University of Illinois is helping international students with career skills
International students at the University of Illinois are getting a helping hand with future employment. Source:

Recognising the challenges many international students face when hunting for jobs after graduation, the University of Illinois runs a special career competence programme for the cohort to prepare them for the employment market.

Offered since 2012, the Careers Certificate – International or CC-I programme aims to give international students effective knowledge and understanding of career skills through workshops on a variety of topics, including resume and cover letter writing, LinkedIn advice and interview skills.

The programme has two intakes in the Spring and Fall. International students can apply in May or November after attending a compulsory introduction talk.

Those who complete the course, which earned the Services to International Students Award in 2016, will gain a certificate of completion.

“It’s very hard for me because I don’t have good communication skills, and there are fewer sponsorships this year,” Shuang Wang, a graduate student in Labor and Employment Relations said.

More internships are looking for international students in the US but political changes may see a limit in courses offered this year, according to The Daily Illini.

“Everything is requiring these skills. The balance is important,” Un Yeong Park, assistant director for career and professional development for international students at the university’s Career Center said.

“It’s very useful and I would like to recommend it to everyone,” she said.

“We learned elevator speech and how to improve LinkedIn profile in this class.”

Through the programme, Wang has learned the value of networking and is looking for internships in the US and China for after she graduates.

“I have my graduate programme here, so I am thinking why not make connections here and try to work here. There are many Chinese students here. We can communicate with other international students and co-workers. This experience will be useful for my career.”

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