are there any other team members or supervisors whose contact information I might need during my internship?

Some details may have changed slightly from the internship agreement, so checking with your direct supervisor will allow you to stay on top of any and all changes.

Show interest in the Business

Once you have confirmed some of the more basic details of your internship, you should start to show a keen interest in the business and how you are going to fit into their operational model. You might choose to ask questions like these:

  • I’ve read about your company online, but can you tell me a little bit more about…?
  • What is the organisational structure here?
  • What should I expect from my first week within my internship?
  • Is there anything that I can study or learn to make sure I can provide the best value to the team?
  •  What are the current company goals? What are you focusing on at the moment?
A co-working space with many empty desks and desk chairs

Orientation Tour Guide

You might not have completed an internship before and, in some cases, your host company might never have hosted an intern before! Requesting a formal orientation into the internship and the office will show your host company that you are taking the internship very seriously.

To help them along, here is a checklist you can use to ensure they give you a thorough orientation:

Important locations to know

  • Your workstation / desk
  • Bathroom facilities
  • Emergency exits, fire alarms and evacuation points in the case of an emergency
  • First aid kits or the First Aid Officer if you get injured or are unwell
  • Kitchen or break room facilities (where you can have your lunch!)

Important information

  • Any safety regulations and requirements
  • Key personnel within the business
  • Communication methods with other employees (email, phone, workplace IM software like Slack or Monday)
  • Break times and lunch schedules (some workplaces have staggered lunch times for employees, others don’t mind when you take

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Have a business idea but not a resident? South Australia wants you!

Pictured (L to R): Domenic Saporito (Outcome.Life), Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu (Little Green Panda), Usman Iftikhar (Catalysr), Natanael Yan Setiawan (Pencil Rocket) and Benjemen Elengovan (MySafetyBot).

In November, Outcome.Life collaborated with Spark Deakin, a young entrepreneur support and mentoring service by Deakin University, to host a very insightful panel discussion with several young international entrepreneurs.

These former international students were courageous enough to follow their own dreams rather than someone else’s, by starting their businesses to solve some of our world’s biggest problems.

Interestingly, two of the four founders have chosen to take advantage of a new initiative by the South Australian Government. The program provides a fast-tracked pathway to permanent residency via entrepreneurship.

Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) is a 3-year pilot looking to drive entrepreneurship and innovation in South Australia with accelerated migration as an incentive.
The program encourages internationals with a new business concept to start in South Australia with support from the State Government. The benefits include networking opportunities with other local and international business people, mentoring programs and a business support network in South Australia. In return, a healthy start-up ecosystem is being built in South Australia, as well as the potential for employment growth.

Daniel Tan and Natanael Yan Setiawan, founders of video production & social media startup Pencil Rocket explained, “The application process was fairly straightforward once we received support from NVI”. NVI, or New Venture Institute, is an award-winning accelerator program and one of four accredited accelerators working with South Australia’s universities.

Daniel picked up his life and moved to Adelaide to satisfy the requirements of the program. When asked how was the change from living in Melbourne to Adelaide, Daniel responded, “It’s certainly a little quieter. But the fewer people means I have been able to develop deeper relationships with other businesses founders.”

He added, “I am also leading a healthier lifestyle as there is not the pressure to work late and skip healthy meals”. When asked if moving to Adelaide has adversely affected his business, Daniel replied “Not really, there is still plenty of work out there for us”.

Usman Iftikhar of Catalysr, a pre-accelerator run for migrants & refugees, spoke of the growing awareness of the SISA initiative amongst international students, migrants & refugees, “More and more Australian migrant entrepreneurs are contemplating a move to Adelaide. I hope the other states get on board soon.”

The founder of MySafetyBot, Benjemen Elengovan, also recently applied for the SISA program after completing his education in Melbourne as an international student. Benji’s startup assists businesses to record and prevent workplace injuries. Benji will be relocating himself and his business to Adelaide within weeks.

In contrast, Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu of Little Green Panda isn’t going anywhere. Her 15-month-old business, supplying eco-friendly drinking straws to retail and large hotel chains, is flying! The New Zealand resident also spoke about more traditional startup issues she faces: lack of time, resources and access to the funds necessary to fill her mounting orders.

Not everyone is suited for a corporate job in Australia. Just like locals, many international students and migrants would prefer to be self-employed. History shows that Australia’s economy and has been built on migrants arriving in Australia and starting businesses. But rarely has entrepreneurship been a basis for immigration into Australia.

So well done to South Australia! SISA is an exceptional initiative taken up by South Australia recognising the contribution international entrepreneurs can make to this country. If Victoria wants to continue to be seen as the most progressive entrepreneurial state, it is time for the Victorian government to follow in the footsteps of our footy-loving neighbour!

Outcome.Life is all set to run its own pre-accelerator program over summer in conjunction with La Trobe Accelerator Program (LAP). Last year, we had the pleasure of assisting 28 entrepreneurs, including 3 locals, to realise their business ideas. Many went on to commercialise their businesses and several joined conventional accelerator programs, including LAP.

If you have a business idea or early-stage business and are looking to validate and/or commercialise it, what are you waiting for? Find out more about our free pre-accelerator program here, or you can fill out an expression of interest form here!

You can also get in touch with us at Outcome.Life to learn more about our internship programs.

Domenic Saporito

Why Startups Provide Bigger, Better, More Enjoyable Employment Opportunities than Big Corporates

Pictured (L to R): Domenic Saporito (Outcome.Life), Byron Aguirre (GADA Technology), Harish Venkateswaran (Central Queensland University), Andrew Klyscz (Pitcher Partners), Sam Brown (Pelikin) & Shubham Bawa (intern).

Another great night was had to showcase the opportunities that startups present for those looking for their first role in a competitive graduate market.

While some graduates chase their parents dream of working in a big name corporate, more savvy graduates target small, nimble startups, working hard to solve noble and often global problems side by side with start-up founders.

Shubham Bawa, final year Software Engineering student from the University of Melbourne, spoke of how interning with a startup in the La Trobe Accelerator program to produce their POC then MVP, using the latest front end mobile development tool (flutter by google), led to securing a full time gig with a larger software development company, one week before finishing his internship.

Emily Cheng, Accounting Graduate from Federation Uni spoke of her disappointment of being excluded from Big 4 Graduate Programs because of an archaic HR policy where these so-called “Global Accounting Firms” will only take on Australian Citizens, to have one of them come knocking on her door two years later after smashing it at a smaller but equally brilliant firm that bats well above their weight in the specialist area of R&D Consulting.

A panel of professional business people talking about the value of internships
Harish Venkateswaran, La Trobe Uni HR graduate, spoke of how an internship in a start-up placement business let to him securing a senior position with a University that ranks 3rd in Australia for graduate employment with 86% of their students securing full-time employment within 4 months after graduation. 

Sam Brown, Founder of Pelikin, an Australian Startup that provides a multi-currency free banking app and prepaid Visa card for young travellers, spoke of how interns in IT & Accounting assisted his new business go global.

And finally, Andrew Klyscz of Pitcher Partners Melbourne spoke of how, whilst most graduates clamber to competed for Cyber Security positions with the big banks, literally thousands of privately owned and/or small businesses, with the same issues as the banks, but with quicker career progression through a wider variety of work tasks for graduates, were being ignored.

The conclusion: even if you do wish to work in a big corporate one day to make your parents proud, a great way to get there is to start in a smaller, nimbler,  start-up where the learning is often faster, the tasks broader and where your work will have more consequence.

 

Is this the ‘WORLD’S BEST KEPT SECRET’ for Australian Business Owners?

In an economy where resources are stretched more than ever, businesses struggle to find capable talent. With wage costs increasing, many businesses owners find themselves with far more work than available time.  Many would like to engage an intern to help, but simply can’t afford to pay them – but do they need to?

Heralded as the ‘world’s best kept secret’ for business owners, it is not only possible to have an unpaid intern, but very advantageous to do so.  So if you’re under-resourced and time poor (read: everyone!) here’s why you should consider engaging an international student intern, and how you can obtain one:

Why should I consider an international student intern?

A qualified (and possibly experienced) extra set of hands

Every business appreciates an extra set of hands for the projects that they just don’t have time to do themselves.  With interns qualified in areas such as accounting and ICT, there is a vast array of valuable and important projects you can receive assistance with.

What’s more, many international student interns also have work experience, that they obtained previously in their home country.  This means that only minimal training may be required, and you may be able to receive assistance on more senior projects.

Motivation and positivity in droves

No matter how great your business is, it can always benefit from more positive and motivated employees! International students who are at the beginning of their careers in Australia are known for their positivity, motivation and great work ethic, and as such can be a great asset to your team.

Value in diversity

Cultural diversity is so important for any business – organisations that are culturally diverse are more profitable, as well as more innovative, and all employees of culturally diverse organisations are more engaged, and happier at work. International students can also bring particular diversity benefits including the ability to talk to your customers or clients in different languages, and an in-depth understanding of overseas markets and business cultures.

It’s free (legally)

As all business owners would know, it is very difficult to (legally) hire an unpaid intern.

However, when you engage an international student intern, they complete their intern placement (usually 12 week, full-time or part-time) as part of a course called Professional Year, So, it is perfectly legal to engage them in this manner, and one of the only legal ways to do so (vocational placement according to the Fair Work Act).

How can I obtain one?

Outcome.Life is proud to be able to provide businesses with talented and motivated international student interns.  Feel free to contact me at domenic@outcome.life  , reach out via LinkedIn, or give me a call on 0410 662 393 to find out more.

Outcome.Life is a visionary portal that helps to transform the lives of international students through education, connectivity, community, and much more.