Identity-Based Resources: International Students

International Students

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The Academic and Career Advising Center (ACAC) career advisors can help you with job search, resumes, interviews, and finding employment to apply to.

We recommend that you connect with the International Programs Office for advice on VISA rules and regulations. Understanding your work status is very important, and you can explain it to employers later, if necessary. 

Career Advisors will provide individualized support to help identify and explore your career interests, values, and goals. Please reach out to to book an appointment with your career advisor to discuss strategies for entering the workforce.

Tips for International Students for Successful Employment

  • Meet with a career advisor to assist with resume and cover letter development, and proofreading employment documents. Career advisors can also help you learn how to articulate the value of your work and international experiences to employers.
  • Strengthen confidence in your English skills by working with a community-based language partner, joining campus clubs or practicing with peers.
  • Research employers that value international experience online through Handshake,  industry-specific searches, and Top 100 H-1B Visa Sponsors.
  • Go to the International Education Week events on campus in spring semester
  • Depending on your VISA status, gain experience through volunteering, job shadow, unpaid internships or on-campus employment.
  • Maintain networks at home; build networks in the U.S. by connecting with professors and peers, using LinkedIn, interacting with Forever Humboldt, volunteering, service learning, academic opportunities, and attending conferences in your field.

U.S. Resume Tips 

Resumes include:
  • Full name, contact information (email, cell phone, mailing address) education and relevant coursework
  • Links to personal website, blog, LinkedIn profile, or electronic portfolio
  • Relevant experiences, formal internships and jobs, research, independent projects, student leadership, volunteering, and skills; i.e. languages, computer skills, etc.
Resumes do not include: 
  • Photographs, religion, or international permanent address, TOEFL or SAT scores
  • Age, gender, marital status, race, ethnicity, home country, or immigration status
Resume notes: 
  • Meet with a career advisor to have your resume reviewed.
  • A Curricular Vitae (CV) is used as a professional academic resume for grants, some internships, graduate school and research-based opportunities.

What do U.S. employers expect from me in an interview?

  • Arrive 10 minutes early; greet the employers with a smile, make eye-contact and use a firm grip during a handshake.
  • Dress appropriately for the job you are seeking.
  • Market yourself with enthusiasm and direct statements about your talents; if self-promotion is not natural for your culture, practice it with a mock interview or with friends.
  • Employers will expect you to ask questions to show that you researched their organization.
  • Understand your work authorization options; be able to state them if asked.

What assets do I have as an International student?

More U.S. companies are increasing their global connections so the characteristics and skills you bring as an international student are notable.

  • Your language and cross-cultural communication skills are important assets, especially if you speak multiple languages. 
  • Studying abroad takes resourcefulness, persistence, courage, initiative, ability to interact with diverse individuals, adaptability to new environments - all strengths that employers want. You can talk about these strengths in your cover letter and in the interview. 
  • You benefit from having a global perspective.
  • As an international student, you learn to be independent, to take good care of yourself, make important decisions, and navigate through unfamiliar situations.  

I don’t have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Will this matter to a prospective employer?

Many employers hire international employees depending on your visa status, the industry and the employer, and your immigration status. Please reach out to the International Programs office at Humboldt to learn more.

Cultural differences in the job search

  • A strong application will include both a tailored resume and cover letter.  
  • View examples of various U.S. resumes and cover letters and how they vary for different industries here.  
  • In U.S. interviews it is important to display confidence and speak clearly about one's strengths, skills and successes. Social habits may also vary in different countries, for example in the U.S. making eye contact during an interview builds connection and is a sign of interest, not of disrespect.  We recommend practicing your interview skills through a mock interview with a career advisor. Standout is another resource available for interview practice online.

Illegal Interview Questions

Federal and state laws prevent employers from asking questions that aren’t related to the job they’re hiring for. Unless these questions have anything to do with the job requirements, they shouldn’t be mentioned during an interview.

Illegal interview questions concern:

Criminal record. You can’t be asked about arrests without convictions or involvement in political causes, but interviewers can legally ask about any convicted crimes only if they relate to the job duties.

  • For example, if you’re interviewing for a job that involves guarding a priceless piece of art, the interviewer can ask if you’ve ever been convicted of theft.

If you choose to respond, you could tell the interviewer:

  • “There’s nothing in my history that would affect my ability to perform the duties of this job.”

How do I respond to illegal questions?

  1. Gracefully steer the conversation elsewhere.
  2. Keep your answers short, broad and general.
  3. Redirect a question to your interviewer.
  4. Reenforce to the employer that you have the skills and abilities required for the position.

Discrimination in the workplace

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination: Unfair treatment because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.

If you experience discrimination once you have started a job, here are some tips and information about dealing with employment discrimination.

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