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The Paradoxical Problem of a University Student

The Paradoxical Problem of a University Student

Every university student embarks on their journey by undertaking a degree in their desired area of study with the goals of securing a future job in that industry. Attainment of this job is significant and marks the transition from education to employment and the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Once you have secured a job in your industry you are able to concentrate on professional development and work towards all of the life goals you have set yourself. Promotions, holidays, houses and dream cars are now within reach and all of your hard work has finally paid off! But will it?

The path from the start of your university degree to attainment of your first job is well known, yet realistically it is a difficult process, one that some people never complete. A friend of mine has a Bachelor in Animation and Interactive Media, a degree that took 3 years. Yet years later he is still working as a KFC store manager because he cannot break into the animation industry. This story is not an isolated incident and is applicable to most university degrees, as I’m sure you all know. This article is here to shed some light on how to navigate your way through the employment struggle and better your chances at securing valuable opportunities that will slingshot you in the right direction.

The problem associated with securing relevant industry jobs is multifaceted.

  • On one hand the number of graduates and students far outweighs the number of available jobs .This means that not only will you need to be qualified enough and fit the criteria for the role, but you will also need to be the best candidate from a sea of students that have swarmed the open position with applications. We will discuss points of difference below to help you standout.
  • On another hand, jobs are hard to come across and hard to source. Often job positions are advertised internally in companies or are peppered across a variety of social media and online platforms that you may not be familiar with. After dealing with companies regularly I have noticed that a lot of them only deal with specific people or institutions when they are recruiting for positions meaning that they have completely road blocked anyone outside of this category (not good for you). 
  • Lastly, one of the biggest reasons why you will not get a job after your degree is because you have NO EXPERIENCE. As part of my directorship role for InternMe Australia I have talked to many companies regarding academic recruitment and the general consensus is that they want someone with previous experience. That’s right, you can be a HD student that is a theoretical genius but if you haven’t done a day placement at your local butcher and watched Craig junior carving up some meat, then companies don’t want you! No experience means No job.

I’m sure that you can now see that there is a very real problem that at some point you will have to face. When you do though make sure you remember the tips outlined below.

As mentioned above there are multitudes of hungry students looking for work but only a few positions to be filled. To increase your chances of securing a position you need to become marketable and find your point of difference. What separates you from the rest and how will the employer benefit from it?

For starters, achieving good academic grades shows that you have the technical ability for the role. Furthering on from this, opportunities for professional development are always present throughout your life, people just never realise. Due to the masses of job seekers trying to break into the professional world it is completely necessary for individuals to be proactive and vigilant when trying to locate opportunities and engage in resume building activities. Whenever there are chances for you to do something that can contribute to your professional development make sure you take it. These will all add points to your resume which provides a transcript of your personal worth and is something that showcases your points of difference to an employer. Apply for any positions that allow you to demonstrate certain skills, apply for any leadership positions you come across, volunteer for university roles and approach businesses and companies to offer your assistance even as a volunteer. Although initially the roles you come across may not be your dream job or positions at reputable companies, they will allow you to showcase your abilities and highlight exactly how your unique attributes and skillsets can add value to someone else’s business.

As for locating hidden jobs, familiarize yourself with professional networking platforms. LinkedIn is a very good networking tool and allows access to employees at large multimillion dollar international companies. Once you are connected with an employee it is a lot easier to find the right person to contact and to get your foot in the door. Also be receptive and always act on opportunities when they present themselves. If you are talking to someone that works at a reputable company ask for a contact there. Use family, friends and associates to break into the real world and to better your chances at securing a highly sought after job position. Generally if you can name drop someone at the company or get an internal reference your chances of being employed dramatically increase.  

Lastly, the paradox of needing experience to get experience is something we are specifically targeting with our company InternMe Australia. When we approach companies we showcase the benefits of taking in fresh university students and graduates. The companies we work with are student and graduate advocates as they have signed up with us knowing that we have a niche population in these two areas that do not necessarily have experience. To help with finding entry level jobs we created InternMe Australia for all students, in all degrees, at all study levels. Since we are students ourselves, we aim to remain a free service for our fellow Australian students.

Hopefully some of the information above can help you when you inevitably face the transition from education to employment. We are more than happy to help in this process as much as we can so feel free to email us at [email protected]  and shoot us any questions you may have.



Jayden Kafanelis
Executive Director at InternMe Australia

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