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Career Resources for International Students | Expert Opinion

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

There aren’t many resources available to international students in comparison to other newcomers. Specifically career resources. However, there are many people out there trying to change that narrative by empowering international students.

At Thrivve we want you to be successful in Canada, whether that is social success, educational success or career success. Therefore, we are inviting different voices into our conversations and giving experts the chance to share their knowledge with us.

A conversation with Fernanda

Let me introduce you to Fernanda Reis, a career advisor at Douglas College. Fernanda is an adventurer who made her way from sunny Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to the beautiful city of Vancouver in 2015. Fernanda's journey started as a Petroleum Engineer back home, where she experienced the tough reality of being the only female in meetings. It wasn't an easy road, let me tell you.

So, when Fernanda arrived in Canada, she knew she needed a helping hand to find a job. Luckily, she found a fantastic career advisor at Capilano University who had her back. With their guidance, Fernanda managed to get a job here that was very similar to what she did in Brazil. But here's the thing—she realized it didn't quite fulfill her anymore. And that’s when she made a life-changing decision.

Fernanda decided to become a career advisor herself! Talk about turning the tables, right? Now, she's working her magic at Douglas College, assisting newcomers and skilled immigrants who are trying to find work in the same industry they worked in back in their home countries.

As a career advisor, Fernanda's mission is clear–to help you, the international students and newcomers, make your dreams come true in this new land. She knows exactly what it's like to start fresh, and she's here to bridge the gap between your previous professional experiences and your job hunt in Canada.

Fernanda, what are the challenges that international students are currently facing in regard to a Canadian career?

"There are a few challenges, but in my opinion, lack of confidence during job application and resume writing. Or at least this is the biggest challenge that they can have an impact on since the Canadian experience, labour market, and other examples are external.”

If you had to summarize the activities needed by an international student to find a job, what would be the 5 steps to take?

Network, network and network. That is the only way you can access the famous hidden job market.
Create a resume using accomplishment statements. Show what makes you different from other candidates.
Look for a career advisor. Most universities offer this as a free service.
Research online what are the possible certificates you can take in your industry.
Volunteer. This is a great way to make friends and to add to your resume.

What career resources are available to international students?

“Every university has career centres. Go there and look for resources. Take advantage of the local libraries and ask the librarians for resources. They tend to know a lot. If you need more help, go to the Skilled Immigrant Center at Vancouver Public Library or use Meetup and Eventbrite to find events in your industry. As a PR you will have way more resources like Work BC and other non-profits.”

What about recent grads who just got their PGWP?

I wish we had more programs to support recent grads, and students that just started their PGWP. Because once you are out of school, you might not be able to take advantage of the career centre in your school.

Any advice you would give to international students?

Networking can be very frustrating and challenging in the beginning, so find your own strategy to make it more bearable. Create your own incentives and goals. Start small, go with friends, and choose events that you can have something in common. I can guarantee you that it will pay off in the long term.

How can students reach you?

"I use LinkedIn for most work-related topics, so feel free to connect with me there. Remember to add a note on the connection saying that you read this article so I can know how we "met"."

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