Career Resources for International Students
Whether you are seeking employment in the United States or abroad, Career and Professional Development (CPD) can assist you with non-immigration topics in your career development, including selecting a major, seeking an internship, co-op, or full-time position, and applying to graduate school.
Career and Professional Development advisors are happy to help you with non-immigration career-related matters, such as resume writing, interviewing, networking, identifying employers, applying to jobs, applying to graduate school, and more! CPD resources are detailed below.
- Career and Professional Development cannot provide immigration advice.
- Your work authorization is determined by your visa status. Depending on your visa status, such as F-1 or J-1, you may be eligible to work on-campus, off-campus, or both.
- Before seeking any form of employment, whether paid or unpaid, you must determine whether you are able to legally work in the United States. To do so, you must contact the immigration advisors at Virginia Tech who can advise you on requirements, eligibility, changes, and other information you must know.
Whom to contact for work authorization advising:
- Undergraduate students: Cranwell International Center.
- Graduate students: Graduate School Services for International Students
For more in-depth topics, please make an appointment. Job search documents, strategies, and etiquette vary by country in which you are searching. Advising by appointment allows time to talk about cultural differences and learn the proper strategies to search for jobs and internships in the U.S. and to learn more about resources available to you. Remember that CPD advisors cannot advise you on immigration matters.
- Contains resources for international students seeking H-1B sponsorship.
- Includes an H-1B Visas tab; use to search for companies and job titles that have been sponsored through H-1B visas since 2009. Even if you are looking for experience through OPT/CPT/Academic Training, using this search feature can be helpful, because these employers have hired international individuals in the past and therefore might continue hiring international students in the future.
- Also includes guides for the job search in over 100 countries and cities, with information on resume writing, job search engines, and financial / cultural considerations.
- CEIP provides options for undergraduates to be enrolled for a Virginia Tech zero-credit course (CEP 4084 for full-time work; CEP 3084 for part-time work) while completing an internship or co-op through Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
- (Graduate students must consult the requirements of the Virginia Tech Graduate School: Graduate Cooperative Education Program.)
Career and Professional Development has a library of over 800 books in our Career Resource Center in Smith Career Center. The following are a few examples tailored to international students seeking employment in the United States:
- Make Your American Dream A Reality: How to Find a Job as an International Student in the United States (#7)
- 3 Steps to Your Job in the USA: International Student Edition
- The International Advantage: Get Noticed. Get Hired!
- Power Ties: The International Student's Guide to Finding a Job in the United States - Revised and Updated
- It is YOUR responsibility to be up-to-date with changes to work authorization in the United States and your individual eligibility.
- If you have questions:
- Undergraduate students: Direct questions to the Cranwell International Center.
- Graduate students: Direct questions to the Graduate School Services for International Students.
- Career and Professional Development cannot provide immigration advice.
H1Base: Information on the H-1B visa program.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): Information on working in the United States as an international person.
OPTNation: Information for both OPT and CPT. Job search resources, top companies, and OPT/CPT-friendly companies along with featured articles.
MyVisaJobs: Work visa database. Current H-1B visa reports include company name, number of certified / denied / withdrawn applications, and average salaries.
International Student: Tips for the H-1B visa job search. Fee-based service provides access to H-1B employer resource.
Commisceo Global: Information on acclimating to US culture.
Common Cultural Barriers (University of Virginia): Information on cultural barriers commonly faced by international students in the job search.
International Student Careers: Advice and articles about job / internship search as an international student in the U.S.
Certain visas, such as F-1 and J-1, can provide the authorization to work on-campus and/or off-campus. To determine if you are eligible to work in the United States, contact Cranwell International Center or International Graduate Student Services.
Each individual company will make the decision whether they will hire international students or not. If a company’s policy is that they will not hire international students, you must continue searching for employers that are willing.
As an international student, you may be placed in the position to explain the employer responsibilities concerning OPT/CPT/H-1B to a potential employer. If you do not feel comfortable doing so, please direct the employer to Career and Professional Development.
There is no “correct” answer to this question. You are not required to list your visa or work authorization status on your resume or cover letter. However, you may be asked about work authorization on a job application, and you should answer honestly.
You may wish to share your international student status with an employer upon first contact. Doing so will reduce the likelihood that you will go through the hiring process with a company that will turn you down for being an international student. This can help save time for both the student and employer.
Some students wait until the interview stage, during which the student has has a chance to “sell yourself” to an employer. For employers that are unfamiliar with the process of hiring international students, this can give the student a chance to explain the process and potentially persuade the employer to hire international students.
Note: do not wait until the end of the process to inform an employer that you are an international student. Not only does this waste time if they are unwilling to hire international students, but they may view you as untrustworthy for hiding this throughout the entire process. You do not want to have a job offer revoked because you waited too long.
Internships and volunteer work are different, even if the internship is unpaid. Meet with an immigration advisor in Cranwell International Center or International Graduate Student Services to discuss the appropriate actions.
Your off-campus employment must be related to your field of study. If you are unsure whether your employment meets this criteria, please speak with your immigration advisor.
The job search is competitive, and you may not find a position after you graduate within your grace period. It is vital that you job-search both in the United States and in your home country to increase the likelihood that you will find employment after graduation. You can search for jobs and internships in other countries using GoinGlobal.
In the United States, some questions cannot be asked during an interview to help lessen instances of discrimination. Therefore, interviewers cannot ask questions about a candidate’s age, race/ethnicity, gender/sex, country of origin or birthplace, religion, disability, or marital/family status. If you are unsure whether you have been asked an illegal question or not, contact Career and Professional Development.
Employers are legally able to ask two questions related to employment authorization (wording may vary):
- Are you authorized to work lawfully in the United States for (company name)?
- Will you now or in the future require (company name) to commence/sponsor an immigration case in order to employ you?
- For information on your rights and career options as an undocumented/DACA student, please visit the following websites: