“Learning about reflection as a practice can help you improve your self-reflection abilities, which may help you improve your workplace performance” (Indeed Editorial Team, 2022, para. 1).
I’m Kokilavani Thiyagarajan, and I came as an international student from Chennai, India. I’m an Architect and Urban Planner by profession. I completed my post graduate diploma in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at Fanshawe and graduated from that program at Fanshawe in August 2022 and then enrolled in Business Fundamentals here for a second program in January of 2023.
I want to offer my knowledge on the value of using a LinkedIn profile effectively, particularly if you are an international student studying in Canada or any other country.
As part of my GIS program, we had the opportunity to apply for a co-op at our level 3. Even though it was not a mandatory level, I was keen to secure a co-op position in Canada. I strongly believed it would help me to launch my professional career in Canada. With the work experience I gained in India, I can confidently say that I’m fairly proficient with GIS technical skills. It is crucial to have strong professional networking skills to demonstrate that I possess the necessary qualifications for a job opportunity. I have a strong conviction that setting up a LinkedIn profile would be an excellent place to start.
Secondly, it is important to establish a strong connection with the help of the profile we created. I personally, did this. Hopefully, it works for you too. When I was still enrolled in my GIS school, I started to develop my LinkedIn profile from a basic to a professional level. I started to upload the academic works I was doing in my school consistently, updated all the skills that I’m good at, and also filled in my previous work experience details to indicate what I was doing before this program. As a sample, I hyperlinked the organization websites and renowned projects I was involved in. So, by the time I applied for my co-op, I had a LinkedIn profile that fully reflected my skills and abilities.
For the next step, I did some research on what organizations I wanted to work with and started to like and follow them on LinkedIn to show my interest. I decided to monitor all the city development authorities in the province of Ontario since the majority of my prior project experiences were with city development authorities and local governments. To name a few I followed the official website of the City of London and the City of Brampton, it helped me to understand what they are up to, what sort of projects they are working on, and what job positions are currently open at their organization.
At this point, you should also make sure to maintain contact with all of your instructors, seniors, and peers from the same university, other universities in the province, and relevant courses. You must also regularly check your LinkedIn mobile application; I advise doing so at least twice daily, preferably in the morning and evening or whenever you feel like monitoring your other social media accounts.
Finally, reaching out to potential employers and applying for jobs posted on LinkedIn and other job sites is challenging. In my case, I applied to more than 100 organizations for my co-op position. I got replies from half a dozen of them. I did some interviews and I got selected for a Planning-GIS student position at the City of Kingston. LinkedIn has really helped me to secure a position in a city development authority where I wanted to focus.
As a key takeaway point, I strongly suggest you invest your time in developing social networking network skills that help you reach your dream workplace quickly. Just remember we are all new to your country, and it is important to be focused and self-directed to improve our learning skills through social-Intelligence.
Below are some common questions asked during interviews. Being able to assess your strengths, recognize opportunities to improve, talk about actions you would take and reflect on what you learned will help you develop good examples to use when faced with these types of questions.
- What is your biggest strength that you would bring to our organization and how would it help you be successful in your first 6 months on the job?
- We have a formal training program for all new employees that will help you understand our formal policies and rules. If you joined our team, how would you go about getting to learn more about the workplace culture here at Company X?
- Tell me about a time when you were unsuccessful in completing a task. What was the situation and what did you learn that you would do differently next time?
- If I were to ask someone who you recently worked with, what would they say is your biggest weakness?