If you’re struggling to find a job, something other than your resume and cover letter might be to blame.
There’s the accent.
The unusual life experiences.
And the bilingual advantage.
Yet, most international students in America struggle to find decent jobs.
This struggle has nothing to do with a weak resume or cover letter. Work experience isn’t to blame, either. The problem is bigger but more subtle than any of these usual suspects.
There’s something fundamentally amiss from the average international student’s job search. Unfortunately, this missing piece is also the key to job search success.
What exactly am I talking about?
The Missing Piece
It’s not a quick fix, it won’t lead to a job offer within 24 hours, and it won’t cure anybody’s acne. But those that have it are always better off than those that don’t.
What is this missing piece, you ask?
Let me explain.
America is a strange place. It’s filled with people from all over the world. Whether you’re from Singapore or Samoa, there’s a friend from home waiting for you in America.
Here’s the problem: most international students get sucked into these cultural pockets. Nigerian students end up hanging out with Nigerians. Chinese students end up marrying each other. And Mexicans? Same deal.
What I’m about to say might not be what you want to hear. It might not even be politically correct. But it will make all the difference in your job search. (I’m speaking from experience here.)
If you’re an international student looking for work in America, don’t get sucked into these cultural cliques. Instead, cultivate deep friendships with Americans.
I don’t mean those “hello… hi” friendships where you only talk about the weather. I mean deep friendships. The kind of friendships where if you find yourself in jail, your American friend will be passed out on the floor beside you.
What’s in it for you
Why, you ask? Why break out of your cultural clique?
Here’s the short answer: a job.
Compared to the average American, international students often have no network. No connections to key decision-makers. No insider information on who’s hiring and where.
Developing friendships with Americans opens opportunities that might otherwise be unreachable. Besides, most companies are willing to make exceptions for candidates who come highly recommended. If you have enough solid relationships with Americans, these recommendations will come a little easier.
Spending time with people from home is great. Unfortunately, it will do more harm than good for your job search. If you want a job, make it a priority to develop deep relationships with Americans.
What do you think? Should international students make an effort to make friends with Americans?
Kola Olaosebikan freely shares information that makes life easier for international students and immigrants in America. Visit http://www.kolasblog.com for more success tips and advice from experienced international students and immigrants.