International students desiring to work in the U.S. typically face an additional layer of complexity and difficulty. While international students are permitted to work in the US according to specific regulations, many employers are not willing to incur the time and expense of sponsoring an H-1 visa. In addition, as a foreign national you are not permitted to work for the U.S. federal government, most state and local governments, or for private contractors working for the U.S. government. If you would like to work in the U.S., it is essential that you plan ahead:
The Office of International Students & Scholars has the expertise to help you fully understand the immigrations regulations and work permissions that will affect your job search. Because regulations are constantly changing, make sure you check in with OISS frequently so that you are making decisions based on current information.
In employer surveys, communications skills is often reported as one of the top skills valued by employers. Unless you are bilingual in English, or come from an English-speaking country, enhancing your English skills will be a valuable investment in your job search in almost all fields.
In the course of your job search, you will be interacting directly with prospective U.S. employers in many ways: through written communications such as your cover letter, resume and emails; interviews; and more informal conversations over meals and at events such as job fairs. In the U.S., an employer will expect the following behaviors in a promising candidate:
These behaviors may require a directness and openness that may feel quite uncomfortable to you, and may seem disrespectful. You may feel that talking about yourself and your accomplishments feels like boasting. The more you can familiarize yourself with business culture in the U.S., the more natural these behaviors will seem.
In addition, the US-style resume and cover letter may be in a format that is unfamiliar to you. A US resume, for example, does NOT include:
Be sure to read our resume and cover letter guides, and attend Office of Career Strategy workshops or meet with an advisor to perfect your U.S.-sytle cover letter and resume.
As an international candidate, you will have the greatest success in positions where your particular skill set is in high demand or difficult to find, and by targeting your search to companies or organizations that have sponsored H-1 visas in the past. Research potential employers using the resources here.