International Students

As an international student, searching for a full-time job and/or internship in the U.S. may come with challenges as you navigate work authorization and cultural differences in the job search. The Gies Business Career Services team, in partnership with International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS), is happy to support you as you seek out opportunities in the U.S. or beyond.

Employment Eligibility: CPT & OPT

Before you begin seeking an internship or a job, it is critically important to ensure you fully understand employment eligibility for your visa type. Specific rules exist for on campus jobs, off campus jobs, internships and post-graduation employment. For current rules and guidelines, visit International Student & Scholar Services.

IMMIGRATION STATUS IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

  • Be aware of deadlines and expiration dates.
  • Know the rules/regulations of YOUR legal status.
  • Provide all needed documents promptly to the employer.
  • Track the process of your application.
  • DO NOT think a problem will just "work itself out."
  • DO NOT believe what your read in chatrooms.
  • DO NOT take advice from non-ISS faculty/staff about your immigration status.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR VISA STATUS?

The anxiety looking for a full-time opportunity while enrolled in a challenging graduate program is a substantial encumbrance. But along with the pressure of a job interview with U.S. organizations, international students struggle with their visa status.

  • Only apply to positions that are applicable to your visa status: It is imperative that you don’t spend time pursuing U.S. organizations and government agencies that exclusively hire United States citizens.
  • Extensively equip yourself with details of your visa status before the interview: Be informed about all the particulars concerning your work eligibility in the United States.
  • Respond to every question concerning your visa status in a direct, clear and assured manner: Any hesitance or extra elaboration might distract the employer from the true purpose of the interview, which is to focus on your skills and qualifications. The employer may unnecessarily contemplate the decision to hire you.
  • Introducing your visa status to recruiters is entirely up to you: Discussing your visa status with employers is not a requirement. However, if the employer addresses any questions regarding your work eligibility during the interview, answer the questions in an explicit and concise manner.

International Students - Job & Internship Search Strategies

A successful job or internship search involves using a combination of several strategies. First, review the strategies and resources applicable to all students for Jobs and Internships. Below are tips specifically for international students:

Expand Your Network and Make it Work for You

Networking is one of the most effective ways people find out about positions and get hired. Networking with personal and professional contacts is often the key to securing employment in the U.S. and should be a  priority in your search.  In the U.S., it is very common for students to reach out to more experienced professionals. Having current professionals, Gies alumni and recruiters on your side increases the likelihood a company will see the benefit of hiring you as an international candidate.

Refine Your Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Strong English language skills, non-verbal communication skills and interpersonal skills are all crucial for international students who wish to work and succeed in the US, and right now is the best time to polish those skills. Improve your English skills by getting involved in and using English language resources.

Research International Employee Friendly Employers

Be intentional about your job or internship search by researching which companies have hired international candidates in the past.

US Style Application Documents: Resume & Cover Letter

Make sure you know how to write a U.S. style resume and cover letter and seek feedback from native speakers of English, the Writers Workshop and Career Services.  Resumes in the U.S. may be different from CVs in your home country. U.S. resumes do not include personal information such as marital status, date of birth, or photographs. They tend to be one page long and are focused on presenting information relevant to the position

Become Confident with Interviewing

When interviewing in the U.S., you are expected to be comfortable talking about your accomplishments, to demonstrate familiarity with the company and the job description, and to confidently persuade the employer that you are the best candidate for the position. This style of self-promotion may seem brash or boastful, but it will be necessary to adapt to the U.S. norm in order to successfully compete for positions. Interviewing gets easier with practice.  Explore Career Services resources on interviewing to increase your confidence throughout virtual and in person interviews.

Have a Plan B

Expand your pool of opportunities by applying for positions in the US and in your home country (or perhaps a third country too). Explore where your education and experiences are in demand and be open to options you previously hadn’t considered!

Get Involved

It will be difficult to get a job or internship through strong grades alone. US employers value students with extracurricular activities, related hands-on experience, and leadership experience

Visit the Resumes and Cover Letter webpages for tips on how to create your US professional documents!

Global Job Search Resources

Below are resources from around the world for international seeking opportunities inside and outside the U.S.

The Career Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign- The Career Center page for International Students Resource features information on Career Programs for International Students, Work Authorization, International Friendly Companies, Job Search in the U.S., and Non-U.S. Job Search.

GoinGlobal – This resource includes tips for landing jobs in countries around the global as well as tips for various U.S. cities. Additionally, you can us the H1B Visas tab to learn about companies that have sponsored visa holders in the past.

My Visa Jobs – This site is an “employment website for foreign workers seeking opportunities in the United States.”

Illinois International Shanghai Office Opened in December 2013, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Shanghai Office operates as a natural extension of the Illinois-China partnership, serving students, faculty, staff, and alumni through outreach, protocol, and career activities.

Lockin China - This resource is provided by a China-based company named Lockin China. This company has gained popularity in its services to connect and help recruit especially CHINESE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS in exciting, fulfilling jobs in China after they graduate from universities and colleges outside of China.

Additional Resources