UIC Office of Career Services
Student Services Building,
1200 West Harrison Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607-3344
Phone: (312) 996-2300
Fax: (312) 413-0383
M-F : 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
TALK TO THE ADVISERS IN THE UIC OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL SERVICES
UNDERSTAND THE JOB MARKET IN YOUR FIELD
RESEARCH YOUR OPTIONS
BE AWARE OF THE CHALLENGES, BUT FOCUS ON THE OPPORTUNITIES!
DOS AND DON'TS
STEP ONE: TALK TO THE ADVISERS IN THE UIC OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL SERVICES (OIS)
Each student's situation is unique, so be sure to consult with an OIS adviser so you will know YOUR options and restrictions. Your options as a currently enrolled student are different from your options as an alumnus, so make sure you know what you can and cannot do. OIS will be able to explain the options available to you for CPT (Curricular Practical Training) and OPT (Optional Practical Training).
STEP TWO: UNDERSTAND THE JOB MARKET IN YOUR FIELD
Unless you are in a high demand field, such as those related to Science, Technology, Engineering or Math, it is challenging for an international student to find employment in the US after graduation.
Why is that? US employers must first consider candidates who are US citizens or who already have permanent work authorization in the US. This is the primary candidate pool. When that pool does not yield enough qualified candidates, employers start considering candidates with temporary work authorization (e.g., recent graduates with OPT authorization) and candidates needing employer sponsorship to get an H-1B work visa.
Candidates with OPT temporary work authorization have some appeal but are available only for a limited period of time (the duration of their visa), and unless that employer is willing to sponsor you after completing your OPT, they will have to let you go at the conclusion of your OPT (which is just about when you will be fully trained and able to contribute).
STEP THREE: RESEARCH YOUR OPTIONS
OneSource: UIC Library
Using online databases to search companies with both a base in your home country as well as the US may increase your chances in the job search. You can market yourself as flexible (geographically, linguistically, and culturally), which can greatly benefit multinational companies. Offer your unique international status as a benefit to these companies.
Utilize the UIC library online database entitled OneSource. You must log-on through the library website at researchguides.uic.edu/databases to gain full access.
Once in OneSource, under the "Companies" icon, click the "Build a List" link. This will bring you to a screen with multiple tabs: Global, US/Canada, United Kingdom, Europe and Asia Pacific. Under the default "US/Canada" tab, the procedure for building a list of duo-nation companies (with both foreign and US base) is as follows:
You may also use the system in reverse and find a Parent Company headquartered in the US with international subsidiaries.
Uniworld: UIC Library Provides listings for American firms and their locations in other countries and firms based in other countries with locations in the United States. Can be used to track foreign subsidiaries or for job and internship opportunities.
Money Magazine Global 500
MyVisaJobs is a resource for finding H1-B sponsors in the United States. Students can view reports of H1-B sponsors and view information by industry, economic sector, state and more. Reports feature information regarding the number of visa petitions/applications and salary.
Other resources that you may find helpful:
STEP FOUR: PURSUE OPPORTUNITIES
Focus on the aspects of your qualifications that make you unique.
Organizations don't hire "international students," they hire individuals with skill sets. What do you offer that other similarly qualified candidates do not? You may have language skills, relevant cultural knowledge, technical skills or expertise, or other specific and relevant education and training that set you apart. Show why and how you are unique.
Create a strong resume in a format expected by US employers.
See example on next page. It should be brief, focused on your accomplishments, and use the language of your field (keywords). It should NOT include your TOEFL score, a photograph, immigration status, age, height/weight, marital status, race/ethnicity, religion or your personal interests/hobbies.
Learn how to write a compelling cover letter.
Your resume is a factual document detailing your education and achievements. The cover letter must be tailored to each position and details how you are a strong fit for that particular firm and position.
Develop an in depth understanding of your industry and the organizations you wish to approach.
How well do you really understand the profession you wish to enter? Who are the major employers? What are the employment trends? Be ready to answer two key interview questions: What do you know about our industry? What do you know about our company?
Leverage your existing professional contacts and grow your network.
Your best assets in any job search are the people in your personal and professional network of contacts that know you and your capabilities. Seek out their advice and assistance and work to grow the size and diversity of your professional network.
Attend job/career fairs. There are numerous job/career fairs on campus during the year -- they are noted on the Office of Career Services website. When possible the programs will indicate which employers hire international students. These are great opportunities to present yourself to employers in person and highlight your strengths and unique skills, and to grow your professional network.
Seek opportunities to practice your interviewing skills.
The Office of Career Services can assist you with mock interviews to help you learn how to present yourself in the strongest way possible.
BE AWARE OF THE CHALLENGES, BUT FOCUS ON THE OPPORTUNITIES!
Copyright © 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois