International Students As an international student, you can obtain a co-op/internship (CPT, or Curricular Practical Training) or full-time employment in your field of study post completion of your degree (OPT, or Optional Practical training). More than 80% of U.S. employers seek students with global competence. The fact that you studied abroad positively expands your career possibilities. Have confidence knowing that you have the exact 21st century job skills employers desire, including curiosity, flexibility and adaptability, confidence, self awareness, interpersonal, communication, problem-solving and foreign language skills, tolerance for ambiguity, and of course, major-related knowledge and application – the polytechnic advantage. Believe it or not,more than 25% of $1 billion dollar U.S. startups were founded by international students! The greatest challenge you will face in obtaining a job pertains to misunderstandings regarding your legal authorization to work in the U.S., primarily as it pertains to sponsorship. Here are some tips to make your job searching as an international student a bit easier and more efficient: Familiarize Yourself with Non-Immigrant Work Options & Request Assistance From OIE When Needed. • Attend one of the many Office of International Education (OIE) sessions on F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), or J-1 Academic Training. Understanding your work authorization, including which opportunities you can pursue, how to apply, and for long it will last. • Do not get caught up in lengthy conversations with employers on this topic. • Focus on yourself and how you would be an asset. If there are questions raised during the interview process, offer to connect the potential employer to professional staff at the OIE. • Refrain from mentioning status in a resume or cover letter unless you are asked to specify. • If you are on Curricular Practical Training (CPT), explain to the employer you will be earning credit at UW-Stout while gaining up to 12 months of work experience. • If you are on Optional Practical Training (OPT), let the employer know that you can work in the U.S. for the duration of your OPT, typically between 12 and 36 months. After that time, you would need to change your visa type which involves additional processing. Network It is necessary to make connections early on in your academic career. Most students believe that networking consists of going to events and trying to start conversations with strangers that might lead to future opportunities. However, networking is much more involved and is a process: • Attend career events • Work with your classmates, community members, etc. • Join a club, sports team, or student organization
Allow connections to become more natural by having conversations with the people around you. It is important to develop friendships while networking rather than just making acquaintances. You will be surprised to find how often you can expand your network and receive references from people who can recommend you to someone they know who works in your industry. Use University Resources You are fortunate to have a campus dedicated to helping students obtain career success. Career Services can help you to refine your resumes and cover letters. When searching for positions, utilize the job searching filter options in Handshake. GoinGlobal is another resource that contains a full H1-B directory. Contact Career Services for job search assistance. Be Patient Many international students are go-getters who are willing to work hard. Apply your ambition and persistence during your job search. Do not get caught up on what you cannot control. You can control your efforts by devoting enough time to prepare for the interview and getting to know the role and company you are interviewing for, but you cannot control the competition, so don’t be too hard on yourself if they hire someone else. At the end of the day, stay as patient as you are prepared. Do Not Forget Where You Are From Internationalization is making the world more global and connected. Firms and employers are increasingly searching for candidates with an international background. Do not be afraid to speak candidly about yourself, your interests, and your culture. Share how your unique background and global perspective will add to your skill set so they know you will bring a fresh perspective.
For additional assistance contact the Office of International Education (OIE) at 715.232.2132 or https://www.uwstout.edu/academics/office international-education. Adapted with permission: Nguyen, Phu. “Helpful Job Tips for International Students Seeking Work.” The International Student Blog, International Student, 24 May 2019, blog.internationalstudent.com/2019/05/24/helpful-job-tips-forinternational students-seeking-work/.
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