[Career Advice #5] Tasha Choi on tips for international students
Did you ever wonder who came up with the idea of launching a virtual career fair platform to help students with their internships or graduate jobs? Meet Tasha Choi, the CEO of Highre, your career advisor of the day!!
Originally from South Korea, Tasha studied Economics and Engineering in University of Toronto.
“Studying those 2 subjects gave me a good combination of understanding both worlds.”
Let her story begin:
- It seems like you have a strong passion to help out international students, can you explain why?
As a former international student myself in Canada, I could notice the difficulties that international students go through. Let that be cultural differences, lack of network and knowledge in the society or in the industry. So I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with them.
2. How should international students approach to get a job abroad? Do you have any tips for that?
Life is sales. When you hear ‘sales’, it usually doesn’t come across nicely, because most international students don’t grow up with that culture. But sales is actually about convincing someone with your idea, service, or product in an emotionally compelling way. In order to do so, it’s important that yourself or your ideas are attractive to other people. I personally think that dating is a very good example. Let’s say that there is a hot guy or a girl that you like and you are a shy nerd. What would be the reason why they want to talk to you? So if you think about it, everyone else other than yourself becomes your customers.
If you are an international student, you have to ask yourself: why would UK or US companies want to hire you over local students, going through complicated and expensive visa processes? Recruiters need something solid, other than your CV or the cover letter.
You need to be the irreplaceable candidate for the role. I have 5 tips for you:
- Figure out your focus area and start building your portfolio: You could create a blog, run events, offer volunteering work, initiate small projects that are relevant to your field. Produce outcome that you can show. Everyone says that they “will” do and they “can” do in the resumé. But if you can already show the outcome and results, you are going to stick out. Action speaks louder than words, ALWAYS.
- Get involved in meetups, groups, conferences, or even startups outside your campus: By doing that, you can meet people in the industry and create a professional network. One important thing to remember is for you to use your position as a student. Everyone used to be a student at some point, they will be happy to help you in whatever way they can.
- Build friendship with other students who are not from your own country: University is a great opportunity for you to make genuine friendships that can last long. That means you also have to hang out with the right people as well, because you are the average of 5 people who are the closest to you.
- Be comfortable with rejections and failures: International students tend to have been successful in their academic years. Thus, it seems hard for many of them to see themselves fail, as if it’s an unacceptable thing. Life is an open-ended scenario and you will need to constantly try and fail until you succeed and repeat that over and over. Learn how to deal with failure and grow from it.
- Understand that the world is small: You will notice that everyone knows everyone, so it’s important to be nice to people. As well as to be positive, optimistic and to be supportive, because your reputation carries throughout your entire career path. I have gone through hundreds of interviews with students while I was helping my friends hire interns. From then, I have noticed that some students were not able to handle the rejection well. They sent me rude and inappropriate emails, but they should know that it’s really easy to just pick up the phone to call the recruiter to not hire them. You should be mindful about the tiny world and start building and managing your reputation from early on.
As international students, we really need to bring our A game to be successful and I believe that we can all reach our highest potential anywhere we choose to be.
I wish you the best luck and don’t forget to check out Highre @www.highre.co!!