Advice for International Students Currently Seeking Employment

Photo by Andrew Butler on Unsplash

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 11/17/20, THIS POST WAS EDITED ON 5/24/21 TO INCLUDE NEW LINKS. (See bottom of post.)

As President Folt expressed earlier this week, “This year has been challenging on many fronts…we [are] navigating so many different health, environmental, societal, racial, and economic questions right now…but I continue to be inspired by what I see around me – Trojans supporting each other, focusing on our students, caring for our patients, and partnering with our neighbors.”

We want to remind all international students and recent graduates that the Career Center is fully available and will continue to support you in your job search. With that, we wanted to share some helpful tips from Marcelo Barros, founder of The International Advantage, for international students currently seeking employment.

  • Identify Your Strengths
    You know yourself better than anyone, so identify your strengths and types of problems that you are particularly skilled at helping resolve. Move your job search forward from a position of strength, and translate sought after competencies into tangible values for the employers you are targeting.
  • Work Around Your Weaknesses
    Focus more time on polishing your innate strengths rather than spending too much time correcting your deficiencies. For example, while your English skills may not be perfect, remind yourself of your fluency in math and data analysis, which can generate value for employers. Always find a way to convert skills and knowledge into useful applications for employers.
  • Find Mentors and Partners
    Network to identify individuals who understand the intricacies of your pre-U.S. professional experiences and strengths, and will champion you in the workplace to getting hired. The Trojan Network is a great starting point to find mentors, but don’t stop there. Faculty, professors, students, and alumni from your department can be just as effective. Reach out often and ask for help.
  • Provide Employers with Creative Solutions
    Don’t be a status quo job seeker; you are capable of more. Leverage the strengths you have. Be known for providing superior ideas and insights to the firms you’re targeting. Show U.S. employers that you’re a better thinker than your competition. Demonstrate your ability to see objects, people, challenges, and opportunities from multiple perspectives.
  • Volunteer
    Seek ways to put your existing skills to the test in the U.S. by finding and getting involved with short-term volunteer projects. Not only will engaging in activities allow you to demonstrate your proficiency in certain areas, but it will also help you create a network, which may eventually help you get hired. Check out the Trojan Network for short term volunteer projects to get started.
  • Build a strong ISEL
    ISEL stands for Interests, Skills, Experiences, and Languages. Identify what your interests are and become excellent and highly skilled in whatever it is that you have a passion for. Experience is everything. Would you prefer a doctor who has done one or 20 operations? Whether it is volunteering or interning, participate in extracurricular activities during school to gain as much experience as you can in the field of work that you want to pursue post-graduation. Finally, languages – most international students are bilingual or multilingual and many organizations have offices worldwide. Look for organizations that may not be headquartered in the U.S., but have an office or branch in the U.S., and put your language skills to use!

For additional advice, check out Marcelo Barros’ How Will a Biden Presidency Affect International Students’ Job Search? and Derek Loosvelt’s 3 Essential Job-Search Strategies for International Students in 2021.

For even more, check out the episode of Interstride’s podcast, “The Outlook On H-1B Visas And International Students In 2021” and view The Evolution of Employment: Job Searching During Covid 19.