Career mistakes by International graduate students

Career mistakes by International graduate students

I work with international students attending universities and graduate schools in California.  Here are some of the things I tell my members about career mistakes that I don’t want them to make.

1.      If you seek a sponsorship, first find an internship, prove your worth, exceed the employer’s expectations and motivate them to extend you a “sponsorship” in the future.  Sponsorships are hard to find, first demonstrating your value and trying to become indispensable may be much easier.

2.     Many young graduates are very idealistic about what they want to do to launch their career.  However, the better strategy is to find a job where you can demonstrate your skills and make an impact.  Then, look around and see what might stimulate your passions at work.  Your first job will not be your last job.  Many jobs are offered to existing employees before being advertised outside the company.

3.     Resumes are only a paper which doesn’t have a personality, so I tell them to prepare “Objectives” at the top of their resumes showing some of their soft skills and which they can adapt depending on the job they are applying.  Tom Rath’s book “Strengthfinders 2.0 is an excellent way to find your strengths which you can use in both your resume Objective (and elevator speech).  The rest of the resume stays the same for all their applications.

4.     Young graduates still in their 20s should take risks with their careers; remember that if you are hungry to learn, you can do anything.  “I can do whatever is needed is a better answer than I have never done that before.”  I have had students who studied language as an undergraduate and then received an MBA, get jobs as a real estate analyst and as a bank underwriter; neither of which did she have previous experience.

5.     Negotiation of compensation is important, especially if you have more than one offer.  However, don’t make compensation the central issue of your job search.  I think one’s career goals are to create choices.

6.     Last, differentiate yourself from all the other applicants; try to be impressive and to be remembered.  This is the best way to get your resume to the top of the pile and improve your chances of getting an offer.