In addition to general job and internship search, international students should consider a few additional strategies. Locate U.S. companies doing business in your home country, international corporations or those with an international focus, and organizations that hire international students.

Job search tips

  • The key to getting positions at your most-desired companies is to sell your skills and experience first; you need to show them what you can give them before trying to get something from them (aka visa sponsorship). If they can see your talents first, or find you to be a good fit for their company culture, then they will probably be more willing to discuss sponsorship with you in the future.
  • While it is better to leave the sponsorship question out of your initial encounter, you also don’t want to waste your time trying to sell yourself to a company that has a strict policy or aversion to visa sponsorship. If the company’s representative shows a marked interest after you introduce yourself, then that would be your time to ask. 
  • Inquire about work authorization for past international employees – how was it handled? Are there future opportunities for sponsorship?
  • As always, use tact and professionalism to get information. Desperation is one of the last things an employer wants to see.

Networking

Whether you are entering the professional world or continuing with your studies, networking is a helpful tool that is surprisingly simple. You can network literally anywhere – at school, at a barbecue, even in the elevator. Networking is based on making meaningful connections that are mutually beneficial, which can be achieved through clearly communicating some combination of your interests, skills, goals and experiences. In the U.S. it is very common to contact someone who is currently working in your area of interest and speak with them to ask for advice. This directness in communication is valued in the U.S.

Resumes and cover letters

The resume and cover letter are the most basic components of every application you submit. For graduate applications and other specialized fields, you may also want to read about a similar document, the curriculum vitae (CV). For helpful tips on writing a resume/CV for various countries, check out the country guides on GoinGlobal.

Interviewing

After you have submitted your resume, cover letter and any other application materials, an employer who finds you favorable will contact you for an interview. Interviews can be nerve-wracking and can be more difficult if you are conducting them in a non-native language. Career counselors are available to assist you with preparing for interviews and practicing with a videotaped mock interview. For helpful tips on interviewing skills for various countries, check out the country guides on GoinGlobal.

Getting authorized

Remember that if you are currently on a student visa, you have options to obtain work permission depending on your visa status.  If your work permission is set to expire, you will need direct sponsorship from the company, which in most cases would be the H1B. Not all employers know about it, but they are responsible for filing the H1B sponsorship when your CPT/OPT/Academic Training expires.

Make sure that when the topic arises, you’ll want to demonstrate some knowledge about work visas and/or work permission (CPT, OPT or Academic Training). If the employer gets the impression that it’s too complicated, they may be less willing to sponsor or hire.

When you have a job offer, as with anything, get your work authorization paperwork done as early as possible. If you are using CPT/OPT/Academic Training, advisors in ISSS will help you complete the paperwork. You’ll want to know how long that authorization will take so that you can negotiate an appropriate start date. You don’t want to make an employer wait for the authorization to be complete.