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For International Students

The Importance of Planning Ahead

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 to maximize your chances of success!


Understand immigrations regulations and requirements affecting your employment status

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.  

Improve your written and spoken English

In employer surveys, communication 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.  The English Language Program at the Yale Center for Language Study, the Office for International Students and Scholars, and the Center for Teaching and Learning work together to provide a wide range of services and support for students and postdocs looking to improve their written and spoken English. Get started by checking out these resources:

Learn about cultural differences

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:

  • Direct eye contact, even with a very senior person
  • Confident demeanor that is polite but not overly deferential
  • The ability to speak about your skills, background and abilities in a self-assured (but not boastful) way
  • Taking the initiative in conversations and interviews to ask questions or provide information before being asked to do so

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.

Focus your job search

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 establishing a broad network of connections in your industries. Networking with people who can make hiring decisions is especially important for international job-seekers. Use the following resources:

  • Learn more about how to become an effective networker here.
  • Network with Yale World Fellows to learn more about companies, industries and work environments all around the world.
  • Use GoinGlobal or to research companies or organizations that have sponsored H-1 visas in the past, look at job postings abroad, review resume formats in different countries, and more.

Resources for a job search outside of the U.S.

Interested in exploring opportunities abroad?  Get started with these resources that can help you research organizations and view job postings.

FAQ:  Online Resources for Job Searches Outside of the U.S.


Quick Links

International GSAS & Postdoc Alumni Spotlight: Jessie (Jiayi) Li, Data Scientist, Facebook

What is your current profession/job? What did you study at Yale? When did you graduate?

I'm currently a Data Scientist at Facebook. I studied Statistics at Yale and graduated in 2014 with a Master's degree in Statistics.

What do you like most about your current role? What do you find most challenging and/ or rewarding?

I'm constantly improving the current product and coming up with new ideas that will be used by billions of people. I hope my language skills could be better, not in professional scenarios per se, but in all kinds of small talk, which would make it easier for me to build connections with co-workers and understand them better.

How did your time at Yale shape your career trajectory?

There are theoretical classes that built my statistical foundation, whereas project-based classes gave me a lot of great hands-on experience. I also participated in the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars (ACSSY), took a Japanese class with freshmen, and joined different clubs where I met a lot of great people who constantly brought me great ideas.

Did you acquire any professional experience related to your line of work while in graduate school (either through part-time work, volunteering, networking, or other forms of training)?

Not really, except for one project-based class I took. To be fair, my academic program is very short (9 months), so there's not really any summer/winter break for me to do part-time work or take on internships.

What advice would you offer international students who are interested in your line of work?

If you're interested in hard-core machine learning, I'm probably not the right person to offer insight.  But if you're interested in working closely with cross-functional teams (product managers, engineers, marketing), using your statistical knowledge to find patterns in data, and translating that to actionable insights that make the product better, don't limit yourself to the classical statistics books. Get more hands-on experience with data by participating in Kaggle, find data to prove your hypothesis on things that interest you in daily life, read statistical blogs, growth hacker blogs, product blogs, and public research reports by tech companies.

In this new series, GSAS international alums describe their path to a fulfilling non-faculty career and how their Yale time has contributed to their success. Meet Jessie Li, MA 2014 (Statistics) who is a Data Scientist at Facebook.

This GSAS Alumni Spotlight is part of an ongoing series featuring alumni who have chosen non-faculty careers.

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Monday, January 1, 2018
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