The USC Career Center supports our students’ and alumni’ diverse identities and experiences. Transitioning to life in the United States (U.S.) and job-hunting as an international student can be difficult, especially when attempting to decode the differences in cultural and employment norms. You bring experiences, expertise, and valuable skills to the globalized workplace. These resources provide tools and support for you to find meaningful career opportunities in the U.S. and beyond.
Foreign-born provide online services to individuals entering and living in the U.S. and can help as you prepare to study at USC.
Below are additional resources, organizations, and more to help your job search.
Career Development Process for International Students:
There are several ways you can “Know Yourself.”
This means reflecting on your interests and identifying your skills, strengths, and values.
Career Assessment tools such as Your Next Step can aid in narrowing down which industries and/or roles you want to pursue after you graduate.
Interstride has career assessments that have been intentionally created for international students in the United States. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed recruiters from different industries about common characteristics they look for in new hires to create the “Self-Assessment of NACE’s 8 Career Readiness Competencies.”
In addition, the Career Center has a blog compiled of what International Students wish they knew when it came to transitioning to life in a new country: https://careers.usc.edu/blog/2021/10/25/what-i-wish-i-knew-about-being-an-international-student/.
Phase 2 consists of “Exploring” what’s out there. This can include: researching majors & careers, investigating industries and connecting with professionals and mentors.
Our resource, “What Can I Do with This Major?” allows students to see what types of careers are available for various majors. You will access different career paths and employers, as well as get access to their Occupational Handbook. This handbook consists of specific roles within the industry you pick and allows you to see what education level is required, the pay, as well as steps on how to pursue that specific role.
Mentorship and Networking
There are many ways students can utilize the Trojan Family to build a network that can aid in their professional development. An informational interview with a professional in the career, industry, or organization you are considering can open doors to learning more and equipping you with the knowledge to aid in your career exploration.
- International Student Mentorship Program : Connects International Student and Alumni based on similarities in majors, industry, and role.
- Trojan Network: A campus-wide hub of Alumni who you can connect to and search based on organization, major, and industry.
Here is a guide on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile: https://careers.usc.edu/blog/2023/03/09/four-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-linkedin-profile/.
Watch the LinkedIn Workshop series on the USC Career Center’s Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLHoE_otnas&list=PLKKq-PELJJD0QVyS_NzlCilJ9BtrnbKEO.
Phase 3 is all about Planning and Preparing yourself for the job search. This means developing professional and transferable skills, creating a job search toolkit for your career action plan by working on your Resume and Cover Letters.
Resume and Cover Letters
The purpose of a resume is to give employers an idea of your qualifications for a position based on your educational background and experience, which may lead to an interview.
Here are example Resumes and Cover Letters: https://issuu.com/uscedu/docs/effective_resumes_cover_letters_and_linkedin_prof.
If you want to read more about strategically putting together your Resume, and Cover Letters, read more here: https://careers.usc.edu/channels/create-a-resume-cover-letter/.
VMock by Smart Resume provides tailored constructive feedback on both the formatting and content of your Resume. In addition, by uploading your resume to VMock, the Career Fit feature evaluates how your career profile matches job characteristics and helps you develop an action plan.
For additional support on your Resume and/or Cover Letters, we also have drop-In advising at the Career Center from Monday-Friday, 1-4PM both in-person (STU 110) and virtual (via Brazen).
Phase 4 is known as putting everything you’ve researched and compiled into Action. This means: applying for internships and jobs, gaining experience, and building your network.
On our website, you can filter pages based on different industries. You can do so by hovering your mouse over Students > Explore Industries > Select an industry that applies to you > Related Jobs.
Here is our Full-Time Jobs Guide for International Students: https://careers.usc.edu/resources/full-time-jobs-guide-for-international-students/
Check out our Article on Job Search where we spotlight other Job Search Platforms and Industry-specific Job Search Platforms: https://careers.usc.edu/blog/2022/12/09/preparing-for-your-job-search-during-winter-break/
Having an internship is the opportunity to learn about a specific industry or role. Here is our guide to seeking internships as an International Student: https://careers.usc.edu/resources/part-time-jobs-and-internships-guide-for-international-students/
Be prepared to discuss why you are interested in your chosen career field. It is crucial to convey passion, interest, and goals specific to your desires. It is common for friends and family to influence your career decision, but remember to keep it specific to yourself.
Emphasize positive aspects of your international background. Certain employers are seeking to expand their reach to global, overseas markets. Your cultural background may be an asset to these employers. Here are examples of ways you can leverage your background as an International Student: https://careers.usc.edu/resources/marketing-your-international-experience/
If you are looking for general interview help, Big Interview has an interactive module for students to gain practice on answering typical interview questions, interview questions based on industry and role, as well as behavioral questions to highlight certain skills.
Preparing Your Documents
As you progress through this phase, you may have questions about your personal documents, and the USC Career Center is committed to supporting students in this process.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT), please contact USC’s Office of International Services here: https://careers.usc.edu/organizations/office-of-international-services/.
Their drop-in advising hours for both non-OPT related and OPT-related can be found here: https://ois.usc.edu/.
Here is our guide to the different Visas and the USC Career Center resources that can support you: https://careers.usc.edu/resources/visa-information/.