4 Ways International Students Can Explore Job Opportunities

4 Ways International Students Can Explore Job Opportunities

Consider attending college in a state where companies hire lots of international workers

April 8, 2015 by Vikas Jagwani At some point during their time studying in the U.S., most international students are asked about their plans after graduation. Finding a job after graduation is not necessarily an easy process for international students, and many face the problem of staying in the U.S. after their graduation.

I am on the verge of my senior year of college and I am already planning my job search. Here are some tips that will help international students with this process.

1. Know where the job opportunities are: Some states, including California, New York and Texas, have a reputation of being friendlier to international workers.

These states are home to some big firms, and these companies have both the resources and the need to employ international students – which means these states are more prone to having a higher percentage of international employees living there.

Choosing to attend a school in one of these states might put an international student closer to a job after graduation. Even though I live in a city with a population of around 200,000, it is highly unlikely that I’ll find a job here.

Diversity is an important component for a lot of companies and those companies need a diverse workforce. States with bigger companies, then, are more likely to be where international students can find more jobs.

2. Find an off-campus internship in your major: It is not an easy process for companies to hire international students. The cost of employing an international student is typically higher than that of hiring an American student. Therefore, it can be difficult for a lot of companies to decide if they would like to hire an international student. If you do already have an internship lined up during your sophomore or junior year, it can be a great way to get your foot in the door.

The idea of working in the U.S. was not something that I was thinking about while applying to private or state universities as an international student. It was only when I started getting involved in the community that I figured out that I really do love the work environment and social atmosphere of the U.S. That helped me decide that I would love to continue to work here.

3. Speak to your career planning office: Most universities have a department that specifically helps students find employment after graduation. The career planning office usually has helped international students find employment in the past, and using these alumni connections can definitely help you in terms of a career network.

4. Apply for Optional Practical Training: OPT is an opportunity for international students to get practical experience in their major area of study, under certain restrictions, for an initial period of up to a year. More information can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

This is a common way for companies to employ international students, even if they are only in the position for a year. Companies also do not have to pay extra fees to hire an international student who has OPT status, but students will have to pay a small fee to apply for the training program.

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