How can young graduates convince a foreign employer
they'd be perfect for the job?
Susan HayesCulleton was in Hong Kong recently to talk to students at the University of Hong Kong. After the event, one student named Andy had a further question for Susan.
My name is Andy. I attended your job interview workshop at the University of Hong Kong. Thank you for the wonderful insights. As I was appying to different jobs, some questions came up and I think you might be able to give me some advice.
To tell you a little bit about myself, I have been to Dublin for a semester exchange and I have been hoping to return for work or to study. So here is my question: How can I land a job in Dublin (or any foreign city) with my Hong Kong degree? I doubt that companies will hire fresh graduates from overseas if they have a sufficient supply of local graduates. Would studying for a Master's degree in Dublin (or any city / country of interest) be helpful for job hunting?"
Thank you for your message and your kind words. I was delighted to speak at the University of Hong Kong that day; it's always wonderful to be part of your amazing city.
Indeed, I can understand where you're coming from, because your question is far more common than you might think. Lots of graduating students all over the world want to travel the world in search of adventure, a diverse career experience or other personal reasons. It certainly sounds like you're one of those people!
You're right that it's very difficult to compete against a local pool of talent, but that's only the case if you're competing on the same grounds.
Instead, somebody from Hong Kong like you can offer some fantastic opportunities to a company in Dublin who is interested in expanding into the region. You would understand the culture of Hong Kong, the language, the connectivity on offer through your university, and other positive attributes that you can "bring to the table".
In my experience, Hong Kong is a globalised city through and through. It is ambitious, high rise over a small area and it can be seen as both a stepping stone to China or China's stepping stone to the world. Hong Kong is an Eastern city with a Westernised feel: to see and understand this, a company doing business primarily in Dublin and Ireland would need to spend a significant amount of time in Hong Kong.
Your knowledge would be very valuable to such a company.
I suggest that you take some time to understand the reasons that Irish businesses are looking towards cities within the Asian region: these reasons might include Brexit, greater economic opportunity, improved air connectivity, etc. I've shared our perspective on these thoughts on our Positive Economist blog.
Next, observe what makes Hong Kong different, so that you can articulate it to potential employers when you come here to Dublin; craft your job application around these points of difference you have.
The other thing you can do is work for an Irish company locally, in Hong Kong.
They might offer travel opportunities or have the potential to transfer you to another region. For example, the First Derivatives graduate programme could be just the right "landing pad".
Finally, practise your interview skills as often as you can.
Mock interviews are very useful and many recruitment companies or the careers department offer those. However, ensure you take informal opportunities as well. As you're speaking to your lecturers, or your parents' friends who ask you what you would like to do after university, take the opportunity to present yourself by highlighting the positives outlined above. I've written about this on the Savvy Teens blog before. Savvy Teen Academy is our Careers, Communication and Confidence blog for young people.
Every good wish Andy and I hope that it all works out very well indeed for you!