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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

International Job Search & Career Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

  • 15 Dec 2015 2:21 PM | Anonymous

    By E. Chandlee Bryan, M.Ed., CPRW
    Best Fit Forward

    While a turbulent economy creates a challenging job search market for many recent graduates, the entry-level market is especially challenging for foreign national students and other non-U.S. citizens who do not have permanent work authorization. This article provides seven strategies for foreign national students entering the U.S. job market.

    This year, over half a million foreign national students will study at U.S. colleges and universities. If you are one of these students and you hope to remain in the U.S. to work full-time after graduation, you will likely find that the American hiring process is very different from that of your country—from cultural practices to business etiquette. One frequently cited piece of advice to visitors to a foreign country is “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” This means that when you are visiting a new place, you should observe and act in accordance with the customs and rituals of the residents of that place. It may be necessary for you to adapt some of your practices to suit U.S. customs and protocols. This article was prepared to help you with that process.

    Employers interviewing for internships and full-time positions through your school’s on-campus recruiting programs will expect you to have a basic understanding of unspoken American cultural practices and job search etiquette. Here are seven strategies to help you with this process.

    1. Get to know your classmates and your new environment

    If this is the first time you have lived in the U.S., you can learn a great deal about unspoken cultural practices through interaction with fellow students, neighbors, and faculty and staff at your university. Additionally, if English is not your native language, you should write and speak in English as much as possible prior to conducting your career search.

    Fluency in English is generally not a written requirement for U.S. jobs, but employers will assess your ability to communicate effectively during the hiring process. If employers do not feel comfortable with your language skills, they may not offer you employment.

    2. Learn the process for applying for internships and full-time positions

    Most U.S. universities offer students career services as part of tuition fees. Career Services offices will provide you with an overview of fundamental skills needed for applying for positions both on-campus and off-campus. Take advantage of workshops, programs and resources to learn expectations for resumes, cover letters, and interviewing. If these resources are not enough, consider hiring an external career counselor or coach to provide you with additional assistance.

    3. Know the job market

    Learn about the market for your skills and experience through attending industry specific workshops and surveying openings posted through your career office and external websites. Employers will expect you to be familiar with general economic trends and industry news for your area of interest. Interviews in the financial services and consulting sectors generally include questions designed to assess your knowledge.

    4. Be informed of work authorization guidelines

    Unless you have U.S. permanent work authorization, you should consult with an immigration attorney and your campus’s International office regarding your eligibility to work on a part or full-time basis. Be proactive about monitoring the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website (http://www.uscis.gov) and take responsibility for following guidelines and processes related to U.S. work authorization.

    5. Seek assistance with the application process

    Take advantage of individual counseling appointments offered through your university’s career office; staff may be available to assist with you with revisions to your resume and cover letters and frequently offer mock interviews to help you with your interviewing skills.

    If English is not your first language, have a native speaker screen your application materials to check for grammar and appropriate usage. Make sure you use “spell check” as well to filter out any potential errors.

    6. Be curious and apply for positions selectively.

    Research industries, career opportunities, and areas of interest. Utilize what you’ve learned as you apply for new opportunities.

    A common mistake among job seekers is to apply for many positions to increase the odds of being selective. A better approach is to apply selectively for those positions that are the best fit for your skills and experiences and are of interest to you.

    When you apply for positions, submit a resume and cover letter that demonstrates:

    1. Your skills and experience;
    2. Your understanding of the position and how your skills meet the job requirements;
    3. Your knowledge of the organization and industry in which you would be working.

    7. Remember that you have unique skills and experiences to offer employers.

    While the hiring process may be challenging, remember that you have a great deal to offer potential employers. In addition to your skills and intellect, you offer employers a unique perspective that has been developed through your experience in your home country and your U.S. education. In today’s global economy, this is an invaluable contribution.

  • 06 Dec 2015 10:22 PM | Marie Zimenoff (Administrator)
    By Wendy S. Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW

    If you’re considering international employment opportunities, then you MUST know the following:
    • The words “resume” and “CV” (curriculum vitae) GENERALLY refer to the same thing – a document that highlights your professional and educational experience. The terms are often used interchangeably. When there is a difference, a CV is typically longer with more detail about publications, speaking engagements, affiliations, continuing education, and the like.
    • Research each country to identify their standards for how to present your employment experience – in chronological order (from past to present) or reverse-chronological (most recent to past). The latter is used most often in the US; the former in many other countries worldwide. If no specific guidelines are recommended for a particular country, use reverse-chronology.
    • Detail your specific educational credentials, licenses, certifications, and background if there is any potential that these items will not be clearly understood in another country. This means including course/program name, university, location, numbers of course hours and specific course highlights.
    • Be sure to use industry-specific and job-specific terminology that will be known the world over.
    • If you are submitting your resume in English, be sure to find out if the country in which you’re applying uses “American” English or “British” English. There is a significant difference in the spelling of many words. Note that US companies use “American” English in all of their offices worldwide.
    • Include all of your foreign language skills as well as foreign experiences (e.g., traveling, working and/or living abroad). If you prepare your resume in a foreign language, be sure to also prepare one in English as many companies will expect you to be able to conduct business in both their native language and in English.
    • If your resume is written in a language other than English, be sure to have a native speaker of that language carefully review your resume. This will avoid the potential for major errors and ensure that your document is culturally correct.
    • Computer and technology skills are always important, no matter the job, company, or country. Be sure to include yours in detail.
    • Know that different countries use different size paper. For example, the paper standard in the US is 8½ x 11 inches; the paper standard in Europe is 210 x 297 mm (known as A-4). Use the “page set up” function in your word processing software to select the correct size paper and automatically reformat your document.
    • Work permits and visa regulations vary greatly from country to country and may take months to acquire. Be thorough in investigating requirements for specific countries by contacting each country’s embassy in the US for detailed information. This process will be expedited if (1) the country has a shortage of professionals with your particular skill set or (2) you are transferred to that country by your current employer.

    Working abroad offers you a tremendous opportunity to strengthen and expand your professional skills and qualifications, while offering you and your family an outstanding cultural exchange experience. If you decide to pursue an international career track, know that flexibility, patience, and the willing acceptance of differing cultural and business norms will be vital to your success.

    Email: wendy@wendyenelow.com
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/wendyenelow
    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/wendyenelow
    Phone: 434-299-5600
  • 15 Mar 2010 4:40 PM | Anonymous

    By Sharon Graham
    http://www.SharonGraham.ca

    If you are targeting a position in Canada, you don’t want a recruiter to discount you just because you don’t know the country’s norms when it comes to spelling and grammar. After all, in Canada, there is no such thing as a paycheck. Your goal is to secure a position and get a paycheque. To overcome the Canadian recruiter’s scrutiny, you’ll need to make some subtle, but important changes to your resume. By showing that you have impeccable spelling and grammar, you’ll pass the first test with flying colours. Canadian employers regularly run into the issue of “Canadian English” versus “American English” when they are assessing resumes that come in from applicants around the world. If you submit a resume with a glaring mistake, the recruiter may feel that you do not care enough to do your homework. This could be just enough to eliminate you from the running.

    Canadians have a way with words. Although Canadian English is not exactly the same as American English, it is not British English either. We employ subtle differences in spelling and grammar, which are unique to our country. Canadian spelling takes on influences from our British and French ancestry, with a touch of Americanism. For example, in Canada, just as in the United Kingdom, we insert “u” in “labour market.” Yet, we opt for a “z” in “organize” just as our American friends do. A hint of French comes out when we use “centre” instead of “center.” Here are some examples of words that are sometimes spelled incorrectly in resumes and cover letters:

    Canadian Word

    American Word

     

     

    B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science)

    B.S.

    Behaviour

    Behavior

    Calibre

    Caliber

    Centre

    Center

    Centred

    Centered

    Colour

    Color

    Counselled

    Counseled

    Defence

    Defense

    Demeanour

    Demeanor

    Enrol

    Enroll

    Honour

    Honor

    Honoured

    Honored

    Instalment

    Installment

    Labelled

    Labeled

    Labour

    Labor

    Laboured

    Labored

    Licence (a certificate)

    License

    Manoeuvre

    Maneuver

    Metre (unit of measurement)

    Meter

    Paycheque

    Paycheck

    Practise (to rehearse)

    Practice

    Rigour

    Rigor

    When you write your resume, targeted to the Canadian market, make sure that you change the default language on your Microsoft Word application to “Canadian English.” This will help ensure that the spelling and grammar you employ conforms to Canada’s standards. Don’t rely solely on your computer, as many Canadian words are spelled correctly when you mean to say one thing, but may be incorrect in another scenario. For example, you may want to indicate that you practise a certain technique, and now you are opening a practice to start teaching others that technique. Note in the first sentence “practise” is a verb. In the second, “practice” is a noun. Your computer would not be able to catch this difference, so you must be diligent in your proofreading. To pass the detailed review, your resume and cover letter must have no errors at all.

    If you still are unsure of the spelling of a word, use a good Canadian dictionary such as the Canadian Oxford Dictionary to verify your work. For acronyms and abbreviations, refer to The Canadian Dictionary of Abbreviations. If you are unsure of grammatical requirements, refer to a Canadian style handbook such as The Canadian Press Style Book. If you need help with your Canadian career documents, check out Best Canadian Resumes and Best Canadian Cover Letters.

    Modern technology and the speed of communication have influenced how we use language. The Internet has exposed us to inconsistencies, differences, and mistakes from all over the world, making it more difficult to ensure correct use of language. Whatever you do, employ consistency in your use of language, and you will earn that Canadian paycheque.

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