Oregon State University

Preparing for the Job Search

Clarify Your Career Goals. American employers seek candidates who are goal-directed and focused. Know what you want to do and be able to discuss your goals with employers. Need help with this? Check out the Career Exploration section of our website and/or meet with a career counselor for assistance.

Research the Industry - Read the news, reasearch, magazines, etc. about the industry. Be passionate about learning as much as possible about the industry including following companies and people on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Examine Issues of Cultural Differences. Cultural values reflect personal and lifestyle choices, cultural perspectives and how individuals relate to one another. As an international student pursuing employment opportunities in the U.S., closely examine inherent cultural values that could impact the effectiveness of your American job search.

Develop Well-Written Resumes and Cover Letters. Your resume and cover letter can determine how successful you are in attracting potential employers. Therefore, focus on your strengths and achievements. Highlight your multi-cultural background including work and educational experience and language skills. Information regarding your Visa status need not be included in your cover letter or resume (you will have to decide what is best for your situation).

Network to Obtain Contacts in Your Field. Networking is a process through which we develop and maintain relationships with professionals in order to solicit information, advice and referrals which will facilitate the job search. It will be one of your most valuable job search tools. Maintain a list of people with whom you are in contact, including peers, relatives, professors, past employers, employers you meet at the Career Fair, etc. This may lead to information that can lead to job openings.

Utilize Career Services Resources. We offer a wide range of resources and services to help you prepare for your job search.

Contact the International Student Advising and Services Office (ISAS). To ensure a smoother transition into the U.S. job market, it is necessary to become familiar with the regulations involving your Visa and to have the proper documentation authorizing you to work. ISAS provides current information regarding Visa regulations and work permission stipulations. Don't underestimate how long this process can take...START EARLY!!!

Be able to communicate how to hire an international student to an employer. It is important that you are aware of the hiring process for international students since many employers have never hired an international student and may not be aware that it is not as difficult and time-consuming as they may think. Most paperwork is your responsibility and the responsibility of your international advisor. Check out What Employers Should Know about Hiring International Students for more details. Also, meet with an international advisor if you have questions.

Question not answered?

Please contact Career Services for assistance by phone or email: