Job Search Tips for International Students

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A reader e-mailed us a few weeks ago – she’s a senior at Columbia University, and she’s job searching. She’s had the usual frustrations with finding helpful information on companies’ career sites; however, her situations is exacerbated by the fact that she is an international student. Many students from abroad are treated like second class citizens (does that make sense, since they’re not US citizens?) in the job recruitment process solely because of their need for sponsorship to obtain a visa (did we get the terminology right?). Pursuing entry level jobs abroad is one alternative, but many of these students prefer to stay in the U.S. for at least a few more years.

Employer Attitudes on International Students

The simple truth is that employers have a wide range of attitudes towards international students, and it’s hard to know what their attitude will be before you invest time in the applications process. Not only are employers unwilling to hire students from abroad because of the false perception that hiring an international students is costly, time consuming, and likely to end up with the new hire leaving after 6 months or a year, but they won’t even be upfront with applicants regarding their sponsorship policies. Employers also worry that if they hire foreign students, they will end up with employees who have poor English skills. This is nonsense. If someone can’t speak the language that you do business in, don’t hire him or her – that’s what a phone interview is for. You don’t need to discriminate against an entire group because some are unfit for the job. Now, don’t get us wrong, there are many companies that truly do a great job of recruiting and hiring international students (we’ve heard Wachovia, Ernst and Young, Xerox, Conservation International, MTV World, IT Convergence, Institute of International Finance Citibank, Deloitte, JP Morgan, T-Mobile, and Lehman Brothers mentioned), but they tend to be large corporations that have the resources and the know-how to navigate the process – they may have done it 1,000 times before.

How We’re Trying to Help

So we want to help our readers, since there are a good number of international students among the ranks, better identify which employers are international student friendly, and which aren’t. We can say for certain, that in our daily research of the best entry-level employers, we have seen very little mention of immigration status on career websites. The problem (besides employer attitudes towards students who aren’t U.S. citizens) is that we have absolutely no experience job searching from the perspective of an international student. Lucky for you, we’re pretty skilled at finding great career resources on the Internet, so we’re going to give you some excerpts, some links, and open the comments section for further discussion.

Many colleges and universities have great job search resources for international students (and all students), so check out what your college has to offer. If you can’t find anything, use the online career services resources from another college. One example is this Career Services handout for international students at the University of Virginia. If you want to find more guides like this one, use this Google query, which should provide some great career resources for international students.

And of course, since it’s the Internet, there will be somebody trying to make a buck at your expense, so take heed of this warning from Northern Illinois University’s job search guide for international students:

There are many sites on the Internet that purport to assist international students with the job search and sponsorship process. Some make false claims, others sell forms and information that are available for free from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Service website and/or from NIU’s International Student and Faculty Office. Some sites give the appearance of being associated with the U.S. government with the inclusions of flags, government offices, or “official looking” logos. A website is only officially sanctioned by the U.S. government if it’s URL ends with the “.gov” suffix.

We’ll also add that any domain that ends with the “.edu” suffix can probably be trusted to provide honest and helpful information.

Like we said, this topic matter is kind of foreign (no pun intended) to us, so we’re relying on our readers to share their tips on weeding out employers who discriminate against international students. If you’re an international student with questions or tips, please join in on the conversation in the comments section. Feel free to add links to helpful websites, names of companies that are or aren’t international student friendly, and keywords that allow you to use Google to find applicable job opportunities. Let’s get some user-generated content going on One Day, One Job!

UPDATE: We just found this list of the 200 companies that received the most H-1B visa petition approvals in 2007. We hope it’s helpful!


44 Responses to “Job Search Tips for International Students”

  1. bx says:

    hey guys,

    thanks so much for putting up this post! schools (especially ivy league ones) also usually offer company presentations, which is usually attended by at least one hr personnel. if there’s one in an industry you’re interested in, definitely drop by and ask them about international hiring in their field.

    good luck!!
    -bx-

  2. Thanks for getting the conversation started BX.

  3. Jeff Zhang says:

    It’s not even sponsorship, it’s just paperwork.

  4. Helen Uzamere says:

    Thanks for this article. It is amazing how good talent goes to waste because of this bureaucracy. I bring to the US, more 15 years of solid industry experience in Information Technology and was well regarded in the UK. Unfortunately, due to my international student status, I can’t beyond the “Do you have a Green card” question. It is a shame that people like us, are paying for the disaster of 9/11!

  5. steph says:

    Hello,

    I would like to suggest a publication on dos and don’ts when travelling abroad, which could help immensely international students, or anyone working / dealing with individual from different backgrounds. It’s called Zucchini or Cougette?, and it’s available from lulu.com
    http://www.lulu.com/content/2393717
    It really helped me when I travelled to Poland, and I felt I knew the culture before getting there!
    Very well recommended, and well priced.
    HTH!

  6. Chanda Kim says:

    I can offer some insight being in the same boat as the student mentioned in the article. I’m Canadian and still find I have the same hassels in fact i have come across one really nasty one. I am a nursing student and was looking to search jobs in hospitals in Arizona. many hospitals allow you to apply directly to the job through their website, BUT you need to input your SSN in order for the form to actually be processed. Not many International Students have SSN’s, in fact you need a job offer in order to get a SSN. This has been a major frustration and limits my job application because many hospitals do not offer an alternative way to apply to their positions. A couple of tips I did get from a recruiter may help if anyone is finding this to be an issue.

    1. enter either 000-00-0000 or 123-45-6789
    2. If that doesnt work for us Canadians enter your SIN
    3. Call the recruiters and try and work with them. I warn you not all of them understand the intricaticies of immigration and Visa’s and many really a ready to close the door when they here that you need one 9even if your English is perfect)
    4. be patient and friendly. The more you can educate them the better, make it feel like it’s no big deal. If you have an immigration lawyer even better, assure them that all they have to do is fill out the paper work and your lawyer will handle it

    Basically it’s a long raod and hard, even in the US which has a massive need for nurses I have found at lot of road blocks and many hospitals have a standing no sponsorship policy! It’s rough and it stinks but I do know many people on Visa’s so keep plugging!

  7. Great comment, Chanda! Thanks so much. I hope other students find it helpful.

  8. Preeti says:

    Thanks for the article! i found it very helpful.
    I am an international student with a nursing major and am begining to look for jobs at a Hospital that accepts international citizens and also is willing to sponsor my green card etc…do you guys have any sugestions?
    Thanks!

  9. Shawn says:

    I feel this is a genuine concern and was addressed very adaptly. Being an international student my self I realize that some of the myths have blinded and hampered our process of understanding what exactly the facts are.I Have no doubt in my mind that this is an opportunity to pierce the viel and get an insight to the actual truth…

  10. Natasha says:

    I find this article to be extremely accurate. I’m an international student at an Ivy League school and I have been to several recruiting events and as soon as I mention that I am an international student, the vibe completely changes. I’ve been through five interviews and all of them ended as soon as I mentioned I needed a sponsorship. I think companies don’t realize its not a life-long sponsorship, its just basic paperwork. But with the new lottery system for H-1 visas, things have gotten worse for international students. Not to mention that with this economy, no company is willing to hire anybody let alone some international student. Feels like my degree is worth nothing and its not too comforting to know that I could get my master’s degree and still find myself in the same situation. So after thousands of dollars and four years I’m still jobless :(

  11. Hi Natasha,

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re having the same frustrations as other international students. I wish that there was more that I could do to help, but it seems as though employers just aren’t willing to make the effort to go through the sponsorship process.

    I think that the best way to attack this mentality is for international students to start working together to bring awareness to this issue. Have you talked to your Career Services Office about this?

  12. Hen says:

    Hi there my fellow international students,

    This is a short story of my life. I might just write a book about it (finger crossed).

    I am also one of many international student out there, who is currently struggling to find a job. I just graduated this May, and currently on OPT Status (it is a 1 year work permit which costs $340). I have been moving from Kansas to California in an attempt to find a better opportunity, and It turns out to be worth the long journey. Each week I will have at least 1 or 2 interviews in CA, better than only 1 interview per-month in KS. But until now, my interviews have been producing the same outcome, a rejection.

    Several companies were offering me a free training, free accomodation, and a free sponsorship, and so on. But I know that these companies are crooks, scammers. They always ask the victim to sign a ‘Contract’. This contract lists nothing that favors its employee. It is funny that all of these companies have employers with Indian accent.

    Like everyone else, I have my bad day, and my car just got stolen. I went to the police station to report this incident, and I was surprised when they ask me whether I want to prosecute or not.

    I come to this country in a hope of finding a more peaceful and non-discriminate place to stay. But all hopes are lost when it discriminates me just like my own country did to me (I am a chinese born in another country with a majority of muslim citizen). I paid 3 times the tuition of a citizen to study here. I feel frustrated of seeing the “ONLY US CITIZEN OR GREEN CARD NEED APPLY” words in major job postings.

  13. Bash says:

    Hi all,
    I understand your frustration. I am an international student with a BSc in electrical engineer with business minor. It is very painful what we have to go to but we just need to keep our heads down and get rejected over and over. Something will eventually go through. Only question is will we run out of time before that. Is there anyone out their that is truly educated about the process and can write about what sponsorship really means, what it costs the company, and maybe some myths about the us-internationstudent job market e.g. H1-b, how does it really work? etc. Or does anyone know about a blog that puts this in plain concise english?

    Thanks!

    ps: I placed better that 95% of my class. Had senior leadership roles in 3 organizations, worked 2 internships (how did I get em? oh that is another story altogether) and I still have trouble finding a full time job as a college grad.

    • Thao Do says:

      Hi Bash, if you don’t mind, can you share how did you got the internships? And how are things going for you now?

  14. SJ from NY says:

    Hi, everyone!
    As an international student, like you guys, I have many stories to tell. Unfortunately, most of discrimination and pain.
    I lost a very good job when I was doing my first OPT (after my graduation from an Associates Degree Program). This company, MS, one of the few financial giants that survived the crisis, fired me due to a mistake in my hiring. I was destroyed. Later, I suffered more and more discrimination and rejections (yes, they are two different although quite similar things). Finally, I was hired while still in college. I am still working under this process called CPT (Curriculum Practical Training). I was really “lucky” because my boss was really nice. The company was German and little did I know… they had big troubles… among them paying salaries on time, and the right amount. Conclusion: I had to find another job. A crusade, as you know. Fortunately, I think God (I’m not religious but I do believe in God) felt sorry for me. I found this great job due to the experience I had in the past. It is a great company the one I work for now. I am very happy. Soon, I will get my second OPT (after my BA Degree) and have been working for them already for almost one year (one year now in April) but unfortunately for me, the boss who hired me (a Canadian) is no longer my boss. I have now an American guy as a boss. He has an old style of management but that is not a problem. The issue is that the first day I went to talk to him (since he is now my new boss) he had this attitude which is obviously discriminatory, of saying he will not offer me a full-time position because they do not want to train someone like me. I am now in this situation in which I really can’t do much. As a CPT I can only work part-time (20 hours a week only) so I can’t really work as much as my other coworker who got hired at the same time and just got promoted. He does not even has an Associate Degree or speak three languages but still he got promoted. I feel favoritism from my boss but what really bothers me is his attitude. I feel very lucky in that I haven’t even graduated and have some experience in my field. I’m also a citizen of a country that has agreement with the US so it would be very easy to get a work visa. I wish I knew how to proceed. For now, I will just hang in there and do my best. I am very saddened by the way we are treated in this country and pray to God one day this situation changes for the good of this country as well as ours. i know I can bring more business to this company (they are global) and they already have a project in my home country. I can be useful; I do not need to be treated this way.
    I wish you all good luck and I beg if you are reading this and have any tips to share it here.
    Best,
    SJ

  15. carmela says:

    i just really need to gripe..like most of you im also a nursing student on a student visa and im extremely panicky. My OPT kicks in starting july with the lovely 90 days to look for a job or you’d be out of status. i was under the impression that most hospials are sponsoring no worries, but with the retrogression, not one hospital in los angeles is sponsoring.=( if anyone is in the same boat, i would love some feedback or advise.

  16. Freddy says:

    Well !! I read all your posts; and I feel a little disappointed. I came here (USA) 3 months ago with a F1 visa. In my country, I’ve got a master in business law and i worked over there during 3 years in lawyers offices, right? I chose to get some american diplomas to get a chance to find a better job, here or in my country.
    But arrived in this country, I’m knowing very bad things, very bad experiences. 1st, the college I’m attending doesn’t recognize my diplomas, the credits I earned and they consider me as a freshman. To avoid the lost of my student status, I’ve been obliged to pay for freshman classes. Now, I’m attending those classes, but it’s not easy for me.I’ve got a professional experience, I’m graduated and I’m not young (29).
    2nd, I don’t get the right to get a job during 1 year !! They don’t get some exceptions ? And for the next years, I need some authorization !! What a hell!!
    3rdly, to improve your skills in english, you don’t get friends or some persons to talk with. You stay alone ’cause you are afraid to make mistakes and be laughed.
    Fellow intl students, I need help. If this adventure goes on like that, the next year, I’ll come back in my country even if we get war over there

  17. Freddy says:

    And I need detailed explanations about diffrents steps from freshman year to the senior year.
    What’s the GPA? You get other stuffs like that. I need some explanations, you know? This country isn’t easy. I was ready to live in hell. But not like that.
    Thanks
    Best, Fredd

  18. Leaky says:

    I am a foreginer and thinking of going to law school. Does anybody know if American law firms willing to sponsor H1B for Intl’ students? If they do not tend to sponsor for foreign workers, then my plan will be screwed.
    Please let me know if you have any information about this. I am desperate.
    Thanks,
    Leaky

  19. teena says:

    hi fellow international students…

    like most of you, i also have the same dilemma. I am an international student with a BS nursing degree in northern california. during my four years in college, i was jobless because no one would hire an international student. Most hospitals or other healthcare field are asking for your ssn before they can process your application. we are all aware that we need their acceptance first before we can have ssn. but they never understand it. i have gone through a total of 4 rejections in seeking for a job. with this economy right now, my number will still go up.

    good luck to all of us…..

  20. carmela says:

    HI Teena!

    were you able to find a nursing job now? im still looking for one but i know no one is sponsoring..=(

  21. Chris says:

    Leaky, law firms are much less willing to hire international students, unless those firms have a significant immigration law practice. But that is a relatively small group, especially when the legal job market is already shrinking.

    Don’t forget to put everything on your side. Being an international student means you probably have no local attachments and you will probably not be able to practice solo. So the notion that a JD is a JD does not apply to you-. Meaning: go for the best ranked school you can afford (USNEWS rankings have acquired a life of their own, no point in fighting); do extremely well in your first year, and GET A SUMMER INTERNSHIP.

    In any event, if you love the law, go for it. Just accept that you might have have to settle for a job in “law-related” fields. And if that’s the case, one should wonder, then why spend all that money on a legal education, when one could get a good “law-related” master’s degree for less.

  22. Siddharth Sehgal says:

    Hey Guy’s

    I study in alabama at UAB . i am doing masters in electrical engg . I came to know that alabama power and the southern company don’t hire international students .

  23. Elsie says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I was beginning to feel that I was alone in this situation until I came across all your stories. They are very sad but do not give lets keep praying, I know that God will make away for us even where there seems to be no way. My story is not different from many of yours. I got layed off from my job in March just before the company I was working for could file my H1-B petition. To make it worse, I was working in a bank and most of the banks took the economic stimulus package and the new law is that they cannot hire foreign workers to replace Americans if they took this package. Needless to say, I have been sitting home since May 2009, all jobs that I have interviewed with have directly told me they do not hire international students and most of them are not sponsoring H1-B. I am 26 years old, have an MBA and almost 5 years experience working in the financial industry and alot of companies in Minnesota are not willing to hire me even if I tell them that I do not need an H1-B and that I have a CPT. Does anyone have any advice on how we can get jobs in this current economic situation which has greatly led to an increase in discrimination against international students?

    “Do not give up, keep trying and keep looking for opportunities, if you seek it, you will find it.”

  24. cindy says:

    hey, I’m a junior at Cornell University and find this post really useful and helpful, or at least provide some comforness. I am an international student majoring in ece, so things seem not that hard for me due to the economic condition when everybody is hiring technology people, but the fact that I found two of my favorite companies are not hiring f-1 any more really is a kind of dillusion. I just came out of career fair, my feet hurt and I gave resumes to the companies that don’t hire international students…that’s little hope, but i really wish i can get the shot. Anyway, i’ll be sure to be active in building the network, and hopefully i can stay in us after graduation instead of trapped in college

  25. Farhan Fahim says:

    TO ELSIE and other international students,
    Hi guyz,
    I AM AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT AND HERE ARE SOME GREAT TIPS FOR ELSIE AND OTHERS TO FIND A JOB. NOW, I AM IN FINANCE SO MOSTLY I WILL FOCUS ON BUSINESS,
    1) HERE IS A LINK FOR COMPANIES THAT DO HIRE INT. STUDENT. P.S. IGNORE THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS SINCE THEY ARE IN TARP PROGRAM AND DO NOT HIRE US, EXCEPT GOLDMAN SACHES, HSBC, CITIGROUP.
    http://www.businessweek.com/table/08/0305_h1b.htm

    ~**THIS LIST IS ESPECIALLY HELPFUL FOR TECH GUYZ. SO LOOK AT IT**~

    2) IF U R IN BUS. PROGRAM THE UR PRIMARY FOCUS SHOULD BE ON THE FOLLOWING COMPANIES SINCE THEY ARE VERY WILLING TO HIRE US. AND NEVER MISS ANY OPPORTUNITY IF THEY COME ON CAMPUS!
    PRICEWATERHOUSE COOPERS(FOR ACCT. MAJOR MOSTLY, THEY HAVE SOME FIN AND MIS POSITION WITH THE SPA TEAM. ASK THEM)
    DELOITTE( GOOD ONE FOR MIS, FINANCE, ACCT) SUCH A GREAT COMPANY TO WORK FOR
    ERNST & YOUNG ((FOR ACCT MAJORS MOSTLY BUT MIGHT HAVE SOME FOR FIN)
    KPMG( ANOTHER GREAT COMPANY FOR ACCT. MAJORS MOSTLY BUT MIGHT HAVE FOR MIS AND FIN)
    QUALCOMM ( GERMAN PIONEER IN TELECOMMUNICATION, GREAT FOR TECH GUYZ)
    BLOOMBERG ( GREAT FOR FINANCE AND TECH GUYZ, WANT SOME FAT CHECK THEN THIS IS COMPANY U SHOULD APPLY, BUT THERE WORKING ENVIRONMENT IS NOT GOOD, CROWDED BUT WHO CARES!)
    SEO-USA.ORG ( A GREAT PROGRAM FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS! IT IS A SPONSORED PROGRAM BY ALL THE LEADING FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. U APPLY HERE AND UR RESUME WILL BE DIRECTED TO OF THESE COMPANIES INCLUDING GOLDMAN SACHES, CREDIT SWISS, U NAME IT! DEADLINE IS DECEMBER SO HURRY!)

    PLEASE REPLY BACK AND LET ME KNOW IF IT HELPS. WISH U GOOD LUCK…

    • Cindy Leaung Zhang says:

      Thanks for all the information! It really helped me a lot because I am also seeking on majoring in Finance. Currently on my second year here in San Francisco and I want to start looking for internship/job opportunities.

  26. meeka says:

    Don’t worry guys. I was in a same situation as many of you and international student in U.S. So, I understand your frustration. I was thinking like you that all the doors will be open to me if I get a green card! Guess what? This frustration is NOT going to end for foreigners like us because I got my green card sometime ago and searching for an engineering job for the last one and half year after I got my BS in electrical engineering from one of the best and well known university in U.S (GPA 3.8/4.0). I have job experience from my home country too! But still nothing works. Can you believe that I am working as a normal labor to pay my bills? In Fact, American people consider all of us as foreigners even if you are a naturalized U.S. citizen. Simply, they don’t care what type of paper or authorization you have from immigration. They only know that you are not one of them. I have a cousin, he is born in U.S. (so he is a natural born citizen, under the law he is eligible to be U.S. president candidate) then his parents took him back home. He finished his high school back home and returned to U.S. and finished his engineering. His GPA is more than me and he has 1 year of internship experience. Guess what? He is working in Wal-Mart as a cashier because of what? You guess? Maybe his English accent is like me not like Americans or what? He got tired of receiving too many invitations for interview and after phone or on-site interview they turn him down. You may think that he should polish his interview skills or communication skills but this is not the problem because he spent lots of money, passing many courses and interview practice of this kind in professional organizations.
    Any way, I want to advise you to go and find people who are willing to employ foreigners and the rest is just paper work.

  27. Luis Carlos says:

    Hi everybody!

    Im another int student that has just beginning to feel the frustration that comes along with being discriminated. I wanted an internship between my junior and senior year so I decide to look for it, but nothing!!! so I decided to research about the problem (I knew that i was not alone in this situation, and someone must of write about it and how to tackle it).

    Here is my advice: !!!!NETWORKING!!! ( we need to met people who can hire us, make friends, because friends wont care if we are not U.S citizens, and they will help us with the paper work)

    I’m going to start my senior year and try this method, at least its giving me some hope. Good luck to everyone else in this situation.!

  28. Catherine says:

    There is an unaddressed problem here – the problem of US citizens who have international qualifications. Mine come from the UK (bachelor’s degree and master’s degree). I attended a top 10 world-ranking university (top 5 within the UK). Even though I’m a US citizen, I can’t easily get through the door of any US companies because my qualifications are from the WRONG COUNTRY. They have to be “translated” into US qualifications. I have never lived in the US and so I can’t easily get a background check, either.
    It’s a disaster for people with international backgrounds, US citizens or not. And I thought my international background would make me a competitive candidate in the US – ha ha ha! What a joke.

  29. Silvia says:

    I’m a undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Student and have found that the following companies to not hire you unless you have permanent work authorization (Green Card), US Citizenship, or US Nationality:
    Accenture, Beckman Coulter, Boston Scientific, GE Global Research, Medtronic, and National Instruments.
    The following will:
    Minnetronix Inc., St. Jude Medical, American Medical Systems, Mayo Clinic

  30. Mariel says:

    This is just too depressing. Is there anyone out there that has a success story to share?

  31. Randolph says:

    Im a future biomedical engineer from University of California San Diego. Its really hard not to worry about my future when reading all these stories. I will try my best at school and try to get into the masters program. Have any of you considered moving to a country where immigration is easier? Say Canada or Australia. I know of people who have been able to obtain some special visa which allow them to move to Australia and find a job there as if they were citizens. I love California but Id be ready to move anywhere where my talents are appreciated.
    Good luck to all of you!

  32. Sam says:

    I have a bit of a success story if you want to call it. I did face the same things you guys described here. I graduated in Dec. 2009 with a degree in Finance, not from a Top tier school, as I had not $$ to pay for a more decent one. I had to take 6 classes each semester and work 20hrs at school plus 20hrs outside for cash. After my graduation, I had no job and have been very stressed to not having a job. I did have to do some crappy jobs to get some cash to pay for rent, meal, cell etc. But that was hurting me so much. I was feeling a decrease in self esteem and my confidence was at my lowest level. I knew I could not go home (no jobs there either) and knew it is tough in US. But, i kept on looking for jobs here in USA. Since, my native language is Russian, I was primarily targeting any Russian subsidiary in USA. So, I would type “Russian” in monster or even in Google (Russian language is a plus, Finance degree) and would get some results. So, I applied to many companies that were indeed requiring knowledge of Russian, and one of them accepted me to work. Well, it is not the best work on earth and I actually hate it, but they sponsored me for H1b and offered 40K plus benefits. Right, not after a year of work, I faced the issue of looking for another job, just because I got tired of my current one and ready to move on. So, fellow int. students keep on trying. There are jobs out there. Do your best. Your are not alone. Do not fell crashed. Try, try again and you will get the result.

  33. Sophia says:

    Hi Sam,

    I am going through the same situation as you did 2 years ago. Just curious…how long did it take you to get an offer from a company that would sponsor you for H1B? Hope your job search is going more smoothly this second time!

    Sophia

  34. nima says:

    Hi guys…..

    wow its seems like i am in same boat as you are but mine is more harder because i am international student and i am deaf too that they won’t hire me because of that… but im not give up trying and I have gone for interviews few times they turn me down because of sponsorship but I mostly volunteer which it is helped me little bit and that I have keep look for a job but i don’t know where i can look for a help because career center or any kind of job workshop will not know what to do to help international student that they just offer a advice that is it……. it is tough road but just rem to not give up and trying there is always way to get what you need to make it happen.. I wish yall good luck…..

  35. Neha says:

    Hi Guys

    Finally I found people like me at one place. I am also an international student with Master’s degree in technical field. I have been looking for jobs since 2 months and had no luck yet because of this sponsorship issue. Its a bit weird trend that big firms are reluctant to sponsor visa whereas start-up firms are so welcoming on this issue, and they seem more knowledgeable too. I have lost two job at second round because of being an international student. Its really frustrating!!

  36. Tomm says:

    It really depend on your major, networking, experience and communication skills.
    If I can restart, I would choose exotic degree or hard but high demand one because it is easier to obtain the working permit due to rarity or lack of demands. E.g. Petroleum engineering, bio tech weird stuff, nuclear, aerospace, comp science, anesthesiologist, surgeon,etc
    Do you guys realize that Opt can be extended for total of 18 months only for Stem major? Science math technology,engineering? But not for business major. Life isn’t fair.

    For me if you are business major and have several experiences in your resume and have great fluent English , it would be much easier. I noticed most of people who got hired is because of their precious experience and great communicator. I also notice engineering or tech people who have xperience and go for MBA in US are also easier to find job. Most of the good job in hedge fund, trading, banking company been asking me crazy math brain teaser question. So please brush up your skill and of course your resume as well. Mkesure you can explain whatever in it clearly and smartly

    The conclusion is USA is trying to weed out entry level who has no work experience and low quality people. They try to get the best talent and this is really competitive.

    I suggest you go to other country if you have zero or no great experience and not really smart student. You cannot be average here, otherwise u only depend on luck.

  37. Sandi says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I understand your frustration, but DO NOT GIVE UP. I was an IS and now on H1-B. I got my degree in Social Work and I am a Licensed School Social Worker. Next step is to get a clinical. But wow, it was difficult, especially in my chosen field. I recall my advisor stating why I got in such field and that I would never find sponsorship. She did not even try to encourage me to look for a job. Her attitude was more like I do not know what you will do when you graduate and you pick the wrong field. I did not give up; that is not an option. Got several rejections, but finally got working on OPT, than got my H1B with the same company after that. I am trying to get my GC and still because I really need another job, which is not easy with this economy. But you have to keep on moving. And like someone was saying, most employers especially those not experienced will not evn give it a 2nd thought. Also, look out for those companies who want to pay you nothing because of your situation. I got that and than I said no to them because regardless, I do not want to be taken advantage of, especially when you look at the job you are doing, the commute, time and effort and know that you should be making at least more than half of what they want to pay you. But keep on working and it will come to you.

  38. catherine says:

    hi, my dear friends in the same boat – international students :) I am a recent MBA graduate myself, therefore as all of you looking for the job. cant say that I succeeded yet… but keep on trying still.
    I have couple of successfull stories to mention not of mine own, but of the people I know, were in the same position and got the jobs. they went through these consultancies, that were mentioned earlier in this article – where you are offered a free training and accomodations, than they will ask you to write completely fake resume and will market you as a 5-6 yrs employee. you will get the job eventually, and these companies will sponsor you for H1B. However, you would have to lye about your experience, your visa status – cant say you have an OPT etc. my friends say that it is the hardest time – on the interviews and once you are first on the job, where u supposedely have 6 yrs of experience.. but once you do the first job – it gets better… I did tried it myself, but couldn’t lye – get nervous and depressed because of it… therefore decided this path is not for me. try to do it the right way… didn’t succeed yet. its such a shame that US government says they will try to keep educated people in this country and do absolutely nothing for it… just keep on trying and praying. there should be the light in the end of the tunnel :)

  39. Pranny says:

    Hi, currently I am completing my bachelors in india as a student of Pol(sc) hons , and thereafter want to do my masters in LAW from US just need to know as which company in the US can sponsor me for the graduation and thereafter completing my masters I join the company and work till the contract amount paid by the said company is cleared.

  40. Yeo says:

    Hi Willy,

    I’d just like to add some clarifications about the H1-B list you posted. My friend who works at Accenture told me that they don’t hire international students who only have undergraduate degrees. I’m not sure if that information is correct, but it might just be helpful to add a disclaimer to the list that some companies might consider that (fresh grad vs. experienced hire policies for international students).

  41. Carla says:

    Hi everyone!

    so…this isnt a success story, at least not yet, but I do have some advice.
    whoever said NETWORKING, agreed! It took me three years to realize that APPLYING ONLINE IS A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME for an international student. As soon as you hit the “will require sponsorship” option, you get automatically placed in the rejection pool…even if you have friends who work at the company.

    My advice is to talk to people who understand what you’re going through. In my case, none of my professors had any idea about OPT or H1B sponsorship, they hadn’t even heard about it. It wasn’t until i approached my research adviser who was from India, that he took it personally, and found me an internship (I got really lucky i found him). Because the thing is, since as an international you can’t apply online, your best chance of getting hired is if your professor reccomends you to someone in industry, who is hopefully high up enough to hire you in spite of HR nonsenses. That being said…you still have to nail that interview, but its easier once you know that they’re aware that you’re international, and are still interested.

    And this worked for myself as well as my other international friends. Just be ready to email your resume to as many connections as you might have, explaining the issue, and if you should be good to go

    Right now, I am working my first job out of college…I unfortunately have not figured out how to get sponsored for an H1B visa, but im confident (and this I also heard from a friend who just got H1B) that since I was hired by people who know I am international, if I manage to make myself essential, they will put up a fight before letting me just leave the country and thus their company (hopefully!)

    for those of you who were asking, the problem with H1B, and the main reason why people don’t want to sponsor, is because it the paperwork alone costs about $2000, which a lot of people don’t want to spend unless they can rest assured that the employee will stay for a really long time (and I mean at least 5 years, although you are by no means obligated to anything if you do get it), plus it requires immigration lawyers (which is why only the larger corporations tend to be able to afford it easily), and the company is required to pay for it (as in you cant offer to pay for it yourself, in case you could afford it)
    but it does happen for some people, so not all hope is lost! hopefully I can be one of the success stories in a couple of months :)

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