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. 
  • At each career fair, the Career Center will have materials available for international students to learn which employers are open to CPT/OPT or sponsorship. Please visit the student check-in tables or the UNT-International table to find the materials, which will be either paper or virtual.Students can also view the employer information ahead of time by following this Handshake guide: https://support.joinhandshake.com/hc/en-us/articles/219133267-View-Employers-Attending-an-Upcoming-Career-Fair  

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.