It’s no secret that international students have very specific challenges in seeking employment in the United States. Companies that sponsored H1B Visas last year are turning away potential candidates due to changes in hiring practices. Identifying oganizations that sponsor H1B Visas presents an even greater challenge than usual.
International students quickly realize upon arrival in the US that job search practices here are much different from other countries. The US Job Search is a breeding ground of mixed messages as to how to find opportunities and secure employment. It’s no wonder our international students find our job search practices difficult to manuver. Company recruiters and campus relations departments tell students to apply online while career coaches encourage them to connect with hiring managers and not only rely on the online job application process. No wonder our international students find our process so confusing. Now that we have stated the problem, what can our international students do to be a successful job seeker? Here are a few ideas:
- Reach out to your network: Forget the notion that international students do not have a network in the US. If you are an international student here in the US, you have a large network. Think about all of the students who have come to the US before you and are now working in the US. Identifying people who have walked in your shoes is the best avenue for finding people to provide guidance. A network isn’t just a group of people you know. A network is a group of people in which you can identify with to build comradary.
- Get involved in a professional organization: While sponsoring restrictions may in fact be company wide, your best resource for finding information will always be through your professional organizations. The contacts you make through the organization can become your best voice for connections and recommendations with others within a company.
- Build your online professional reputation: One of the best places for any professional to gain information is through online networking communities. Notice I was very careful is using the term Social Media. Change your mindset from how you currently use Social Media to how you can effectively use it as a networking community instead. Participate in LinkedIn group conversations and professional chats on Twitter, comment on a company’s Facebook or LinkedIn community page, or look for former students from your undergraduate programs in your home country for discussions.
International students must learn one thing if they want to pursue a successful job search in the US — there is not a mathmatical formula to a successful job search process in the US. The silver lining of the US job search process is that there is a long list of best practices anyone can use. (Please refrain from the worst practices) People find employment using a myriad of successful practices. If one avenue in identifying opportunites does not work, our culture provides many other options as well. Troubleshooting invovles repairing a broken process. The US job search culture involves a great deal of troubleshooting but with a great number of options for success.