International Alumni's perspective...


My Perspective: “An International Alumni's perspective on International Student Career Day”

Contributor: Ernest Sama 

[My Perspective is a series of blog entries and interviews meant to depict different individuals’ perspectives of their JMU experiences.]

My name is Ernest, some people know me as Erunesu Sama. Today I am going to tell you how hanging out with the International folks at JMU can make you become a Sensei or Master (GONG!).

I was lucky enough to be invited to participate as a panelist to the Alumni Panel (Oh yes, I am an Alumni) of the International Student Career Day event organized and hosted by JMU last January. The whole purpose of the event is to help students acquire all the tricks of the trade needed to get a job in the US, this is very crucial for us internationals. The other panelists included my pal Sufi Nawaz and a delightful lady Satoko Odagawa.

If you were not able to attend, well you missed out! We laughed, A LOT, but most importantly, there was learning about the job ordeal. The panel was quite informal, questions would come from attendees and we would try to answer them ad-hoc, the best way we could. Some of the advices given are summarized as follows (There were many more stuff than this, more personal stories were told, but these are the ones I remember):

  • It is never too early to start looking: Internships, that is all. You will need it when it’s time to find an actual job. Also make yourself known to recruiters!
  • Connections, connections, connections: There are jobs available out there, companies advertise less on sites these days but find candidates at career events in schools and from recommendations from inside their firm. So meet people, let them know where you stand! Luckily the event included a networking dinner with Rotarians (in executive positions) to start people up.
  • Use the resources offered by the School: For JMU, Recruit a Duke is a MUST. Register to the site; provide the most awesome resume you can come up with and attend the career fairs, always (That’s how I got my job!). Also, the people at the International office are always there for you, for immigration issues and advice. Use them when you need to!
  • Do not be Afraid of Rejection: Trial and error, that’s how you learn. Have as many interviews as you can (Recruit a Duke has an excellent Mock interview program, check it out), you will need practice and only practice makes perfect right?

The best thing from my perspective about this event is that as a student, I attended it twice and learned a lot. I was excited and proud to have the opportunity of paying it forward!

Also, going back to the ‘burg, seeing old and new friends, oh and free food! Nothing beats that, a weekend well spent. I miss JMU!

Published: Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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