Frequently Asked Questions

What skills do I have that I can “sell” to an employer as an international student? 

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 practice, and intercultural competence. 

When should I start looking for a job?

Ideally, as soon as possible! Searching for a job in the US is a process that takes time and long term investment. Networking and following potential job leads should start as soon as you begin your program. You should have a polished resume and cover letter writing and interview skills by the time you have reached your final year in your program. Attend an OGS employment session before your last semester at Georgetown so you are confident in the regulations that apply to your immigration status and know the processes for applying for work authorization within 90 days of your I-20 expiration date.

Should I list my immigration status on my resume? 

Your visa status should not be listed on your resume. 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. 

When in the hiring process do I reveal that I’m an international student?

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 get past the initial screening measures to the interview. It is usually 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, if you 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?” 

What should I say when an employer asks about my work authorization (F-1 student)?

Explain that you have the legal right to work in the US 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 one of the STEM fields, 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.  Helpful hint: Avoid using the word “sponsor,” instead use the word “petition” when speaking about H-1B status. 

How do I qualify for an H-1B visa?

The H-1B is a specialty occupation/temporary worker visa.  In order 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 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.