Tips for International Students

Tips for International Students

The U.S. Job Search

International Students are allowed to be employed in the U.S. during and after you receive your degree.  However, there are specific regulations, requirements and restrictions.  The best thing for you to do if interested in a career in the U.S. is to plan ahead.  CDC Staff are familiar with the special situations international students face and are available to help you in your job search.

You should also make sure to stay connected with International House.  International House are the experts on the laws and regulations.  The CDC can teach you job searching strategies; however International House can provide you with information on work permission and immigration regulations.  It is important to remember that regulations change from year to year so make sure to visit the International House regularly.

Not being a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident does add a layer of difficulty to your job search, but it is important to remember that there are companies and industries interested in hiring foreign nationals.  It is important for you to be familiar with Practical Training regulations (as found on International House’s website).  Unfortunately, as a foreign national you cannot work for the U.S. federal government, and most state and local government agencies, or for private employers who receive government contracts.  Try to avoid companies dependent on contracts for the U.S. Department of Defense.  If you want to remain in the U.S. for a longer period of time after graduation, it is important to plan ahead with International House.  For the first year that you work in the U.S. you are able to work under “Practical Training”.  In order to work in the U.S. long term, an employer will have to sponsor you for an H-1 Visa.

It is important to think about your skills and what you have to offer to a company.  U.S. companies want to hire foreign nationals for your education, background, and skill sets.  The best thing to do is target companies where your skill sets will be in demand and you will be a strong candidate.

Cultural Differences in the Job Search

There are some differences in the job search than in your home country.  Most of your job search will involve you directly applying to companies, and not using a third party intermediary.  When conducting a job search you will need a resume and a unique cover letter for every job you apply to.  A U.S. resume will include more emphasis on your skills and experience.  The U.S. interview is the most drastic difference in the job search here in the U.S.  U.S. employers expect you speak confidently about your skills and experiences; they want to hear about your successes.  You want to make eye contact with everyone, even the most senior level professionals since this is seen as you being confident and not taken as a sign of disrespect.  The best thing to do when preparing for an interview is to come into the CDC for an appointment or Mock Interview.

Visa Status and the Job Search

Many students are nervous and unsure as to when to bring up their visa status when conducting your job search.  You do not want to put your visa status on your resume.  If you received your first degree outside of the U.S. this is on your resume, most employers will realize that you are at WPI on a student visa.  On an employer’s formal application, it is important to be honest and truthful.  There might be a section where it asks for your visa status.  You never want to lie, but make the most positive, truthful statement, such as “Visa allows 12 months U.S. work permission”, or “Permanent Residency to be awarded in next four months”.  You always want to say the truth and be able to have documentation available to support your visa status.

Bringing up your visa status is something that worries many students.  The best time to bring up your visa status is just before a company offers you a job; never on the first round of interviews.  Unless of course the company directly asks you what your work authorization is, and in this case you should always be truthful.  It is helpful to practice answering questions like this by being very familiar with the information from International House and practicing interviewing in the CDC.

Working for a U.S. Company at Home

Remember that there are many global companies that can offer you opportunities of employment in your home country.  An organization in the U.S. that might not be able to hire you may be able to refer you to their international counterpart.  After working a few years for a company in your home country, you can always apply for a position in the U.S. after you have proven yourself to be a strong employee.

Tips for International Students

Many international students are interested in working in the United States after they graduate. According to U.S. immigration law, international students with F-1 visas are eligible to work full-time for one year after they graduate as part of their practical training. After completing their practical training, international students must be sponsored by an employer in order to continue working in the United States.

International students looking for employment after graduation may consider the following five options:

  • work with an American based organization
  • work with a multinational corporation
  • work in the public or private sector in your home country
  • work in the public or private sector of another country
  • deciding not to work right away but to continue in school for another degree

H1-B Visa Employers Database for International Students

Step 1: Understanding the H1B database

This is not a list of available jobs. The database contains listings of employers who have recently filed the appropriate paperwork to sponsor an international person for an H1B visa. This is a starting point for you to determine which employers may be willing to sponsor your visa. There is no guarantee that this job will be available, or that this employer will sponsor you.

Step 2: Determine which database you wish to use. The CDC currently subscribes to the following five databases:

H1-B Employers

  • Business Mgmt. and Admin: BUSI-H1B database
  • Computer Science and IT: CS-H1B database
  • Engineering: ENGR-H1B database
  • Life & Health Sciences: LIFEHLTH-H1B database
  • Mathematics & Physical Sciences: MATH-PHYSCI-H1B database

Step 3: Access the H1-B database

Database of American companies sponsoring H1B visa-holders – Please make an appointment with a staff member in the CDC to obtain a username and password.

Website Resources

  • – Connects you to U.S.-based companies looking targeting foreign-born employees.
  •  International – is a resource for international students and those preparing to study abroad
  • StudentCity – information for international students from start to finish.  Includes on-line chats with other international students as well as helpful hits for job searching after graduation.
  • International Careers Consortium – Advice on job searching as an international student.
  •  – see above for more information
  • – connects foreign embassies and international resources found around the world.
  • – information for international MBA students and other international students interested in working in the U.S. Includes list of companies who have hired MBAs, and more.
  • – publishing company that produces casebooks with profiles on major employers and career opportunities across the world
  • – Career Conferences of America allows foreign national MBAs to interview with World’s top multinational companies
  • – Jobsite for international IT, healthcare and teaching professionals looking in the US.
  • – identify US firms operating in foreign countries and foreign firm operating in the US
  • Hoover’s Global 250 – top companies with information on people, events, products, strategies and financial data
  • – National Society of Hispanic MBAs
  • – career expo for corporations seeking to diversify workforce
  •  4 International Careers & Jobs – 4 International Careers & Jobs is the leading world-wide directory of quality job sites and career resources. It covers 190 countries and includes more than 1000 international job sites and career resources classified according to 18 categories.
  •  One Small Planet – A global database listing virtually every country in the world with links to work, study, volunteer, and travel opportunities.
  •  -search for job listings by country and city in your home country
  • – Register and be considered for employment and internship opportunities that span the globe.
  • European Career Fair – Information about the annual European Career Fair at MIT.
  • – A special site dedicated to Indian IT job seekers.
  • – Features international job opportunities for professionals, expatriates and adventure seekers.
  • USCIS Company Search – Search for companies that have recently hired/looking to hire STEM International Students.

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