How to Find an Internship as an International Student in Australia

Finding an internship as an international student in Australia can be both exciting and challenging. Internships are a stepping stone towards building a career, offering practical experience, industry connections, and a chance to apply academic knowledge in real-world settings. 

For international students, navigating the internship landscape requires planning and a proactive attitude. Here’s a guide to help you secure an internship in Australia.

Start Early and Plan Ahead

One of the most important steps in finding an internship is to start your search early. That includes making time to prepare your CV and cover letter and to research companies that could be a good match for your internship requirements. 

Making contact with companies and businesses, following up with them and organising internships also take time. By starting your search early, you’ll have proper time to prepare your applications and hone your approach.

Set goals and define what you want to achieve from your internship. Are you looking to gain specific skills, work in a particular industry, or get a foot in the door at a certain company? Setting clear goals will help you focus your search and tailor your applications.

Use University Resources

Most universities in Australia have career centres dedicated to helping students find internship opportunities. These centres often provide decent resources, including job boards, resume workshops, and interview preparation sessions.

University internship boards are a great place to start your search. They often list internships and work experience opportunities specifically targeted at students. Unis also organise career fairs and employer meet-ups, which are great for learning about the industry and making connections. You can also check out workshops offered at your university, ones that can assist you with working on your communication and personal presentation skills.

Network, Network, Network

Attend career fairs and industry events organised by your university or local industry associations. These events are excellent opportunities to meet potential employers, learn about different companies, and make a positive impression.

Consider joining professional associations related to your field of study. These organisations often host networking events, workshops, and seminars that can help you connect with industry professionals.

You can also think about reaching out to alumni from your university who are working in your desired field. Alumni can offer valuable insights, advice, and sometimes even internship opportunities. Universities often have online platforms or LinkedIn groups to facilitate these connections.

Leverage Internship Platforms and Websites

There are plenty of websites like Seek and Indeed that offer popular internship search platforms in Australia. They offer a wide range of internship listings across various industries. Set up alerts to stay updated on new postings.

Make sure you are present on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not just a networking tool; it’s also a powerful search engine for work experience opportunities  Follow companies you’re interested in, join industry-specific groups, and actively participate in discussions. Many companies post internship opportunities directly on LinkedIn.

In Australia there are also a number of internship agencies, such as CareerDC, that can assist you with finding an internship opportunity. One of the tricky things for international students is that some companies require their interns to be either Australian citizens or permanent residents. Internship consultancies, such as CareerDC, have well-developed networks of companies that have a track record of accepting international students with student visas for internships and other work experience opportunities. 

Be Proactive and Persistent

If you have a particular company in mind, don’t hesitate to reach out directly. Even if a company doesn’t have any advertised internship openings, sending a well-written, customised enquiry email expressing your interest can sometimes lead to opportunities. Make sure to highlight your skills, experiences, and why you’re interested in the company.

Persistence pays off. If you’ve applied for an internship and haven’t heard back, it’s okay to follow up with a polite email to inquire about the status of your application. This shows your continued interest and enthusiasm.

Prepare for the Application Process

It cannot be said enough how important it is to customise your resume and cover letter for every internship application. Highlight relevant skills and experiences that match the internship description. Use specific examples to demonstrate your achievements and how they relate to the role you’re applying for.

Interviews can be daunting, but practice makes better. Take advantage of mock interview sessions offered by your university’s career centre, or practice with a friend. Prepare answers for common interview questions and have a few questions ready to ask the interviewer.

Be Open to Opportunities

While many degree-required internships in Australia are unpaid, they can still offer significant benefits. Unpaid internships provide hands-on industry experience, and professional connections, and will improve your resume. Consider if the industry-specific experience and networking opportunities outweigh the lack of financial compensation.

Some universities offer structured internship programs that include placements as part of the curriculum. These programs often ensure that the internships provide meaningful learning experiences. 

Internship agencies, such as CareerDC, also offer internship programs for international students in Australia to fulfil the requirements of their degrees. The internship programs are matched with each student’s study discipline to ensure the work experience placement offers suitable practical industry experience.

Stay Positive and Keep Learning

Finding an internship that matches your degree can be challenging, and you may face rejections along the way. Stay positive and keep refining your approach. Each application and interview is a learning experience that brings you closer to your goal.

Use every positive experience and also every knock-back to continuously improve yourself, your approach and your personal presentation. Ask for and use feedback from unsuccessful applications to improve. Enhance your resume, refine your cover letters, and build your skills through online courses or volunteer work.

Conclusion

Securing an internship as an international student in Australia may require extra effort, but the rewards are well worth it. 

By starting early, leveraging university resources, networking, using online internship boards or internship consultancies, being proactive, and staying persistent, you can find valuable internship opportunities that will enhance your career prospects. 

Remember, every step you take brings you closer to your goals. Good luck on your internship journey!

 

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy the FREE CareerDC eBook “How to Find an Internship”.  Go to the eBook > > >