The Job Search for International Students During COVID-19

Amidst all of the changes and uncertainty that have come with the coronavirus pandemic, international students understably have more questions about how this will impact their job and internship prospects. A recent article on Vault.com written by Marcelo Barros, author of The International Advantage, outlines some strategies for international students to implement during this period of time. This blog post will review some of those tips as well as specific FREE resources available to international students, and how the Fleishman Center plans to continue to support you.

TIP 1: Master the Art of Networking Online 

Recent survey data has found that 75% of jobs are found through networking. That means that 75% of the time you spend on your job and internship search should be devoted to building your network. This is an area that international students often fall short. Now is a great time to build more confidence reaching out to new people and requesting informational interviews (Check out page 27 of the Career Guide). So where can you find people to reach out to?

  1. Mentor Match: A new and FREE resource that allows students to connect with alumni from a variety of fields who are on the platform because they want to help current Binghamton students. 
  2. LinkedIn: Check out the ‘Alumni’ tab on the Binghamton University school page and browse through thousands of alumni. When you ‘Connect,’ make sure to include a professional note inquiring about their availability to connect by phone or online.  

TIP 2: Practice Interviewing

How comfortable are you with in-person and virtual interviews? Do you have your answer mapped out for common interview questions like ‘Tell me about yourself,’ and ‘What are your strengths and weaknesses?’ Even if you don’t have an interview scheduled on the horizon, this is a vital job search skill that takes ongoing practice to master. Here are some ways to practice:

  • Big Interview: Find this resource through HireBING and start practicing hundreds of different interview questions from the comfort of your own home. Plus, get access to interviewing tips and strategies, as well as video tutorials on a variety of interviewing topics.
  • Mock Interview program: Schedule a virtual ‘mock interview’ appointment with a Fleishman Career Consultant through HireBING to receive individualized feedback on your interviewing style and answers. 

TIP 3: Get Comfortable Articulating Your Value

As you continue to network and apply for job and internship opportunities, it’s important that you are able to clearly articulate your skills and qualifications on your application material and in interviews. This includes providing concrete examples, for example, of how you prioritize tasks or lead a team. Take this time to reflect on your past experiences (jobs, projects, extracurricular activities…) and identify skills you’ve gained from each experience.  

TIP 4: Think Creatively About How to Gain Experience and Build Your Skills

Traditional jobs and internships aren’t the only way to gain experience. Marcello Baros suggests “lending” your skills and talents to smaller organizations by reaching out and suggesting ways that you can help their business grow. Another idea is to suggest virtual internships arrangements to employers. Make sure to highlight your comfort with virtual technologies and your ability to be flexible and adaptable in your communication to employers. Also use this time to develop new skills sets. There are currently lots of companies and schools offering free trainings, including:

TIP 6: Use The Time to Reflect

As international students, you have additional concerns to think about regarding how employment decisions will impact your immigration status. Are you considering your Plan B and Plan C? In terms of your job search, think about what you want from a job while also being flexible. That dream job or company may no longer currently be a viable option. You may have to pivot temporarily if securing employment in the US is a top priority. Do research on what industries and companies are currently hiring and focus your search there. Even if the job title isn’t what you were expecting, it may be a position where you can still gain valuable transferable skills that will support you in your future career. 

    • Check out Interstride: Complete your Career Gameplan, search for jobs, gain Visa Insights, and gain access to informative articles and webinars 

Final Points: You don’t have to do this alone! The Fleishman Center is here to support you along the way. Schedule a same-day Zoom appointment in hireBING and speak with a career consultant for assistance with:

  • Career exploration
  • Job or internship search
  • Mock interviews and interview prep 
  • Building your network virtually
  • Resume, CV or cover letter review
  • + Any career-related topic!
By Daisy DeMasi
Daisy DeMasi Daisy DeMasi