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