Job-hunting for international students can be difficult, as employers may well be unaware about cultural differences and visa requirements. It is your job to provide this information to employers. The U.S. job market is probably vastly different from that of your home country, and you should do all you can to learn about it.
Difficulties International Students Face
Job hunting is always hard, but for international students, the process is even more difficult and frustrating. Oftentimes, employers are hesitant to hire international students. This can be for a number of reasons. The most common reasons include:
- Complexities and misunderstandings concerning visas
- Hiring international students can be costly and time-consuming
- Fear of new hires leaving after six months or a year
- Concern that the student might have poor English skills
Whether these perceptions are fair or not, the truth is that many employers will hire US students over international students. Don’t despair, though; there are companies in the US that hire students from abroad, and it is possible for you to find a great job in the US.
Job Hunting as an International Student
As an international student, job hunting will be a little more complicated for you than it might be for US students. Here are some tips to keep in mind through the process.
This is good advice for all job seekers, but it especially valid for international students. It is going to take you longer to find employment with a company that will sponsor employees who need work visas, so the sooner you start, the better!
Research Your Situation
You are going to need to know the rules and regulations of your specific situation. Make sure you know which visas you need, including the different possibilities, deadlines, and potential costs. The more familiar you are with these things, the more confident you will feel when applying for jobs.
Take Advantage of Your School’s Resources
Your school is sure to offer career services, and they are likely to have a good deal of experience helping international students to find jobs in the US following graduation. Take advantage of that experience, and set up a meeting with a career coach to discuss your specific situation and goals. You will also want to attend career fairs and talk to the recruiters, build relationships. And follow up with them for potential interviews.
Around 70% of jobs are found through solid connections. Take advantage of your school’s community; talk to alumni groups who have gone through the same process you are. Build up relationships with your professors and even parents of your American friends.
Stay Positive and Be Persistent
Job hunting can be exhausting and demoralizing. You might feel that you are working yourself to the bone, with no noticeable results. The important thing now is to not give up. A positive attitude and confidence in your abilities will show in everything that you do, and will make employers want to invest in you.
Golden Rules of Job Hunting
As with all job searches, there are a few golden rules you should always follow:
- Research the employer thoroughly, either via their website or calling their offices to get more information sent to you. Do searches on-line to see if you can find any articles or other information about the company. The more you research the company, the better chance you will have at an interview.
- Understand your personal qualities, such as your strengths and weaknesses. If you can make a list of these qualities, you will be able to draw on them in an interview.
- Wherever possible, mail your resume to the company unless it specifically asks for you to submit it via e-mail. This shows that you have put in more effort, and it allows you to be more professional and creative in terms of presentation.
- Always follow up with companies when you have sent in your resume for a job. After 1 or 2 weeks, call to make sure that they have received your resume.
- Before you go on an interview, always practice as much as possible. There are many good websites where you can practice mock questions.
- If no written job description is given, always ask for one, as well as a company prospectus or profile.
- At the interview, always wear a business suit, keep your general appearance neat and tidy, and remain confident with eye contact and strong, firm answers.