Job Hunting Pitfalls for Returning Overseas Students

Have you ever encountered the challenges faced by returning overseas students when seeking employment in their home country? Nowadays, many international students return to their home country for career development every year. While international students still hold certain advantages compared to domestic graduates, many may encounter obstacles during their job search.

I missed the ideal timing for domestic graduate recruitment and found myself unemployed upon returning to my home country. Missing the autumn recruitment of major enterprises, I scoured major job search websites in search of a satisfactory offer but eventually settled for a position at a small to medium-sized domestic enterprise. With a monthly salary of less than US$900, it felt like it would take a decade or more of frugal living just to cover the cost of a year's tuition in the United States. The ranks of overseas students are growing, and prominent domestic companies no longer view them through rose-colored glasses. To smoothly enter your home country’s job market after graduation, it's crucial to understand the job hunting landscape in your home country and begin preparing as soon as possible.

Are You Still a Fresh Graduate?

Asian lady graduated in a international school

Many returning overseas students have this question when they return to their home country to seek employment. Since graduation timelines differ between domestic and international students, some dream job offers and company campus recruitments require fresh graduate status. 

In reality, even if you graduated in 2022 and return to your home country in late 2023, you can still participate in the 2023 graduate recruitment season! The concept of "fresh graduates" applies mainly to domestic graduates. 

The key documents to prove this status are the "report card" or "graduating certificate" issued by the school's employment office or the local talent management center. From the company's perspective, these documents confirms your fresh graduate status. If you studied abroad and returned to China, you can obtain employment registration and settlement procedures at the Ministry of Education's Study Abroad Service Center. This way, in terms of documents and relevant regulations, companies will view you as equivalent to domestic graduates who graduated in the same year.

Note that a small number of companies may impose restrictions on the graduation date. For example, the 2023 class must have graduated no earlier than June 2022, or they will be considered fresh graduates from the previous year. In such cases, international students should pay extra attention when applying online. However, in most cases, this issue won't hinder your job search.

Large Scale Recruitment

Graduate recruitment for fresh graduates who returned from overseas generally occurs twice a year, with each period further divided into stages and featuring different types of employers. The autumn recruitment typically starts at the end of September every year and ramps up in mid to late October, lasting until mid to late November. During this period, you'll find a high number of quality employers, often referred to as "Golden September and Silver October." 

Most financial firms, consulting companies, and internet companies complete their hiring during this season. On the other hand, spring recruitment takes place from the end of February to mid-April of the following year, following the Spring Festival. The quality and quantity of recruiting organizations decrease during this period, primarily consisting of small to medium-sized state-owned and private enterprises. Some foreign companies might also have job openings due to employee resignations and second-round recruitment.

Ideal Time to Begin Your Job Search

Most international students can start preparing for their job search 1-6 months before returning home, or roughly half a year prior to their return. This allows you to participate in domestic graduate recruitment season activities and interviews, as the domestic graduate recruitment cycle is generally longer. Even if you don't secure a job during this period, you'll gain valuable job search experience and insights into the domestic employment market. Generally, the "first half year after returning to your home country" is the golden period for returning overseas students to find employment.

Why Should You Join Large Companies

Metropolitan Area in Ho Chi Minh

First, it provides you with a platform and a basic understanding of the industry. Regardless of your role, you gain experience within the company, allowing you to comprehend the company's general operations and atmosphere. If you're proactive, you can even learn about various positions and their career prospects. This knowledge helps you determine your job search direction and career plan. Many things can't be rushed; if you have career ambitions and dreams, treat them with dedication.

Second, it offers you a formal job opportunity: performing well during your internship greatly increases your chances of being hired full-time, far more than simply submitting your resume online. Some companies might even skip one or two interview rounds if you have internship experience, providing a significant advantage. You can never have too many offers, so why not secure a guaranteed full-time job?

Third, it enhances your resume and professional network: while many people understand the benefits of interning at large companies, they believe it's difficult to secure such opportunities in smaller firms. This is not accurate; it's not that you can't find internships, but rather that you haven't genuinely put in the effort to search for them. Some returnees or recent graduates prioritize stability and family happiness, so they're not the main focus of this article. If you want a promising career and broader horizons, no matter how tedious it may seem, you must prepare the necessary materials for these jobs.

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, the journey of returning overseas students seeking employment in their home country is fraught with unique challenges and opportunities. Understanding the dynamics of your home country’s job market, as well as the timing and strategies for job hunting, is essential for a successful transition. 

While the experience of navigating these challenges can be demanding, securing positions in large companies not only provides a solid platform for career development but also opens doors to a world of opportunities. Embracing this adventure, preparing diligently, and adapting to the evolving landscape will enable returning overseas students to not only overcome the initial "pitfalls" but also thrive in the competitive and dynamic job market. By seizing the golden period for job hunting and making the most of their experiences, they can build a promising future and embark on a fulfilling professional journey.