How Internships Can Give You A Competitive Edge

An international student sitting in a park on her laptop.

"Should I do an unpaid internship?"

I get asked this question on a regular basis by students battling with life-changing decisions during, and even after, their university studies. Deciding to do an internship is no small commitment, so allow me to guide you through the advice I have passed on to other students in your position.

In Australia, I can say with certainty that doing an internship is one of the best decisions you can make to kickstart your career. The Australian work climate heavily favours local work experience and leveraging networks to get employment. As an international student, your biggest drawback is the lack of local work experience and access to industry professionals who can help you.

A Fierce competition

Did you know that approximately 85% of the jobs that exist in Australia are never advertised on job boards such as SEEK and Indeed? Instead, they get filled via networks of existing employees and industry professionals. If you approach your job search by applying only for jobs that are listed, you are left fighting for the remaining 15% that are advertised. It’s not surprising why these jobs attract thousands of applicants. With your application filed neatly amongst the thousands, do you think the recruiter or hiring manager will sift through all of them?

No, they won’t. It’s too much work for the employer, so the position will be filled from the first 30 or so applications alone. Or worse, employers won’t even look at resumes, instead using software designed to discount as many applications as possible.

Now you see how low your chances truly are.

Now you see why you keep getting automated rejections such as, “We’re sorry we couldn’t offer you a position.”

Stressed student stares at his laptop in a co-working space.
International student thinking in her apartment.

The problem isn't you. the problem is the approach you're taking.

So, what do you do? You do an internship.

As I’ve mentioned, you need local networks and local work experience to break into the job market in Australia. Internships are a great starting point for students to transition from university to professional life. They help students like you, get local work experience and build networks with industry professionals in Australia, thereby giving you an advantage in the job market.

In my experience, I have noticed that students with a good attitude and a quest to learn, grow, and perform always get hired. So, use your internship as an opportunity to showcase to the company your drive, passion and willingness to learn and deliver solutions. It’s a way to market yourself, make a lasting impression, and create rapport with your company peers. They are the people who will become a part of your local Australian network.

Finding a legal & Compliant internship

Before you race off to accept the first internship offered to you, I want to safeguard you from accepting offers for unpaid internships in Australia. It is illegal for the company, as well as you as a student, to undertake certain unpaid work offers and it could get you deported from the country. Always go through a legally compliant and regulated company like Outcome.Life that truly aims to support international students in Australia like you.

We are the only internship placement provider who insures our students against injury or company lawsuits. We do this because we care. We started this work to support and help international students like you integrate into Australia, and we continue this mission everyday.

To conclude:  Build your networks and gain local work experience by securing an internship to kickstart your career in Australia.

Happy international student at laptop.
Vintii Vasundhara Aggarwal

 Vintii Vasundhara Aggarwal is part of the placement team at Outcome.Life in which she talks to new students and host companies every day about the importance of work-integrated learning. Once an international student herself, Vintii is passionate about connecting with international students and sharing with them how she has navigated the same path and kickstarted her career. She is also a visual abstract artist and the winner of three UNSW hackathons.

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