What Employers Look For In International Students

Being an international student on a U.S. campus can be a rewarding yet challenging experience. A challenge of the same momentum is the job search after college if an international student decides they want to stay in the United States, both in the legal and competitive aspects. However, there’s no need to rush into these varied, stressful factors. Instead, we can take baby steps to achieve career success, and the first is the application process. So if you want to stand out to an employer as an international student, here are some things employees look for that can help you get a headstart in your next job application.


Exceptional Education

Since international students will be competing with U.S. citizens/residents, it is much harder for them to stand out immediately because sometimes employers avoid going through the hassle of the visa process. Therefore, it is essential to stand out from the get-go, usually in the form of the international student’s major or education level. STEM major international students, for example, are a lot more likely to secure jobs in the U.S. and even secure a longer OPT term than other degrees. If you don’t major in STEM, there are still several ways to stand out on your resumé, such as your education or involvement in a campus setting. Whatever makes you stand out will be advantageous in the long run.


Intercultural Fluency

Now more than ever, companies prioritize and highly value diversity in the work environment, which is precisely what international students can bring to a company. However, there is much more to a diverse work environment than simply not being from the U.S. This particular aspect focuses more on the fact that because you come from a different country, you can offer innovative feedback, suggestions, and perspectives based on these cultural differences. Employers will also take note of how well you assimilate with other people from different cultures and work efficiency. It’s even more advantageous if you speak more than one language or are familiar with your region’s market or business.


Interest and Networking

Like any career advisor will tell you: networking takes you places, regardless if you’re an international student or local. Therefore, start engaging with companies you’re interested in as early as possible. There are many approaches to this, such as attending Career Fairs or any events companies host. The more interest they show, the more familiar employers will get with them and the higher the chances of employment. First, however, make sure that you find out if the companies you’re interested in working for sponsor international students.


Visa Process Fluency

Though it might seem obvious, international students must know their visa requirements, limits, and crucial deadlines for applying to programs like OPT, CPT, H1B visas, or green cards. Most of the time, the Center for International Students and Career Services offer the best resources for students who may need to become more familiar with the process or need extra help. Still, for the most part, the students must stay on top of the process because if they miss anything, they can risk not getting the authorization required to work in the U.S. International students should also look into any questions they may have with their colleges before starting the visa application process so they don’t make any mistakes that can affect them in the long run.

By Isabella Ampié
Isabella Ampié