A job-interview at any stage of one’s life is an important event! Be it one’s first summer-job as a store assistant or the first campus recruitment interview in college or a mid-career shift — every interview has a significant role in the way your future shapes. This article examines how you can use your study abroad experience to impress your potential employers/interviewer and secure a job.
Two ways of looking at it!
Either you would have gone on a study abroad trip for one semester/year of your studies or would have completed your entire degree abroad as a full-time student. While a full-time degree from an international University of repute is a sure-shot way to impress recruiters; the one-semester/year internships and study abroad and community service projects are gaining importance as well.
Why a full-time foreign degree scores better?
A full-time foreign degree like an MBA or an MS/MTech with a good score is testimony to your hard work and academic brilliance. The added exposure to a global student community and international academic experts augurs well for your career prospects.
The ‘semester abroad’ experience
With more and more leading Indian Universities collaborating with international institutions from around the world; the opportunities for a semester or a year abroad are at an all-time high. Institutions also offer twinning programmes, which let students complete a half of their course in India and the other half abroad at a partner institution. This is a healthy trend as students do not have to pay the full cost of completing an entire course abroad. Additionally, the concept of integrated community service abroad; like volunteering for a United Nations Project or creating awareness about AIDS, safe drinking water, nutrition and sanitation, teaching English to the underprivileged students, etc; are also finding increasing favour with young college students.
Acing the interview
In addition to all your academic qualifications and your achievements in sports and other extra-curricular events like drama, debating, quizzing etc., employers also look for social work projects that you may have participated. This is not to imply that a volunteering effort abroad is more important than one done in India. The essence of the matter is some relevant social work will look good on your CV and demonstrate your willingness to learn, adapt and lead; all extremely important qualities needed to survive in the corporate world.
Impressing the interviewer
Dress appropriately for the interview and reach the venue at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time. Carry at least two copies of your CV and any other documents that the HR/Employment Consultancy would have asked you to bring. Greet the interviewer(s) and answer all questions in a confident and polite manner. If you are unsure about a question; be honest and tell the truth. Highlight your relevant academic skills and how your study abroad experience has made you more confident and prepared you to face the challenges that may arise. Do not waste the interviewer’s precious time and beat around the bush with your answers. Be precise, clear and direct in your answers. At the end of the interview thank your interviewer(s) and say you look forward to hearing from them.
This is an interesting time for fresh graduates; on one side many companies insist on at least two years of experience; on the other vacancies are available for anyone with decent communication skills and the willingness to work night-shifts. We see cases wherein engineers and MBA-holders end up working in the IT and KPO industries. So plan your academics with extreme care and do not end up studying something which you don’t like.
A good job is one where you don’t feel that you are working; you will enjoy what you do! All the best for finding a job that you love!