International Student Guide: Resources for Job and Internship Search
If you are hoping to gain experience in the United States by pursuing a job or internship, it is important to keep a few things in mind. This resource guide is not an exhaustive list, but will provide some useful information as well as assist you in creating a job search plan.
Before You Begin
The number one thing you can do to aid your job or internship search is to plan ahead. The job and internship search process can take a while, and with added regulations regarding your status and the paperwork that is involved, it is important to start your search process a few semesters ahead of time.
Here are some other things to consider:
- Are you aware of your unique skill sets, what you can offer to an organization, and how to effectively articulate these things to a prospective employer?
- Do you have a specified career plan or path in mind, i.e. “I would like to do tax consulting work with a global accounting firm,” vs. “I just want to get some experience…I’ll do anything”?
- Have you done some research on which companies tend to hire foreign workers? Do you know which companies have offices in your home country, or which companies may need your language skill set or other skills you may possess (respect for diversity, adaptability, knowledge of other economies, etc.)?
Helpful Resources to Aid in Your Search
Networking: This is the #1 way that jobs are obtained in the United States. Attend as many career-focused events as possible to connect face to face with recruiters. It is your responsibility to “sell” yourself as a candidate, to speak confidently about your strengths and achievements, and the best way to do this is via an in-person conversation. Be sure to get connected on our LakerJobs database, which lists internship and job opportunities as well as networking / career events and on-campus recruiting schedules.
LinkedIn: Recruiters use LinkedIn quite often to source for candidates. Also, there are numerous groups you can join, such as the Grand Valley State University Alumni group, which can help you connect with individuals as well as companies. There are jobs posted frequently on LinkedIn as well.
Research: As mentioned previously, it would be helpful to know which companies are more likely to provide sponsorship given your career area. Sponsorship is more likely in some fields over and above others (Engineering, IT, Accounting, just to name a few), but there is no guarantee. Here are some useful websites to aid you in your research:
- The Right Place- This site lists all the global companies who have a presence in West Michigan; download the “International Company Brochure.”
- http://www.myvisajobs.com/ - Great overall information about the visa process and which companies have sponsored international students in the past; see also http://www.myvisajobs.com/Michigan-2012WS.htm and http://www.myvisajobs.com/H1B_Visa.aspx
- The Michigan Global Talent Retention Initiative
Some companies have information right on their website about their international candidate hiring; here are a couple of examples:
For an overall job search of H1-B visa jobs and companies, go to:
Approaching the Sponsorship Topic
Employers are sometimes reluctant to sponsor H1-B visas, or may even have a policy against it. Do not begin a conversation, a letter, or an interview with a question about sponsorship. Instead, wait until the employer brings it up, or when you may get close to receiving an offer. Of course, if you are filling out an application and it asks if you are authorized to work in the United States without sponsorship, you need to be honest about your eligibility. Your first objective is to convince the employer that you are the right person for the job. You do not need to list your visa status on your résumé.
The Career Center at GVSU can help you with interview tips, as well as a résumé and cover letter review. An American résumé looks quite a bit different than an international CV. For instance, you would not put a picture on your résumé, nor would you list date of birth, birthplace, or other personal information. Check out our résumé guide at: http://www.gvsu.edu/careers/resumes-and-cover-letters-36.htm