If you study in a foreign country, your ultimate goal is to get a job after the graduation. This is, however, quite difficult, as you will soon understand that you are not getting even a half of interviews the locals get. Nationalism? Discrimination? Or, probably, just not enough understanding of the local labour market? The “We are sorry to inform…” emails become especially painful when you are applying for a junior position while already having a lot of experience from your home country. What are you doing wrong? Let’s analyse it 😉
1. You had no job while studying
While Russians usually find a job to survive through the university years in a local restaurant or supermarket, Europeans have lots of vacancies at universities (helping out professors) and in companies (like Werkstudent in Germany, which is a work for 20 hours a week in time slots when you have no classes), which allow them to collect the RELEVANT work experience. Let’s imagine, a German works as a Werkstudent during the years 2-4 of his Bachelor program. When he graduates, he will have 1.5 (3 years, ½ of the usual working hours per week) years of experience AND the same diploma as you do. You had an “Assistant” job in your home country, he had a “Werkstudent Project Management” in the country you both are applying in. Who will get the job?
What to do: If you work in a country with student jobs available, get one as soon as you feel confident about your study. You will get no “foreigner discount” for havong no student job and just studying, but your CV will look weaker without it.
Special advice: If you have a scholarship, get the information if you are allowed to work at all. If not…probably, some job-related volunteer work would do.
2. You had no extracurricular activities
We all know that you need to study hard, and many majors just leave no time for any parties or even social clubs. This, however, puts your career in danger if you look for a job in UK, USA or some European countries. The more social your job is, the more important social clubs, summer schools and team challenges will be for your CV. The more technical your field is, the stronger importance things like conferences, scientific clubs etc. might receive.
What to do: This sounds really bad, but nobody is going to control, how many time you spend in your Students for International Politics club. The only thing, which is important, will be your position – are you a leader, a change maker or just a member? Use your time wisely.
3. You have no letters of reference
This is a very common problem for many countries. Beware that your experience is not valid for many employers if they see no paper behind it.
What to do: Write a letter of recommendation in English by yourself and ask your manager to print it out on the corporate paper and to sign it.