How UOW gets you ready for your dream career

International graduates Joel and Kaiyang talk about stepping out in today's competitive job market.

To get a job after Uni, you need more than just great marks and a piece of paper. Here, international graduates Joel and Kaiyang talk about stepping out of their comfort zone to get the edge in today's competitive job market.

Striding through BlueScope's bustling Wollongong steelworks, it's hard to believe that Joel Coelho was once so shy, he'd rather walk alone to uni than catch the free UOW bus.

"I was really afraid", recalls Joel. "But I also knew nothing would be handed to me. I had to make the most of the opportunities and put myself out there."

Originally from Mumbai, India, Joel was then a mechanical engineering student at UOW, with quietly held dreams of one day becoming an astronaut. Starting with volunteering, and later, the help of UOW Careers Central, Joel slowly started to gain confidence and diversify his experience outside the lecture theatre.

"One of the things we are looking for in students, or potential employees, is that they are curious and they're willing to ask questions,' says BlueScope's Digital and Social Media Marketing Advisor, Martin Field. "Sure, you need to have knowledge from your university studies, but as the economy changes, as the industry revolutionizes, we want to know if you have the language and the interpersonal skills to solve problems and move the industry forward generally."

This is a sentiment of which Joel McLaren - APAC Account Manager at FDM Group - agrees.

"We are always looking for people that have skills, whether that be through internships, work experience, university, team projects... Our employability criteria is not a set of bullet points on a job description, we're really looking for the person and what they possess, the skills that they can bring to a work environment and what potential they have."

Now working with FDM group, UOW Engineering graduate Kaiyang Li is testament to UOW's unique career-ready approach.

"High marks are not the be all and end all. For example, volunteering says a lot about who you are and personally, it gave me different skills and enriched my experience. You need to have stories to share. This was my key learning to get me prepared for my working life" says Kaiyang.

For Joel, his role working at BlueScope is now part of his narrative, with a journey to space no longer such a distant dream.

"For other international students, I would say there are a lot of opportunities, but it's up to you to make it happen."

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