Student work

Student work opportunities

Skip the interview

Can you go from student work to dream job – without even having an interview?

By Fran Molloy

Student work doesn’t have to mean late nights behind a bar or early mornings slaving over a hot coffee machine. Part-time jobs outside university hours are a common way to fund your course or degree – but they’re not the only way.

There are plenty of opportunities to start working in your preferred industry while you’re still studying, with huge numbers of official and unofficial internships, jobs, projects and programs on offer that are often flexible around study needs.

Finding your dream job might start with finding your dream student job, and with a third of jobs never advertised, your student work could be the short cut to a great career.

The best part? Student work often leads to a permanent job offer, meaning you can completely avoid applying and interviewing for a graduate role!

Student work opportunities

Volunteering can be a good way to start building up some experience in your field – but make sure your unpaid efforts go to a non-profit group. Go through a reputable organisation, such as the peak volunteers body in your state (check Volunteering Australia for the link).

Charitable organisations need people for all kinds of professional roles, from marketing to accounting, environmental management to veterinary support.

But what about paid student work? More than one job in eight goes to someone who approached an employer directly asking for work.

Asking for part-time paid work from a desired employer or in your preferred industry is a no-lose strategy. You are letting them know who you are, and what you’re looking for; you are showing that you have both initiative and a work ethic; and forming links to an organisation while you study might well lead to a job offer before you graduate.

It puts you ahead of the huge number of graduates applying for these jobs after their degree by giving you experience, industry links and network connections.

Skip the interview, and start working during your undergraduate or postgraduate degree… Continue reading

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Find an internship, holiday placement or volunteer role

The Big Meet: Up to 100 different organisations travel to Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney looking for students to undergo holiday and internship placements, volunteer and gap-year opportunities. 

Graduate Connection: This group partners with major Australian and international companies looking for graduates to recruit for permanent roles and offering paid (and unpaid) intern and holiday roles. 

Volunteering Australia: This is the peak body for volunteer recruitment organisations and has links to major volunteering sites for each state where you can find vetted volunteer roles.  

Australian Government JobActive Program: This program pairs young jobseekers with employers through a program offering a subsidised internship “trial” for four to 12 weeks.  

student work

“Imagine you are being tested for your suitability to live on Mars with these people.”

Fast facts

1. Interns Australia found that more than 35% of paid interns were offered a job by the same company – but less than 20% of unpaid internships led to a paid position with the host company.

2. A 2014-15 Australian government survey found that one-third of all jobs are not advertised, 17% of jobs are advertised through word of mouth alone, and 13% of vacancies filled by someone who has contacted the employer directly asking about work.

3. Fair Work Australia has ruled that interns must be paid if they are in an employment relationship rather than a vocational or observational placement.

Heather Catchpole

Author: Heather Catchpole

Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs

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