10 steps towards success
Every international student in the US hopes that their successful graduation from university will lead to a successful career and maybe even the first step towards The American Dream. We aspire to find a good job in a great company, climbing up the corporate ladder fast or to launch a whole new profitable business and become a hot shot billionaire like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs.
Well, it takes more than a graduation certificate and luck to succeed in life. Here are 10 very important factors that every international student should consider if they want to succeed in developing their personal growth and career.
Adapt to the culture – If you want to succeed in your American education and future career, it’s important to adjust to the US culture. Learn to feel comfortable with and to embrace US cultural norms and be prepared to respond appropriately. And don’t forget to socialize! As Aristotle once said:
‘Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.’
Have a finance plan – Money makes the world go round! Unfortunately, that’s the truth and we can’t do anything about it! Having a robust financial plan in place, along with some financial support for when you really need it, are both extremely important foundations from which to build your future success. Let’s face it, you don’t want to be bankrupt before you even have your certificate in your hands. Make daily, weekly, monthly and annual financial plans and be wise! Look for an internship or a job during the summer if you are staying in the States. Don’t forget to file your tax return and to find out whether you are due a tax refund. Sprintax is pretty good at helping with the last two.
Network – We live in the age of social media and it would be a crime not to take advantage of it. Social media makes the world more open and connected and helps you stay in touch with family, friends, colleagues and professionals in your field. The best avenues for personal and professional networking online are Facebook and LinkedIn – both offer the chance to get to know a lot of important people. LinkedIn, used by many companies as a powerful tool for recruiting and headhunting, allows you to establish an online business profile that makes you stand out from the crowd – just be sure your profile is well-developed and regularly updated.
Don’t confine yourself to online networks. Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting for making an impression. Sports clubs, corporate events and conferences all offer you the chance for good old-fashioned networking of the hand-shake type. So combine both offline and online personal and professional networking in order to be successful.
Plan your Career – Focus on what you want to get from your career and plan for it. Set goals and patiently execute them one-by-one. Short and long-term professional development aims are important for keeping your skills and knowledge up-to-date. No-one knows what the future may hold, so it’s important to keep in mind both optimistic and pessimistic scenarios on where your future could lead you. Being prepared for all eventualities makes you flexible and more resilient to challenges, allowing you to re-position yourself in an ever-changing, competitive labour market.
Mentor support and personal guidance – Being young and motivated gives you a competitive edge but also exposes you to a greater risk of making mistakes and bad decisions due to lack of experience. Absolutely normal! Even the greatest gurus have had to start from somewhere! Find yourself an experienced mentor to whom you can always turn to for astute advice that will help your career decisions. This could be a professor of yours, a supportive parent or a family friend who possesses a great deal of life and professional experience.
These are the first five factors that will boost your personal and professional success as an international student in the US. Stay tuned for the other five which are coming up in the next article on our blog.
Meanwhile, you are always welcome to share your thoughts on the topic in the comments below.
Hey I'm Stacy!
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