International Student Careers

How do I start looking?

Most international students who hold an F-1 visa are permitted to work in the United States under certain conditions, and we look forward to assisting you with employment search. Connect with us early on to prepare and plan for a successful internship/full-time position search!

We can assist you with every step of employment search, from building your resume to practicing interviewing, keeping in mind what U.S. employers are looking for and how you can clearly communicate the qualities you bring as part of your academic preparation and international experience.

 

 

 


Know How to Market Yourself

U.S. employers look for applicants who have clear career goals and the ability to describe how one’s skills and experiences align with position requirements and the company culture. Be sure to carefully research organizations of interest prior to speaking with a recruiter and applying for positions.

Follow the links below to more tips on looking for employment in the United States. When you are ready to discuss your next steps, set up a meeting with a career advisor.

On-Campus Student Employment

Schedule an Appointment Find On-Campus Employment

If you are an international student with an F-1 non-immigrant student visa, you are permitted to work in the United States under certain conditions.  An option is On-Campus Student Employment: Students can work up to 20 hours per week on-campus while in school, and up to 28 hours per week when classes are not in session (winter/spring breaks) and during the summer.

Steps to find On-Campus Student Employment:

  • To look for on-campus jobs, log into Handshake.

    • Build your profile, including professional and volunteer experiences

    • When searching for jobs on Handshake, select the On-Campus and part-time filters

    • International students are not eligible for Federal Work Study positions

    • Read the description of the position and required qualifications before applying to make sure you are eligible

    • Undergraduate students can apply to hourly paid positions

    • Graduate students who do not have a Graduate Assistantship offer from their departments can apply to both hourly paid positions and Graduate Assistantships

    • Graduate students who already have a Graduate Assistantship may apply for hourly paid positions during summer, if not covered by assistantship.

Students may also:

I received an offer to work on campus. Now what?

Since immigration regulations are subject to change, consult with an advisor in the Office of Global Education - International Student & Scholar Services prior to accepting any form of employment to avoid violating the terms of your immigration status.

See additional information for working on campus.

Ways Career Advisors Can Help Include:

  • Learn how to navigate Handshake to find positions on campus

  • Write an U.S.-style resume and cover letter, as the formats are vastly different from international formats

  • Practice interviewing in-person or online with Interview Stream

Resumes and Cover Letters

Schedule an Appointment Review Sample Resumes and Cover Letters

Two of the first steps when starting to search for jobs and internships are building a resume and writing a cover letter. Both of these should be customized to each organization and match your skills, experience, and personality traits to the position. However, there are some tips you can follow to make sure you have covered the basics of developing your resume and cover letter.

Resumes

  • U.S. resumes are formatted differently from other countries’ resumes, and we can help you design yours to reflect U.S. employer expectations.

  • Know the difference between a resume, which focuses on professional experiences, and a curriculum vitae (CV), which is for academic positions

  • Emphasize your English skills and bilingual abilities (i.e., Spoke English on a daily basis for three years.; Translated Chinese documents into English for tutoring students at local elementary school.; Fluent in both written and spoken Hindi and English)

  • Help employers understand foreign companies and schools by providing a frame of reference (i.e., One of the top three universities in India.; The largest manufacturer of polypropylene-related products in Saudi Arabia.)

  • Create and actively update your LinkedIn profile and maximize your social media networking.

Cover Letters

  • The cover letter accompanies your resume when applying for positions to let employers know why you are interested in their opportunity and organization. You should customize each cover letter to match your skills and experience to the position.

  • Emphasize your English skills and bilingual abilities (i.e., Spoke English on a daily basis for three years.; Translated Chinese documents into English for tutoring students at local elementary school.; Fluent in both written and spoken Hindi and English)

  • Help employers understand foreign companies and schools by providing a frame of reference (i.e., One of the top three universities in India.; The largest manufacturer of polypropylene-related products in Saudi Arabia.)

Enhance Your English Proficiency

Schedule an Appointment Join Student Organizations

Here are some ways you can improve your English-speaking skills:

CPT and OPT

Office of Global Education

Curricular Practical Training (CPT):

Students can obtain work outside the university prior to degree completion if their academic program includes the option for an internship/practicum and the experience is related to your major. To work in an on or off-campus internship, you must be authorized to complete Curricular Practice Training (CPT).

  • To be eligible for CPT, you must prove that:

    • The position or internship is an integral part of your program or major.

    • You have been enrolled at KSU for a full academic year.

    • You received the internship/job offer first and it is “directly related” to your major.

  • Visit the website for the Office of Global Education (OGE) and fill out the CPT form.

  • Your academic advisor needs to fill out the CPT form as well, stating the internship is an integral part of the program.

  • Approval is granted by an Advisor at OGE and processing could take up to one week.

  • The CPT is typically valid for 12 months. Using CPT for more than 365 days WILL CANCEL your OPT.

  • You may intern/work up to a maximum of 20 hours/week if classes are in session or more by contacting ISSS.

  • You can work full-time when classes are not in session (summer/winter break).

  • There is no cost for filing the CPT.

  • Keep in mind, many students relocate to bigger cities for internships or invest in cars in order to commute.

Find policies, procedures, and application guidelines at the Office of Global Education.  CPT must be authorized by the Office of Global Education.

Optional Practical Training (CPT):

The most common route for full-time employment off-campus on an F-1 Visa is to apply for Post-Completion Optional Practice Training (OPT) which is a 12 month work authorization status within the F-1 visa. You may also use Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) to intern or work in a field related to your major before you graduate if your curriculum does NOT “require” this experience.

  • OPT can be used for full-time employment (40 hours a week) in a job that is directly related to your major/degree

  • OPT is approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)

  • Those in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) may apply for an extension of 24 months, over and above the 12 months granted

  • A student can apply for OPT after completing a full academic year, but cannot start employment until the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is received from USCIS

  • Begin this process early since it takes 90+ days to process applications. USCIS must receive your application no later than 60 days after your graduation date

  • OPT is permitted for each degree level earned. For example, you get 12 months for Bachelor’s and another 12 months for Master’s and so on

  • The OPT does not require company sponsorship and the company does not need to file any paperwork on your behalf

  • You can change positions using this authorization

  • There is a $410 cost associated with filing the OPT

  • Find policies, procedures, and application guidelines at the Office of Global Education website.

Since immigration regulations are subject to change, consult with an advisor in the Office of Global Education - International Student & Scholar Services prior to accepting any form of employment to avoid violating the terms of your immigration status

Interviewing With a U.S. Company

Schedule an Appointment Practice with Interview Stream

  • It is important to research a company in depth before an interview and understand how to dress appropriately. Be aware of cultural differences and adjust to U.S. business etiquette.

  • Direct eye contact and a firm handshake are expected.

  • While some cultures expect interviewees to maintain a humble and subservient demeanor, in the U.S., one should address interviewers as though they are colleagues with similar interests, while remaining professional at all times. Demonstrating your knowledge during the interview is expected and shows initiative and interest in the position.

  • Employers are less likely to hire a candidate if the sponsorship process sounds too complicated. If asked about whether you require visa sponsorship, speak confidently and don’t let the topic take over the interview. Focus on the skills, qualifications, diverse experiences and multilingual abilities you bring that can enrich the workplace.

What you can do to prepare:

 

  • Practice interviewing in-person by scheduling a Mock Interview with a career advisor

  • Practice interviewing online with Interview Stream and have a career peer rate your interview

  • Develop and practice a strong, introductory elevator pitch to create a positive first impression.

  • Enhance your English-speaking skills 

 

H1-B Sponsorship

Going Global

H1-B Sponsorship and Targeting Employers

The best option to work full-time for up to six years is to have an employer apply directly for an H-1B visa on your behalf. Become familiar with the H1-B sponsorship process and keep in mind that the U.S. Government caps the number of available H1-B visas granted in the U.S each year. 

Here is some information to keep in mind about the H1-B visa: