JOB SEARCHING FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Before we dive into tips for international students searching for jobs and internships, we wanted to (re)share an encouraging video that members of the iSchool community recently put together. A special thanks to Kidus Yohanes, Harshitha Akkaraju, Katie Goulding, August Carow, Joseph Tsai, and Torey Tokita who took the initiative to ideate, film, and edit!
We also want to remind you of the iSchool recruitment policy for students, specifically with regards to accepting offers and reneging. Once you’ve accepted a job or internship offer, it’s important to terminate all other job search activity. Reneging on an offer can be seen as an ethical violation of your commitment to the employer — potentially affecting your reputation and the greater iSchool community’s. Ultimately, if you’re not ready to make a commitment, do not accept a job offer.
CHALLENGES INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS MIGHT FACE
Job searching is difficult no matter your connections or credentials. International students, though, face a unique set of obstacles that can further complicate things: confusion over work authorization, employers hesitant to do extra paperwork, concerns about non-native English-speaking abilities, and so on. These aren’t always fair, but it’s important that international job seekers anticipate the challenges and prepare accordingly.
Challenge: The (assumed) complexity and resulting confusion of hiring international students
Many employers lack experience with hiring international applicants and, as a result, make incorrect assumptions — that the process is too time consuming, costly, etc. To counteract this, we recommend becoming informal experts on work visas. Attend F-1, Optional Practice Training (OPT), and Curricular Practice Training (CPT) workshops put on by UW International Student Services. You may also want to research the H-1B visa program. Practice explaining these topics in just a few sentences.
Here’s how you might approach the subject with an employer:
“Does your company hire international applicants on student visas?”
“Are you familiar with hiring students for CPT or OPT? I’m an international student interested in applying for a position with your company.”
The former option is a little more open-ended while the latter is direct. If the recruiter’s initial response is to mention the complexity or costs associated with international hires, politely suggest the process might be more straightforward than they think:
“The process for international hires is actually easier than a lot of people think. There isn’t any additional financial cost to the employer and securing a student visa only takes about two weeks. There is some extra paperwork involved, but completing that is the student’s responsibility.”
The conversation could go in a variety of directions from there and it’s good to be well-versed in a few key areas. For internships, you should be familiar with the credit-registration process (they vary slightly by program: INFO, MSIM, MLIS), start dates (you must have been at the UW for at least three quarters before starting and can’t start mid-quarter), and transitioning from an internship to full-time position.
When discussing full-time employment, you might get into more specifics on OPT and H-1B visas. Be aware that MLIS graduates can only work one year of OPT, while INFO, MSIM, and PhD graduates can do up to three — again, at no additional cost to the company.
Be careful to not come across aggressively during these conversations, but know that some level of assertiveness is both necessary and acceptable.
Read more about student visas here.
Challenge: Some organizations just won’t budge
Despite your best efforts, some employers will still be resistant to hiring an international student. Fortunately, there are companies that are on the record as being open to international hires.
Where you can find them:
- GoinGlobal. Provided by the UW Career & Internship Center, GoingGlobal helps job and internship seekers find opportunities both at home and abroad. From the homepage, click on the “H1B Visas” link at the top of the page. You’ll then be able to search a database of employers that hire international students by specific occupation, company, and location. For the best results, try first narrowing your search by metro area, then sort by company.
- com. Despite what the rather rudimentary design might suggest, this site is a great resource. Founded by immigrants, it bills itself as “the largest and most trusted employment website for foreign workers seeking opportunities in the United States.” You can search jobs, create a profile viewable by employers, and get detailed information on different types of work authorization.
- LinkedIn. If you know international students that have graduated from the iSchool — or anywhere, really — check LinkedIn to see where they’re working now.
International students who graduated from the iSchool in 2018 have found full-time employment at organizations including:
- Alation, Inc.
- Applied Materials
- Costco Wholesale
- Deloitte Consulting
- Expedia Group
- HBC Digital
- JP Morgan Chase
- Launch Consulting
- Pieces Technologies
- SAP Concur
- Seattle University
- The Trade Desk
- Ubiquiti Networks
- University of British Columbia
ADDITIONAL TIPS & RESOURCES
- Continue to Personal and professional connections are estimated to lead to between 70 and 80 percent of job offers. Continue reaching out to classmates, attending career fairs, participating in student and community organizations, and setting up informational interviews.
- Check out this handout covering on-campus student employment. Jobs on campus don’t require authorization.
- If you’d like a short document to share with your employer contacts about the CPT/OPT process, you are welcome to email them this document put together by the iSchool career team.
iSchool: More info and registration via iCareers
(Missed a workshop? You can review our recorded sessions online.)
- 4/16: Career Conversations: Finding a Job That Interests You; 10:30 – 11:20am, MGH 224
- 4/23: Navigating Workplace Culture for MLIS Students; 12:30 – 1:20pm, MGH 258
UW Career & Internship Center
- 4/16: Prepare for the Spring Fair!; 11:00am – 4:00pm, MGH 134
- 4/17: Interviewing and Case Study Workshop for STEM Students; 8:30am – 3:00pm
- 4/17: How to Talk with a Recruiter (hosted by Expedia); 12:30 – 1:30pm, MGH 134
- 4/18: Spring Job & Internship Fair; 1:00 – 5:00pm, HUB Ballrooms
- 4/23: Career Launch; 2:30 – 3:20pm, MGH 134
- 4/24: Budgeting for Post-Graduation Life (hosted by BECU); 3:30 – 4:30pm, MGH 134
- 4/25: Boston Consulting Group Spring Connection (hosted by UWCA x UWFA); 5:30 – 7:00pm, DEM 102
POSITIONS FOR CONSIDERATION
- Web & Digital Media Student Intern, UW OMA&D; Handshake ID 2631480
- Software Developer Intern, UW Biofabrication Center; iCareers ID 8834
- Software Engineer Intern, Symantec; Handshake ID 2637528
- Data Scientist Intern – Summer 2019, Moss Adams; iCareers ID 8804
- News Literacy Internship, NewsGuard; iCareers ID 8736
- CREST/ISEF Science School Library Collections Project, Center for Research in Environmental Science and Technology; iCareers ID 8806
- Junior Full-Stack Software Developer – Agile Team, The Boeing Company; iCareers ID 8824
- Software Development Engineer – AWS, Amazon; Handshake ID 2629282
- Software Engineer I, Garmin International; Handshake ID 2626748
- Open Education Librarian (Senior Assistant Librarian), CSU, Dominguez Hills; iCareers ID 8835