Preparing for the Job Search Process as an International Student

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Career Development Process

In the United States, finding a job or internship involves more than submitting a resume for the desired position. Instead, the career development process has four distinct phases, each with a specific purpose. It can help guide you in choosing a career that aligns with your individual values, interests, personality, and skills. Explore jobs related to your major.

Building Skills

In addition to related technical or functional experience and knowledge, employers look for communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills acquired in various settings. These can be developed through involvement in student organizations, enrolling in courses with group projects, volunteer experiences, or developing friendships with students of different backgrounds.

Networking

Networking is connecting with peers, faculty, staff, and professionals to have career conversations around topics of mutual interest. Networking is a great way to gather insight about a particular career path or organization’s work culture and not about asking for a job or internship. Learn how to network.

Resumes and Cover Letters

The first step in applying for internships or jobs is often to submit a resume. 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. Learn more about resumes and cover letters that are appropriate in the U.S.

Sharing personal information (i.e., birthday, marital status, or attaching a headshot) is not necessary unless relevant to the position. This helps protect candidates from discrimination that federal laws prohibit and fraud.

Interviewing Strategies

Suppose you are selected to interview for a job or internship, congratulations! It means you are a qualified candidate. During the interview, you will be expected to verbally communicate your interest in the position and qualifications, explain related examples of your work, and show your personality.

  • How you present yourself is very important when engaging with employers. Make direct eye contact and offer a firm handshake as these can demonstrate respect and confidence. Additionally, always be friendly and courteous to everyone you meet, and remember to smile! You want to make a strong, positive first impression.
  • Punctuality is extremely valued in the U.S., especially during an interview. Arrive at the interview location ten to fifteen minutes before your scheduled interview to avoid being late.
  • 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.
  • Review common interview questions and practice your answers out loud. Avoid sounding rehearsed, but prepare your examples and discussion points ahead of time.
  • Utilize Big Interview, our online mock interview platform, to record yourself responding to prerecorded prompts and questions to get an idea of how you appear on camera in an interview setting.

Employers are expected to maintain a discrimination-free environment.

Learn more about interviewing. For more information about interviews specific to the U.S., visit the United States of America country guide on GoinGlobal. Obtain access through the “Resources” tab in connectSC.