As an international student, an important part of the job search process is finding ways to differentiate yourself from others seeking employment in your desired industry. Instead of jumping straight into applying for positions, spend time creating a job search strategy that will ensure success. This will include choosing the right major, developing credible skills, gaining relevant experience, and networking.
Choosing A Major:
With the job market more competitive than ever before, it is important to think and plan ahead. Research the job market and specifically look at industries that are predicted to grow over the next 5-10 years. These are the industries that will most likely increase hiring, thus increasing your chances of finding employment in the US. Currently, the international students most likely to spark interest among employers are those in technical fields such as engineering, computer science, and accounting.
Gain Desirable Skills:
If it is too late to change your major, begin to gain skills that are in demand. Technical knowledge such as computer skills, quantitative skills, and scientific skills are guaranteed to make any student more competitive in today’s job climate. If gaining these specific skills is not part of your major coursework, consider taking a computer class, joining a professional club, or gaining an outside certification. Additionally, be aware of your transferrable skills: skills that you have learned through employment or educational experiences that will transfer easily into your new position. A student who is able to identify and articulate these skills to a potential employer will gain a competitive advantage over their competition. One of the main concerns of U.S. employers is language abilities. If possible, improve your communication skills by taking English classes, joining a student organization, or seeking a conversational partner. This will help an employer be able to measure your English-speaking abilities.
Gain Relevant Experience:
Relevant experience is always one of the most attractive attributes to an employer. This will differentiate you from other students and be a central component to a strong resume. Most international students will have the opportunity to gain internship experience through their student visa. To find out more specific information about your visa authorization, please contact International Student Services. In the case that your visa will not allow you to work in an internship setting, consider job-shadowing employers in your desired field or volunteering. Most employers look positively on volunteer experience and it can be a great addition to your resume.
Network with Faculty, Friends, and International Alumni:
Networking is a critical part of any job search. As an international student, seek opportunities to network with faculty and friends in order to become aware of job opportunities. Consider joining a professional association, since this will help you meet a variety of people with similar interests. Additionally, contact international alumni from your home country. These people could give you valuable insight on industries and companies that will consider hiring you.