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Last Night in Norris, sat over 60 international students and several Northwestern staff members glued to our seats listening to the advice given by Dan Beaudry, Powerties.net. Dan was on campus as part of his national tour to bring hope and encouragement to the thousands of international students studying in the US and seeking employment in the US.

The lessons he taught last night are important not only to international students but to domestic students as well. Below is a summary of some of the key points to his talk as well as my own commentary. And as always for more assistance please contact University Career Services.

Let Your Career Goals Lead You- If you aren’t sure what type of internship or job you are seeking than you will have a hard time being successful in your search. Take time to clarify your career goals through assessing your interests, values and skills. A good place to start this process is to meet with a career counselor.

Concentrate on Selling Your Value- Dan talked a lot about not leading with your resume and to be able to articulate what you have to offer to someone with influence on your job or internship search. Of course there are going to be situations where you need to submit a resume. But avoid the “Spray and Pray” method. Your resume, especially if you’re an international student, could quickly be eliminated from contention if a company has a policy to not hire international students. Instead, find ways to meet people in person so they can know you and not just a piece of paper.

Be a part of the Hidden Job Market- The hidden job market exists because many hiring managers look to people they trust to give recommendations on who to hire before even posting a position on a website. Therefore, to be successful in your job or internship search you have to become one of those people that may be recommended through a person of influence.

Networking… Yes, We Say it Often… Is Key- Related to the Hidden Job Market information above, you need to develop a strong network so people will think of you when they have openings. These same people might even make exceptions for you to apply when policy might dictate that you do not qualify. Find people within your dream organizations to network with by conducting informational interviews. A few resources to find connections are LinkedIn.com or our Alumni Career Network (Northwestern CareerNet).

Other Great Advice:

  • Perfect your English Language abilities because frankly if you do not have that ability you will not be hired in the US.
  • When conducting informational interviews ask questions about challenges they are experiencing. This will give you reasons and topics to follow-up on with your connection. You may even be able to offer help or assistance when they mention a problem you can solve.
  • Again during an informational interview…NEVER ask someone you just met if they are hiring. Learn more about a person and gather information that is relevant to your career exploration/ job search. You don’t want to offend the person helping you and doing you a favor. Plus by you asking to meet with them for an informational interview, they already know you are seeking employment in the near future.
  • Be Credible, Be Likable and Be Helpful!