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Transitioning to the U.S. and job-hunting as an international student can be difficult, especially when understanding the differences in cultural and employment norms across cultures. Foreign-born.com provides online services to individuals entering and living in the U.S. and can help as you get ready to study at USC. Here are some additional resources that can help you in your job search.

USC China Career Services

USC China Career Services, part of the USC Career Center and Office for Strategic and Global Initiatives, is located in Shanghai and provides best-in-class career services to USC students and alumni. USC holds deep and longstanding partnerships throughout China, which foster strong connections to highly-regarded employers. USC China Career Services has been recognized for its quality and commitment by Lockin China and Global University China Career Union’s (GUCCU) Employers’ Choice University Career Services award, and American Universities’ China Association’s (AUCA) Outstanding Contribution University in 2018 AUCA Career Fair award.

Preparing for the Job Search

Career Development Process

Finding a job or internship opportunity is more than submitting a resume to a desired position. Rather, the career development process has four distinct phases, each with a specific purpose, and can help guide you in choosing a career that aligns with your individual values, interests, personality, and skills. Explore careers 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 a variety of 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

Oftentimes, the first step in applying for internships or jobs is 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. After review, employers may offer with your relevant education and experience to the position and leads to an interview. Learn more about resumes and cover letters that are appropriate to use 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 as prohibited by federal laws.

Interviewing Strategies

If you have been selected to interview for a job or internship, congratulations! It means that you were identified as a qualified candidate. During the interview, you will be expected to verbally communicate your interest in the position, your 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 prior to your scheduled interview to avoid being late.
  • Be prepared to discuss why you are interested in your chosen career field. It is important to convey passion, interest, and goals that are 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.

Employers are expected to maintain a discrimination-free environment, which protects candidates from discrimination based on race, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, or any other characteristic which may be specified in such laws and regulations. These should not be taken into consideration during the interview unless relevant to the position.

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

Part-Time Jobs and Internships

For on-campus positions, access our online database of jobs and internships on connectSC. View connectSC under the “Jobs and Internships” section, click on the “See All Jobs” button, and filter by “On-Campus Non-work-study” under Position Type for departments that hire students. International students are not eligible for work-study positions on campus, as these positions are funded only for US citizens and permanent residents by the US government. Find out more about campus departments that may be hiring. For more information about on-campus employment as an F-1 visa student, please click here. For information about on-campus employment as a J-1 visa student, please click here.

Internships offer the opportunity to develop job-related skills and experiences that will help you be more competitive for full-time positions in the future. Many employers will post internship opportunities 1-2 semesters in advance, so it is important to start researching opportunities early. Access connectSC to find internship opportunities. Under “Jobs and Internships” and “See All Jobs,” select “More Filters” and go to “Work Authorization.” Select “Yes, now or in the future may need visa sponsorship” as employers seek candidates to convert to full-time hires and may not offer visa sponsorship.

Paid off-campus internship opportunities are an option for F-1 visa students during their degree program. They must occur after one academic year and require work authorization through Curricular Practical Training (CPT). On-campus positions do not require work authorization.

Make an appointment to see an advisor at the Office of International Services (OIS). Bring your offer letter and proof of enrollment in an internship course to process your CPT. Please view the OIS website for detailed requirements and instructions.

Full-Time Jobs

Get general advice job searching in the U.S. It is important to understand the necessary work authorizations needed for international students to work in the United States. For F-1 visa students, Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a type of work authorization that permits you to gain work experience in your field of study typically after your academic program ends. For more information, please visit the OIS website for detailed requirements and instructions.

Allow adequate time in your job search as securing a full-time job can start as early as two semesters prior to graduation. In addition to applying to jobs online, there are several resources you can take advantage of to help you throughout your job search:

  • AmCham China, or the American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China (AmCham China), has developed an online job search platform to facilitate the connections between Chinese employers and Chinese students studying in the U.S. After creating your personalized AmCham China account, you can research Chinese employers and search for open positions through their new Jobs Market platform. The easy-to-use platform connects you directly with the largest companies in the world such as Pfizer, IBM, HNA, and John Deere. Obtain access through the “Resources” tab in connectSC.
  • GoinGlobal is an online database with domestic and international job listings, job search resources, and more. View the H-1B section for a list of employers that have sponsored visas by each state and major metropolitan areas. Obtain access through the “Resources” tab in connectSC.
  • GlobalMe School offers helpful online career training for international students. Online courses include free and fee-based options.  Enroll in free courses such as “Find U.S. Companies that Offer H1-B Sponsorship” and “Improve Your American Small Talk.”
  • Global University China Career Union (GUCCU) provides Chinese students studying overseas with the tools and resources needed to prepare them for the Chinese job market after graduation. GUCCU offers comprehensive assistance through every step of the job search process. From monthly online classes designed to educate students on how to prepare application materials to posting over 55,000 job openings from over 15,000 companies specifically targeting Chinese students who have pursued degrees abroad, GUCCU is an effective resource for students looking to be competitive in the Chinese job market. Obtain access through the “Resources” tab in connectSC.
  • International Student Careers is an online career resource that provides you with the tools needed for seeking employment in the U.S. Learn about the U.S. job search and tips for locating internationally friendly companies. Plan for success by following the step-by-step guide on “How to Find International Student Jobs” as you search for internships, create a compelling story, prepare your application documents, and more.
  • Jobbatical is a job board that connects you with opportunities in the U.S. and all over the world. Jobbatical thinks beyond borders to connect globally-minded organizations with a community of ready-to-relocate tech, business, and creative talent. Job postings indicate whether an employer will sponsor employment visas.
  • Uniworld’s online searchable database aids students in their global job search by providing contact information for the headquarters, subsidiaries, and branches of multinational companies in over 200 countries and across 20,000 industries. Obtain access through the “Resources” tab in connectSC under Uniworld.”
  • The U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS)’s H-1B Employer Data Hub provides information on employers petitioning for H-1B workers. The data hub is part of USCIS’s continued effort to increase transparency in employment-based visa programs by allowing you to search for H-1B petitioners by fiscal year (back to FY 2009), NAICS code, employer name, city, state, or ZIP code. This gives you the ability to calculate approval and denial rates and to review which employers are using the H-1B program. Data for individual fiscal years is available to download on the H-1B Employer Data Hub Files page. To help you use the data hub and understand the terminology in it, USCIC has also created the Understanding Our H-1B Employer Data Hub page.
  • 51Job.com is an online database with job listings for students who are looking to focus their job search in China.

Visa Information

  • The H1 Base Website provides information about obtaining a work visa to live and work in the U.S.
  • MyVisaJobs.com contains visa reports and a list of top 100 employers that sponsor H-1B visas.

Campus Resources

American Language Institute – Offers classes and conversation groups to improve English language skills.

Office of International Services (OIS) – Provides international students with advising services and support to assist in achieving your academic, personal, and professional goals. Offers students information on the types of employment available to you during your time as a USC student.

Counseling Services – Offers mental health treatment for students through a variety of programs and services, including a weekly International Tea Time.

School-Based Career Services – Covers a range of programs and services, often highlighting specific industries. To access each school’s programs and services, it is required that you have a major within that particular school. We encourage you to utilize resources at both the USC Career Center and your school-based career services office.

Office of Pre-Health Advisement – Serves all students and alumni pursuing a career in the health professions.

Pre-Graduate School Advising – Offers all students and alumni support in applying to graduate schools through workshops and individual appointments.

Student Organizations at USC – Provides opportunities to interact and engage in shared interests regarding careers, community, politics, religions, and more.

USC Writing Center – Offers individual and small-group workshops to assist all students with improving their writing skills.