You have experienced the American College life. You are just a few weeks or months from graduating and are thinking What’s next? Am I going to go back to my home country or do I want to stay in the USA and pursue a career here?
We at peerTransfer have identified a few steps international students can take in order to prepare and get your dream job in the United States.
Planning ahead when looking for a job is one of the key things you need to do while still at college. It is recommended to start preparations at least one year in advance.
The best place to start planning for after-graduation is with your school’s International Students Office and Career Development Center. These resources can give you more general information on what to do after graduation and inform you about your specific opportunities.
However, in general, as an international student, you will have 60 days to either enroll in another college for further studies or grad school, or enroll in an OPT program to gain employment after you graduate from college on an F-1 visa.
The OPT program allows you to extend your F-1 student visa for a year while working/training/interning in an area of your study. Applying for an OPT program can take several months, so make sure you apply several months before graduation.
Worker Visas for Long Term Employment: If you are planning to stay in the US for a longer period of time, you will have to get a company to sponsor you for an H-1b non-immigrant visa. This will allow you to remain employed at that company for 3 years.
Finding an Employer: The best way to find your future employer is to start to network early. Whether with your professors or even with the parents of your friends at school, making connections is key. Attending career fairs at your school and doing (CPT) internships during school or in your summer months can get you way ahead of the game. You can prove your abilities to the company you are interning for and they will likely employ you over new people.
Make sure you have an updated Resume that lists all your achievements and experiences. When talking to potential employers, be positive and try to stand out by focusing on your unique strengths. Remember, although you have favorable aspects by being a foreigner who has a lot of different cultural and language experiences, you are still competing with excellent natives who do not require sponsorship. Always give it your best shot and you will soon find your dream job in America.
If you have any more questions on getting a job after college, or would like to share your insights and experiences, please do so in the comments below!