Frequently Asked Questions
Q: "Should I list my visa status on my resume?"
Your visa status should not be included on your resume. Your educational background and work history will display that you are an international student. Hiring managers will ask the appropriate questions during the recruitment process. You should never lie about your visa status, but given the reservations that employers have about hiring an international student, it is not to your advantage to draw attention to it.
Q: "How do I answer when I am asked by an employer about my work authorization?" (F-1 Student)"
Start by explaining that you have the 'legal right to work in the US for 12 months remaining in Optional Practical Training (OPT), which requires absolutely no work on your part." Then share that 'my work authorization can be renewed for another 3-6 more years with an H-1B work visa." Avoid saying the word 'sponsor' when talking about the H-1B application process, instead use the word 'petition.'
Questions the employer may ask in the application process:
Q: Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?
Yes you are, providing you apply for and receive CPT or OPT prior to starting any job or internship.
Q: Are you legally authorized to work in the United States on a full time basis for an employer?
Q: Will you now or in the future require sponsorship for an employment visa status (ex. H-1B visa status)?
Q: "When in the hiring process do I reveal that I am an international student?"
This is a very sensitive question which needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. While some employers adhere to strict policies against hiring foreign nationals, others may prefer to hire US citizens, but can be otherwise convinced. Therefore, it should be your goal to get past the initial screening measures to the interview. It is usually recommended that students wait until the employer asks, but it is in your best interest to research whether the employer has petitioned for the H1-B visa in the past, especially in the area for which you wish to work. However, if you are being asked to pay for travel for an interview, it would be wise to ask at that time: "Is this a position in which the company is willing to petition for an H-1B visa?"
Q: "If a company says they don't hire international students, should I even apply?"
It depends. If the employer is a federal agency or has a contract with a federal agency, they are not legally allowed to hire foreign nationals. But for many other organizations that say they don't hire international students, it may mean that they haven't hired any international students yet. You may be the first! In order to convince these prospective employers, it is your responsibility to educate them about the process of hiring a foreign national. Be mindful that they still may not hire you, and this can become frustrating. It is recommended that you first target organizations with a history of petitioning for the H-1B.
Q: What can I do to make myself a more attractive candidate?"
• Get your resume and cover letters reviewed by a career consultant
• Become thoroughly familiar with immigration regulations and benefits attached to your visa status (ex. CPT, OPT)
• Research the employers and the positions in which you are interested
• Participate in a Practice Mock Interview
• Practice speaking confidently about your skills, interests, and career goals
• Improve your English skills by speaking up in class, making presentations and expanding your circle of native English speaking friends
• Create and actively use a LinkedIn Account
• Network, network, network: Get to know people of influence in the companies in your target industry
Finding employment can be a long, time-consuming process. The information contained in these webpages is meant to get you started in the job search process. It is important that you begin early to prepare yourself for competing in the job market after graduation. Make use of the many resources mentioned throughout these webpages. If you have difficulty understanding any part of the job search process, make an appointment to speak with a consultant in the Fleishman Center through hireBING
This information was created based on an accumulation of a variety of school's International Student Job Search Guides across the US, such as SUNY Buffalo, Rice, Texas A&M, and the University of Virginia. Many of the schools replicate the information provided.