International Students Need to Start Thinking About Careers Now

Moving to another country is tough, let’s be honest. You have to adjust to a new life, live, study, and work in your second language. Some of us adjust ourselves very quickly while some of us take a little bit more time. 

The learning curve about job search for international students like us is extremely high. First of all, we don’t fully understand the lay of the land and what the job market in the new country is like. Second of all, we do not have a professional network here as we did in our home country. Thirdly, resources out there do not talk about the unique barriers international talents face in the job search process. 

When it comes to job search, you might already be at the disadvantage. This means that you have to work twice as hard to prove yourself to the employers and make it into the job market! 

  • This might mean that you have to put in twice as much work when networking or building your application. 
  • This also means that you should start job searching much earlier on and be twice as prepared as compared to other candidates. 

Over the years, we see many international students being relaxed during the first couple of years in Canada, not thinking about job searching quite yet. When graduation comes, they struggle to compete with the locals. 

Here are some tips on how to get started thinking about your career early & NOW! 

  1. Volunteer

You will be surprised how much Canadian employers value “relevant experience” including paid work or volunteer work. Show the employers that you are active in the community through volunteering, joining professional communities, or pursuing extracurricular activities. 

  1. Get Involved

You don’t have to commit to volunteering at a non-profit organization if your schedule does not allow it. Try getting involved with online communities of the area of your interest (like Isempower :p). This helps you with building connections, friendships, and professional networks. 

  1. Networking

Fun fact, people are more likely to respond to you if you are a student! Use the opportunity of being an international student as a chance to reach out to senior executives for coffee chats. Put on a learning hat and do not be afraid to ask people for what you want.

  1. Research

Mapping out a rough plan of the type of roles or companies you want to work for early on would be a good start. You don’t need to know exactly everything but having some guidance can go a long way. Research about the roles you are interested in and understand the types of skills an ideal candidate should have. Follow the news of the companies of your choice and keep up to date with the industry. 

The Isempower community is a good platform to start spreading your wings and meet like-minded international students who are going through a similar job search journey across Canada. Start thinking about your career together today, join us on Slack!