Q. Should I list my visa status on my resume?
Your visa status is typically not included on your resume. In many cases, your educational background and work history will show that you are an international student. Hiring managers will likely ask the appropriate questions about sponsorship during the recruitment process.
Q. How do I answer when I am asked by an employer about my work authorization as an F-1 student?
Start by explaining that you have the ‘legal right to work in the US for 12 months, or 36 months if you are earning a degree in an approved STEM field, under Optional Practical Training (OPT)! Gaining OPT work authorization requires little or no work on the part of the employer, and also does not cost the employer anything. Then share that ‘my work authorization can be renewed for another 3-6 years with an H-1B work visa’. Avoid using the word ‘sponsor’ when talking about the H-1B application process, instead use the word ‘petition’. Here are some questions the employer may ask in the application process:
- “Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?” Yes, you are, providing you apply for and receive CPT or OPT prior to starting any job or internship.
- “Will you now or in the future require sponsorship for an employment visa status (ex. H-1B status)?” Yes.
Q. When in the hiring process do I reveal that I am an international student?
This is a very sensitive question which needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. While some employers adhere to strict policies against hiring foreign nationals, others may prefer to hire U.S. citizens, but can be otherwise convinced. Therefore, it should be your goal to get past the initial screening measures to the interview. It is usually recommended that students wait until the employer asks, but it is in your best interest to research whether the employer has petitioned for the H-1B visa in the past. However, if you are being asked to pay for 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 H-1B visa in the future?’
Q. If a company says they do not hire international students, should I even apply?
It depends. If the employer is a federal agency or has a contract with a federal agency, they are not legally allowed to hire foreign nationals. But for many organizations that say they do not hire international students, it may mean that they haven’t hired international students yet. You may be the first! In order to convince these prospective employers, it is your responsibility to educate them about the process of hiring a foreign national. Be mindful that they still may not hire you, and this can become frustrating. It is recommended that you first target organizations with a history of petitioning for the H-1B. To get started, you can use a resource such as GoinGlobal, which can be found on hireBING.
Q. What can I do to make myself a more attractive candidate?
- Get your resume and cover letters reviewed by a career consultant
- Become thoroughly familiar with immigration regulations and benefits attached to your visa status (ex. CPT, OPT)
- Research the employers and the positions in which you are interested
- Participate in a practice mock interview.
- Practice speaking confidently about your skills, interests, and career goals
- Use Big Interview (access through hireBING) to practice interviewing online through video
- Improve your English skills by speaking up in class, giving presentations and expanding your circle of native English speaking friends
- Create and actively use a LinkedIn account
- Network, network, network! Get to know people of influence in the companies in your target industry
This information was created based on an accumulation of a variety of universities’ international job search resources across the U.S., including SUNY Buffalo, Rice, Texas A&M, and the University of Virginia.