Being an international student comes with a heavy price tag, which is why most students balance work alongside their studies. There are also some huge advantages to working while you study. Students with part-time and casual jobs get a host of experiences they won’t get sitting in a classroom.
Here are some tips for finding part-time or casual work:
Restrictions on work or hours
Make sure you check your visa conditions and be clear on the number of hours you can work during semester and semester breaks. Also, think about how you are going to balance work and study and make sure you are not working too much and impacting on your grades!
Know your rights
Research minimum wages in your area and make sure you are clear on employee entitlements. This might include things such as leave, breaks and rest periods and health and safety.
Create a plan
Try and avoid sitting back and instead create a plan for your application efforts. Ask around and keep your eyes open for local companies that hire casuals. This might include fast food restaurants, department stores, clothing stores and cafes. Try creating a list of at least five to ten target companies and take a look on their websites for any advertised positions.
Tap into your networks
You may not have quite the same network of friends and family as you have back home, but try asking housemates, other students in your class or even international student social networks and forums for advice on opportunities for paid work.
Stop using generic resume formats
Using generic resumes which list down your courses, your bachelor’s degree, and your summer jobs will not help you stand out. Try to make as strong of a statement as possible by using a unique or personalised resume format. This way, employers will not be bored when considering your application and it will stand out from the other applicants. Have a go at writing a resume directed at your possible employer, and one they will enjoy reading.
Approach employers in person with your resume
Small businesses generally expect people to approach them directly in person, via phone or through email. If you’re looking for a job in hospitality or retail, it’s best to directly approach employers in your local area. Take along your resume and be prepared to talk about your skills, experience and availability. Keep an eye out for cafes and shops that have signs in their windows advertising for staff.
Tip: think carefully about the best time to take your resume to hospitality and retail stores. You want the manager to have time to have a chat with you. Don’t go during the lunchtime rush!
Apply directly to large companies via their websites
Larger organisations who employ part-time and casual staff in a range of roles tend to use online application systems. Recruitment information can be tricky to find – if there’s no tab on the website for ‘careers’ ‘jobs’ or ‘employment’, look for an ‘about us’ tab on the site map. Sometimes opportunities even sit under a ‘news’ tab.
Follow up your application
Remember, it is not enough to send out your resumes and wait for a message or phone call from employers. Try and follow up every application with an email or a call to ensure that they know how interested you really are. Make sure, however, that you don’t follow up to the point where you bother a potential employer.
Take job interviews seriously
Aim to be as professional as possible during job interviews. Research the company you will be applying for and dress accordingly during interviews. Try to arrive early and prepare simple, but concise, answers to possible common questions like, “how do you deal with difficult customers”?