International students face many challenges while performing a job search in the United States. Success depends upon your willingness to adapt to a new business culture and to identify and utilize strengths as well as to recognize and improve weaknesses.
Review the International Student Job Search pamphlet and see below for tips to assist with this process.
The complex international job search can never be started too early. Consider how your program/major influence your marketability. To make the search more manageable, you will need to continue to practice your English writing and speaking skills daily while also familiarizing yourself with U.S. business culture and etiquette, businesses and industries that hire international students, and visa policy. The sooner it begins the more prepared and confident you will become.
Look at industries and occupations that are more likely to hire or are in need of international skills and expertise and understand that international students are great assets to global organizations desiring language skills, diversity and knowledge of overseas operations and economies.
Recognize the Cultural Differences
Cultural differences can pose a major obstacle to a successful job search. It is important that students understand the differences between U.S. business culture and their native culture and adapt accordingly. “The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer is another excellent resource to learn about cultural differences.
Develop Industry and Company Awareness
The ability to speak intelligently about a potential employer’s company and industry makes all the difference. This is true during the entire job search process. An excellent resource for conducting industry research is the website First Research. Company websites, company financials, Hoover’s, Vault are all excellent specific company research tools. With UniWorld, you can obtain contact information for companies and their subsidiaries operating in another country. First Research, Hoover’s, Vault and UniWorld are found on CSPD’s Blackboard organization site. In addition, CSPD offers workshops on how to use these tools (check the CSPD website calendar for upcoming workshops). Joining a student professional organization (SPO) is also a great way to enhance your industry knowledge and meet and connect with potential employers.
Gain Industry Experience
After developing an awareness of the industry and company in which you would like to work, it is important to obtain experience. By gaining experience, you’ll develop further insight into your career path and add valuable skills to help with your marketability.
Some ways to gain experience before graduation include securing an internship, volunteering, and working an on-campus job.
Understand the Job Description
Most employers provide job descriptions for open positions that can be obtained prior to communications with employers. It is imperative that you explain to employers how your skills, qualifications, and experiences meet the requirements in the specific job descriptions for the position for which you are applying rather than simply rehash the duties from your resume description.
Know When to Bring up the “Visa Topic”
Unless asked by a potential employer, visa and sponsorship topics should never be discussed during early contact with potential employers such as during networking events, career fairs, and corporate visits. While this topic is important, it is initially more important to highlight your skills and qualifications and to communicate to employers your ability to contribute to their organizations. However, it is also important not to wait too long to discuss your immigration status, as you do not want to appear dishonest to employers. Email the CSPD office to schedule a meeting with the appropriate staff member to develop a strategy on when to disclose your need for sponsorship.
Tap the Hidden Job Market
According to Power Ties: The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States by Daniel Beaudry, 80% of open U.S. job opportunities are not advertised, but filled through referrals. This means published jobs draw hundreds if not thousands of applicants, decreasing the odds of employer interest. Thus, students should apply through FoxNet and network with family, friends, classmates, faculty, and alumni to identify potential opportunities.
Communicating effectively is key, thus both verbal and written English skills matter. For writing skills, CSPD provides resources to assist with creating job correspondence documents including resumes, cover letters, and thank you notes. Also, CSPD offers weekly walk-in hours for undergraduates and meetings by appointment where specific written communications can be reviewed. In addition, the Temple University Writing Center is an excellent resource for written communications. For verbal skills, CSPD offers “non-native speaking” workshops and mock interviews. In addition, the Fox School of Business Support Coordinator for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations is available by appointment to practice verbal exercises with students. Students could also join Temple University Business English Lingua Franca (BELF) and attend meetings to improve their command of business English.
Immigration and Work Eligibility
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) provides specific information on visas and work authorization.
International Students and Scholar Services (ISSS) – Temple University provides immigration assistance and counseling to international graduate students at Temple University
- Make an appointment with ISSS – office hours and contact information
- Employment options for F-1 students
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
H1-B Company Databases
Job Search and Professional Development Resources
My Visa Jobs – A list of H1B Visa and Green Card sponsors. Contains several million records of visa petition, job posting, company profiles and salary etc. Also provides free customized services based on user’s background and preferences.
InternationalStudent.com – News, information and resources for international students
UniWorld – provides directories of American firms operating abroad, and international firms operating in the U.S.
Job Search Checklist
International Student Job Search Checklist
It should be noted that each student will have his or her own unique experience. This timeline provides information for the student to work towards or complete during his or her graduate program.