Q: When should I start looking for a job?
A: Ideally, as soon as possible! Searching for a job in the U.S. is a process that takes time and long term investment. Building your professional network and following potential job leads should start as soon as you begin your program. You should have a polished resume and practiced interview skills by the final year of your program. Attend an OGS Employment Session before your last semester at Georgetown so you understand the regulations that apply to your immigration status and know how to apply for work authorization within 90 days of your immigration document expiration date.
Q: What skills do I have that I can “sell” to an employer as an international student?
A: Your individual strengths will depend on your background, but some common strengths that many international students possess include multilingual skills, geographic flexibility, proven work ethic and motivation, a thirst for continual learning, adaptability to new environments, knowledge of global business practices, and intercultural competence.
Q: Should I list my immigration status on my resume?
A: No. Your educational background and work history will display that you are an international student. You should never lie about your immigration status, but it is not to your advantage to draw attention to it.
Q: When in the hiring process do I reveal that I’m an international student?
A: While some employers adhere to strict policies against hiring foreign nationals, others may prefer to hire U.S. citizens but can be otherwise convinced. It should be your goal to advance to the interview stage. It is recommended that students wait until an employer asks, but be aware if the company has petitioned for visas in the past. If you are uncertain and are being asked to travel for an interview, it would be wise to ask at that time, “Is this a position in which the company is willing to petition for an H1-B as I am currently in F-1 status?”
Q: What should I say when an employer asks about my work authorization (F-1 student)?
A: Explain that you have the legal right to work in the U.S. for up to twelve months using Optional Practical Training (OPT) following graduation. The employer does not need to do anything in order for this to happen. If you have graduated with a degree in a STEM field, then share that you are eligible for a 24-month STEM extension of your OPT. If you do not have a degree in a STEM field or if you've completed your STEM extension, you should explain that your work authorization can be renewed for another three to six years with H-1 B status. At this point, if the employer asks for more information, you should be able to clearly explain the H-1 B process. To learn more, OGS hosts an H-1B session each semester. **Insider Tip: Use the word “petition” when speaking about H-1B status, instead of "sponsor."
Q: How do I qualify for an H-1B visa?
A: The H-1B is a specialty occupation/temporary worker visa. To qualify for H-1B sponsorship, the position must require at least a Bachelor's degree in a specific field and then you must meet that qualification. The position must also require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge. Positions which require any Bachelor’s degree or no degree at all do not qualify.