Employability: Listening to QUT Alumni, Student and Graduate Recruiter

At the end of August, I was invited to talk about QUT Careers and Employment services from a student’s perspective in front of QUT international partners. Who have also been invited were a QUT recent alumni, a graduate recruitment officer from Suncorp as well as another current QUT student.

The showcase started with a 3 – 5 minute self-introduction from student representatives and the recent alumni. Each of us talked about what we had been involved with during our time at QUT and what Careers and Employment services we had used.

By listening to others’ talk, I found that it is enormously helpful for international students to take good use of QUT Career services.

Click here to access the international student panel talking about QUT Career resources.

After that, Kelly Pfeffer, graduate talent lead from Suncorp talked about her attitude towards international students from a recruiter’s perspective. I found her talk both useful and insightful for both international students at QUT and prospective students considering coming to Australia for further study.

Major takeaways from her talk are:

  • Nowadays some banks hire more IT students than business students for developing and innovation purposes
  • More sponsorship places are available to IT students compared with business students
  • Personality test result is a major factor in shortlisting candidates
  • International students stay in the company longer than their Australian peers (maybe due to sponsorship obligation)
  • A company sees the investment pays back if a graduate stays with them for at least 3 years

 

What actually surprised me or provoked my thought was to hear from a recruiter that “personality test matters” in the recruiting process. Sometimes the reason why you got rejection from a company is not because you are not successful enough, but because your personality doesn’t suit the culture of the company.
In conclusion, being proactive is a good start to get a job. In addition to that, companies are not only looking for a proactive employee; a good personality match is also relatively important.

Malaysia’s 60th National Day Celebration at QUT

QUT Malaysian Students Association hosted Malaysia’s 60th National Day Celebration at Kelvin Grove campus. The celebration was happening from 11AM to 3PM on August 31st. The activities included Henna (body painting with a dye prepared from a plant), calligraphy, games, multicultural singing and dance performances. There was also Malaysia local cuisines food stall and free Teh Tarik (a hot milk tea beverage which can be commonly found in restaurants and outdoor stalls at Southeast Asia countries) distributing.

Photo: Eating Malaysia’s popular local cuisine, Char Kuey Teow in the campus.

Photo: Chinese traditional dance performance.

Photo: Dance performance by QUT Dance Society.

Photo: Indian dance performance.

Photo: Music performance with traditional Chinese instrument called ‘Er Hu’.

Photo: Games session, speaking Malay (the official language of Malaysia).

It was a great effort by QUT Malaysian Students Association to host this event in the campus for the celebration of Malaysia’s 60th National Day. Even though we are far away from home, we can still celebrate National’s Day even in the campus.

Seeking Employment on Campus?

When I talk to my friends that I’m writing blogs as an international student for QUT and share with them my very own life in Brisbane, they always ask me: How did you become a blogger and can I become one as well?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know some of you, my readers, must be wondering as well and might want to be a future student blogger for QUT. Therefore today I want to share with you how I became a student blogger and some potential ways of finding employment on campus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About one year ago, I received an email with a recruitment advertisement in it calling for international students being bloggers talking about their life in Brisbane. It is a paid casual job and all you need to do for application is to upload your video/photos. Then I thought why not apply? So I applied and luckily got an interview opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My blogging life all started from taking the initiative and applying for it! So if you come across some opportunities like this, don’t hesitate and apply!

Other tips I can give you about seeking on-campus jobs are:

It’s the first place QUT put down their recruitment ads if they are hiring students. QUT Business School recruits student learning advisers there. QUT admission also recruits student officers there.

When applying for jobs that needs more experience, check out the official QUT website.

  • Start from volunteering

If you don’t have any working experience, it might be a good idea to start from volunteering and build up your skills. Some volunteering opportunity on campus will lead to paid jobs!

 

Studying at State Library of Queensland

Personally I like to study at library because I can concentrate more easily and hence absorb what I am learning efficiently. Other than QUT libraries, sometimes I like to go to the State Library of Queensland which is located at South Brisbane with convenient accessibility and conducive learning environment.

The State Library of Queensland is the main reference and research library provided to the people of the State of Queensland.

Image: The exterior design of the state library of Queensland.

Image: The aesthetic and modern interiors of the state library.

Image: One of the study areas.

Image: My favourite reading zone.

Image: My favourite reading zone with the view of Brisbane river.

Image: One of the reading zones with natural lighting.

Image: Library members can rent the room to practise the instruments.

I really enjoy the ambience of the state library. If you want to change the environment to study or doing your assignments, the state library of Queensland will definitely satisfy you.

What I Wish To Know In My First Year At Uni

I know a lot of you just started university or are thinking about studying overseas. How exciting it is to study in another country! For me, before leaving China, I checked so many website or online BBS to see what other people’s advice is to enjoy university life to the fullest.

Their advice indeed helped me transit to a foreign university. Now looking back, I don’t really have any regrets. In spite of that, there are still three things I wish I know in my first year of university.

Beautiful QUT campus after rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.GPA is important 

I know some of you must heard your peers telling you that it is okay to have a low GPA. If you have lots of extra-curricular activities, then the employers won’t care about your GPA.

Well at first I believe that. However, from my own experience as an international student in Australia. I can say that for lots of big companies, they will require you to attach your academic transcript while applying for jobs and some will clearly state that a 5 out 7 GPA is required.

You are supposed to spend 12 hours on one unit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Have a healthy lifestyle

While living by yourself overseas, getting sick can be very daunting. You have to take care of yourself while maintaining heavy study load.

Therefore, prevent yourself from getting sick is very important. There are so many parks and running trails in Brisbane. You’ll both have fun and meet new friends when you start working out on your body.

For me, I didn’t do any sports in my first year. Therefore in my first year, I felt it is very easy to get tired or catch a cold. When I was feeling sick during Christmas time at the end of 2015, I told myself that I would start working out the next year and try to start a healthier lifestyle.

New year resolution is to have a healthier lifestyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Stand up for your rights

There was a big news this year of staff at 7-11 being underpaid. This big violation of employment law didn’t came to the public’s attention until someone stepped out and told the law enforcement.

For me, I was also underpaid in my job when I first started working in hospitality in Australia. Many of my friends had that experience too. But none of us stepped up to talk to our boss. Neither did we stand up for ourself and take any legal actions.

This mindset of ‘nobody will care’ or ‘getting paid is better than have no job’ is not correct. It is not okay to be taken advantage of. So check out the fair work website if you decide to work while study.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope the above three tips can help you start your new life here in another country and happy studying!

Two Years in Australia

It has been almost two years since I came to Australia. I can’t believe how quick time flies!

It was a fast decision for me to come to Australia but it turned out to be a decision that I will never regret. On retrospect, the past two years have been colourful, fruitful even though sometimes challenging.

Brisbane City View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I still remember how nervous I was when I first arrived. My cousin took me to Indooroopilly shopping centre to get my bank card and mobile sorted, but I was too shy to speak English and I found it difficult to understand English.

Going overseas to study has always been my dream since high school, therefore I decided to get most out of my studies in Australia in the very beginning. So I joined a couple of clubs and went to as many events as I could where I met friends and practiced my English skills.

I kept myself very busy in my first year and was always outside. However I admit that I didn’t put enough time on study so I was really struggling at the end of my first year. Starting from this semester, I put more time and energy on study because this is the main purpose why I come all the way to Australia.

The place where I call home now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life here without family is not always smooth. I still remember how hard I tried to get a casual job, how depressed I was once while struggling to study and how much I missed talking to my old friends face to face.

Celebrating New Year in Fortitude Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a while, I finally found a balance between study, social and work although I still struggled sometimes. Meanwhile, living alone overseas taught me how precious family and friends are.

I start to cherish the free time I got and try to make the most of it, cherish the friends I met because it’s harder and harder to have a close friend when you grow older and study hard because it will bring more opportunities.

Now 6 months left until my graduation and I still have no idea where the future will lead me to especially when some of your friends already got jobs and you are still in the process of figuring out what to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just had a coffee catch up with one of my friends and we had the following conversation:

Me: Do you have anything that you regret or wish you could have done since you came to Australia?

L: Hmm, not really. In my first year I spent most of my time studying and wasn’t very active on campus. That’s probably the only thing. What about you?

Me: In my first year, I spent a lot of time attending events and being active on campus. I wish I could’ve studied more.

Our responses are like two sides of a coin and no matter which side we choose, we will miss the other side. But isn’t life like that? You can only choose once and no matter what you choose, it is your own life and experience. I never regretted what I chose and I’ll try to cherish all the experience and people upon encountering as every encounter is a once in a life time opportunity.

Cooking is Fun!

It has been one year and seven months since I came to Australia. I still remember when I first came here, I found the living expense was very expensive. So I almost cooked every meal for myself even though it didn’t taste that good.

Gradually, I got busier and busier with university and managed to find a job to support myself. As a result, I got lazy with cooking because:

  1. Prepare food took a lot of time.
  2. Even though I spent time on cooking, it didn’t necessarily taste good.

So after about 2 months, I kind of gave up cooking and bought meal outside most of the time. However recently, I started cooking and gradually had an interest in baking.

I guess it is due to the fact that I was inspired by a friend who loves cooking and always say to me: Food is life, good for soul! I lived with her for a month when I came back from my exchange and didn’t have a place to live. She cooked different meal everyday and they all tasted extremely good. Watching her cooking made me feel that cooking itself is fun and it doesn’t take that long to prepare for a delicious meal.

Spent 15 dollar making 4 portions of pasta.

That day I missed the pork meat bun so much that I tried to make it myself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After moving out, I started subscribing different Youtube channels on cooking and try to cook food according to it. So far I tried to cook traditional Sichuan style boiling fish, banana bread, pizza, pasta and sponge cake. Not only did I save money from cooking, I also felt a sense of accomplishment!

Lemon sponge cake

Home-made pizza

Banana bread!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking is life, good for soul!

Getting yourself organized at uni

I somehow miraculously managed to pull through my entire first year by solely keeping events of the day and week in my head, and setting the occasional reminder or alarm.

Now that I’ve started my second year, it would be joking if I told you I could survive using the same tactic.

Enter the ultimate tool *drumroll*: Google Calendar. Seriously, this is a gem of an app. Don’t wait until your second year to use this – star using it as early as you can to get yourself organised smoothly.

Basically, Google Calendars is a daily/weekly/monthly planner. All you need is a google account and a smartphone. You can set up events and reminders for your entire year as you please. Seeing it on an interactive interface will easily let you know when you’re free and will prevent you from being double-booked.

The best part is you can export your class timetable to Google Calendars, and BAM! You have your whole day on your phone, literally. It will show you your class name, time and location from the information on your QUT virtual Calendar. How awesome is that?!

You can export your class schedule as an iCal file and import it online (on a laptop or desktop, not a mobile phone) and then you’re all set to go. It will alert you on your mobile app before you’re due at an event.

You can think of it as a central scheduler for your day – your work shifts, meetings, classes and other commitments all in one spot that you can see on the go. You can set up customised alerts to remind you of your events.

This is handy tip which I would have benefitted from knowing sooner. So there you go!

Uni 101

Hey! How has Week 1 been for you?

I get it, there’s so much to consider when transitioning from high school to university and the internet is stacked with various survival tips. Since you are here, I will try not to reiterate all the common advice but hopefully give you readers a more relatable and honest truth. No doubt it is an exciting time of self- development and acquisition of skills as well as knowledge. I’ll start off by saying that university life is more than just academic achievement, rather it is about the journey of a whole person.

Be organised

Don’t panic if you are not the most organised person in the world, neither am I, but I would recommend to have at least a copy of the Academic Calendar and a personal planner. Look through each subject and note down the assessment dates. The best thing to do is to combine all those dates into one place. By doing this you will know when your busiest week will be and when you can have more of a chill out period. It is true what they say, do not leave assessments to the last minute! This is the minimum that you can do to make sure you meet deadlines. Previously, I wrote an article about how I use my planner and to-do list which you can read here to give you some ideas and prompt you to find your style. Take my advice with a grain of salt and you don’t have to follow everything I do as well. Find what works for you and stick to it!

Endurance

So like every other student, I love to Youtube and Google time management skills or buy a fancy planner thinking that would motivate me to be a better human being somehow. The truth is, it is not hard to slot in studying sessions, breaks, more studying sessions and even more break times. EVERYONE can do that! I found that the real skill to develop is willpower to stay on tasks. Don’t sigh before you have not tried. I was horrible with time management but I am so much better now in concentrating and maintaining productivity. My point is, instead of focusing on how to manage your time per se, I think it is more worthwhile to train yourself to deal with the root of the problem first which is – a matter of endurance.

Tutorials

The best scenario is to attend every class but that is not always the case. From my experience, lectures are awesome because you get to be with your cohort and of course you will learn new materials. Tutorials are more intimate and deeper discussions can take place. Additionally, some information may not be available online or in the recordings. Hence, I recommend going to tutorials. Everyone has their own studying styles but if you are planning to skip a class, I have to stress that it is important to check if your classes are compulsory because your attendance may contribute to your final grades. Also, if you know that you are the type of person that has a tendency to be distracted then going to tutorials and lectures will keep you on track.

Be Involved!

If I could turned back time I would definitely be more involved in clubs and societies and give more time to volunteering. Let’s not forsake our academic goal but let’s not abandon the benefits of extracurricular activities. Nowadays, employers don’t look at only qualifications but the personhood as well. The chances of being employed are higher when you have qualities such as people and communication skills. Grades only show that you can hold information in your head but it doesn’t say anything about your work ethic or assertiveness which are attractive characteristics to employers. The best place to learn who you want to be and who you do not want to turn into is when you interact and work with other people.

Humbleness and Confidence

I saved this for last because I want it to be memorable. If nothing else on this post seems helpful to you I hope this one will. Doubt and fear is the #1 killer to all potential and talent. Being humble is not placing yourself below anyone and thinking that you are replaceable, worthless or not good enough. Neither is being confident about placing yourself above everyone and blowing your own trumpet about your success. Rather, humbleness is about knowing that you have potential to advance your skills, therefore, you are ready to learn and ask for guidance. Confidence is knowing that you are unique in your own beautiful way and you can overcome whatever is in front of you. This will not only help you be a better team player or workmate but also a quality that would bring you far into every aspect of your life.

Good luck for Semester 1!

The RoundUp

Brazilian student publishes his first book!

Brazilian student Pedro Franklin recently published his first book on travel and entrepreneurship, stating the feat was only possible through studying language skills at QUT.

Read more…

Tips for meeting new people

Our friends at Insider Guides share some great advice about making friends in a new country.

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Brisbane Comedy Festival

From late February to late March each year, the Powerhouse in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm will be your go-to venue for a dose of comedy!

Read more…

Get support from the QUT Student Guild

Whether it’s support with deferring an exam, getting a grade reviewed or any other academic relates issue

Read more…

Drawing for Contemporary Fashion Design

Experience fashion drawing in QUT’s Creative Precinct with an LA-based fashion illustrator and founder of the Fashion Finishing School in Los Angeles.

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QUT International College videos

Hear from students’ in their own language about why they chose to study at QUT’s International College and their experiences in Brisbane!

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Budget tips as a university student

We understand there are a lot of expenses involved in moving to a new country, finding a place to live, as well as other study costs. QUT is here to help you though!

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Become a QUT Digital Leader!

Our friend Aubrey Zhou is also a QUT Digital Leader which means she can share her experiences with the QUT online community. Find out more about this great opportunity for when you start at QUT!

Read more…

Have a great weekend!

The QUT Team

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