Supporting International Students in the Job Market

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Katarina Gligovic
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International students face entering a very competitive and unfamiliar job market as graduates. They may decide to kickstart their career in another country or stay where they are, but in both cases, guidance, support, and the knowledge of how to package their skills and experience to employers are integral to landing an all-important first job.

Wherever a graduate decides to work represents both your program and the university. The popularity of a university and its programs is partially measured by the success of students – their ability to land a good job from their degree from your university.

Research conducted in the UK found only half of international students find university career services helpful and only 2% of students find a job via university centers. How can institutions better help international students in the job market?

Dissect your career advice

Look at the number of international students asking for help and try to have extensive responses to the main questions. The greatest source of information is students. Questionnaires can capture their impressions, what information they would value, and their experiences of using the career center.

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All countries have different rules for international students. Your career advisors should be able to tailor their career advice accordingly, with preplanned responses and Q&As. 

Career advice should go beyond graduation

International students’ needs differ from domestic students, and they may need extra support familiarizing themselves with the work culture, their rights, and even how to handle finances and taxes.

Interview processes 

Every country has different interview processes. For example, some countries hold the first interview with an HR professional while others jump straight in with the candidate’s would-be line manager. Organize mock interviews with local businesses or use your alumni network to give a flavor of what to expect.

Work cultures differ based on country

Beyond the recruitment process, international students also need to be informed about what is expected from that country’s work culture. Is it common to work late, how smart should you dress and what are the average salaries for graduate positions?

Second languages are valuable 

Collaborate with local companies who work internationally, and where a second language could be useful. While the working language may be English, international businesses always need bilingual employees and your international student base could trump other candidates thanks to their language skills. 

The main component in every university’s promotion globally is international students. Their career opportunities and success shape the brand of your study programs. They affect not only your higher ed institution’s prominence, but also their achievements could be a deciding factor for new enrollments.

Familiarize your students with the job market and culture, and take the first steps with them.

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