International students face many obstacles in their journey to land their first marketing job. These obstacles include visa limitations, lacking practical marketing skills and local experience, and poor communication skills. Despite these challenges, many other international students had successfully acquired their first marketing job in Australia, even in global companies. See examples of MARKCubator students:
Therefore, instead of having a pessimistic mindset that getting a marketing job is impossible, students should instead reflect on their previous steps and construct solid strategies to achieve this goal.
Below are strategies tailored to three distinct types of students. Are you one of them?
Type 1: The Desperate Graduate. “Too Late! Or is it?”
You’re halfway through or almost finished with your 485 visa. You either have a full time corporate job or are working in retail/hospitality, totally different from your marketing dream job. You realize that you have deviated from the career path that you wanted: a marketing role. With your visa expiring soon, you start panicking as the reality of returning home sets in. You even have thoughts of returning home as finding your dream job seems impossible.
Strategy for Type 1: Be creative, consider alternative pathways.
It may seem impossible but there is still hope. One possible avenue is to further your studies to extend your stay in Australia. This would give you an opportunity to acquire the necessary marketing skills while undergoing studies. Gain your skills from a marketing coach. For example, Dr.Theresa Teo has built many students’ practical marketing skills through her structured internships. With the acquired skills, students are able to meet the companies’ expectations and responsibilities in a marketing role.
Take advantage of your bilingual skills, e.g. Chinese and English, to seek for multinational companies that serve international clients. This increases the opportunities for you to display your abilities to contribute to the company. Bilingual skills are highly sought for such companies which makes you a preferred candidate during interviews. The best outcome for this route would be a company sponsorship if you are a valuable asset to their organization.
Type 2: The Inexperienced/Confused Graduate. “What should I do?”
You have recently graduated with a marketing degree, thinking that it can help you secure a job. Others have also advised you that gaining certificates (FB or Google) can enhance employment. However, you face rejection letters as companies prefer graduates with 2-3 years of experience which confuses you. You think that graduating from a reputable university would help you land a marketing role even without experience. Additionally, you may be feeling confused as to why companies are not recognizing your certificates. After going through many interviews, you discovered that firms are looking for job ready candidates. In fact, some interviewers are even testing candidates’ competency in practical marketing skills (SEO, copywriting, social media posts). To make ends meet, you resort to working in retail or hospitality during your temporary graduate visa.
Strategy for Type 2: Act now! Gain practical experience, not certificates.
Marketing graduates often make the mistake of relying solely on their marketing certificates to boost their resume. While this can be beneficial, it does not necessarily give you a significant advantage in securing a marketing role in Australia. Companies are seeking job-ready graduates who have practical marketing skills such as SEO, copywriting, and social media management.
Given the limited time frame of a temporary graduate visa, it is best to acquire these practical marketing skills as quickly as possible. Employers are looking for candidates who can effectively handle marketing roles without extensive training, so having these skills can greatly increase your chances of getting hired.
However, it can take up to a year to acquire these skills, which may leave you with little time left on your visa. If finding a job seems unlikely, consider leveraging your connections and seeking out companies that value bilingual employees. Like Type 1 students, you may even be sponsored if you prove to be a valuable asset to the company.
Type 3: The Clueless, Enthusiastic Undergraduate. “I still have time, do I?”
You’re an international undergraduate or master’s student studying commerce. You either major in marketing or are passionate about marketing. You go through the required university courses, hoping to work in a marketing role in the future. Your plan is to land a marketing intern role in your 2nd or 3rd year of university, but you’re clueless about where to even start. After a few google searches, you decided to apply for marketing internship roles on LinkedIn but you received no responses. You wonder why it is so hard to get an internship. Furthermore, you heard that companies require experienced interns. Don't companies hire interns to give them a chance to gain work experience since they don't have any prior experience?
Strategy for Type 3: “Don’t be hasty! Skills first, internships second.”
Gain practical marketing skills before applying for an internship/graduate role. With these skills, you can request to take up intern roles that enhance your marketing skills or even the role that you’re interested in. Moreover, you can also utilize these skills in your internship to make it a more valuable experience. This would allow you to enhance your marketing skills, thus allowing you to stand out as a preferred candidate during interviews for your chosen career.
Even if you land yourself an internship, it is essential that the experience is worthy in expanding your marketing skills. While it may seem beneficial to have an internship, one that only involves data entry work or does not offer opportunities to expand your skill sets may not provide as much value as you initially thought.
Although these 3 categories of students share a common strategy, there are significant differences that should be taken into consideration. Your subsequent approach after implementing these strategies play a key part in maximizing your chances of securing a marketing role in Australia. It's important to note that this above is just a guide and the strategies may not be a perfect fit for you. Different circumstances call for different strategies, so it's possible that you may need to modify the suggestions to better suit your situation.
If you require further guidance and a critical evaluation of your situation to plan your career path, click here to book a free 30-minute consultation with a marketing career coach.