International Student Job Search Strategy

US Employer Expectations

Job searching in the US can be different from other countries and US employers may have expectations of you as a job seeker. These expectations may include more self-promotion about your skills and accomplishments with employers, including taking more initiative and following up after you meet a representative.

Employers will also expect you to be direct when communicating. For example, you will need to show appropriate non-verbal behavior, including eye contact with the employer. Also, be sure to have open and direct responses to their questions.

Oftentimes in an interview, you can provide more self-disclosure of personal experiences such as hobbies, strengths and weaknesses. Feel free to interject some personality into your answers, including discussing your leadership style and problem solving abilities.

In general, not being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident adds a level of difficulty to a job search, but there are employers who are willing to hire foreign nationals. It will depend on the industry and the employer. Practical Training offers students who have studied in the U.S. on F-1 visas the opportunity to work for up to twelve months in a field related to your studies. In general as a foreign national you cannot work for the U.S. federal government, for most other U.S. state and local government entities, or for private employers who receive government contracts. Avoid companies dependent upon contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense. Your visa status will be less of an absolute barrier with other types of employers.

If you want to work after graduation for only the period of time covered by your Practical Training, look for employers who will not need to invest heavily in your training and/or who normally experience a high degree of turnover. These are primarily smaller organizations.

If you hope to remain in the U.S. for longer than the period of your Practical Training, it is especially important to plan ahead with OIP. Understand the basis on which you may stay long term and be prepared to explain them to an employer. For reasons beyond your control, an employer must sponsor you for an H-1 visa, and thus you will impose more paperwork on an employer than will a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Ask yourself what you offer to make an employer willing to take this extra trouble.

Interviews can often be informal, with employers encouraging openness and some joking during an exchange of information. In this situation, you can be jovial, but be sure to always also maintain a level of professionalism.

Employers expect applicants to demonstrate career self-awareness by describing their personal career goals and how they relate to the potential job. They also look for you to have a sense of individual responsibility for your own job search.

Lastly, individual equality is important in the US. Legally, factors like race, gender and age cannot be considered in the interview process.

Your job search will be slightly different as an international student. Here are some tips to find career opportunities.

Look for the following:
US Companies doing business in your home country
US Chamber of Commerce branch in your home city
International corporations
Organizations with an international focus
Companies hiring or previously have hired international students
UF JOBS for student employment opportunities
Gator CareerLink for employers recruiting UF students

Sample Companies Recruiting UF International Students:
Bank of America
Bayser Consulting
BCI Financial
BioRegenerative Sciences
BioVoyage Institute, Inc.
Bryan Research & Engineering, Inc.
CSX Transportation
Ernst and Young
Extron Electronic
General Electric
Levin Financial Group
Market Edge Consulting, Inc.
Micro Strategy
National Instruments
Northwestern Mutual
Perry Ellis
Raymond James
Research in Motion

This list is not exhaustive of all employers hiring. Also, this list may not be reflective of the many areas within each organization.