Tips for Grads: Graduate Advice from South32 with Kate Mosel

By the time you graduate, you probably have a pretty decent grasp of what type of job you want to work in. Even if your job won’t be the same as years go by (and the stats say it won’t be), you have a rough idea know where your career will start.

Getting a graduate job is an excellent way to kick start your career. It can help you develop your skills and will get you industry experience. Good graduate programs will give you a taste of everything that a company offers and can help you discover aspects of the job – or your personality – that you didn’t realise exist.

Some graduate programs put you on leadership paths while others can grow your network with great mentors. These programs can be a major benefit for your career. In many ways the decision to get a graduate job is a no-brainer. The big question is how to get one.

To help you in your search, JobGetter has approached some of the best Graduate Employers in Australia. These Tips for Grads can help you nail your resumeimpress in an interview, and find out exactly what these recruiters are looking for. This week, Kate Mosel, Specialist in Talent Acquisition for Graduates and Students at South32
offers her wisdom and advice to graduate job seekers.

In such a competitive industry, getting an inside advantage – someone who knows how the system works – could be all the edge you need to start your career with your dream employer. 

That is the whole idea behind Tips for Grads. To give graduates like you a chance to see what some of the best graduate employers in Australia are doing and how you can impress them.

Read on to get Kate’s insight and advice…

South32

This Perth based mining and metals company is one of the largest companies of its type in the world. Formed from BHP – itself another huge mining company with a storied history in Australia – in 2015, South32 is the world’s largest producer of manganese ore in addition to being a massive producer of silver and ferronickel.

South32 has huge global reach. It has bases of operations and mines in Australia, Southern Africa, and in North and South America. Their products are used to manufacture thousands of everyday goods. While it can be easy to forget the impact mining has when you live far away from the pits it would be impossible to ignore the way it affects our lives.

Despite the huge distances between sites, South32 focuses on face to face development of their graduates. Using mentors and tailored training programs, the South32 graduate experience primes people for leadership opportunities. They pride themselves on their diversity and are actively working to reduce the gender pay gap and encourage more representation from indigenous and female workers.

If you’re interested in mining or want to work with a company that’s making a difference in a career that will take you around the world… South32 might be your dream employer.

Kate’s Tips for Grads

What was your first job?

My first job out of university was as a New Product Development Specialist at a food factory that produced frozen meals. It sounds fancier than it was, I spent a lot of time cooking in a test kitchen and writing nutrition information panels for the new products. I studied food science and nutrition at uni and now I work in recruitment which goes to show that you are not limited to your degree, anything can happen along the way!

How long have you worked in HR?

I have worked in HR, specifically recruitment, for 13 years. I have been in the graduate recruitment space for 6 years.

What do you look for in graduates?

We look for graduates who are aligned with our company values, are keen to learn and who show a genuine interest in being a part of South32.

What advice would you give to graduates looking to stand out?

If you know which companies you are targeting you should find out where you can connect with people from these companies in person. Nothing can beat a face to face conversation and you will stand out when your application comes in. Visit company websites to see if they are holding any student networking events or if they are attending university careers fairs near you. Make sure you note on your application that you had a conversation with someone to show your interest in that company.

What’s something people might not know about working at South32?

South32 is expanding its global footprint with a bias to base metals. We recently acquired Arizona Mining in the USA, as well as a 50 per cent interest in the Eagle Downs project in Queensland, Australia, where we have also assumed operatorship. As a global company, there are some great opportunities to move internally. Another thing you may not know is that our company name represents the thirty-second parallel south, which links South Africa and Australia where most of our operations are located.

What thing makes a graduate’s application stand out to you?

I think it is obvious when students are passionate about the company they are applying to. It comes through in the research they have done and the way they can clearly articulate why they want to work for you. This is the biggest stand out for me.

What’s the number one mistake to avoid when applying for a graduate position?

It seems simple but lots of students make the mistake of not proof reading their applications and they mention the names of other companies throughout their application, not the one they are applying to. Make sure you ask someone else to proofread it and also make sure you are tailoring your answers to each company that you apply to. It is obvious to recruiters when an answer is generic.

What do you look for during the interview?

In an interview we are looking for good communication skills, sound technical knowledge, alignment with our values and inquisitive minds.

What questions should graduates never ask?

I would never ask about salary upfront. As you progress towards an offer you can absolutely discuss salary however I would advise against it in the early stages as it would make me question the candidate’s motivation for the position. Graduates should be searching for their first role based on learning and development opportunities and career pathways, not on salary.  

What do you wish more candidates would do or say?

Excellent candidates ask questions that demonstrate that they have done some real research on your company, and I don’t mean by just reading the website. I also wish candidates would apply early and not leave it to the last day!

What should graduates know about South32 before applying?

  • Know which of our operations you are applying to – where they are, what they do and why you want to work there?
  • Understand the requirements of that location; for example is it fly-in, fly-out or does it mean you would have to relocate?
  • Our company values; if you are aligned with them we’d love you to apply!

What advice would you give to someone who was unsuccessful in applying?

  • Ask for feedback. This isn’t always possible as recruiters are very busy this time of year but if you have made it to interview you should be receiving some constructive feedback.
  • Don’t give up. The graduate market is fierce however every company is looking for something slightly different and you will find your perfect match eventually.

Final thought: Widen Your Horizons

Walking into a graduate job can feel like a big deal. Was your degree the right one after all? Is this really the career you want to work in?

At the end of the day your job and your career will change. Automation, new technologies, and changing employment demands means that the job you work today may be totally different (or even non-existent) in 30 years’ time.

Career clusters means that people are moving in wider career circles than ever before. Having the necessary soft skills that employers look for like creativity or conflict resolution will take you further the physical ability. That’s why it’s so important graduates try and get a “first role based on learning and development opportunities”. Your first job won’t be your last but you will carry those lessons and experiences with you throughout your career.

You want to give yourself the best start possible. Be prepared because, like Kate says, “anything can happen along the way!”


Want to join South32?

Are you ready to take the first steps of your career and join South32’s graduate program? Maybe you’re just interested in seeing their international mining opportunities? Whatever you choose, keep Kate’s advice close to hand when you look at their employment opportunities.

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