By Si Li
Finding an internship or job is a stressful and challenging thing for most college students, it can be even more disturbing to many international students due to language and cultural barriers.
“I have not got my resume and elevator speech ready, and the most terrifying part is I do not know how to prepare it,” says Hanqing Liang, a sophomore majoring in statistic. “I honestly think that there is little possibility for me to get a job offer in the upcoming career fair.”
Liang feels anxious every time she thinks about the job hunting and she is not the only one feels that way.
In order to help international students better prepare themselves in the career fair, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association is planning a series of career development events including a career panel and resume proofreading this semester. This is the very first career development event hosted by students and scholars associations in Iowa State University (ISU).
A good resume is essential to get a job offer in career fairs. And many students go to career services to get their resumes and elevator speeches on point. However, career services are not always helpful.
Xue Bai, the president of Chinese Students and Scholars Association says, “The career service in our school is lacking of international perspective. They do not know what struggles the international students will be facing in the job hunting. Since our school have an increasing member of international students, this is definitely a issue that need more attention.”
ISU is expanding its university recruitment, especially on international students. Based on the school’s website, our school is having the largest student enrollment of 36,660 this semester. And the international student enrollment is 4,131, which increased 2.22% compared to last semester.
“International students can only get temporary jobs during F-1 Optional Practical Training after graduation. If they want to make it full-time, the companies have to help them apply for H-1B visa (non-immigrant visa), which costs time and money,” Bai says. “That is why many companies tend to hire U.S. citizens when two applicants are in the same level. Our school’s career services do not cover this part very much, which limit its helpfulness to international students.”
The first career panel hosted on Saturday in Sukup Hall was Chinese speaking and mainly focused on Chinese students. The CSSA invited seven guests who have successfully got internships or full-time jobs in companies like PwC, Wells Fargo and Whirlpool Corp. to share their experiences and tips.
Although the first career panel was only opened for Chinese students, the ultimate goal of CSSA’s career development program is to service all international students.
Riheng Cao, the director of the career development department in CSSA explains, “We need to reach that goal step by step.”
The CSSA is connecting with the International Student Council (ISC) to come up with a cooperation plan. They will collaborate with ISC to host a larger scale of career panel opening for all international students in the near future.
“I am really inspired by the career panel. I didn’t know how to prepare for career fairs, but the experiences shared in the panel showed me some directions,” Liang says after attending career panel. “I feel less panic and more confident.”