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The importance of practicing English, job skills as international student nearing graduation

english skills job application applications
Preparing for life after graduation is crucial. Source: Shutterstock.

Job interviews can be mightily scary for the average person – but, for international students wishing to remain and work in the country after graduation, they can be extra nerve-wracking.

So what is the key to success in the international graduate job market?

Improving language skills and plenty of interview practice, says University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) Instructor Bonnie Stewart.

Well… The first half is good interview advice at least. Source: GIPHY.

Stewart designed and runs a ‘boot camp’ for all international students at UPEI, challenging them to think of new ways to show off their skills – and awesome personalities – to interviewers in Canada.

“There’s been a breakdown in communication in what counts as job skills,” Stewart told CBA News. “These students have lots of skills, but they have to communicate those skills in ways that match what employers want to hear.”

Many students panic over their English language skills not being good enough to stay and work in Canada after graduation, but Stewart encourages them to turn things around.

Not the best way to answer this question. Source: GIPHY.

Instead of telling an interviewer your English isn’t perfect, try saying “I’m working very hard to improve my English and I also speak three other languages”, Stewart suggests.

Through online modules and in-person workshops, CV crafting and role-play interviews, the students learn how to improve their chances of landing a graduate job in Canada as well as their home country.

Second-year Chinese UPEI student Mengyn Zang was encouraged to volunteer by the University International Student Centre in order to improve her English and her workplace skills.

“I really want to have a job experience in Canada and learn the working culture here,” Zang said. “I have learned so much, but also that it’s similar to Chinese job marketing.”

Zang is hoping to work a summer job in Canada over the semester break.

“My first choice is some job related to my major, but something like cashier is okay too because I want to get some working experience.”

Another student, Cai Lim, has high hopes of obtaining the correct permits and securing a job in Canada after she graduates in May.

“This class helps me showcase myself by translating what I’ve learned in my academic classes and how it relates to employment,” Lim said.

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