A Department of Student Affairs

Global Students

Finding employment can be difficult for international students.  The Career Development Center can help you determine companies in which to seek positions and clarify the hiring process for you.  You have probably already discovered that attending school as an international student or scholar requires many forms. Some of these forms are used to satisfy the needs of the U.S. government, and others are required by the University.  All steps and forms must be completed in a required order and time period.

Below are resources to help you in the career exploration and preparation process. This list does not include everything, but will hopefully help you as you develop and achieve your career goals.

Working in the United States:

General Information

Getting Started on Your Career

Career Resources

Working Abroad:

Networking

Job & Internship Search for International Students

Tips When Applying for Jobs Abroad

General Information

As an international student, there are a few important things that you may want to think about as you search for internships and full-time employment. The Career Development Center can help you with these things.

  • Making time to gain experience in addition to your studies is VERY important. You can start right on campus through involvement in student groups, doing research with professors, volunteering, on campus jobs, or internships for credit.
  • Securing an authorization to work in the United States or elsewhere can be complex. It is important to start early and learn about the different visa options. Check the Office of Global Affairs website for further information.
  • Being aware of the expectations for getting a job in your home country or culture and how they might be different from those where you’d like to work will make you a better prepared job applicant.
  • Your unique cultural background and skills may make you especially attractive to organizations that have an international focus such as political and cultural non-profits, large Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and multinational companies.  Resources such as Uniworld can help you find them.

Getting Started on Your Career

Landing a great job after graduation, or getting into graduate school, takes more than simply going to class each day. A few tips and facts are listed below to give you some insight on what you can do now to succeed after graduation!

  • Explore your Options.  Explore your interests, strengths, personality, and values and how these relate to major and career options. Start by making an appointment with a Career Development Specialist.
  • Get Experience. 50% of employers expect students to have 2 or more internships by graduation and graduate schools like applicants who have conducted research. Don’t know where to begin? The Career Development Center can help you get started!
  • Become a Leader.  Employers rank leadership experiences as second in importance when reviewing applicants. To learn more about leadership opportunities at UCO, visit our Student Organization page here as well as our Leadership Central department here.
  • Visit The Career Development Center. The Career Development Center staff members are experts in helping students reach their career goals.  Because we regularly talk to employers in your industry, we may better assist you than you will find through general online resources. 

Career Resources for International Students

While there are countless online and print career resources, we have summarized several high-quality resources to help you as you search for jobs and internships:

Student Employment International students can work up to 20 hours a week on campus without a change in visa status. Working on campus can be a great opportunity to build experience and skills. Use HireBronchos to search for student jobs on campus. Current students access Hirebronchos through their UCONNECT and Campus Services tab.

Volunteer and Service Learning Center Volunteering is a great way to build experience and skills that employers value. The VSLC can help you find a volunteer position that will fit your interests and schedule.

Student Research, Creative, & Scholarly Activities Grant Program(RCSA) :The RCSA  program helps students gain experience through research. Talk with your professors about their research interests and discuss research opportunities in your discipline and with the department chairperson to inquire about potential mentors and possible research opportunities..

Adjusting to American Culture While You Study at College: What do you need to know about American culture at a US college? Some of the topics addressed include grade point average, small talk, time and tipping.

Networking

Meeting with professionals who work in your career area of interest, especially other internationals who may be able to give you good advice from an international perspective, can be a great way to get career advice and find information on jobs.  Below are a few ways you can find people in your field that might be able to help.

  • Job shadowing and volunteering are great ways of networking with professionals in your area of interest.
  • Ask family, friends, advisors, or instructors of people they may know in the field for you to meet with.
  • Create an account on the online professional networking site LinkedIn.com and join groups such as the “China Young Hospitality Professional Network”, an organization that aims to promote international knowledge exchange between Chinese hospitality students and foreign students who are interested in pursuing a career in China. or “Indian Finance Professionals”, a group for finance professionals in India.
  • Join student groups that relate to your professional goals.  This is a great way to network with your peers and many groups bring in professionals in the field to speak with students.
  • Attend career fairs, career forums, organization information sessions/networking events, and visit employer tables in the university center  to expand your professional network.
  • Join a professional association. Professional associations are groups of people who work in a similar industry that meet for  professional development and to network.  Research professional associations related to your field. Some may even be specific to your unique cultural background. Attending organization meetings can be a way to find professionals eager to help you navigate the world of work.  To find professional groups check out Weddle’s  or simply Google using key words that match your career interests such as “Accounting Professional Association” "Mechanical Engineering Professionals".

Tips When Applying for Jobs Abroad

1. Research thoroughly. As in any job hunt, a serious research stage is very important. Take the time to explore the economic, political and cultural structure and stability of each place you want to consider moving to, as well as the effect your job abroad will have on your work-life balance and your career.

Researching a foreign market is crucial. You absolutely must understand the region’s cultural nuances, employment laws and language requirements. Understanding the cultural differences when compared to the US is very important. Work weeks, hours of operation or even dress code varies from country to country.

Carefully researching the visas and work permits for each foreign country is also essential, and you should do it early, before you apply for any position.

Make sure that when looking at the expected salary of a job, you look up the conversion rate to know how much money you will be receiving in US dollars. You can do this by looking up a currency convertor online.

2. Use your networks.  To get the most accurate picture of your potential fit, speak to others currently at jobs similar to the one you want. Use social networks to find introductions to professionals working in the area. Don’t underestimate the power of sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

3. Make sure your job application stands out. Once you decide what employers to pursue in your chosen country, prepare an application that will set itself apart. Be honest about your oral and written skills. Don’t claim to have proficiency or fluency in a language if this is not true.

Be prepared for differences in the application process across the globe, especially regarding personal information. Sometimes, candidates will be asked to submit a C.V. instead of a résumé.

To find the differences between a résumé and a C.V., look at: http://fordschool.umich.edu/downloads/GlobalResume.pdf

We have also included a condensed version at the end of this document.

4. Prepare fully for your interview. After successfully securing an interview, do more research on how to interview in the country you want to go to. For example, as an American, you may be used to highlighting your independent accomplishments; in Brazil, where teamwork and hierarchy are especially valued, that could make you appear egotistical.

In any country, the initial interview may be conducted over a video conference call or the phone. Even if you’re not meeting the interviewer in person, dress for the interview anyway and be confident. Be sure to demonstrate flexibility and the capacity to adapt to new environments.

When interviewing for jobs abroad, it will be important for you to ask questions. Suggested questions include:

  • Will I need to purchase my plane ticket or is this something the company will do?
  • What visa will I need to apply for?
  • Will I need a strong command of the country’s language?

Think of more questions and don’t be afraid to ask; your potential employer is a great resource and will be able to help you in the job application process.

Once you’ve secured the job

5. Consider the practicalities. Ensure that you are personally and psychologically ready for the move. Even if you’re going a country where they speak the same language, you’ll encounter differences in everyday life that require flexibility, patience and a sense of humor. Don’t rush to judgment or make invidious comparisons about the new culture. Wherever you end up, relax and enjoy the different way of life. Here are some other things to consider before traveling abroad:

  • Research visas. After talking to your employer, you should know which visa to apply for. A visa is an authorization granted by a country to a non-citizen to enter and temporarily stay within that country. Depending on the country, you may have to go to an interview as part of the visa application process. The country’s consulate website will have more information on visa application.
  • Start an international cellular data plan. You could always start a new cell phone plan when you arrive, but it is advised to already have a phone handy in case of emergencies. 
  • Buy international insurance. Your place of employment may not offer you insurance. In this case, we recommend the purchase of international insurance. Prices vary depending on how long you are abroad.
  • Inform your bank that you are going abroad. Many times banks will turn off accounts if they see that purchases were made out of country. Inform your bank that you will be traveling abroad, including the length of stay.

6. Stay in touch with your employer. Your new employer had valuable information and will be responsible for helping you obtain your work visa. Your employer will have more information on how to obtain a visa and what documents they recommend. They will also be responsible for producing a contract that outlines the type of job and length of stay in their country.

7. Know your consulate. You will want to look up where your country of employment’s consulate is located in America.  Make sure to look up which consular district your consulate general falls in. For example, the Brazilian consulate has a jurisdiction for Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The consulate will be your resource to help you obtain entry requirements you’ll need to work in that country. Documents you will need to have readily available when applying for a work visa include:

  • Passport
  • Two or more passport sized photos
  • Letter from employer explaining the type of job and length of employment
  • International Insurance

Before traveling to your country of employment, you will also want to look up the local American embassy in that country. They will be an important source of information when working abroad.


Career Development Center