As an international student, you will likely face challenges in your job and internship search. However, there are steps you can take to improve the likelihood of finding employment in your career field.
Design an effective job and internship search strategy with the assistance of your career consultant
- Understand the employment situation in the United States.
- Become aware of cultural norms and body language. Familiarize yourself with what U.S. employers look for in a candidate.
- Create an impressive resume that highlights your skills and experience.
- Identify and research roles, companies, and industries where you would like to work and which would be a good fit for you.
- Prepare for your interviews by practicing - through Big Interview, with your career consultant, and with employers in our practice interview sessions.
- Know how the conditions of your visa affect your employment in the U.S. Understand the legal concerns an employer may have and learn how to diplomatically address those concerns by attending visa and employment presentation offered through the Center for Global Engagement.
Perfect Your English Skills
- Practice and increase your English language abilities, both spoken and written.
- Join a student organization, participate in class discussions, and volunteer in the community.
Communicate the Unique Benefits of Hiring an International Student
- Your experience as an international student provides unique advantages that you can bring to a company.
- Your strengths may include adaptability (adjusting to a new culture, people, language), motivation, perseverance and tenacity, language skills (2+ languages), and work ethic.
Target Employers with an International Focus or Presence
- Local organizations and companies include Covestro, PPG, Brothers' Brother, and Global Links.
- Organizations outside of Pittsburgh encompass the United Nations, World Bank, or Save the Children.
- Universities and colleges in the United States may also be an option.
Pursue Proficiencies in High Demand
- Study or gain exposure to highly sought after skills which include systems analysis and programming, engineering and accounting, computer science, data analysis, business, finance, and some healthcare fields.
- If you are not majoring in one of these areas, develop computer skills in programming and spreadsheet design, quantitative skills, and/or scientific skills through elective classes or independent studies to become more marketable.
Challenges you may face:
- Communication - Employers are often concerned about international students' ability to communicate effectively in verbal and written English. Utilize every opportunity to improve your English skills.
- Lack of Commitment - Employers may be reluctant to hire and train international students due to their concern that the student will return to their home country after a year or two.
- Visa Quotas - The U.S. government sets the number of H1-B and other visas granted each year. Contact an immigration lawyer to learn more.
- Hiring Complexities - Employers not familiar with the process of hiring international students may think that it is complicated and expensive. Become acquainted with the hiring process so you can answer any questions.
- Employment Restrictions - Generally, 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.
Meet often with your career consultant by making appointments on Handshake.
Events to support your success...
We are committed to building lasting relationships with employers right in our backyard and around the country. Professional recruiters volunteer as guest speakers, conduct practice interviews, and perform resume critiques right on campus. With their support, the Center for Career Development hosts events throughout the academic year to help you develop professional and job search skills including:
- Career Expos - Network with employers for career and internship opportunities for all majors.
- ResuMANIA: Resume reviews by professional recruiters.
- Workshops: Presentations on specific career topics such as resume writing and interviews.
- How to Work a Job Fair: Learn how to make a good first impression, the keys to a good elevator pitch and the elements of a great resume.
- Practice Interview Days: Develop professional interviewing skills with human resources professionals.
- Etiquette Dinner: Enjoy a 3-course meal while learning how to properly present yourself at a meal or networking event.
The Center for Career Development is committed to assist you on your way to future success!