Going International

So you’ve studied abroad. Now what? Let’s say you’ve taken a foreign language course. Why did you spend the time? You’re involved in an international club or organization. How will this benefit you? Why is this cultural awareness necessary? Having a global perspective is now crucial to the workforce, as millions of cross-border relationships are developing in various sectors in the economy. Your international experiences matter; showcase them and continue to grow them with the CAP Global Perspective Module.

“When I traveled in Paris and London for study abroad, I kept a journal with me the entire time. At the end of the day I would reflect on the things that I learned from the people around me. I went to a concert at Wembley Stadium in London and spent time with two English girls in the line. We had some lingo barriers. For example, a Bandaid is called a rubber and pants are trousers and underwear are pants. At one point one of the girls looked at her friend and said ‘Shannon she doesn’t know what you’re saying.’ By writing this experience down in my journal I was able to reflect on the small differences in language that lead to misunderstandings within different cultures.”      -Kaitlin Obermeyer

Even some of the most memorable experiences require reflection. Below is a list of reasons why it’s necessary to reflect on these international experiences:

Reveal Importance: Recording your international experiences will reveal the impact they have made on your future plans and your self growth. Writing them down will make thoughts, facts and feelings more clear and remind yourself of what to focus on when it comes to these experiences.

Refer Back: Ideas do not stay for long, so it’s important to refer back to what you have learned in the past and keep these big ideas flowing. Reading back through past records of international experience is fascinating and provides valuable insight into particular moments and thought processes.

 

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Inspire a Broader Understanding: Truly recognizing cultural differences requires having meaningful conversations, respecting different world-views and escaping comfort zones. Having these amazing experiences is one thing, but being able to apply them to daily life is what makes them matter in the long run.

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Form Future Goals: Students with international skills and cultural awareness often have better job prospects when they graduate. Not sure where to start? Check out this guide. Being able to communicate your “international work skills” to employers could be the key to landing your dream career.
The American work and social culture has moved away from solely communicating and building relationships within our own country. We have expanded our friends, family and team members to people from all over the world. Whether or not you have traveled abroad, it’s likely you have had global relations or cultural experiences. The CAP Global Perspective Module exists to inform students about the importance of cultural awareness and international skills, while allowing them to reflect on the significance of their international experiences.

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Career Management

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘job search?’

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Me too. But knowing how to job search is an integral part of getting a job. The most important aspects to navigate career management are self evaluation, strong resumes, clear cover letters, company research and nailing the interview.  

Self Evaluation. The first part of any job search is to evaluate yourself. By completing this step first, you are able to find a position that would fit you well, not just one that you would fit into. Make sure to look at your career goals, current skills and which company culture you are successful in. For example, maybe you are someone who works better without free-muffins-everyday distractions, or maybe you think that any workplace where you have to bring your own muffin is cold and lonely; therefore, you aren’t motivated to work. Figure this out now because it’s much easier and more natural to find a place where you fit rather than trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Resume. The next step is having a killer resume. This one or two page document has to express how perfect you are in under 30 seconds 😱. Does your resume pass the blink rule?

There are essentially two parts of a resume: design and content. Keep in mind that these are both dependent on each field and industry. For more information, talk to working professionals, professors or consult our website.

Cover Letter.

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As the bane of anyone’s job search, cover letters get a bad rap. However, without one, you are doing yourself a disservice. Putting in the time to write a cover letter (that is grammatically correct and addressed to the right company) shows your interest in the company and the position. Here’s a quick template to get you started. Make sure that you don’t send the same cover letter to every company. Tailor your cover letter and resume to a specific job and company and remember–flattery goes a long way, but desperation is off-putting.

Research. Hopefully, you would have already done some research on the company to customize your application materials. In the case of an interview (phone included), more research is necessary. By picking up on interesting facets of a business or following social media feeds, you are able to show the employer that you are dedicated and actually care about their company and its success. There’s no one way to do this, but in a pinch, this is what you should be looking for.

Actual Interview(!).  Getting an interview is impressive. Now is the chance to show an employer your personality. At this point, they’ve had plenty of time to study your resume. Tell them about outcomes, growth, goals. Being personable and confident is key. Nervous? Get your power pose on. Behavioral Interviewing is the norm, which means employers are not only looking to see what experience you’ve had, but also how you handle situations. Go in prepared with situations that illustrate the following points: teamwork, leadership, handling conflict, problem solving and any other transferable skills you may have.

Get the Job. 💪

For help in perfecting your Career Management, check out the Career Management dimension of CAP.

Meaningful Connections

They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, so how does one go about meeting the right people? How can we use these connections to leverage a career or pursue a passion? Below are four, but not all, of the ways you can effectively network and build relationships that matter.

Hang out with the right people. This does not mean to just seek out the wealthiest, most well-known, big name people or companies. In fact, that may not be your style at all. Find people who are like you and who share the same interests and passions. People who share common attributes will be attracted to the same type of jobs and organizations. These individuals will offer experience and advice that you actually find interesting and may propel your career forward.

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Be authentic. Going along with the above advice, know who you are and where you want to be. The more real you are with the people around you, the more likely you are to land a career that aligns with your personality. If you’re not sure what you have to offer yet, take a few personality tests to better showcase that authenticity. Do What You Are, StrengthsQuest and Strong Interest Inventory will all give you further insight into your behavior patterns, work preferences, strengths and weaknesses.

Utilize LinkedIn. This is the ultimate ‘people connecting people’ outlet. Strictly for professional use, LinkedIn specializes in meaningful connections. One of the best resources on this site is the “Find Alumni” section, where you can search graduates of your university, where they work, what they do, what they’ve studied and how you’re connected. Don’t worry, you’re not being annoying; they were begging for a job at one point, as well.

Follow up. You will not be offered a job by shaking the hand of a working professional, exchanging business cards and leaving. Take the extra time to shoot them an email, add them on LinkedIn, or request another meeting over a cup of coffee (you buy). People are people everywhere you go, and the only relationships that matter are those that are nurtured and invested in. Be persistent and personable, as you would with a friend.

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It’s important to find the people and experiences in your life that have propelled you forward or inspired you the most. The Career Advancement Program Meaningful Connections Module inspires reflection on people you’ve met, the experiences you’ve had together, and the significance of these relationships. After all, you didn’t get where you are today on your own.

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