International Students and the Job Search

Looking for a job is seldom easy for any student. For you, the international student, the job search process can be especially confusing. You may lack an understanding of U.S. employment regulations, or perhaps you are unaware of the impact your career choice has on your job search. You may also be unsure about your role as the job seeker and the resources used by American employers to find candidates.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Regulations

As an international student, you should only obtain employment-related information from an experienced immigration attorney or your campus USCIS representative. In addition, the USCIS’s website has helpful information and can be found at: http://www. Advice from other sources may be inaccurate! Once you have decided to remain in the United States to work, contact CMU’s Office of International Education (OIE) and make an appointment with your representative to discuss regulations and strategies for employment. In addition to helping you fill out necessary forms, the OIE representative will inform you of the costs associated with working in the United States.

Importance of Skills and Career Field

Find out if your degree and skills-set are currently in demand in the U.S. job market. An advanced degree, highly marketable skills or extensive experience will all make your job search easier. Find out what region of the United States holds the majority of the jobs in your field; you may need to relocate in order to find the job you want. Learn all about your targeted career field by talking to professors, reading industry publications, attending workshops and regional conferences, and meeting with your Career Advisor.

Role of Employers

It is the employer’s responsibility to find the right people for his/her company. The interview is successful when both of you see a match between the employer’s needs and your interest and ability to do the job. The employer (through hiring managers, human resources staff, or employment agencies) will most likely use several resources to find workers including:

  • College recruiting

  • Campus or community job fairs

  • Posting jobs on the company web site, with professional associations, in major newspapers or trade publications

  • Résumé searches via national online services

  • Employee referrals

  • Regional and national conferences

  • Employment agencies