U.S. Employer Expectations
If Americans find job searching overwhelming and difficult here, then it can be even more so as an international student. Keep in mind, however, that your ability to speak another language, to adapt to a new culture and to juggle competing priorities makes you an asset. To get started, make an appointment with us to learn about the best resources, tools and strategies to ensure you are set up for success in the United States.
Visas and Sponsorship
Employment While a Student
The Office of International Service is the best resource for you to learn what employment looks like as a student at USC. Whether you are on an F-1 or J-1 visa, OIS will provide you with steps to find employment that is right for you.
- Your ability to communicate clearly and correctly is the number one skill employers seek. Hone your English skills at USC’s Writing Center, practice what you learn through A Writer’s Reference, and make an appointment with us so we can review your communications (e.g., cover letters, resume, and networking emails) in advance.
- Consider higher education opportunities: your international experience, cultural competence and language skills are desirable.
Job Search Strategies and Resources
- Check out each company’s work authorization requirements before applying to any job or internship.
- Keep in mind: generally, international students can’t work for the U.S. federal government, for the majority of U.S. state and local government agencies, or for private companies contracted by the government.
- Check out this list of companies that hire international students on OPT or academic training.
- optnation.com: the largest online job portal for international students
- GoinGlobal: provides country specific employment and career information that is updated daily
- Monster.com’s Global Gateway: contains resources for international students who want to work in the U.S., and U.S. students who want to work abroad
- Foreign Labor Certification Data Center
- myvisa.com: use this site to match your visa to potential job opportunities. Find employers who have sponsored your skills/occupation before, and contact them directly
Common Cultural Differences
The list below is a sample of the differences you may encounter throughout the interview process:
- In the United States, interviewers appreciate a firm handshake and making eye contact. It’s appropriate to discuss strengths, weakness and personal experiences that relate to the conversation. Schedule a mock interview with us so you can practice!
- During the interview, follow their lead. It is not atypical for interviewers to engage in small talk (e.g., topics including the weather, sports, movies or travel) in advance of the interview beginning or throughout it.
- It is customary to follow up with a thank you note 48 hours after the interview takes place.
- Should I list my visa status on my resume? No. Your educational and work background will typically indicate that you are an international student.
- When should I reveal my work status? This depends. Hiring managers and interviewers should ask appropriate questions during the recruitment process, and you should always answer honestly.
- Are there questions that are illegal for an employer to ask me? Yes: visa type, nationality, place of birth, citizenship, and inquiries into your native language are off limits. Factors like race, gender and age cannot be considered in the interview process. See these Guidelines: Lawful and Unlawful Interview Questions.
- What if someone from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services calls and threatens me with deportation or tells me to make a money transfer? Hang up and report it! For more information, please click here.