Maybe you need to supplement your income to pay for tuition. Maybe you would like to build some experience before you graduate. Or maybe you just want to earn extra spending money. Whatever the reason, working part-time while in school offers plenty of perks.
Yet foreign students on the job hunt might have a tougher time than most. The unfamiliar market, culture, or even language can present additional hurdles if you’re from another country. Follow these 8 steps to give yourself every advantage.
1. Search for Jobs
The first step toward securing a job is discovering what’s available. Make a list of all the jobs you think you’re qualified for. Check online listings, ads in the paper, and local business guides. Your school might also have an international student center, which can direct you toward businesses willing to hire foreign students.
2. Make a Plan
Amid classes, homework, and other activities, it’s all too easy to let opportunities slip by. Take your list of jobs and a calendar, and write down when you will apply for each position. You can set your own pace, such as an application a day, but once you’ve made your schedule, stick to it.
3. Apply for Non-advertised Jobs
Many part-time job seekers limit themselves to Internet listings or “Now Hiring” signs, but posted positions make up only a fraction of the jobs out there. Walk into any store and ask the clerk or manager if they’re accepting applications. The worst they can do is say no.
You need a job to get experience, but you need experience to get a job. Think of creative ways to network. Teachers might know of a job opening and could recommend you. If you’ve joined any extracurricular groups, put that down on your resume as experience. A volunteer position could turn into a part-time job down the road.
5. Create Your Own Job
Do you have a special talent or skill? Advertise your services. Dog walking, babysitting, and errand running can bring in a little extra cash. Write down some favorite recipes from your home country and sell them as a book. If you’re bilingual, offer language tutoring for a small fee.
6. Polish Your Resume
In addition to the standard application, many hiring managers want to see a resume or CV. You can find plenty of resume-writing tips on the Internet, and your school’s career center might provide a free critique. Just make sure your resume’s professional and polished. If you’re not a native speaker of the language, find a friend or teacher to check for grammar and spelling mistakes.
7. Follow up on Your Applications
Once you’ve applied to a job, you can’t just sit around and wait. Be proactive. Call the hiring manager once to follow up on the status of your application. The gesture will show them that you’re eager and willing to work. Conduct yourself professionally, and if you don’t hear back from them after a while, move on. Here’s a sample cover letter with “To Whom it May Concern”.
8. Keep Applying
Applying for jobs takes time, effort, and patience, and you may meet with a hundred rejections before you receive an offer. But remember: It only takes one “yes”! Keep applying, don’t get discouraged, and ask for help when you need it. You’re sure to land a job in no time.