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Collaborative working to support international students

Staff at the University of Sheffield Careers Service have been working collaboratively with colleagues from other sections within the university, and organisations outside the university, to provide enhanced services to international students.

Judy Everett, Careers Adviser (International Students and Employers) and Amy Gray (Jobshop Coordinator) outline the support offered:

CV workshop

We decided to develop a CV/applications workshop to be run jointly with colleagues from the university’s English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC). The original motivation for this workshop was the desire to help international students improve the quality of their applications for part-time positions, including the English language content. However, it quickly developed to also include applications for internship and graduate positions and to cover CVs, covering letters and application forms.

The workshop is in two parts:

Part 1 has input aimed at increasing the students’ awareness of what makes a good CV/application and how to 'sell' their skills and strengths as international students. There are also interactive elements - reviewing sample CVs and peer review of their own CVs. Students are then asked to use the information and resources to produce their own high-quality documents for the following week’s session.

Part 2 consists of each student having two individual appointments: the first, with a careers service staff member to review the content and structure; and the second, with a staff member from the ELTC, to review the spelling, grammar and punctuation. Students can use both services for follow-up appointments, if needed.

The workshop was very well received and students asked for a further one on interviews. So, we have now developed a collaborative half-day workshop on interview skills. It includes a range of aspects of interview preparation, technique, and performance, including spoken English language skills. This year we are running each workshop three times during the course of the year.

National Insurance numbers

Another initiative is the collaborative work with Job Centre Plus staff to issue National Insurance numbers to international students. We were the first careers service in the region to do this and it involves inviting a team of their staff to spend a day at the careers service registering students during individual half hour appointments. They visit approximately five times during the year - in three years we have registered over 500 students.

We have also run several joint sessions with the International Adviser from the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

Such initiatives have proved popular with international students who seem to appreciate us working with other organisations to deliver enhanced services.

This article was first submitted to Phoenix (May 2011). 

Tags: international applications The University of Sheffield CV international students interviews

Created on: 11 May 2011

Last updated: 12 May 2011

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