Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Unpacking the Bags: The challenge of finding a job

October 4, 2017 by

Finding a job is one of the biggest concerns for international students. Some of us are not comfortable speaking another language in a work environment, where your performance and relationships with co-workers and customers are evaluated.

Here’s a tip that I can give you if you are afraid of facing a job interview: try a couple of months of volunteer work first. I worked as a museum receptionist for a while, and it was the best decision I ever made. Without the pressure that a paying job brings, I improved my communication and customer-service skills. Also, the employees were used to training new volunteers who do not have experience, so they had more patience.

Unpacking the Bags is a column giving advice for international students appearing in every issue of Nexus.

By the end of the job, I was feeling a lot more comfortable about working at a paying job.

Another aspect that concerns students is finding a job that provides good references and adds value to the resume, since it would be your first experience working in Canada. Some people think that part-time jobs do not add much to the resume, but this is wrong. Every job can teach you new skills; you just need to take advantage of it and use it to build experience and confidence for when you can apply for a full-time job.

Make yourself helpful and important to the company that you are working for. Also, work on your relationships with other team members. This is the best way to learn everything that the job can offer you and to build trust among your colleagues. (A reminder: international students can only work legally for 20 hours a week while in school and 40 hours during break times.)

The important thing is to always have your future in mind. It sounds cliché, but sometimes we just think that the only reason for working is making money. Ask yourself questions: which skills can you gain with this job? If youwere your boss, how would you evaluate an employee like yourself? Ask yourself if people can trust your work, and how you’re dealing with this new culture’s work environment.

This ability to critique your own work can make a difference in future jobs. Use all the opportunities that you have to build a good resume and to add meaningful experiences to your time here.

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