University Graduate Advice

Hi all!
Long time lurker and occasional poster here needing your help.
Im 20 years old and in my final year of university. In the past month I've been hunting down graduate programs/professional jobs that i can apply for and start when i graduate, however a lot of them seem to require some sort of internship/professional experience. Im not completely new to the workforce and have done teaching/tutoring jobs at a centre for the past 2.5 years as well as retail experience for the last 6 months. Studying is not my forte so i don't have the best marks and i do hope i don't have to continue on with my studies. Competition is super tough and I'm finding it difficult to compete with others who have 10x more experience than i do.

If anyone has any experience to share id love to hear it!
How did you get about finding your first job after you graduated?

EDIT: Studying a bachelor of science and business (single degree) majoring in mathematics.


  • You need to clue us into what field you're in. Some industries expect an internship (which will often be unpaid) and a recommendation letter.

    • added it in! i know some degrees have a compulsory internship program but that isn't included in mine.

  • I think you should finish with your studies seeing you have one year left. Don't give up!
    Look out for volunteering work, talk to your student counsellor about jobs and careers. Check out what's available around your local area for volunteering jobs, one day a week jobs etc. Careers advisor and people from uni are the best source. Sign up to anything that you think will give you experience.

    • Do you know of any websites other than seek or gumtree that post about jobs available? Been looking at receptionist roles however they too require minimum x years experience.

      How to find experience with no experience? Thats the real question haha

      • Might be worth looking up the search term for "entry level" jobs as I assume they're the ones with less experience needed. But seeing the inside of some companies I'm actually surprised how "experience a must" is used when they'll take on pretty much anyone they can, not always the case though.

        If you can't find one in your area of study I'd definitely suggest volunteering (an hour a week?), especially if you can do it in a facilitation (talking?) area. That way you can use it for your communication, culture and team work skills (soft skills) and have the degree be the hard skills area. Helped me get my job I reckon.

      • look up "entry level" jobs like trustnoone said.
        are you focusing your career towards science or business?

        • Thanks for that! Starting to use it in my searches and i feel like the results are more for me hahah.
          Hopefully business but i wouldn't mind a bit of both. Just anything really!

  • Your GPA is not that important for business.. for science I don't really know, some places might look at your GPA if you are applying for a research-type role.

    Anyway the first job I got out of uni was volunteer work, I worked as helpdesk support (quasi level 1) and first few months was unpaid, and then they paid me. Went from there and into many jobs… customer serivce, sales, that kind of thing.

    You should definitely finish uni. It helps having that certificate. Puts you on a level above the rest.

    • A lot of the companies I've looked at don't let you apply for their programs if your GPA isn't above a certain mark. But I'm definitely going to finish my studies, just thought i should be prepared as majority of these graduate positions have deadlines tomorrow/sometime in april for a 2018 start.

  • Get a DipEd? Go teach science/maths. Definitely need teachers in those fields

    Always nice too :)

    • For secondary school employment, You need an accredited graduate entry teaching degree such as a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) or Master of Teaching (Secondary). This takes 4 years, btw.

  • Go for some pharmaceutical sales roles. When I was in this role we had lots of grads starting all the time

  • Science you will need to do post graduate studies in which you will waste more time and money but no one will hire you with a single degree

    You might get a 'job' in sales but you probably could of gone to tafe for that.

    Depending on your GPA go back to uni get post grade qualification in something that gets work/money ie medicine, dentistry etc

    • majoring in mathematics (as my science major) I've been told that i only need to go onto masters if i want to become a university lecturer.

  • Experience is an absolute must for business - your future potential employers no matter the industry would want to see how well you work with others, how you solve real problems and how you can add value to them. Consider reaching out to companies in your field via LinkedIn or cold-calling if you can - offer to volunteer for them in exchange for experience. Just having one or two companies on your resume's would be enough to give you a leg up. Don't expect to be paid much in your first job - use your first job to get a better second job! Good luck out there, stay positive and make sure you spend time on your cover letters - they're critical.

    • i know some jobs don't require a cover letter when you apply, only a CV. would you recommend still submitting one?

      • CV's are similar to resume's, yet used differently in different industries and countries. They are more indepth than resumes when it comes to explaining a person's accomplishments in academia, for example, when you have published material (thesis or journals), given talks or presentations, received awards / honors, and teaching experience.

        CV's are usually what you submit when you have strong academic skills and experience and the job you're applying for is highly technical or academic in nature.

        In the world of business, you want a resume AND a cover letter, though in very rare cases a cover letter can be omitted if you are applying internally within an organisation, or if you are just applying face to face (the old method of just rocking up with a resume)

        Good practice: a resume should not be any more than two pages in length. A cover letter is no more than a single page, ordinarily.

      • Absolutely - whenever you get a chance, submit a cover letter. A cover letter connects your resume with the job application, making it easier for the employer to see how your skills and experiences match the advertised position. A lot of recruiters will cull applications based solely on the cover letter, then deep dive into the resumes to get the final list. Nobody has time to read every resume.

  • Recommend you practice disrupting industries and coaching start-ups.

    You should be able to jag a non-executive board position.

  • What was your original goal when you started your degree? And if you didn't have one, what industries/professions attract you?

    • Didn't really have any sense of direction when i started my degree. Only chose it because there was a lot of options and i wouldn't have to declare my major until second year. Ive always liked the sound of working in an office (hopefully someplace where i wouldn't be stuck in a cubicle and stare in front of a computer screen all day though). Pretty open to ideas and would most likely try just about anything to get a start :)

  • I can only offer insights from a Big 4 accounting firm perspective unfortunately. But in my experience the Big 4 don't really care about experience or your grades. They are after people who:

    • Can learn new things quickly,
    • Have a good sense of social awareness
    • Are able to work well with a team of people
    • Are presentable and well mannered to be placed in front of clients
    • Have a 'good story' and appear interesting

    PM me if you want more info about the Big 4. I've got about 5 years experience across two of the firms.

  • I graduated in 2011. Got a government job in WA. I assume my resume and covering letter were crap as I had no idea what I was doing. Maybe look online for some tips on writing good covering letters. Graduate roles are a bit different from specific roles, as they want someone who can pick up things quickly and looks like a good worker, as opposed to specific skills, although grades are the first thing they look at before other things. Grades might get you an interview, then in the interview they will split people out (from what I can remember of ~5 years ago).

    • Did you have to relocate for your job? Im from sydney btw!
      As i mentioned up there, grades aren't the best for me so hopefully i can gain experience and it will compensate for that haha