Increasingly, University of Virginia alumni are choosing to work abroad, but finding the right position is not necessarily easy. To aid their search, U.Va.’s Global Student Council has launched a network of students, employers, alumni, parents and friends who share a common interest: working internationally.
Council member Rafat Khan, a second-year student from Dhaka, Bangladesh who is entering the McIntire School of Commerce next year, said the new network fits perfectly with the council’s mission to make U.Va. a more global and integrated community. “We have increasingly seen how willing alumni and parents are to help current students with their career goals, and we are looking to utilize our powerful alumni network to open up possibilities for U.Va. students to seek internships and careers in different regions of the world,” he said.
The new network also meshes well with an initiative U.Va. President Teresa Sullivan noted in her all-University Address Thursday. Sullivan said she wants “to position U.Va. as a leading institution in ‘total’ advising – not just academic advising, but also career advising and life coachingthat reflects U.Va’s commitment to honor and ethics.
“We decided that the best platform for this network would be LinkedIn, because it is the world’s largest professional network with 200 million-plus members in more than 200 countries and territories,” Khan said.
The Global Career Community is a subgroup within the U.Va. Career Networking Community group on LinkedIn. Khan said it is primarily a networking community so anyone with an interest in international careers is encouraged to join.
Members should be willing to serve as a resource and allow students and alumni to contact them with questions. Members are also encouraged to start discussions and to post information regarding international careers on the site.
Khan said one of the best features of this platform is the group search functionality. “For example, if you’re interested in learning about career opportunities in London, you can just search for the keyword ‘London’ and anyone who mentioned London in their profile will show up in the results. You can then proceed to read their profiles and contact them via LinkedIn or email as needed,” he said.
In addition to job searching assistance, Khan said the new network will be valuable to international students who are looking for mentors with experience in the process of applying for work visas.
More than 300 people have joined the group since it was created at the end of March.
“With the help of the Alumni Association, University Career Services, the International Studies Office and the individual career service departments of each school within the University, this project is bound to be a huge success,” Khan said.