Getting a job in the US

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					Career Development & Resource Clinic Spring 2008

Getting a job in the U.S.

Workshops for International Students

Overview
• Getting a Job in the U.S…. What are my strengths? What are some challenges? How do I market myself? How do I write a resume, curriculum vita, and cover letter?

Sample timeline for F-1 students
First year  Become familiar with campus resources (CDRC, IPS, CS)  Begin to learn how to write professional documents (CV, resume, portfolio) (e.g, samples from Career Services)  Learn about U.S. work culture (student worker; RA/TA)  Begin to explore potential barriers and personal strengths

Second Year  Update professional documents  Learn about potential career paths (e.g., visit CDRC; talk to professors & advanced students in your major)  Attend workshops and seminars

Third year  Familiarize yourself with what is necessary for OPT/CPT application (make an appointment with Carla/Phil)  Learn more about interviewing and how to polish your resume (Career Services)  Begin networking and examine the U.S. job market  Attend job fairs (Career Services website) Fourth Year  File OPT paperwork at least 3 months before graduation  Start the job search process and information interviewing  Finish writing resume and other professional documents  Arrange to do mock interviews at Career Services

Career Planning & Decision-Making
Three Circles of Career Decision-Making
Career/Academic Information Family/Significant Others
Socioeconomic level Family occupations Expectations Future plans (marriage, children, moving)
Integrated Career Options

Educational requirements Salary Employment outlook Job responsibilities Possible majors Graduate school

Interests Values/preferences Attitudes & beliefs Abilities/skills Decision-making style Personality Lifestyle

Self-Knowledge

Career Planning & Decision-Making
My Career Plan
SECTION A – SELF SECTION B – SELF AND ENVIRONMENT

SECTION C – CAREER INFORMATION

SECTION D – EVALUATION How do my strengths, abilities, values, and interests (section A) match or not match with my career objective? e.g., My values do not match with the work values of XX job My abilities in Excel match well with XX job’s requirement How do my family expectations and financial/social status expectations (section B) match or not match with my career objective? e.g., XX job pays well and provides health insurance for employees How do barriers/obstacles (section B) intervene with the pursuit of my career objective? e.g., My visa status may not allow me to work permanently in XX company What additional kinds of information do I need from printed resources, workshops/seminars, job fairs, and information interviewing (section C)? e.g., information on employment trends in my field, cost of living in NY

Identifying career barriers & strengths
• Career Barriers – Barriers are negative conditions or obstacles that may interfere with your career plans and goals. • Career Strengths – Strengths are personal characteristics, skills, and experiences that strengthen your ability to achieve your career goals.

Career barriers
• How can you overcome negative conditions that may interfere with career plans and goals?
– Environmental Barriers • Time constraints • Limited job options • Discrimination • Financial – Personal Barriers • Lack of belief in abilities • Family/partner considerations • Lack of familiarity

4 steps for identifying strengths
1. Think about your strengths by asking yourself and others. 2. Be specific and write them down. 3. Practice talking about them to someone else (friend, professor, career counselor, mock interview). 4. Get feedback.

Career strengths
• What are some personal characteristics, skills, and experiences that strengthen your ability to achieve your career goals?
– – – – – Personal qualities Intercultural experience Bilingual/Multilingual Education/work experience Involvement on campus and in community

• Learn how to identify and talk about what you have to offer. Relate your strengths to the job requirements.

How do I market myself?
Face to Face: Interview (Role-Play Demonstration) • What are your strengths?
– Answer with certainty and confidence – Give an example that had a positive outcome (e.g., problem-solving skills, interpersonal skills)

• What are your weaknesses/challenges/areas of growth?
– Learn how to put that question into a strength – Something that you can improve on (NOT a stable trait) – Give an example of what you have learned about the weakness – How you have improved and will be improving

How do I market myself?
Face to Face: Interview (Role-Play Demonstration) • Why should we hire you over someone else?
– Competitiveness – Highlight something that the company is looking for in the position

• What is something unique that you contribute?
– E.g., flexibility, creativity, bilingual, bicultural, fast learner in new environment, integrate ideas – Unique work/volunteer experiences

How do I market myself?
• • • • • • • • • Be confident!! Practice with someone (friend, faculty, classmate) Brainstorm possible questions & prepare answers Maintain a high level of energy (enthusiasm) Keep strengths in mind & work them into answers (even when not explicitly asked about them) Be genuine as possible (show some personality) Think creatively about past experiences/ skills that can be applied broadly Express interest in a job through knowledge of the company/agency/institution Demonstrate balance & flexibility (i.e., ability to work alone and with others; having areas of expertise and willingness to learn)

What is a Resume?
• A summary of your experiences and skills relevant to the field of work you are entering. – Includes relevant information about yourself for specific employers. • Always growing and changing. • Highlights your accomplishments to show a potential employer that you are qualified for the work you want.

What is a Curriculum Vitae?
• A curriculum vitae documents your complete “academic life” - length is relative to purpose.
– A curriculum vitae is a longer (up to two or more pages), more detailed synopsis of your background and skills.

• In the United States a CV is used for: academic, education, scientific and research positions, and when applying for fellowships or grants. • It focuses on educational credentials, academic achievements, and other relevant information.

Writing your Resume and Curriculum Vitae
Content of Resume
• • • • • • • • • • • • • Identification Career Objective Education Honors Work Experience Certification/License Skills Memberships Achievements/ Accomplishments Professional Development Foreign Languages Activities References

Content of CV
Similar to a resume, a CV includes: • Contact Information • Education/Academic background • Honors & Awards • Professional Liscenses/Certifications • Technical and specialized skills • Professional Affiliations & Membership • Professional Development • Foreign Language Abilities • • • • • • • •

A CV also includes: Academic/Teaching experience Related/Other experience Research/Scholarly Activities (Bibliography) Grants Fellowships Institutional Service Academic/Research Interests Consulting

Writing your Resume and Curriculum Vitae
• Step 1: Create the sections of your resume and CV
– – – – – – – – – – – Name and address Career Objectives Education Honors/Awards Work Experience Skills Memberships Certification/Licenses Professional Development Volunteer Experience References

Writing your Resume & Curriculum Vitae
• Step 2: Make a list of your various activities over the years.
– List paid work, volunteer positions, extracurricular activities (especially those in which you had a leadership role), and internships.
*Note that subheadings for these will be different in both resume and CV.

– For a resume go as far back as four or five years. – For a CV, include relevant information over the life time.

Writing your Resume & Curriculum Vitae
• Step 3: Write a paragraph about each important item in your list.
– "Important items" would include most paid work, internships, extended volunteer activities, and activities in which you had a leadership role.
– Don't worry about the wording of your paragraphs at this point - for now, they don't need to fit the standard "resume/CV language." – Describe accomplishments as well as duties.

Writing your Resume & Curriculum Vitae
• Step 4: Pick the items that you will highlight or emphasize on your resume or CV.
– 1) What are your greatest strengths, and how can you demonstrate those strengths through your experience?
– 2) What are the requirements and needs of this particular industry, this particular employer and this particular job? *Demonstrate those qualities through the activities described on your resume or CV.

Writing your Resume & Curriculum Vitae
• Step 5: Format your resume or CV.
*Realize that most employers will only spend 20-30 seconds looking at your resume and 3-5 minutes at you CV. Direct the employer's eye to the most important information:
– – – – – – Don't make your resume/CV look crowded. Use the whole page Use cnsistent format (i.e., font, font size) Emphasize job titles by boldfacing them Place the most important information closer to the top of your resume. Descriptive category headings (e.g., "Leadership Experience" instead of just "Experience” for resume and "Academic Background" instead of "Education” for a CV). – Leave blank space between the separate sections and items.

Guidelines for Resume and CV writing
• Be positive and honest • Be consistent with format – use space to allow skimming • Use short, concise phrases – not sentences

• Include unique skills such as foreign languages, technical & computer skills, etc.
• Check for neatness & accuracy – Carefully check grammar, verb tense, spelling and aesthetic appeal – Print final draft on laser printer – Use standard 8 ½ “ x 11” white, bone, or light gray paper • Do not use personal pronouns (e.g., “I”) • Use action verbs to relate specific experience (e.g., developed/develop; taught/teach; managed/manage; assisted in/assist in; provided/provide)

Cover letter…
• Should include:
– Your name and address – The date – The name, company and address to whom you are sending your resume – A salutation (e.g., Dear. Dr. XXX) – An opening paragraph explaining why you are writing – A middle paragraphs highlighting why you are an outstanding applicant – A closing paragraph requesting an interview; – A closing, such as "Sincerely" or "Yours Truly," with your signature.

Additional handout/information

• U.S. companies that hire international students - 21 pages - email for an electronic copy (lancy@siu.edu)

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