We have outlined career resources that are relevant to international students by incorporating cultural factors. Explore different topics below to find out steps and advice to further develop and pursue your career goals.
+ CAREER EXPLORATION
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 assessment like the Career Interests Game or Focus 2.
- 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.
Get Skills and Experience
A great way to explore your career fit is through experiential learning. It is a form of hands-on experience that can help you build your resume, develop networking contacts, and lead to personal insight before you step into the world of full-time work.
Understand Visa Requirements
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:
- F1 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.
- J-1 visa: Academic Training Work opportunity that can be used during or after your academic program
- H1B Visa: Temporary employment in specialty occupations after completion of your academic program.
+ CAREER PREPARATION
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:
- Create an account at HireMizzouTigers.com, learn how to do it here.
- Join the Student Employment Canvas group that provides resources to assist you with finding and preparing for a campus job.
- Network with professors, colleagues, friends, classmates, and people you meet for the first time!
- Visit or call on-campus employers.
Full-Time Job Search
To secure a full-time position, allocate adequate time for your job search as it involves lots of research and preparation. 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 GoinGlobal.com
- Network with alumni, professors, friends, family
- Events such as conferences and workshops
- Professional Associations
This is the #1 way job seekers learn of positions in the United States. Networking literally means connecting with people you know (family, friends, professors, advisors) and making introductions to new contacts in your field of interest.
- Get involved in events and projects through student organizations. MU has more than 30 different organizations for international students to help them get more involved on campus and learn more about American culture.
- Build a professional profile on social media sites like LinkedIn and start connecting with professionals such as Mizzou alumni in your fields.
Prepare Application Documents
Your resume is your advertisement to recruiters that should look professional, target the needs of the employer, and highlight your strengths, skills, and experience. As an international student, learn the tips on crafting a resume or CV that is appealing to American employers.
A 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.
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.
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 to American interviewing 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
We also encourage you to use Big Interview, a web-based program that combines training and practice to help improve your interview technique and build your confidence. You can record, share, and rate your recorded interview responses and watch tutorial videos for tips and advice on how to succeed. There are resources for specific circumstances such as English as a second language or being introverted/modest.
When should you 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 made a good impression and they are interested in you.
+ PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Learn U.S. Workplace Culture
There are several offices and programs on campus dedicated to helping international students learn more about U.S. culture and how to be successful in career pursuits:
- Intensive English Program (IEP). This program offers non-native speakers of English a high-quality program of intensive English Language training
- Language Partners- Women’s Center. Connects a native speaker with International Students for speaking practice.
- MU International Student and Scholar Services. In addition to important information regarding your visa status and many other important issues, the ISSS also offers several programs and services to support newly admitted, current, and graduating international students.
It’s perfectly normal to have some self-doubt at the beginning of starting a career. 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 tend to have 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: Many 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 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 CareerProfessor.works
Transition into the “Real World”
Here are tips to adapt to the U.S. workforce:
- Learn to ask for help
- Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
- Seek input from your coworkers
- Own your accent as it is your identity
- Believe in your idea and propose solutions
- Make strategic connections
- Provide international perspectives
Adapted from Firsthand