International Students And The Job Search
Looking for a job is seldom easy for any student. For an international student, the job search process can be especially confusing. There are many things you may not be aware of or are unsure about.
It is the employer’s responsibility to find the right people for his or her company – not to help you find a job. The interview is successful when both of you see a match between the employer’s needs and your interest and ability to do the job. You can help the employer make informed hiring decisions if you:
~ Provide a well-prepared resume that includes desirable skills and relevant employment experiences.
~ Clearly convey your interests and ability to do the job in an interview.
~ Understand English when spoken to you and can effectively express your thoughts in English.
It’s important to be able to positively promote yourself and talk with confidence about your education, relevant skills and related experiences. Self-promotion is rarely easy for anyone but, it can be especially difficult for individuals from cultures where talking about yourself is considered inappropriate. When interviewing in the United States, however, you are expected to be able to explain your credentials and why you are suitable for the position.
Be sensitive to the interviewer’s verbal and nonverbal cues. Some international students may not realize when their accent is causing them to be misunderstood. Interviewers are sometimes too embarrassed or impatient to ask for clarifications, so be on the lookout for nonverbal clues, such as follow-up questions that don’t match your responses or sudden disinterest on the part of the interviewer. Also, make sure you express proper nonverbal communication; always look directly at the employer in order to portray confidence and honesty.
If your English language skills need some work, get involved with campus and community activities. These events will allow you to practice speaking English and are also a great way to make networking contacts.
It’s a good idea to get advice from other international students who have successfully found employment in this country and to start your job search early. Create and follow a detailed plan of action that will lead you to a great job.