Tips for the Post-Graduation Job Search

Posted August 21, 2014 by
Mother and daughter at graduation

Mother and daughter at graduation. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

After studying abroad, either during your undergraduate or graduate years, you face the unavoidable task of finding a job. Though it may seem like a daunting task, studying abroad has already helped prepare you for the job search by making you a better candidate. By doing your research, finding a job after graduating does not have to be overwhelming. To help you get started, check out our best tips for your job search.

Even before graduating from school and starting your job search, you can gain experience and build your resume by getting internships and jobs in the field you are interested in. These positions give you valuable experience while also showing your dedication to your field – making companies more likely to hire you. Internships and jobs also help you build connections in the industry, whether that means an internship turning into a full-time job or networking with employers your boss knows.

Before graduation (usually 3-6 months prior), start putting together a list of possible employers and jobs that you want. You can start contacting them and applying for positions, as well as checking to see if you have any connections through your existing network. You may not hear back from every job application, but don’t give up! Just because a company doesn’t reply or hire you doesn’t mean you aren’t a strong applicant or won’t find other positions.

Use your resources, whether it’s career services at your university or a Google search. Most universities have a career center that can help you find positions, network with alumni, and write job applications. Online, there are endless website databases that list jobs around the world, such as CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed, Idealist and of course – Social media has also become a new medium for job searches, especially Twitter where companies often tweet about open positions. Companies’ Facebook pages are also good destinations to check out as they often post openings on their page with links to their job postings website.

Another great resource is LinkedIn because it allows you to connect with your existing network while searching for open positions. Often, you’ll come across a job and then realize someone you already have a connection to that company, thus making it easier for you to connect with the company as well.

Though it may seem like a job search takes place entirely online, don’t forget about the real people resources, such as professors, advisors, previous employers, and friends. Often, they can all be great resources in helping you figure out a career path or connecting you with possible employers. By reaching out to friends and acquaintances, you are building a network that will be useful in the future—either benefitting yourself or helping other people when you are in a position to help.

One of the biggest challenges applicants face is standing out from the crowd. What makes you different from other applicants and why are you the best candidate for the job? The first step is an engaging, informative, and concise resume or CV that details your prior relevant experience and education. Avoid having a resume over two pages because employers often have sparse time to review applications, especially those that include cover letters. You should also make sure that your resume fits the specific cultural standards of the country you are applying in.

Maximize the impact of your resume by using keywords and buzzwords that are relevant to your field. Start each sentence or description with an informative verb or high-impact word that quickly demonstrates what you did. Studies have shown that employers can spend as little as six seconds reviewing a resume, so make your words count. University career centers are a great resource for reviewing your resume and making sure you’re using the best words.

If you have prior experience working or studying in that particular country (such as – if you are applying to a company in England and spent a summer interning in London), make sure to emphasize that in your application, cover letter, or interview. By demonstrating your experience with the country’s work culture, employers are often more likely to hire you because can show that you were already successful in that country.

After you send in your application or have an interview, don’t be shy about following up with recruiters. Always send a thank you email after an interview, saying you look forward to hearing from them. By taking the initiative and contacting a recruiter, you automatically stand out in a possibly endless pile of applications.

The most important tip to remember throughout your job search is not to give up. There will be rejections, but there will also be the moment you find and accept the perfect job. And once you nail down your new job, whether at home or abroad, you can begin an exciting new chapter in your life!

Byline description: This post was written by the GradTrain team. GradTrain is an online platform for past, present and future international students. GradTrain provides its members with data tools, 1:1 online mentoring and a global community in order to maximize their success as international applicants and students.

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