Job hunting after graduation is a difficult process. The experience is akin to winning a lottery; you fill-out applications based on what the company is looking for and hope that you receive a call-back for the first interview. As an international graduate applicant, the probability is lower comparatively to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Regardless of your stellar education, field experience, and extracurricular activities, HR has to think if we are worth the investment. The anxiety, stress, and worry of being able to find the right job is nerve-wrecking, and I have had my share of these moments.
Initially, I thought that I would be able to find a position in a company while I was finishing up my master’s degree, however that wasn’t the case. After applying to almost every company across the US with an open position in my field, I was rejected in all of them. This made me think whether I was competent or qualified enough to be considered as a potential employee. Most importantly, I was worried that I might not be what the U.S. job market was searching for.
Seek Help from Trusted Resources
Therefore, I reached out to my professor, who explained the process and offered her help to market me to potential employers. This is how I found Abacus CPAs. The HR director reached out to me after reading my resume because she was impressed by my academic endeavors and experiences. She asked to schedule an interview for an open position in the firm and I accepted. Over the next few weeks, I had the opportunity to speak with her and know about the firm. Abacus’s values, mission statement, and ethics aligned with mine. However, their enthusiasm to have me on their team is what drew me to make my final decision.
The Right Firm Will Help With Needed Steps
Prior to my hire, the firm paid for my Optional Practical Training (OPT) for work authorization. The OPT is an expensive, but a necessary step to ensure that I can work legally in the USA. Moreover, they have included to offer the H1-B visa so that I can work as a resident and fulfill my dream of working in the US. The journey to where I am today was not easy. I had similar struggles that all international students face when applying to the US for their chance at the American dream. Some get that chance, while others find a new dream that is not based in the US.
Below are some tips that helped me get through the process:
- Prepare in advance – Do not wait after your graduation to start applying for jobs. Start your job search as early as a year in advance. Talk to your professors to check if they know any companies that are hiring international students or are willing to sponsor international student and visit the career planning and development office in your university to find what resources are available to you.
- Proofread your resume– Before applying for a job, read what the requirements are and change your resume to fit the company’s requirements. Do not send a “generic” resume to every job application because recruiters are trained to spot when a “generic” resume has been sent to them.
- Update your LinkedIn – Employers check your LinkedIn profile before calling applicants and many get rejected because of what they have on their profile or they do not have a profile at all. Make sure that you have an updated LinkedIn profile and your profile picture is professional.
- Network and create new connections – Go to every networking event or career fair your university hosts because it is the best way to find your future employer. Build relationships with your professors and alumni because they might know someone who might be hiring.
- Timing is key – As an international student there are several laws and regulation one has to follow to stay in the US. After graduation, you will have 60 days to apply for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) which is a long and lengthy process and can take anywhere between 3 to 6 months. I would recommend that you apply well in advance to be to able to receive your OPT prior to starting your new job. Also, contact your Designated School Official (DSO) who will be a great resource to help you get your OPT and make sure your application is free from errors. If your OPT application is submitted to the USCIS with any error, your application will get rejected.
- Stay Positive – Spending a lot of time finding a job and getting rejected can be disappointing and frustrating. Do not give up because in the end it all be worth it! Applying for jobs in the US is the same as applying for a university; remember how much research, time and hard work it required but in the end you achieved it because you got accepted to your dream college.