You want to start an international career? If you are participant of the Agora Rhein-Neckar in Mannheim, then you should visit the table of Careers International at the Agora fair on Wednesday afternoon. Former CD member Miroslava “Mirka” Ganzarcikova will be there and tell you how you can work abroad after your AEGEE time. The Golden Times asked Mirka what the Agora participants can expect.

EU study fair
Booth at an EU study fair

Golden Times: Mirka, at the Agora career fair you will be with a booth of Careers International. Why shouldn’t the Agora participants miss it?
Mirka Ganzarcikova: We will be there to help everyone who is looking for a job and would like to start an international career. We will provide all interested people with career coaching and we will also do an individual CV check – so don’t forget to bring a printed or virtual copy of your CV, so we can help you improve it!

Golden Times: What is Careers International?
Mirka: Careers International is a unique recruitment agency. We bring together the best graduates and young professionals with top companies at an international level. We organise different kinds of events – career summits in Brussels and Berlin with workshops and interviews, online events with presentations as well as interactive chats with managers and recruiters from specific companies. Online events are not purely for recruitment, as each presentation is not only promoting the company, but also addressing current issues within the industry – for example the latest development in the sector or biggest challenges that companies face right now. Apart from being a recruitment agency, we are also offering career coaching services to universities and our NGO partners, such as AEGEE. There we deliver workshops and presentations on international careers and train students on how to prepare themselves for a successful job search.

Workshop at JADE GA
Workshop at JADE’s general assembly

Golden Times: What will the CV Check be about?
Mirka: The ideal case would be if people brought a printed copy of their CV so we can give them advices on how to improve it. But even bringing a CV on a USB stick will be fine. Also people who don’t have a CV yet can stop by, as we can show them examples of high quality CVs and give them tips and tricks on how to prepare theirs.

Golden Times: Aren’t CVs different in each country?
Mirka: Indeed, recruiters in different countries have different expectations of what an “ideal CV” is. For example you can’t really use the same CV to apply for a job in Germany, in China and in the US. But at an international level it is a bit different. Many companies are currently hiring for graduate programmes or other full time positions that are not linked to any particular country. There are some specifications for creating a “universal international CV” that can be easily adapted to local standards when applying for a job in a specific country.

Golden Times: What are the typical mistakes that people make in their CVs?
Mirka: CVs should be clear, complete, concise and tailor-made. One of the most common mistakes is that people only prepare one general CV and they are sending it out to many different companies. Your general CV should be adapted to every single job you are applying for and it should match all the criteria. Another common mistake is when the CV is not well-structured, which makes it very difficult for recruiters to find relevant information. There should be a clear division between education, professional and voluntary experience, skills and other information.

Careers International team
Team of Careers International

Golden Times: You also offer career coaching. AEGEE members are usually very smart, but often don’t make big careers. What could they do better?
Mirka: In these days it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd – nearly everyone has a great educational background and a lot of internships, extracurricular activities, voluntary projects and speaks many languages. All AEGEE members can fill their CVs with great international experience and a variety of useful skills, but that’s not enough. Nowadays, people really must be able to sell themselves to companies – not only to get a job, but also to push their careers forward, get a promotion and face bigger challenges. Recruiters want to know what your potential is and who you really are beyond your education and work experience. They are not looking only for the candidates with the best skills and knowledge, but for candidates with drive, ambition, the will to learn and contribute to their business. And most of all, they are looking for someone who will match the criteria of the job and who will be a great fit into their company and its culture.

CD 2010-2011 formal
Mirka’s CD 2010-2011

Golden Times: What other basic advice do you have for international job search?
Mirka: It is important to have a proper educational and professional background and of course the more languages you speak the better. However, companies that are hiring internationally are more and more insisting that potential candidates should have a previous international experience. Whether it’s an Erasmus exchange, an internship abroad or at least work on an international project – all these experiences matter a lot because it shows to the recruiter that you are internationally minded and you already know how to work and live in such an environment. AEGEE members, as well as members of any other student NGO, are gaining huge advantage by getting international experience during their studies as it will be valuable for their future job search.

Golden Times: For the ones who don’t know you: where are you from, when were you in the CD and what did you do there?
Mirka: I’m originally from AEGEE-Bratislava and I started my AEGEE career in 2008. Firstly on local level as a board member and later as president of my antenna. Then on European level, when I was involved in the “YOUrope needs YOU!” Project – I was project manager of its second cycle “YOUrope needs YOU 2!” I was working in the CD in 2010/2011, where I was responsible for human resources within AEGEE, internal and external trainings and for cooperation with our partner NGOs.

CD 2010-2011 informal
Mirka’s CD 2010-2011

Golden Times: What are your strongest memories from your time in the CD?
Mirka (smiles): There are many memories, both good and bad; but now, almost two years later I can remember only the good things. My strongest memory is our team and how we always managed to stick together, be there for each other, handle our AEGEE tasks and enjoy our life in the house. Till today, we are a family and we’re trying to meet as often as possible and catch up with our busy lives. One of the other strong memories would be definitely our life with Thomas and Mirek in the “fridge” – the coldest room of the former CD house which was a little bit challenging, especially in the freezing winter months…

Golden Times: Since when do you work for Careers International and what do you do there?
Mirka: I’ve started to work for Careers International right after my life in the AEGEE house was over, in September 2011. I’m working as a project manager responsible for attraction, so I’m creating and implementing strategies on how and where to find the best candidates for the jobs of our clients. I’m also in charge of all our external partnerships with universities, student associations and media partners. Lately we have been attending a lot of career fairs and events at universities where we are training last years’ students and helping them prepare for a successful international career search.