Brock International Services in conjunction with CareerZone, Brock Alumni Association and Student Life and Community Experience hosted their second annual EmployABLE expo on January 30 in an effort to help international students plot their route to success and the steps that need to be taken towards their desired career.
The event allowed participants to interact with a number of Brock Alumni who have found success in a variety of fields from science and technology to business and finance. Students who attended received academic and career advice from a number of local industry professionals on exploring the right avenues leading to their dream job. Their resumes were also reviewed by CareerZone staff members, who provided tips on where they could improve.
Pre-registration was a requirement for this event, which made it a smaller, more intimate affair than similar expos. As a result, participants were able to have more meaningful and focused discussions. Conversations were facilitated in the format of 15-minute roundtable discussions in groups of no more than 10 students at a time. Some of the sessions held included tips on effective interview strategies, building a personal brand, how to make the most of international mobility programs and how to become more involved in the school and regional community.
During the roundtable sessions, many of the international students present expressed that they have faced a number of issues seeking employment since they began their studies in Canada. Three of the most common issues highlighted and addressed were:
Difficulty finding motivation
Many students struggle to find something they feel they are good at or feel good doing. As a result, many potential job opportunities are brushed over and never explored. Students were encouraged to engage with academic and career advisors on a regular basis to help locate their drive and opportunities that coincide with their ideals and passions.
Having no network
Arguably the biggest disadvantage that international students face is entering a country with little to no resources to aid in the hunt for jobs. While it is possible to find a job through social media, job fairs and the CareerZone website, many students find more targeted jobs through relatives, friends and professionals that they meet while at Brock. It was discussed that one of the best ways to boost student’s networks was to participate in on-campus activities, clubs and volunteer initiatives.
Lack of Canadian work experience
International students looking for work during (or after) their studies have had no experience of Canada’s labour market, putting them at a disadvantage. Despite qualifications, many organizations require students to have experience working in Canada in some capacity before they are even considered. Students were advised to start by seeking on-campus employment and, when possible, summer work within Canada to build up their resumes with Canadian work experience.
Students both domestic and international are encouraged to take advantage of all the opportunities that present themselves throughout the school year. Keen students are also encouraged to keep up with the events posted by Brock International and CareerZone on ExperienceBU as many don’t require registration and have similar offerings.