By Yi Su

In August, I attended the workshop ‘Leading in Your Community’ held by Study Melbourne, where I learnt more about work rights and how to share the information with other students. The workshop was held in conjunction with University of Melbourne, Fair Work Ombudsman and Education Consul of China.

Legal advice at Study Melbourne Student Centre

Here are my key takeaways.

Knowing your rights is the first step

It’s important to know your workplace rights under the Australian law. Luckily, there are many places to get help.

  • Study Melbourne Student Centre provides free legal advice on working. I would highly encourage students to tap on the expertise of the employment lawyers who are there three days a week to provide confidential and independent advice for international students. If something doesn’t feel right at work, I would recommend speaking to the lawyer to find out what you can do about it. It is always better to know more so you can protect yourself.

Preparation gives you the best chance of success

"Chance favours only the prepared mind."------ Louis Pasteur

At the workshop, Wenkai Nie from Education Consul offered the following tips for preparing to be a future leader:

  • Find your purpose and interest.
  • Learn how to select useful information to solve problems.
  • Develop a global vision. If you can't see the whole picture, you don't get insight.

When it comes to preparing yourself to land a job in line with your career needs, make good use of:

Networking can build important employment connections

Students discussing

There are fabulous opportunities that can be uncovered through networking. By building connections with people, you might find out more about their companies and jobs to help you better understand the industry you want to go into, or even land a job further down the track.

How do you do it?

Make a strong first impression by being prepared

  • Research who you might be meeting and identify their interests.
  • Research the hot topic or trend within the industry or company to prepare some conversation topics in advance.
  • Plan an ‘elevator pitch’ which allows you to highlight your skills and experience and ask questions that can give deeper insights on what you want to know.

Strike up a conversation

two young men chatting

Some people may find it difficult to strike up or maintain an engaging conversation with strangers. According to Peter Karutz from Melbourne University, there is a 'F(O)RM' approach that we can use.

F for familiar. Become familiar with the other person by asking about them and sharing a little about yourself, for example, you could ask, "Did you have to travel far to get here today?" You can share about what you are studying and the projects you are doing.

R for recreation. You can ask what they enjoy doing outside of work or studying.

M for motivation. Find out what drives them, for example, you could ask "What do you enjoy the most about your work?"

Maintain the connection

At the end of the conversation, thank them for their time and for sharing information with you. It is a good idea to ask for their business card so you can get in touch in future.

After meeting them, you can send a short email to follow up, including some information you talked about so that it could help them to remember you. Also, you could let them know what you learnt from them. If the conversation went well or you want to learn more from them, you could politely ask them out for coffee in future.

About the writer

Yi Su enjoys exploring Melbourne and loves living in such a multicultural city. She is excited to share her wealth of information about life in Melbourne with other international students. In her spare time, Yi enjoys photography, travel and food. Yi is a Study Melbourne Ambassador (2018-19).