5 Things to Know As an International Student Attending the Career Fair (And Maybe As a Domestic Student Too)

The Fall Northeastern Career Fair on October 2 is a new experience for many international students (and for domestic students as well).  For some people, the concept of “new” is exciting. For others, “new” is intimidating and can feel uncomfortable.  It’s important to note that being uncomfortable is okay– it’s an indication that you are probably encountering a situation that will contribute to your personal growth. A great way to eliminate some pre-career fair jitters is to prepare as much as possible.  Here are the five things that you should know as an international student attending the Career Fair:

Northeastern Career Fair

Northeastern Career Fair

1.) General Logistics—The Career Fair this year will have over 250 employers with companies like Microsoft , Mathworks, and Akamai Technologies in attendance and will take place from 12-4PM in the Cabot Cage and Solomon Court. Furthermore, there were over 2500 students in attendance last year, and we’re expecting the same attendance for this year.  This means that the career fair will be CROWDED! And lines, especially for very popular companies like Microsoft, will be many people long.  What does this mean for you? Come to the career fair sooner rather than later and come prepared with a list of companies that you want to speak with.  If you don’t, you may be shut out from speaking with an employer or you may feel too overwhelmed to speak to anyone.

2.) Do Your Research on Companies Open to Hiring International Students-The list of organizations attending the career fair is here. Also make sure to download the 2014 Career Fair brochure–there will be no hard copies of the brochure at the fair.  The brochure includes a map of the employer table numbers and where they’re located, and also includes a list of employers who have indicated that they are open to hiring international students.  Be sure to become familiar with that list!  Also do some general research on the company.  The company website, Hoovers, Glassdoor, and Linkedin are all great resources to use when researching.

3.) Prepare Your Pitch— When I was an undergraduate student, I did not go to any of the career fairs my university held (ironic, right?). This was because I was uncomfortable with what to say to an employer and I didn’t know what to do when I got there.  Make sure you practice your pitch, or your thirty second commercial about yourself.  This “pitch” would be an appropriate answer to the nebulous “Tell me about yourself” question, or can give the employer a general understanding of your background and what caused you to be interested in their company.  Appropriate information for the pitch would be your name, major, skills, background, and interest in either the company/position.  To make a great impression, be sure to let them know that you’ve done research on their company by asking intelligent questions. The key here is to be able to ask them other questions besides “What does your company do?”.  That’s not going to impress anyone!  And don’t forget to practice, practice, practice!

4.) Dress Appropriately- Many people feel unsure about what to wear for the fair. A black, grey, brown (neutral) suit and tie is appropriate for males and a skirt suit or pants suit with sensible heels is appropriate for females.  Be sure to not wear too much cologne or perfume, or to wear any flashy jewelry or makeup.  You want them to be listening to what you SAY, not what you look or smell like.

5.) Conduct Yourself Professionally at the Career Fair—This means respecting employers and their time by keeping discussions brief and not keeping them after 4PM. No one leaves the Career Fair with a job, so your main goal is to make an impression and receive a business card to follow-up with them later.  Also, do not bring food/drinks into the Career Fair–they are not permitted and it makes it difficult to shake hands with employers.  Lastly, don’t go “shopping” at the fair.  I know many employers come with cool little gadgets, but don’t make those freebies your main focus for attending the career fair!

Remember, the more prepared you are for the fair, the better you equip yourself to navigate it successfully.  Also, don’t forget to check out our Career Fair Success Tips Panel on September 30th. Representatives from Gorton’s, Liberty Mutual, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Constant Contact will tell you exactly what they like to see from students at Career Fairs.  Remember, no matter what happens, the career fair is a great experience that can prepare you for the job search process and networking after graduation. Enjoy it!

Ashley LoBue is an Assistant Director at Northeastern Career Development.  A Boston College graduate, Ashley has over 4 years of experience working in higher education and is a proponent for international and experiential education.  Ashley also enjoys binge-watching HGTV and aspires to be like the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan, as a possible secondary career. 

How to Find a Job Teaching English Abroad

Travelling the world as an English teacher can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It’s a great way to see the world and immerse yourself in another culture – by working in a new country you get to participate in the life there in a way that tourists and travelers never can.

Teach English in Barcelona

source: Prithika Nair / TEFL Iberia

If you’re ready to jet off and begin your new life as an English teacher I’ve outlined a few tips to help you get started.  

1. Do a course in the city you’d like to work in

Do you want to start your teaching adventure in China? Research courses there. Does Barcelona sound like a dream destination? Complete your TEFL training there. By doing a course in your chosen city your chances of finding employment are greatly increased as you’ll make a lot more immediate contacts. You’ll also get help with the foreign administration system to help you get set up with a social security number, bank account, mobile phone, etc.

2.  Choose a course which maximizes practical application and teaching practice

The best way to impress a potential employer is to talk about all the great classroom experiences you’ve had – the big groups, small groups, beginners, advanced etc. Do a course which offers at least 8 hours of teaching practice with real learners. You should reinforce that experience with some private students, which are very easy to find and great for practicing your new skill. Your local TEFL provider should show you how to find private students in your region.

3. Start your job hunt early

Start your job hunt while you are still completing your teacher training course. I recommend:

  • Getting your CV ready while completing your course and have your course tutors go over it with you.
  • Compiling a list of schools you can send it out to. A good quality teacher training institute will have its own list or network of schools which they provide to their trainees.
  • Have a friend take a good photograph of you. In some countries schools want to see a picture of the person they are hiring, particularly if they are hiring remotely.
  • Email your CV out and then follow up with a phone call a few days later.

When writing your CV for a teaching position, even if you have no previous experience as a teacher, remember to highlight any relevant work experience. This could include any staff training you have undertaken, management and organizational experience and even hobbies, private tuition or volunteer work.

4.   Be prepared for different interview scenarios

English teacher job interviews can vary depending on the level of professionalism of the hiring school. Scenarios range from a brief meeting and ‘when can you start?’ to a grammar test and demo lesson. Schools generally look for someone who is friendly, confident and can express themselves clearly. They want to know that you are capable of delivering a quality class and that the students are going to like you. You should therefore be prepared to answer questions about teaching specific grammar points, classroom management, what-would-you-do-in-this-scenario type questions and a demo lesson.

5.  Get recommended

Teacher trainers will often recommend the best students for teaching positions they hear about during the duration of the course. Performing well on your training assignments ensures you are one of the candidates they consider when they hear about any offers. Be the person they think of first!


RichardRichard Davie has taught English in Barcelona for over 6 years and trained and recruited many new English teachers. For more information about training to be a TEFL teacher or finding a job abroad visit www.tefl-iberia.com or get in touch with Richard at richard@tefl-iberia.com.

Success Tips From A Fellow International Student Employed at Aperian Global

Source: http://blog.peertransfer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/80608178-450×300.jpg

As a former international student, finding a job after graduating from Northeastern University was not easy, but definitely possible! Due to the US economy and the limit placed on visas available to foreigners, my job search required a lot of extra time and effort. I was able to find a solution to a number of challenging situations that I encountered along the way. It was undoubtedly a significant time commitment alongside my coursework; nevertheless, I learned that the more prepared you are, the higher your chances of reaching your goals!

Cultural and Language Skill Building

Tap into the knowledge of American classmates, learn from career counselors and advisors, make the most out of your co-ops, and be on top of your game when it comes to the job search, networking, preparing cover letters and resumes.

I can relate to the disadvantage many international students have of speaking English as a second language. The comfortable thing is to just hang out with other international students who share your language. Working hard to improve your English and find a fellow classmate or tutor that can help you focus on communicating orally can be key to communicating well to an interviewer in English.

Know Your Visa Status

I am a Bolivian/Chilean citizen and do not have US citizenship.  However, under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Chile is eligible for more H1B visas than citizens of other countries. This was something I mentioned to my employer.  Many countries have agreements with the USA that might work in your favor.  For example, if you are Canadian, you are eligible for a renewable work authorization in the US without costly processing.  Also, www.myvisajobs.com, Going Global, and Glassdoor.com can help you learn which companies have issued H-1B’s in the past, how many people were sponsored, post interview reviews, and provide job search information across states. If a company has sponsored in the past, chances are they may continue to do this. You must be proactive and do your research. Be sure to attend OPT sessions, plan ahead, and be able to explain your work authorization situation clearly. These are key things to be aware of.

Market Your Language Skills

Something that worked in my favor is my language skills.  In applying to ANY job, I made them realize how valuable speaking 3 languages fluently is and am learning a 4th.  Make employers view this as an asset that they can benefit from!

Something else that can work to your advantage is check and see if a company does business with your home country.  This will make it even more likely for them to hire you, especially if you have had previous work experience in that country.

Starting the Job Search

Don’t leave things for the last minute and find the time to practice interview. I made a list of everyone I knew to reach out to and I didn’t realize how important LinkedIn was until my senior year at NU was almost over! LinkedIn can help you land information interviews that can give you the info you need to thrive during your job search. Also be sure to google yourself and see what comes up- your employer will likely look you up on LinkedIn at the very least.

Know what you’re interested in and know how realistic and possible it is for you to do this. It’s better to have two-three options that seem like great fits than to have 20 other options that are not as feasible.  Additionally, I would suggest making your last semester as a senior less busy with other commitments so that you can dedicate large chunks of time for job searching and preparation.  What worked well for me was attending ALL or almost all of the Career Development events dedicated to international students, especially those dedicated to job search and interview preparation.  Also, Northeastern is constantly organizing forums with employers and career fairs that you should attend. Networking is huge!

As you apply for any job opportunity, make sure to highlight that you intend on staying at the job long-term because it is not worth it for them to invest in your staying for a short period of time and then have you go back home.

Sell your International Experience in Interviews

Always have a story of an international experience to talk about in your memory. Find a story about yourself that will highlight why your international experience will be an asset to any potential employer. Show them how you used your language abilities to help others.  For example, I found my opportunity with Aperian Global, by attending a Global Career forum after having met two associate employees of the company I work for during a study abroad trip in Switzerland. I emailed all of these contacts and I believe that having met these people was key in getting me to understand the way the company works and next steps to take to be successful.

Truly, the only major barrier for international students looking for a job after graduating is a lack of authorization to work.  Other than that, everything else is in your hands.  The most important part of it all is refining your skills so that you can impress any prospective employer and present yourself as a candidate that will create a mutually beneficial relationship between you and the employer. If I did it than you can too!

dianaDiana Zalaquett is currently Program Manager at Aperian Global in Boston since June 2012 where she serves as the  main client contact for program coordination, coordinates cross-cultural training and consulting programs, and works with Aperian Global’s Global Mobility Service. She works collaboratively with client strategy consultants and global account teams to grow client relationships. Diana has worked at Eduventures (contract/temporary associate) and as a Junior Programme Officer, Implementation Support Unit  at GICHD in Switzerland, a Teaching Assistant at the Honors Department and as a Research and Administrative Assistant at The Institute for International Urban Development. She’s a Certified Zumba Instructor and a Certified Spinning Instructor and cares about Animal Welfare, economic empowerment, and a variety of other causes. Diana graduated from Northeastern University May 2012 and speaks English, Spanish, and some French, Chinese, and Portuguese.