International Students, let’s talk about your prospects for a minute.
This will be a quick read, I promise.
In a nutshell, your life in America is amazing. Where else would you rather be right?
It really sucks too in the only way that matters:
Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.
You can’t find any. Damn.
Because administratively, it’s tedious for employers to hire you.
My first job in U.S as a Student Assistant required my campus employers to write me a letter to take to the Social Security Administration Office to get my SSN. They had to be patient with me the entire process. It would have been way easier for them to just go with an American.
While a student, in order for me to Intern, not only did I have to register for an Internship class and pay tuition for that, I had to find a company to hire me.
Companies ask, “Will you need sponsorship, now or in the future?”
The only answer options they provide in the applications is, “Yes or No”
But the true answer to that question is, “I don’t need sponsorship right now, I just want to intern. I have Employment Authorization as a student…sort of”
So you answer “Yes” because of the future part, and you’re automatically disqualified.
But wait… There’s hope.
Persistence is the only way to go as a student on an F-1 visa.
The number of rejections I got as a student was enough to scatter even Denzel Washington’s confidence.
Sometimes I’d get really close like I did with Amazon in 2014, but they’d find out about my immigration status and pull the plug.
Those ones really hurt.
But I didn’t stop. Nope! The stakes were just too high for me to throw in the towel.
I kept applying for positions. I kept getting rejected.
Until May 2015 when I got my breakthrough.
I was nice to a guy in class, and it came up in our conversation that I was looking for an internship. He offered to send my resume to his former supervisor. I ended up getting an internship offer with them, Company A.
During this same time, I also got two offers from positions I found on Glassdoor.com
Everything was happening so fast, and simultaneously.
I ended up going with $15/hr Company A, even though Company B offered me $18/hr.
I identified Company A as my best shot of getting to my current employer, KPMG, and I was right. They sponsored my employment, and I’m still with them.
- Keep searching and applying. My first internship wasn’t until one month before graduation.
- Get excellent grades; your immigration status is already a hard sell, don’t give them any more reason to reject you.
- Be nice to people you meet and make connections. A lot of job positions are not advertised. You get them through referrals.
- Your major matters; there are more internships in Accounting or Computer Science than there are in International Business or Biology for that matter…way more.
- Educate the employers; interject and tell your recruiters that you are able to intern and they don’t have to sponsor you to intern. These lovely people are not immigration experts.
If you want it badly enough, do the right things, and continuously pound the pavement, you’ll eventually get a break.
There’s no other country that rewards hard work and persistence like the United States.