The life of an international student is packed with both exciting and challenging experiences. Living far from home, foreign students are constantly busy planning their next big career move. Here are some ideas on how to improve your job prospects and make the most of the prevailing turbulent economic climate.
Get to know the employers
The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way employers hire. The new business environment has skewed the demand for skills. It is important to know what employers are looking for. Knowing your prospective employers’ needs gives a confidence boost and places you miles ahead of your competition.
Nowadays most jobs require a mix of technical and enterprise skills. Technical skills are usually acquired through formal education. These are listed in the job descriptions of most ads, and are often very specific. Examples of technical skills are proficiency in a programming language, the ability to do financial analysis, and so on. Enterprise skills on the other hand are learned through experiences. Some examples are the ability to engage with others, manage time, communicate effectively, and the like.
Many enterprise skills sound more like attributes than skills. Nevertheless, they are highly valued by organizations. It is more important for managers for example, to think analytically and solve problems than to excel at entry-level functions. Many enterprise skills are universal, and apply to a wide range of jobs. A 2019 publication by the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) revealed that employers seek out enterprise skills during interviews. Students must find ways to credibly communicate that they possess qualities such as integrity, digital literacy, teamwork, and good time management.
Student must have clear career goals. A successful professional journey starts with collecting the relevant skills to achieve those goals. The career path must also align with one’s personality. This requires effective introspection. We must take the time to reflect on our individual values. There are many aspects of our personalities that are hidden from us. Interacting with people who know us well can help reveal these areas. Seeking the advice of a counselor at your university can help as well. Knowing oneself improves the chances of getting a job, and more importantly getting the right job.
Widen your horizons
International exchange programs are wonderful opportunities for students to widen their options. Student exchanges have become fairly straightforward. You can easily manage financial logistics via convenient international money transfers. Exchange programs can help you earn extra academic credits, as well as valuable exposure to new cultures. Having participated in international student exchange is also an indication to prospective employers that you have a strong sense of initiative.
Most employers formally advertise recruitment notices on multiple platforms. However, many jobs are never advertised. The ‘hidden job market’ is accessible only through networking and connections. Invest time in building connects as a student.
Another way to widen your scope of employment is to take part time work as a student. Employers that hire students as interns can offer worthwhile job opportunities after you graduate. Part time work exposes students to new work environments and people. Connections can sometimes be valuable references. A good track record of employment also helps.
Getting your first job
With information and preparation your first foray in the professional domain need not be daunting. Graduate openings and winter internships in Australia usually become available from late February till the end of April. Employers host career fairs at many campuses in March and April. Summer internships are offered generally between July and August.
Be sure to tailor your CV to each job advert, highlighting your relevant skills. Interviews may be conducted in person or telephonically. Acquaint yourself beforehand with adequate information about the interviewer’s organization. Many jobs start out as contracts. Students and young professionals must be relatively flexible in their job preferences.
About the author:
Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.
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