See how Dheeraj went from zero work experience to scoring a full-time job in his field

August 20, 2020

Student voice

A current Deakin student story.

Getting your first job out of uni can seem impossible. For me, taking the first step was my biggest struggle. I’m Dheeraj, a recent Deakin graduate in Master of IT specialising in Data Analytics. As an international student who came up against quite a few challenges, I would like to encourage any peers who are doubting if they can do this, that yes… you can.

Deakin international student Dheeraj applies for an internship.

Preparing yourself with an internship

I started searching for an internship in my first trimester, but being an international student with zero work experience made competing for the position quite challenging. 

Spending only two days a week on work, I essentially had five days of free time to use as I pleased. At the start of my degree, I used to visit the university for all five days. This is what helped me a lot. I came to know about a lot of things by attending all the lectures, tutorials, interacting with the faculty, resume workshops, DeakinTALENT events etc.

By the end of the first trimester, I had a confident understanding of the Australian workplace from building a resume to the skills required for a successful interview. I also knew at this point, that I didn’t have most of the things which are required for getting an internship or job. 

Set yourself a temporary goal

One important piece of advice I took away from DeakinTALENT workshops is that volunteering is the first step for those entering the job or internship market. So with this, I decided to adjust my temporary goal to volunteering.

Persist through setbacks

After building my portfolio with skills I had received from volunteering, I used this experience to apply to internships (freelancing hub, faculty internships etc.). In the second trimester, I put my applications in but was disappointed to see I had gotten rejected. This did not stop me from trying again. Determined to keep going, I sought advice to improve my resume and in the third trimester I finally landed a self-sourced internship as a software developer with Deakin.

Since then, I have never looked back. Initially, it was hard to balance work, assignments, lectures, tutorials, preparing for interviews, volunteering etc. but the end result is totally worth it. I should also mention that during my final trimester in the exam period, thanks to my internship experience, I also attained a second internship as a full stack developer and attended interviews for junior level positions. A great highlight for me at the end of it all was successfully securing a full-time job as a business analyst. I’m loving it!

Dheeraj’s tips for other international students

  • Start by volunteering at university with the intention to become a suitable candidate for casual work. Using these experiences to create a baseline resume and cover letter (attend Deakin Talent workshops to learn about doing this professionally).
  • The DeakinTALENT staff are very helpful. Apply for positions with Deakin freelancing hub, search for faculty internships and also look outside the campus for external opportunities (on Seek, Indeed etc.) and this time mainly focusing on getting a paid internship.
  • Once you land a paid internship, it is so much easier to apply for junior/entry-level/graduate programs online. Good skills in your field, a baseline resume and a tailored cover letter can get you a job even during the pandemic.
  • A lot of people will say to you that securing a job in your field as an international student is very hard and with zero experience it is impossible. Yes, it is hard to get a job as an international with zero work experience but it’s not impossible. I know a lot of other students who used to work with me as mentors or ambassadors. They too have gotten jobs right after their graduation.
  • You are not alone. Don’t be afraid. Good Luck. 

Are you ready to take steps toward enhancing your employability? Explore DeakinTALENT workshops and job opportunities.

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