As an expert in the international student market, I have had my fair share of students placed in large and smaller size companies. I understand with many international students, attracting large companies is definitely a career goal, especially when you are starting out. However, too many students get caught up in the brand and lose focus on what is really important in development their careers.
Think about it in a realistic point of view. Not every student can work in the big fours or brand name companies. If you think of all the students in your university, they all most likely tell you that they want a big company, just like you. Some students will achieve this goal but the majority wont. So why is that? Here are my reason why students get rejected from big brand name companies.
1. Lack of experience – as its very competitive to get into larger companies, most students are doing local internships during their studies so they can increase their chances of attracting a bigger company..Even if this internship is with a smaller firm, a company will always choose any type of experience over none. If you don’t have any professional experience, you need to start small and then work your way up. Very few students can get into a large company straight away. But the students who have some local experience will have more to offer a big company than a student that doesn’t.
2. Communication and cultural skills – There is a difference between just speaking English and having proper communication skills. Speaking basic English is important but having strong communication skills and cultural awareness tells a business that you will easily fit well into their team. How you speak is important. You need to ensure your grammar and how you construct your sentences are in line with proper professional English. Remember, being a part of a big company means that you will be surrounded by very professional people. So if you’re communication skills are not as strong, you may want to reconsider the type of organisation you join first. Smaller organisations are more nurturing and will be able to help you develop your English skills, spend more time with you and help you adapt. Bigger companies would expect you to already have the cultural awareness. This could be a huge struggle for you as a professional firm compared to university, uses business English verbally and conducting daily businesses like email correspondence. So this must be perfect as you are representing the company.
3. Attitude – Above everything – your attitude plays a key role. Sometimes I meet students who believe that they are really great because they have a high marks in their university, or they worked for a great company back home in their home countries, but nothing is more unattractive than someone who believes they are great but has no professional creditability. There is a huge difference from being confident and too confident that you come across arrogant. Your personality is the main deciding factor in the interview. It’s important that you are open minded and take opportunity as a stepping stone to your future career. Always be humble and ensure that you keep your options opened. The more options you have, means the more opportunities will open up for you.
By Fainaaz Ali – Director of Careers, Ecare Careers