Setting up international students for global careers
As the nature of work keeps changing, the only certainty is that most people will have a range of different jobs throughout their lifetime. Careers are not linear and many of the jobs of the future do not exist today. You will need to have the right skills to keep adapting to the changing global job market.
Here are some quick tips to help you thrive in the global workforce:
Identify your career goals
Research shows the earlier you begin to plan and build upon your skills towards your career goals, the more employable you become.
So take the time to make a plan. Get help to work out what you want and how you can achieve your career goals.
Make an appointment with a careers counsellor at your school or university; attend career planning workshops and industry specific sessions.
Start early and get your plan together in first year so you can make the most of the services and opportunities available at your institution to fine-tune your skills.
Start thinking about what you want from your future career. Ask yourself the following questions:
What am I good at? What do I dislike doing?
What interests me and what am I passionate about?
What is your dream job? Where would you like to work and why?
Importance of internships and work experience
Employers are looking for students who engage in their local community and can demonstrate skills such as: initiative, teamwork and communication skills. You can build and demonstrate these skills through part-time or casual work, volunteering, getting involved with clubs and societies, internships and work placements.
Work experience and volunteering also gives you with the opportunity to meet and interact with a diverse range of people who become part of your social and professional network and could become potential referees in the future.
Build your soft skills
‘Soft skills’ is a term used by employers to describe the personality traits and interpersonal skills required of employees to succeed in almost any job. In recent years, they have become more and more important to a successful professional career. They include skills like teamwork and collaboration, adaptability, empathy and communication skills.
Continuously improve your English
Improving your language skills takes time and practice. Practice is also important not only to improve, but to maintain your existing English skills. If you find that you are mostly speaking your native language, consider finding an English conversation class or buddy program where you can find a safe and comfortable environment to talk in English.
Increase your knowledge in your chosen discipline
Individual research and study can help you develop your full potential, which may also help open doors once you have finished your studies. This doesn’t have to be costly, though. You can start by giving up some time on your school holidays or semester breaks and participating in some extra reading and preparation for your upcoming courses. Anything from extra reading at the library, to watching online tutorials, or even applying for summer internships could help you gain an edge in your chosen industry.
Attend workshops and seminars
Finally, you can contact your institution’s student support services to find out about any seminars or information workshops that may be coming up. Attending these events gives you access to the best practices across the globe that you can use to boost your career prospects.
These are also excellent places to be exposed to specialised facilities which may not otherwise be available on campus. Additionally, learning directly from industry experts and experienced educators will give you a leg up on other prospective applicants in the future.