With unemployment at 8% and the U.S. economy in recovery, the job market is very tight, which makes it that much harder for international students to find work after graduation. It’s estimated that 75% of jobs are found through professional connections or personal referrals. So how does one stand out in a pile of resumes? Apply for an internship and make those connections through organizations like IGSS while you’re still in school.
Here are some tips from IGSS on how to get started:
Register With Your University Career Center. Get a calendar of all career events, workshops and resume building tutorials. Meet with a Career Center advisor to help you create your resume template. Take advantage of all seminars offered.
Examine Your Strengths and Skill Set. Are you bilingual or trilingual? Promote these skills prominently in your cover letter. There are many global companies based in the U.S. in desperate need of international students that can properly translate their materials and explain cultural intricacies to their American employees.
Make a List of Target Companies. What industry are you most passionate about? Which companies are most likely to sponsor an H-1B Visa? Ask. Don’t waste your time interning for a great startup that could never provide a job after you graduate. Your time is valuable!
Attend School-Sponsored Job Fairs. Research the companies before you attend (most universities will provide a list prior to the fair). It’s quite impressive when you can share what you admire most about a prospective company. Ask recruiters what services and skills they need most and then tell them how you can help fill that need. Ask about potential employment in the future — and their corporate policy on H-1B Visa support.
Research the Company. Glassdoor.com provides an overview of a company and the latest industry news, along with employee/intern reviews. If they are a public company, check their earnings. When was the last time they had layoffs? Read everything you can find and decide if this is the culture you will be happy in — even if it’s just for a three-month internship.
Follow Your Target Companies on Social Media. Most companies have a social media profile that provides daily updates. Follow them on Twitter and “Like” them on Facebook. Follow them on LinkedIn, too and you will automatically receive job postings in your newsfeed.
Find a Mentor. Have you met someone that has a job you would love to have in the future? Ask them to be your mentor. Invite them to lunch (your treat) and ask the questions you really want to know. Perhaps you can intern at their company.
Ask for Recommendations. From your professors, classmates and internship supervisor. They can write these on your LinkedIn profile or provide them verbally via phone in the future. This will help tremendously in the application process.
Volunteer. In addition to internships, volunteer opportunities provide another way to make more connections, all while doing something positive for the community. New York Cares is a great organization that provides hundreds of volunteer opportunities to choose from in the metro area.
By attending IGSS, you will gain more insight into internship opportunities.