Welcome to the International Students Community!
Securing a job after college can be difficult, and it is often more challenging for International students and graduates. However, there are a few steps you can take that will help to make you more marketable to employers and help you secure a great job and career. To begin, watch this video, “Job Search Support for International Students,” to learn abut job search strategies and opportunities for International students.
Top Career Prep Tips for International Students
- Meet with Your Career Coach to Develop Your Career Plan
- Understand How to Legally Work in the U.S. (CPT, OPT and Sponsorship)
- Find International Friendly Employers
- Make and Utilize Connections
- Learn How to Talk to Employers
Finding a job in the US may be very different than it is in your country of origin. Schedule an appointment with your Career Coach to discuss topics including:
- Your career options
- Creating U.S. style resumes, CVs’ and cover letters
- Your Internship and/or Job Search
- 9 Job Search Tips for International Students in the Age of Coronavirus
Understand How to Legally Work in the U.S. (CPT, OPT and Sponsorship)
It is difficult to get a job or internship through strong grades alone. U.S. employers value students with extracurricular activities, related hands-on experience and leadership experience.
It is essential for international students to understand when and how they can start working off campus. Students need to be able to articulate the basics of their student visa work authorization options and their employment visa options to employers if asked, as not all U.S. employers are experienced in hiring international candidates.
If you have detailed questions on student visa work authorization options, please consult with your UNT International Advisor to ensure that you understand the benefits of and requirements for each work authorization.
F-1 students can work on-campus as soon as they arrive and throughout the duration of their studies. Students may not work over 20 hours per week when school is in session; however, employment hours may increase over academic breaks.
- Part-Time On-Campus Employment – Opportunities can be found in Handshake
- On Campus Academic Research
- Job Shadowing/Informational Interviews
Off Campus Options for F-1 International Students
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT) should be used for off-campus internships during your academic program. Click the above link for further details from UNT International.
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) is used for one to three years of post-graduation employment.
- Access the UNT International Presentation to learn more about benefits and requirements of OPT.
Find International Friendly Employers
Once you’ve identified your career interest and familiarized yourself with employment authorization regulations, it is time to develop your career goals. That includes being aware of the field, which you can accomplish by conducting research to identify which employers in your academic area or discipline are most interested in hiring international students.
There are many resources available to help you find international talent-friendly employers, including:
- Myvisajobs.com’s H-1B Visa Reports. You can identify top H-1B visa sponsors by industry, occupation or job title. Use their database to learn if the company has petitioned for an H-1B. If a company is in this database, they are open to sponsoring international students for H-1B. Remember, even if a company offers H-1B sponsorship they may not hire international students for all positions.
- GoinGlobal includes more than 80,000 pages of constantly-updated content on topics such as:
- Work permits/visa regulations, including H1-B information by city/metro area
- Cultural/interviewing advice
- Résumé/CV writing guidelines and examples
- Employment trends
- Salary ranges
- Networking groups
- How to Access GoinGlobal:
- Our paid subscription requires you to initially access this site on-campus and create a free account. Once you’ve created an account, you will be able to access it from anywhere.
- LinkedIn Alumni Finder. You can search alumni groups and online communities to identify which employers hired international alumni from UNT.
Using the resources listed above, it is recommended that you identify at least 10 international talent-friendly employers in your fields of interest. Once a list of your target employers is ready, gather information about each one to determine whether it is a good match with your distinct skill set, values and career goals. While your job search does not need to be confined only to those employers who have previously hired international candidates, it can help to know in advance if an employer has gone through the process before.
Make and Utilize Connections
Networking is an EXTREMELY important part of earning a job after graduation. It’s even more important for international students in order to find an employer to sponsor your working visa so you can stay in the U.S. once your OPT expires, if that is your goal. Even if a company “doesn’t hire international applicants,” exceptions are made for great candidates. You can increase your chances of getting an interview if you meet with and impress employees within organizations you’re interested in.
- Speak with Your Faculty: Your professors have years of experience in your field of study, have often times worked in the field and are connected to employers around DFW and the country, and the globe. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions and get advice.
- Talk to Employers at Career Events: Even if you don’t know anyone in your field, the Career Center hosts hundreds of employer events a year that are designed to connect you to professionals in a variety of fields. Check Handshake for events coming up.
- Join a UNT Student Group. Many student groups bring in area professionals, connect you to jobs/internships and can send you to professional conferences/ job fairs. You will also meet other students with similar interests who may be able to connect you to opportunities.
- Volunteer or Intern: This is one of the best ways to meet professionals in the field of your interest. Learn more about the industry while demonstrating your skills and value to the organization. Many volunteers and interns get hired on after graduation. A few organizations seeking volunteers are: Translators Without Borders, American Red Cross, and United Nations Volunteers.
- Connect with Alumni: Utilize the LinkedIn Alumni Finder, the Alumni Association and People Grove to search for Alumni working in your field of interest. Many Alumni are open to providing career advice, informational interviews or professional introductions.
Learn How to Talk to Employers
When and How to Talk About Your Status to Employers
- As a result of living in at least two different countries, most likely you offer the following traits: willingness to learn, adaptability, ingenuity, problem solving skills, language and cultural knowledge. Be sure to highlight the ways in which you’ve used these strengths.
- Become confident in talking about how you’ve utilized these and other positive qualities. During college, continue to develop these and other marketable skills.
- Don’t begin interviews or employer conversations by speaking about your international status. Highlight your job-related experience and skills first and show them why you’re qualified for the position.
When in the hiring process should I reveal that I’m an international student?
This is a sensitive question which needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. While some employers adhere to strict policies against hiring foreign nationals, many others might have initial reservations but can be otherwise convinced. Increasingly, employers of all sizes and in all fields are recognizing the value and benefits of hiring a multinational workforce and do not consider visa sponsorship an issue in hiring you. It should be your goal to get past the initial screening measures to the interview. On the other hand, you should probably broach the subject before the employer has spent a significant amount of time and money trying to recruit you. It is usually recommended that students address the issue of their work status during the first or second interview, but no later than the time of the job offer.
How do I answer when I am asked by an employer about my work authorization? (F-1 student)
Start by explaining that you have the legal right to work in the U.S. for twelve months (after your practical training is authorized, of course, or you at least have a confirmation with receipt number), which requires absolutely no work on their part. *Note, for STEM fields, the OPT period may be extended up to three years. Then share that your work authorization can be renewed for another three to six more years with an H-1B work visa.
If a company says they don’t hire international students, should I even apply?
A lot of times when employers say they don’t hire international students it means that they haven’t hired any international students yet. In order to convince these prospective employers, it is your responsibility to educate them about the basic process of hiring a foreign national and reassure them that you will remain actively involved in overseeing as many details as you can to make it as easy for them as possible. Be mindful that they still may not hire you, and this can be frustrating. For this reason, it is often recommended that you first target organizations with a history of hiring employees on a work visa using the resources given in Section 3 above.
Above all, remain confident in your skills and talents and know that there are many employers who value what you can bring to their organization. Just as is the case for any job seeker, what is most important is that you be able to communicate your unique experience and attributes in a way that aligns with what the employer has stated they are seeking. Schedule an appointment with your UNT career coach to have your resume and cover letters reviewed and practice interviewing throughout your career search process.