Employment Prospects6 August 2019
After long hours of studying, sleepless nights, endless assignments and exams, successes and failures, graduation day feels surreal. It seems like in the blink of an eye, your entire university life is over, and it’s time for the next chapter. Many students turn to university programs that aim to provide resources and guidance to job seekers. However, these systems are not without fault, and raise questions as to how useful they are in practice. This anxiety is always hidden behind the euphoria of finishing your degree, because now you have to answer the question you have always asked yourself: What am I going to do?
Having straight H1’s on your transcript won’t 100 per cent secure you a dream job. Employers now value the applicant’s practical experience in the relevant industrial field over their previous academic performance. Finding an internship or part-time job has since become an indispensable part of student’s plans towards their prospective career pathway. For most students who are lost in their journey towards finding employment after university, the first step they might take is to seek help from the university.
The common careers resources provided by the University of Melbourne are “Careers Online” and “Employ Me”, which can be accessed through the LMS and student portal. According to Megan Dench, the manager of Careers & Employability, the former serves as an internal job board where employers can post advertisements for recruitment, which is freely available to students, but must adhere to the university’s terms and conditions. The latter is sourced directly from Indeed. com, and the employment opportunities listed are subject to the terms and condition of Indeed.com.
This all sounds well and good at the face of it, and suggests that the University does offer a number of avenues and helpful resources to job seekers. However, when asking students about their experience using these services provided by the University, their responses are not often favourable.
“I have tried it once,” said Dilpreet Kaur Taggar, a graduate student from the Masters of Journalism. “It’s not that good actually, because they literally post any job, which can be so vague.”
She has since completed her postgraduate degree and is currently looking for employment, finding it difficult to find jobs related to her field on Careers Online. Dench has addressed sentiments similar to these, and has attributed these issues to the fact that “the opportunities promoted on the job board are submitted directly by employers, [and] are not evenly distributed across disciplines.”
Conversely, Dench says there are a couple out of a range of other resources available to the students, which includes faculty-specific internship programs, mentoring programs, the Students at Work program and many others. Moin Ur Rashid, who is studying Masters of Information Systems, found his first internship through the Students at Work program. “I would say the first internship helped me to get the second one, and the second one was me getting the job by myself,” said Moin.
Internship programs conduced internally within any given degree are popular among students in their final year. They are more targeted, and are aided by coordinators who connect with companies and work placements directly. However, this doesn’t mean you can leave all the work to administration. Both Dilpreet and Moin said they put extensive effort into their CV’s and prepared for interviews by themselves.
Arnab Majumdar, an architecture student who is also employed by the University as a student peer leader, has extensive experience in job applications. He believes the most important thing is “to catch whatever opportunities you see”. There are clubs which are which organized networking events, where they invite a lot of professionals from different companies. To Arnab, these are the most overlooked source you can get from the University, and “it all depends on how you want to take it further”. From Arnab’s perspective, making the most out of the University’s resources is crucial for fresh graduates.
Ultimately, getting a degree does not guarantee future employment. You need to spend time to explore the resources of the University, but also take job hunting and networking into your own hands.