Job Search for International Students
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 certainly 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 (SUDO is also hosting a CPT info session with an ISS adviser this upcoming Monday). 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 at a networking event (it probably fits most naturally after you’ve given your elevator pitch):
“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.” Continue reading
Interviewing Your Interviewer
The sense of nervous anticipation that precedes an interview is almost inevitable. You’re worried about making a good impression and that’s okay. That said, it’s important to see interviews not simply as candidate evaluations, but back-and-forth assessments between interviewer and interviewee. While the organization is using the meeting to judge your unique set of skills, experience, and personality, it’s also a chance to see how well they fit you.
Most interviews will end with the employer asking if you have any questions of them. Taking full advantage of this opportunity will help ensure you don’t jump into a job you end up dreading. You can ask for general information about company culture and the day-to-day, along with more detailed stuff like team structure and vacation, and anything in between. Below are tips on succeeding in this role reversal.
Prepare questions before you go.
Coming up with questions in advance will not only demonstrate your preparedness come interview time, it’ll give you time to develop ones that actually provide pertinent info. Think about what aspects of the job might impact your decision to accept or decline an offer and jot down questions accordingly. What’s the minimum amount of paid time off you’d take? Do you want a hands-off managerial philosophy, or something more structured? You don’t want to pose these as demands, but do try to get a sense of whether or not the company can meet your needs. Continue reading
Native American Student Day is March 29, 2018 (Thursday). An important part of the day are the UW Experience workshops. These are experiential learning workshops offered by UW departments and campus programs. Students will choose two 45-minute workshops.
We invite you to be a part of this UW Experience by offering workshops that are engaging and highlight potential majors and career paths. The workshops will take place at a location of your choosing. Students will be escorted to and from the Intellectual House to your workshop. All you have to do is provide the space and program. This will allow students to see UW at a deeper level than the student tour. Continue reading
Job Searching Beyond ICF
We hope you all enjoyed the 2018 iSchool Career Fair! As a reminder, please consider taking a minute to respond to our brief ICF survey, which can be found in the career fair app. Your feedback will help us make sure the fair is even better next year.
And now that ICF is over, what should you do?
Follow up. In last week’s newsletter we went over how to follow up with recruiters you met at the fair. If you haven’t yet, we recommend doing so as soon as possible.
You can also think about reaching out to employers you met earlier this quarter or during the fall. Mention projects you’ve worked on since last talking, how you’ve used application advice they gave you, or share an article you think they might find interesting. Additionally, if you notice on LinkedIn that a past connection recently changed positions or companies, you can use that to as a starting point to reconnect — ask them how they’re liking the new role and let them know you’d like learn more about what they’re doing.
Reaching out like this can help keep you in the recruiter’s mind, demonstrate your genuine interest in their company, and establish a sustained relationship. Continue reading
ICF Tip #8: Follow Up
With ICF now over, you hopefully have a new network of professional contacts. We recommend following up on any potential leads fairly quickly. If there was a recruiter with whom you connected particularly well, or an opportunity that really sparked your interest, send a brief thank-you note.
The note should restate your interest and summarize your relevant qualifications. Try also to reference specific parts of your ICF conversation. Not only will that help jog the recruiter’s memory (they likely talked to hundreds of students), it’ll also show that you’re not just sending a generic note to everyone you saw at the fair — that your interest in that particular company is genuine.
Additionally, if a recruiter asked you to send them supplemental materials, include those in the follow-up. Similarly, if any job or internship opportunities you discussed are accepting applications, apply to those before reaching back out, and then let the point of contact know you’ve done so. Continue reading
Tomorrow is the big day! Starting at 12:30pm, ending at 4:30pm, in the HUB Ballrooms, iSchool students only for the first hour, etc. We’ll allow students to start forming a line at noon — make sure to pick up your name tag in the Student Services office (MGH 420) by 5:00pm today if you haven’t already.
Our last ICF tip before the fair is to ask good questions of employers. The benefits of asking good questions are threefold. First, it helps keep the conversation going. As Janet Matta outlined in her Don’t Be Awkward presentation, in one-on-one conversations, allowing the other person time to speak about their own experiences can help make the discourse more fluid, especially if you’re not particularly outgoing yourself. Additionally, showing interest in someone else’s story is a good way of making a positive impression on them.
Second, good questions provide useful information. It’s not every day you get face time with current employees from places you’d like to work — use the time to find out things that will help your application and give insight into how well you’d like the work environment. Continue reading
ICF Tip #6: Do Your Research
It would be ill-advised to enter an interview without having done any prior research on the company, and the same holds true for career fairs. You don’t need to do a deep dive on all 38 organizations in attendance at ICF, but doing some studying beforehand — especially on those companies in which you have the most interest — will yield results.
Some starting points when researching a company:
- Purpose of the organization — what, exactly, do they do?
- Mission statement, vision, and values
- Reputation* (Glassdoor is your best resource here)
- Organizational initiatives
- Related news
Looking into a company beforehand can help in a few significant ways.
First, it’ll allow you to tailor your elevator pitch to that organization. For example, if you read that they pride themselves on being service-minded, you would then know to talk about your volunteer experience with the recruiter. Continue reading