Challenges to overcome

Work in the U.S. is not guaranteed, nor promised, to international students. In fact, when the economy is down, the challenge is much greater as the recruitment for international candidates is often cut. The table below examines some of the common challenges that international students may experience as well as a list of recommendations to improve your job search process.

Challenge Recommendation

Economic Conditions:
The U.S. unemployment rate in August 2013 had a slight change at 7.3%, down from the 8.1% a year ago.

Be the candidate who can fill their need and be ready to be hired when they need you.
Have your EAD card on time, know yourself and what you have to offer.

"Pro‐American Culture":
Some employers like to hire people who are like themselves.

Become a Buffalo Bill Fan... or a Chicago Cubs fan, or get a US-focused hobby... whatever. But show that you have become ingrained in U.S. focused culture and see yourself here for the long term. If you can express that in a cover letter or interview, you may put the recruiter at ease.

Lack of Commitment to the Job:
Employers fear that international students may return to their home country after a year or two and are therefore reluctant to invest time and resources into training.

Show commitment to the company by doing your research and be able to explain why you want THEIR company, not just any job. Never give the impression you want any job just to stay in the U.S. You should find a position with a company based on what fits your future career goals.
Hiring Complexities:
Many employers are unfamiliar with the process of hiring international students and therefore believe it to be complicated and expensive.
Become and Expert.
The more you understand what it takes and how easy it is to get CPT and OPT, and the more you can communicate about these processes, the more likely it will be that you can convince an employer to hire you.
Employers are concerned about international students' ability to communicate effectively in verbal and written English with their clients and internal personnel.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Even if you have been speaking English most of your life, there may be nuances that can be tweaked by spending more time with domestic classmates, participating in customary U.S. activities, conducting a practice mock interview, joining a club, going to networking events, etc. And consider getting your resume and cover letters critiqued at the Fleishman Center.
Employment Restrictions
In general, as an international student, you cannot work for the U.S. federal government, for most U.S. state and local government agencies, or for private companies contracted by the government (ex. BAE, Lockhead Martin).
Focus on the Companies who DO Hire.
Strong employment prospects for you as an international student may be with organizations that have an international focus, such as the World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, etc. You may have success with U.S. companies that have an international presence abroad. Your international experience, language, and cultural fluency make you attractive to these employers. And, if your U.S. work authorization is delayed, you may be able to continue to work at a branch in a home country location.

Last Updated: 8/11/16