WHILE a new career is what we all seek through foreign education, the journey for most of us begins with a job. A job after the completion of your degree course is not only your way out of your staggering education loans, but also a validation of the arduous investment you’ve just made.
You should know that foreign schools rarely have on-campus placements and searching for a job is usually the student’s onus. The best time to start your job research is in the first year of your degree. However, if you haven’t yet figured out the best role and possible companies don’t be disheartened. Often students discover that their options have changed midway through their study experience. Here are some broad steps you can follow during your job search.
Job title, location
Identify your ideal job title, the location and a possible list of companies that you are interested in. Also create a list of jobs that are not in the list of ideal jobs but you’d still consider working for in the short to medium term till you reach your final goal. Now, while you might be completely flexible about location, do consider where the company is based and work permit requirements.
In case you are entering the job market for the first time or if you are changing careers completely, it helps a lot to talk to people who are already in jobs that you seek. Don’t be shy - I have found that most people respond positively to requests to explain what their job entails and what kind of skills are required by their company in hiring for such roles.
Tailor your CV
The next step is to identify what skills and experiences are required for the role that you seek and honestly evaluate your gaps and prepare a plan to address them. For instance, if you lack experience, are there other full-time or part-time jobs or any specific training that you could undergo in the meantime? Can you work on a school project for the company (sponsored or otherwise) to learn stuff you don’t know and at the same time demonstrate true interest in that company? Did you work on a part-time job or a voluntary assignment that gave you specific experience in an area the company might appreciate?
Remember, you have to have the permit to work in the foreign country. Make sure that you have done adequate research on the country’s regulations and are aware of the requirements for both companies and candidates. The best place to find this kind of information is on the websites of the High Commission of those countries. Don’t rely too much on what people tell you. Get the information from the horse’s mouth.
Reach out to people around you - faculty and seniors are usually the most accessible and are a good source of practical information like where to start your search (job listings, potential companies and people in those companies to contact). Don’t forget alumni from your institution as they are likely to identify with your situation for they were in the same boat sometime back. Talking to them will give you a better understanding of the skills and experience the job you are applying to requires (and how they achieved that) and also gives you the chance to showcase your capabilities, enthusiasm and ambition to them since they are potential recruiters. And of course, they are a good source to find good job consultants.
Go to job consultants
Job consultants will bring you up to date on the whole hiring process and often guide you to the right job titles and companies. Make sure that you are direct and specific about your skills, the kind of roles that you want and also the potential companies; while also being open to new opportunities a consultant may expose you to.
Manage your ‘job funnel’
Your job search does not end with a posted résumé on the website, or even an interview. So keep applying for jobs until the day you have signed on the dotted line and accepted an offer. Assume that for all jobs you apply for, only a fraction will get you interviews and for all interviews you get, only a fraction could result in a job offer that you might like. Since there is a significant delay very often between applying for a job and landing an offer, always keep a pipeline of applications on-going even if you feel very confident about yesterday morning’s interview.
Remember that the job you get right after your studies is just one step in your career ladder. So while there is always those few who land in their ideal job right away, the path to the ideal job is a multi-step for most people. Work towards a job that is achievable today but promises to take you a step closer to your ‘best job in the world’
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