Many international students decide they want to start their careers in the United States instead of returning to their home country once they graduate. It’s important for international students to understand that the job hunt for them is much different than the job hunt for American citizens.
If you’re an international student applying for a job, the following are a few tips to help you find success.
1. Know the law.
It is illegal for students with a student visa to work off-campus during their first year as a student. If you are in your first year of school, don’t even bother applying for jobs, as you will not be accepted.
Most students with a student visa are usually allowed to stay in the country for one year after graduation as long as they have a job. This is done to provide the student with real-life work experiences. Keep this in mind when applying for jobs as well.
2. Know what’s expected of your employer.
If you want to work in the United States, you will eventually need to possess a work visa. This is something that your employer will need to sign off on to help keep you in the country legally. Make sure that you know what’s expected of your employer and be willing to discuss this with them during your interview or application process. The more educated you are on what they need to do, the more you’re proving your worth.
3. Prove your communication skills.
The biggest reason that American companies don’t hire international students is fear of poor communication skills. Make sure that you do everything you can to become fluent in English. Take English classes or writing classes to help you learn how to speak and write well. Ensure your resume, cover letter and any other written correspondence are written perfectly, and feel free to follow up with a phone call to showcase your English abilities. If you can prove that you’re fluent in English and that there will not be any communication barriers, you’re making yourself look more appealing. (Note: being bilingual is a huge plus when it comes to getting a job, so be sure to note that you can speak another language fluently on your resume.)
4. Have a strong educational background.
Make sure your academics provide the employer with reason to want to hire you. Study hard to do well in school and provide transcripts that prove how well you did in classes. Join groups while in school that will make you stand out and help boost your career, and take on part-time jobs that can help you gain any necessary skills you could use later in your career. The more experienced you can become in your field, the better opportunity you have of being hired.
5. Adhere to American business etiquette.
Certain things are expected of applicants in the American business world, and it’s important that you not only learn, but also implement these factors into your job hunt. Be sure to create a resume with a cover letter to send off to prospective employers. Have these items proofed to ensure grammar and context are correct, and be willing to provide any other documentation that could be necessary, such as portfolios, references or copies of your current student visa.
You should also be sure to dress in business professional attire, keep eye contact with your interviewer, and have a firm handshake. Do your research on the company too to prove that you know what you’re getting into and why you’d want to work for that company.
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Carman Navaro is a student adviser helping international students looking to study in the U.S. by translating documents through Rev.com