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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 the video below, “Job Search Support for International Students,” to learn abut job search strategies and opportunities for International students.
Top Career Prep Tips for International Students
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:
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. J-1 students must have work authorization from ISSS before they can begin on-campus employment. If you are in J-1 status, make sure you contact firstname.lastname@example.org before beginning your on-campus position.
Students may not work over 20 hours per week when school is in session; however, employment hours may increase over academic breaks.
Off Campus Options for F-1 International Students
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:
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.
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.
Review our top networking resources and tips for international students.
When and How to Talk About Your Status to Employers
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.