Being a college student always involves uncertainty. Will I be admitted to my first choice college? Am I going to succeed academically? Will I be able to find new friends and, if so can I attach to them as good as I could to my high school friends? Those are obviously uncertainties one faces in means of starting a college education. The greatest uncertainty is still outstanding. What will I do after college? How will I find a job? Where will that job be? To me, those uncertainties are the greatest I have ever had to face in my life. One has to cope with those uncertainties and work out a way to conquer them. During the last few months I have been job hunting all over the place and I would like to share my experiences with all of you.
First off, I would recommend to any international student to widen the sources in means of looking for a job. The ones that were most useful to me were LinkedIn, the Careers Opportunities Board, Indeed.com, and Monster.com. One should also think about widening the span of countries one is applying to. Bayt.com is a great resource to find jobs in the Middle East for example. Moreover, keeping an open mind to network in any possible situation is also more than advisable. Utilize the PLU resources, attend the job fair, be involved on campus, often even your peers are able to guide you in the right direction!
Now I would like to focus on my main source of job hunting, LinkedIn, and explain some features that are critical to it. One should definitely put as much as effort, if not even more, in creating a LinkedIn account as in creating your resume. In fact, LinkedIn often will serve as your resume! There are great resources and workshops offered at PLU to shape your profile in the right direction as well. If this is done, the job search can begin. Look for your major, special capabilities that you bring in (often language for international students), and qualities you look for in specifying your job search. But do not just focus on looking for actual jobs, try to seek out individuals in the industry you can relate to and try to establish a common ground. You can often gain insightful advice from these individuals and they are often more than willing to help you out. Join professional groups of your interest and contribute to discussion if you feel that you have the knowledge to back up your arguments. The whole job search can also work reversed, where employers will actually contact you!
Last but not least, there is one resource people tend to forget about… It is the PLU Alumni database. You are allowed to contact 5 Alumni a month that very well will give you advice or even support you in your job search. This is not the time to be shy. You have to put yourself out there and explore every possibility there is. Remember it is for you to get a foot in the door and gather experience, you might not land a job with you prioritized company in the first place, but it can definitely prepare you to land that job later on in your career.
I hope that I was able to share some of my experiences that could be helpful to all of you. Keep your head up and do not get frustrated when you receive a denial. Persevere and you will be rewarded in the end. If you have any questions related to this article feel free to contact me. I wish best of luck to all of you!
Yannik Pierre Ilgert