- Contact career consultant Gallagher Breanna.
International students can often face many obstacles when seeking employment in the US. Below are some of the reasons US employers may choose not to or may be unable to hire international students:
- Complicated hiring process
The process of hiring an international student takes more time and involves more steps than that of a US citizen. This process includes filing paperwork with the federal government, paying additional fees, and complying with special labor laws.
- Communication skills
Employers often worry that international students will lack some of the verbal and written communication skills necessary to perform well in the workplace.
- Job commitment
Some employers fear that international students will quickly return to their home countries after only a short time on the job. They are reluctant to invest time, training, and money in employees who are not committed to their companies.
- They can’t
Many companies that are working on projects for the federal government are unable to hire internationals to work in those areas due to concerns of national security. Additionally, any company receiving funding from the federal government is not allowed to use that money to hire international students or have international students involved in projects or internships for which that funding may be used.
First, don’t get discouraged. While the process may seem too difficult, with the right tools and hard work, there is good reason for you to be hopeful about your job search. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
- Start early and network
Do not wait until your last semester to start looking for jobs. Go to OSU career fairs, apply for internships, and start preparing your professional documents (e.g. resume, cover letter) soon. Get to know you professors early and develop relationships with others who can function as professional references. The earlier you start, the better chance you will have at success.
- Do Research
Learn as much as you can about your visa status and the process of hiring students for OPT, CPT, or as a graduate with an H-1B visa. Be ready to answer questions an employer might ask about this process. The more information you can give them, the easier the process may seem.
- Target your job search
Do not just apply to hundreds of position at once. Instead, find those companies willing to hire international students and who are looking for employees with your skills and background. Tailoring your resume, cover letter, and other documents to fit what these companies are looking for will give you a greater chance at finding a job.
- “Sell yourself”
Learn how to talk about your strengths and abilities. Learn how to turn what some employers may view as disadvantages into advantages. For instance, if they worry about your language abilities, bring attention to the fact that you speak another language(s). In our global economy, this can be very valuable. Also, highlight things such as your intercultural skills and adaptability. Your willingness to travel to the US for education could easily translate into a willingness to travel for a future job. Be honest about your strengths and learn to communicate them to prospective employers.
- Practice language and interpersonal skills
The best way to prove to an employer that your language and interpersonal skills are adequate for the job is to practice often. Practice conversational and written English skills. Make friends with American students with whom you can practice and work diligently to improve your communication skills. Invest time in learning interview skills such as eye contact, greetings, and body language.
- Be upfront and honest
Honesty and integrity are essential to the job search. Represent yourself accurately in all of your communication with employers, whether in an email, a resume, or an interview. One simple way to do this is by including your visa status on your resume. See a Career Consultant for suggestions on how to do this professionally.
- Work hard
Even with these tips, the job search process will require a lot of hard work. Use your time wisely, and use the resources available to you, such as OSU Career Services!