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International Students

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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:


Understand Immigration Regulations and Requirements

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, 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.

  • Take a class in the English Language Program at the Yale Center for Language Study
  • Join an English conversation group run by OISS
  • Practice informal conversation and learn about American culture from your peers by joining one of the many student orgnaizations on campus.
  • Attend a free Bridges Saturday English as a Second Language (ESL) class
  • Consider an English class for non-native speakers at the New Haven Adult Education Center or Gateway Community College

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.

  • Watch Dreambridge videos to learn more about cultural differences
  • Attend OISS' monthly series on "Understanding America"
  • Take advantage Office of Career Strategy workshops on networking and interviewing
  • Take part in a workshop on business etiquette and manners sponsored by Graduate Student Affairs
  • Socialize and work with your peers by joining one of the many student organizations or volunteer opportunities on campus and in New Haven

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:

  • Photograph
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Gender
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Immigration status
  • Religion
  • International permanent address
  • Englislh as a language skill
  • TOEFL scores.

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.

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 targeting your search to companies or organizations that have sponsored H-1 visas in the past. Research potential employers using the resources here.