Graduate Programs for International Students

Graduate Programs are highly structured graduate employment arrangements whereby the graduate will receive a wage, training support, mentoring and usually the opportunity to experience a range of jobs within the organisation.   Programs are generally one to two years in duration and there is an expectation that the graduate will remain with the company after completing the program.

These programs cost the organisation more than just your wages, so employers are VERY selective about who they choose.  An advertisement for a graduate program position may receive over 5000 applications.

Graduate Opportunities is an organisation that provides information on Graduate Programs and includes info for International Students on employers that are known to hire International Students.  There website also provided some useful info on the process of applying for graduate programs and the attribute employers are often seeking.  See also International Student eBook including employer list.

Remember it’s vital to do your research into these organisations and not just send them your CV or Resumé.   Graduate Programs are extremely competitive, so you want to be well prepared so you can be short listed and get to the interview stage.

Here are some tips:-

  1. Start planning from year one of your studies.  Employers are more likely to offer a graduate program to someone who has done work experience or vacation work with their company. See Undergraduate Opportunities eBook for vacation work options provided by some of these companies.
  2. Talk to your networks. Ask fellow students and lecturers, even friends and neighbours who might know of vacation work opportunities with companies that also offer Graduate Programs.
  3. Thoroughly research the companies offering Graduate Programs.  Companies will expect you to have knowledge of what they do and the skills they are seeking.
  4. Explore what you offer employers. If there are particular skills these employer are looking for, then choose subjects/units and experiences that will help you develop these skills.
  5. Start your self marketing campaign early. This includes creating a Professional Portfolio of your skills and experiences, a Resumé tailored to your target companies, designing your LinkedIn pages to highlight where your skills match what they need. Also consider following the company on LinkedIn to keep up to date with what they are doing AND have a better chance of being noticed by them.

IMPORTANT: While most Graduate Programs are formally advertised, many other graduate  jobs, vacation work and undergraduate jobs that make you more competitive for Graduate Programs, are not advertised. They are usually found via networking. See Where are the jobs? – Secrets of the hidden job market. for more info on utilising your networks to access more job opportunities.

If you want to make sure your Graduate Program job application will be competitive, see Career Counsellor for advice. Most Universities and training providers have career services. If not then invest in hiring a career counsellor to help. Go to the Useful links page.

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