22Jun2018

FINDING A JOB BACK AT HOME OR ABROAD: FIVE CHALLENGES TO RESPOND TO – Katerina (RUSSIA)

If you are about to start a new life, without classes and half an hour breaks every 1,5 hours, then I can totally relate. We, international students, kind of went through similar processes when we applied to the University of Tartu. Finishing previous studies at high school, BA or MA, then preparation of CV, motivation letter, and what not your specialisation required, the same is going to happen to you when you are finished with the classes.

But, whilst your choice of the universities, I bet, was limited to a maximum of five, the menu of job opportunities is far wider. Unfortunately, that is not always a good thing. Because you should keep in mind that you are not the only one who dreams about grasping a new challenging job.

Matters get even more complicated when you apply for jobs out of your country. I can definitely tell you that trying your luck abroad is way harder. I came up with five things I find the most challenging on this bumpy ride, and I hope they will help you. Maybe not to get better prepared for future life, but at least to feel that you are not the only ones struggling right now.

  1. Language barrier

However good you are in the language of your working environment, you would never be able to beat native speakers. Unless, of course, you are an English-speaking guy applying for an American company.

So, my advice would be to accept this fact and just keep it in mind. This should not discourage you from applying to the jobs, but at least be incredibly careful while designing your CV and motivation letter. We are all humans, and even if we know the difference between ‘conscience’ and ‘conscious’, we’d better check the spelling twice.

  1. Making a short CV

The Curriculum Vitae is required by any employer. You could argue that it is your “face”. You might be an incredibly charming and highly professional person, but you might lack some basic skills to introduce yourself to the company.

Summarizing what I’ve read, heard, and experienced with making a CV, I can ensure you that a CV that is no longer than two pages is a must. Even if you have a solid work experience, that does not mean that you should mention every single project you have ever participated in. You have to modify your CV any time you apply for a position, because the employers state different preferences and personal characteristics they require – this is your starting point.

  1. Writing a detailed cover letter

This might be even more important than presenting the information on your education and working or associative experience. Here, you are even more limited with space: one page of your text should convince your future employer that they had been searching exactly for you.

The main secret is to be precise and accurate, and to adapt your letter as to stay as relevant to the characteristics required as you can be. For example, if the company or organisation you apply for asks for your Adobe InDesign skills, don’t just state that you know how to use it. It would be more convincing if you specify what you actually did, for example: “I have made two advertisement brochures for an IT-company…”

  1. Constantly changing your CV and cover letter

Your cover letter is definitely a very individualised thing, but even it can be “templated”. What I did – I created a couple of cover letters (longer than one page) describing in details my professional skills, of course supplying them with examples as I said previously. Why a couple? Well, I’m considering several possible job positions that obviously require different skills and personal characteristics.

So, for every position I apply I just delete irrelevant paragraphs. The same for a CV. I have a file where I listed all the working and associative experience I have, so before applying for a new vacancy I just remove less relevant fields, making the final version of exactly two pages.

  1. Psychological pressure

When in a foreign country, life is always harder: you miss your family and old friends, and the climate and culture might be very different from what you are used to. And even though you can tell me that you’ve already gone through it and it’s not your first year being abroad, well, don’t forget about so called ‘post graduation depression’. It exists, scientific researches prove it. And it even gets worse when you have to change your lifestyle, transforming yourself from a sometimes careless student to a full-time serious guy (or girl).

I’m not a psychologist, but what helps me is to talk to my friends. As one of them say, “you have to believe that everything is going to fall into place; it might not be true, but you shouldn’t care about it at this point”. Another thing is constantly to search for your inspiration sources. It might be interviews with people, fiction films or classic literature – whatever makes you feel better and more optimistic about your future.

And finally, just keep reading blogs like this one that describe personal experiences. You will keep in mind that you are not alone with your problems, and you shouldn’t feel bad if something is not going as well as you wanted it to. Keep on trying – that’s the only secret to success.

P.S. When I was a child, I read some kind of fable about two frogs. In sum: they got into the pot of milk, and couldn’t make it out of there. After a while, one frog gave up – and, surprise-surprise, it died. Another one kept on trying to jump out of the pot, even though it seemed quite impossible. At some point, thanks to constant movements of its hind legs, milk became butter. The surface became harder, and the frog could jump out of it. The end.