Chapter 1 - an untold story
Arrival in Australia
Cindy, an international student, from China arrived in Australia at the age of 16 joining a local high school in Year 11.
A hardworking student, she completed her VCE studies with a great score! Gaining entry into a great university studying B.Commerce.
Study, study & study
Like all good students, her belief is that study is the most important aspect of university life - a belief perpetuated by her parents back in China.
Compounding this challenge is the new study environment @ university - the style, the format, even the assessments - it is different to high school & back home.
The long road to 'success'
Undeterred - Cindy pushes on - learning how to adapt in this new study environment. Initially, she stumbles and is frustrated that her efforts are not translating into results, but failures are seeds to success & eventually she makes it!
3 Years quickly pass & graduation at last!
The hunt for that elusive job
Armed with her graduation certificate - Cindy starts looking for employment.
Due to her high distinction average Cindy is able to get through the majority of the initial screening.
But then came the group interviews + assessment centres - you are suppose to make a group presentation ON THE SPOT? I studied accounting + finance - sorely because I didn't want to make group presentations.
A 250 word mini essay on the policies of the Australian Government on the new AASB 138. What is the AASB?
Rejection, rejection and more rejections
Learning from her mistakes Cindy quickly learns the vernacular of her industry...Ah yes! next times I should mention how the new standards set by the AASB helps companies better track, manage and streamline their inventories!
Through seer grit and persistence Cindy makes it through the Group Interviews - now the dreaded personal interviews.
"So Cindy, tell me about her experience in Accounting?"
Cindy quickly realised that she lacked relevant work experience in her relevant field - no one told me that I needed to have a job when I was studying!
"How about your community involvement?"
Volunteer work? How does planting a tree or talking to old people help me get a job? Plus I was busy studying!
It is not you...it's me
Interview after interview, rejection after rejection. Things are not looking good.
Dejected, she calls home for support. Her dad, a former Olympian and Coach for the Chinese Volley Ball Team, reminds her of where she comes from and what it means to persist.
So she does & finally, FINALLY an accounting firm is willing to hire! NO MORE REJECTION LETTERS!
Wait What? But...
Upon receiving her Job acceptance letter, she learns that it is the FIRM's POLICY that they only hire staff with an Australian Passport or have Permanent Residency.
"I'm sorry to tell you Cindy, we are a small business and even though you are telling us that you are eligible - we simply cannot take the risk of hiring you."
Even though she is eligible to work for 2 years...she still finds herself without a job. Money is getting tight & pressure back home is not helping.
So like most students who find themselves in this situation Cindy finds a job tangentially related to her field of study.
The True Story of Cindy Xiao - my cousin + the profile of her Olympian father.
Chapter 2 - The Amazing Race towards Platform 93/4
26 miles out
Most students are unaware of their employment responsibilities during the first year of their studies.
Yet, knowing how to seek, find, executive, document and present yourself and and your CV is perhaps more important than any of the subjects you will undertake at university.
Compounding this is the importance of branding - knowing how to brand yourself & thus differentiating yourself amongst your peers.
Finding a job is very much like a marathon. Even though it appears that everyone is equally placed initially, the result of those in the top 20 is almost pre-destined - much like like finding a job.
The Perfect Candidate
"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." Vince Lombardi
Here are a list of tasks which are expected from students by employers:
1. Part time or causal job
2. Strong community, writing + communication skills
3. Volunteering and community service
4. Relevant job experience
5. Portfolio or Capstone Project
6. Internship or Work - Integrated Learning
7. Online presence & personal branding
8. Excellent Marks
In addition, students are also expected to show a high degree of emotional and social intelligence as well as a genuine interest in their industry, together with strong industry knowledge.
Winner takes all
The real world is very different to the world of academia. In sports, in business, in