Are you settling down in an American campus and ready to seek employment? The job-hunting journey does not have to be daunting. Click on each category below to learn about the career development process. Understand the step-by-step process of securing the job you deserve.

  • Step 1: Know Yourself

    Are you at a career crossroad thinking of the vocational path you should follow? The first step is to get to know yourself better by exploring your interests, strengths, and values.

    • Interests- Discover your interests from your field of study, reflecting on the activities you enjoy doing or taking a career interest test with the MU Career Center.
    • Strengths- Take the Clifton Strengths assessment to identify where you excel. Also, think of the unique skills you can offer as an international student, such as cultural sensitivity, language skills, international experience, etc. 
    • Values- What do you regard as important? Your values may be shaped by your culture or family’s influence. Find out how your family is related to your career choice

    Step 2: Learn about the Job

    A great way to explore your career fit is through experiential learning. It is a form of hands-on experience that can build your resume, develop networking, and lead to personal insight before one steps into the world of full-time work. 

    Step 3: Understand the Visa Requirement

    As an international student, it is essential to understand the work eligibility and restrictions for different types of visas. Check out the links below for each visa category and its work opportunity.

    • F1 & J1 Visa: Curricular Practical Training (CPT)- Work opportunity while you are still in the academic program
    • F1 Visa: Optional Practical Training (OPT)- Work opportunity upon the completion of your academic program
    • H1B Visa: Temporary employment in specialty occupations after completion of your academy program


  • Step 4: Part-Time Job Search

    As an F1 or J1 visa holder, you are only allowed to work part-time on-campus for up to 20 hours/week during the academic year. Here are ways to search for a part-time job:

    • Visit or call on-campus employers
    • Create an account at HireMizzouTigers, learn how to do it here
    • Academic Department’s Listserv
    • Join Student Employment Canvas group that provides resources to assist with finding and preparing for employment 
    • Network with professors, colleagues, friends, classmates, and people you meet for the first time!


    Step 5: Full-Time Job Search

    To secure a full-time position, allocate adequate time for your job search as it involves attendance to OPT workshop, application to different openings, and preparation for interviews. Here are ways to search for a full-time job:

    • Career Fair or Virtual Career Fair
    • Company’s website
    • Career sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and
    • Network such as alumni, professor, friends, family
    • Events such as conferences, workshops
    • Professional Associations


    Step 6: Networking

    This is the #1 way job seekers learn of positions in the United States. Networking literally means that people you know – family, friends, professors, advisors, etc.

    • Face-to-face interactions through conversation, involvement in events and projects
    • Build a professional profile on social media site

    Step 7: Prepare Application Documents

    Your resume is your advertisement to the employers that should look professional, target the needs of the employer, and highlight your strengths, skills, and experience.

    curriculum vitae (CV) is distinguished from a resume by its length and content. A CV is a comprehensive biographical statement (generally three or more pages) emphasizing professional qualifications and academic credentials. (Q: Is there a PDF article for CV too?)

    Cover letters are a way to tailor your application to employers. It is an opportunity to expand on your experience, detail your reasons for applying, and express your knowledge about the company. Cover letters help you to stand out among other candidates and showcase your communication skills.

    Step 8: Ace the Interview

    If you’re selected for an interview, you’re one step closer to securing the job. The interview is a great chance to present yourself by expressing your interest and qualifications for the position.

    • Find out more about the comprehensive guide on interviewing skills for international students.
    • Here is a list of common interview questions for international students.
    • As an international student, here are your possible strengths:
      • Fluency in different languages
      • Knowledge of other cultures and connections around the world
      • Globalized worldview due to international experience
      • Ability to adapt and adjust to a whole new culture effectively
    • When to talk about your visa status?
      • Never withhold your visa status from an employer
      • It’s recommended that you tell them during the first or second interview after you feel you have “sold yourself” well and they are interested in you.

  • Step 9: Learning U.S. Workplace Culture

    Congratulations on landing a job! It’s perfectly normal to have some self-doubt at the beginning. You can gain more confidence by knowing and adapting to the work environment.  To be successful in your career, it is vital to consider the work culture in the U.S.:

    • Hierarchy- American organizations have quite a flat organizational structure but with a clear chain of command and detailed instructions. Employees are motivated strongly by their superiors but there is little direct criticism in either direction. Members of staff do however expect constant feedback on their work.
    • Decision making- Americans say exactly what they mean, words do not contain a hidden meaning. When making decisions, American managers are categorized as having a high-performance orientation. Decisions are driven by competitiveness and are very result-oriented
    • Time perception- Punctuality is extremely important in the U.S. Being on time – especially at meetings – is essential for your success. Being late can be seen as a sign of disrespect.
    • Dress code- The U.S. offers the widest range of different business dress codes. What is considered appropriate clothing for business varies widely, both between regions and between fields of employment.
    Adapted from


    Step 10: Transition into the “Real World”

    Here are tips to adapt to the U.S. workforce:

    1. Learn to ask for help
    2. Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
    3. Seek input from your coworker
    4. Own your accents as it is your identity
    5. Believe in your idea and propose solutions
    6. Make strategic connections
    7. Provide international perspectives
    Adapted from Vault Careers