International Student Job Search Guide

This Job Search Guide has been produced by the University of Buffalo School of Management. The ECO hopes it will provide you a solid foundation in approaching the internship and

job search process in the U.S. With any questions about the guide, please write to

Although some of the offices referred to are on the campus of University of Buffalo, U.Va. has similar offices and the ECO encourages you to consult

these offices for support. The International Students Office here at UVA should be your primary source of information about the legalities of working in the U.S. after graduation.

Job Search Guide for International Students
Career Resource Center
308 Alfiero Center  716‐645‐3232 
The Career Resource Center (CRC) serves as a link between students, recruiters, alumni and faculty. We work
directly with students to assist them in developing their career plans, seeking internships and conducting their
search for permanent employment opportunities. The center does not serve as a placement agency but as an
educational resource center.
This handout is designed to assist you, the international student, with the job search process, given that your
immigration status presents a few unique challenges. In particular, this guide is targeted towards students in F‐1
status. However, other visa holders or those with newly acquired American citizenship may find some of the
information included both relevant and useful. Please note, the CRC advisors are not experts on immigration
issues. The office of International Student and Scholar Services should be your first place for information with
regards to visas and work authorization.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Regulations (USCIS)
It is crucial that you understand the definitions, regulations, eligibilities and timelines surrounding the visa status
you hold and the visa status you are trying to obtain. Explanations of work eligibility (whether it be on or off
campus) for students studying with a F‐1, J‐1 or H‐4 visa can change depending on what curriculum they are
taking within a university. Therefore, attending workshops provided by UB’s International Student and Scholar
Services (ISSS), following the information at and attending workshops provided
by the School of Management will arm you with the necessary information about your eligibility to work or
intern on or off campus. Plus, check out information from the Internships and Experiential Learning team within
the CRC to learn about your eligibility to intern and steps necessary for international students to intern off
Generally, to conduct any sort of internship or work off campus (unless you are volunteering in a non‐careerfocused
capacity for a short term, such as in a soup kitchen or at Habitat for Humanity), your visa must be
updated to show Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). Definitions and
logistical information about obtaining CPT or OPT are found on the ISSS website and in ISSS workshops:
To ensure you are aware of all applicable restrictions, requirements and deadlines, plan ahead. For instance,
OPT approval may take 30‐120 days. Once you have graduated, you should be ready to work when an employer
wants you. If the employer has to wait for your employment authorization document (EAD) card (known
popularly as a "work permit," a document issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that
provides its holder a legal right to work in the U.S.) so you are eligible, the employer may select its secondchoice
candidate instead and you may miss out on that job opportunity. We have seen this happen many times.
Non‐Immigrant Temporary Work Visa (H‐1B): Some F‐1 and occasionally J‐1 visa holders may be eligible to
change their status in the U.S. and acquire H‐1B status. To qualify for H‐1B visa status, the student must first
have a job offer with an employer that is willing to file an H‐1B petition on his or her behalf with U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services (USCIS). H‐1B visa status is reserved for individuals in "specialty occupations," or jobs
requiring at least a bachelor’s degree. The employer usually hires an attorney to file the H‐1B petition on the
student’s behalf. J‐1 visa holders who are subject to the two‐year home country residency requirement are not
eligible to change to H‐1B status without first receiving a waiver of the requirement.
The ISSS also shares information about how citizens of Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Chile and Australia can often
find relief in these visa classifications.
H‐1B Situation: Every fiscal year, the U.S. government allows about 65,000 new foreign nationals from around
the world to gain H‐1B status in the U.S. This limit on new H‐1B holders is known as the “H‐1B cap.” There are a
separate 20,000 H‐1B numbers available for foreign nationals who earn at least a graduate degree from a U.S.
institution. Some employers are exempt from the H‐1B cap, such as higher education institutions and nonprofit
research organizations associated with those institutions (not all nonprofits fall into this category). New H‐1B
petitions may be filed as early as April 1 with requested start dates for the following October 1, which is the first
day of the new fiscal year. When the economy is strong, the H‐1B cap can be reached in just days. When this
happens, petitions are then randomly selected for adjudication (“The Lottery”).
In the last few years, the U.S. economy has been rebounding from the 2009 financial collapse. If you are able to
find employment with a company willing to petition for your H‐1B, you still need to go through this lottery to get
your H‐1B selected.
 In 2013, 124,000 H‐1B petitions were submitted; 68.5 percent selected.
 In 2014, 172,500 H‐1B petitions were submitted; 49.2 percent selected.
 In 2015, 233,000 H‐1B petitions were submitted; 36.5 percent selected.
 In 2016, 236,000 H‐1B petitions were submitted; 36 percent selected.
The good news: These statistics show more and more companies are hiring international candidates. The bad
news is these stats are opening some employers’ eyes to the fact that they cannot take the risk of losing
employees after spending money on recruitment and on‐boarding. Hiring and training is expensive. Most
employers we speak to indicate it is difficult to justify petitioning for H‐1B visa for entry level roles and reserve
those petitions for roles in their company which are very difficult to fill.
STEM Extension: Two of the School of Management’s programs are now qualify under U.S Department of
Homeland Security’s rules and regulations for the optional practical training (OPT) extension for the F‐1 students
with science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees. This means that international graduate
students in our Master of Science in Management Information Systems and Master of Science in Finance
programs may qualify for an extension of their post‐graduation work authorization (OPT) up to a total of 36
months. Additionally, graduate students on an international visa who earned their undergraduate degree from
an accredited US institution in a STEM designated program are also STEM designated. Some employers are
more willing to hire and petition for candidates who are earning a STEM designated degree because the
candidate gets more chances at the lottery.
Permanent residents (green card holders) are eligible to work in the U.S. without restriction (with the exception
of government‐related work that required clearance). The application process for permanent residence is timeconsuming
and complicated. If you believe you are eligible to apply for permanent residence, contact an
immigration attorney for a consultation. J‐1 visa holders with a two‐year home country residency requirement
are not eligible to apply for permanent residence without having first received a waiver of the requirement.
There are five other options besides an H‐1B, if you qualify. The resources at‐unitedstates/
permanent‐workers describe employment‐based visas. Approximately 140,000 immigrant visas are
available each fiscal year for aliens (and their spouses and children) who seek to immigrate based on their job
skills. If you have the right combination of skills, education and/or work experience and are otherwise eligible,
you may be able to live permanently in the U.S.
Challenges to Overcome
Work in the U.S. is not guaranteed, nor promised, to foreign nationals entering the country on a student visa. In
addition to quotas set on the number of skilled foreign workers legally permitted in the country, the following
factors contribute to the difficulty you may experience trying to find employment in the U.S.
Challenge Recommendation
Lack of visas
Employers question if hiring an international candidate
is worth the risk of losing him or her in one year due to
the H‐1B visa situation.
Be the candidate who can fill their need and be ready to be
hired when they need you
Show them you are worth the risk. Have your EAD card on time
and know yourself and what you have to offer. Be able to
explain why you are uniquely qualified.
“Pro‐American culture”
Some employers like to hire people who are like
Become a Buffalo Bills fan
… or a Chicago Cubs fan or get a U.S.‐focused hobby—
whatever. But show that you have become ingrained in U.S.
culture and see yourself here for the long term. If you can
express that in a cover letter or interview, you will ease the
employer’s reluctance.
Lack of commitment to the job
Employers fear that foreign nationals will return to
their home country after a year or two and are
reluctant to invest resources into training them. It’s
common for international employees to leave for
another company shortly after the H‐1B is granted; the
companies they leave perceive the experience as
negative and are less likely to hire again.
Choose a company—not just a job
Show commitment to the company by doing your research and
be able to explain why you want that company, not just a job.
Never give the impression you want any job to get your H‐1B.
You should get a position with a company based on what fits
your future career goals. Also, consider moving to the city you
plan to live in, or even discuss the benefits of owning a home
versus renting.
Hiring complexities
Many employers are unfamiliar with the process of
hiring an international student and therefore believe it
is complicated and expensive.
Become an expert
The more you understand what it takes and how easy it is, and
the better you can communicate that, the easier it will be to
convince an on‐the‐fence employer.
Employers are concerned about foreign nationals’
ability to communicate effectively in verbal and
written English with clients and internal personnel.
Practice, practice, practice
Even if you have been speaking English most of your life, there
may be nuances that can be tweaked by spending more time
with U.S. classmates, participating in customary U.S. activities,
practicing interviews, joining a club or attending events. Always
get your correspondence critiqued before sending.
Fees to hire an international candidate can exceed
$6,000 per candidate to petition for an H‐1B visa and if
the employee is already trained and ingrained in the
culture and the petition is not approved, the cost adds
up to start the hiring process over.
In the budget?
The cost of $6,000+ per candidate is about the same as many
companies’ signing bonus and is often budgeted into the hiring
plan for the year. Smaller companies and nonprofits pay much
less. Do not give in and offer to pay; it’s illegal for the candidate
to pay government fees.
Employment restrictions
In general, as a foreign national you cannot work for
the U.S. federal government, most U.S. state and local
government agencies or some private companies
contracted by the government. Your visa status will be
less of a barrier with other industries and employers.
Focus on companies who do hire
International students will find strong employment prospects
at organizations with an international focus, such as the World
Trade Organization, World Health Organization, World Bank or
African Development Fund. You may have more success with
U.S. companies that have an international presence. Your
experiences, language and cultural fluency make you attractive.
And, if your H‐1B is denied, you may be able to continue work
in your home country.
U.S. Employment System
The first step in designing an effective job search strategy that will lead to employment in the U.S. is to clearly
understand the setting in which you are operating. As a student, you may not have had much experience jobhunting
in your home country. Even if you have, you are likely to find that job‐hunting in the U.S. is a different
process. The differences are culturally based, and therefore, you may have to work hard at overcoming the
natural inclination to conduct yourself as you would if you were looking for a job in your home country.
Different cultures have different sensibilities. Be aware of the setting in which you are interviewing.
Generally the job search for new grads, domestic or international, is very self‐directed. The school’s involvement
includes planning career events, organizing on‐campus recruitment and résumé drops, connecting you with
alumni at your request and preparing students for the job search through educational seminars and one‐on‐one
advisement. However, as a student and or new grad, your responsibilities include selecting career and industry
areas, perfecting your correspondences so they are ready when the time comes, staying abreast of events and
opportunities, attending activities, meeting people who can help in your career advancement, searching for
companies in industries or geographic regions that interest you, sending applications, following up
appropriately, preparing for interviews and so on.
You’ll notice that a large difference between the U.S. employment market and other parts of the world is the
reliance on networking.
Common Cultural Barriers in the U.S. Job Search
Often, international students experience challenges in landing jobs in the U.S. because they are competing in an
environment that is completely different than the one in which they were raised. Not only can written and
verbal communication skills present difficulties in attempting to translate thoughts into a non‐native language,
but business cultures, customs and expectations vary greatly in other countries.
In the U.S., it is important for you to be able to identify your individual contributions to an organization and be
able to “sell” that value to prospective employers. Companies do not hire teams, projects or degrees. They hire
individuals who come to the company and solve problems. Even if your work experience has been accomplished
mostly in teams, identify the role you played in projects and talk about that role with ownership and confidence.
We have found that, traditionally, our international students have talents that can easily be “sold” to an
employer in a cover letter or interview. Some of these characteristics include multilingual skills, geographic
flexibility, proven work ethic and motivation, thirst for continual learning, adaptability to new environments and
knowledge of global business practices. Capitalize on these talents, in addition to the other skills your education,
past experience and extracurricular activities have given you.
Companies in the U.S. want to be assured that their employees will represent them well. The following issues
have traditionally come up and can be addressed through your education before your job search commences.

(Note: These conflicting values represent a cross‐section from various cultures.)
Expectations in U.S. Possible conflicting values
of another culture
Assertiveness; openly discussing
Follow‐up with employers (telephone
inquiries, thank you notes, etc.).
Unless presented as part of a group
activity, citing achieved goals,
accomplishments and skills is viewed
as boastful, self‐serving and too
Asking employers directly about the
status of application may be viewed
as rude.
Individual responsibility in
finding employment
Use of a wide variety of resources in
identifying jobs, including social
networks, friends, family, contacts,
associations, career services and
academic mentors.
Networking by candidates; personal
referrals can carry great weight in
evaluating a candidate’s potential.
Jobs are found for the individual by
government, school or family
Dependency relationships in job
search are fostered. One resource
(such as an academic advisor or
employment agent) will find work for
a job seeker with little proactive
action from the individual.
Directness in
Open and direct responses to
Eye contact with interviewer, relaxed
Discussion of salary and benefits only
when initiated by interviewer or at
time of job offer.
Candidate asks questions about the
job at the end of the interview.
Eye contact, especially with people of
higher status (such as the employer
or interviewer), is disrespectful.
Appearance of criticism must be
avoided to save face.
Asking open‐ended questions about
the job may be seen as rude and
inappropriately direct.
Career self‐awareness
Demonstration of self‐awareness, as
well as career goals and how they
relate to job.
Discussion of long‐range career plans.
Ability to be self‐directed in one’s
career development.
Questioning your role in a company
can come across as disloyal.
Jobs are assigned by government or
family or determined by school or
test score.
Individual must be flexible to accept
whatever job becomes available
without regard to their own career
Expectations in U.S. Possible conflicting values
of another culture
Arrive 5 to 10 minutes before
Personal relationships are more than
time. Anywhere from 15 minutes to
two hours late from agreed meeting
time is not insulting.
Informality in the
interview process
Congenial interviewing environment
that encourages openness, some
joking and exchange of information.
Sitting with a person of higher status
requires deference. The job applicant
is very polite and does not ask
questions or provide information that
may indicate lack of respect for
interviewer’s position. Handshaking,
touching, using first name, crossing
legs, etc. are inappropriate.
Effective letters of
application and résumés
One‐page, error‐free, concise and
attractive outline of relevant job
experience, skills, accomplishments
and academic credentials.
Personalized to reflect your individual
strengths and capabilities.
Résumés are a detailed chronology of
academic and formal work
experiences and not a tool for selfpromotion.
Often contain personal information
about family, marital status, a photo,
parent’s occupation, etc.
Individual equality
Race, sex, age, religion and political
opinions and are legally not supposed
to affect the interview process.
Politeness and respect are shown to
all employees a candidate meets,
whether receptionist or CEO.
Males and older people may expect
to assume dominance in interactions
with females and younger people.
Level of organizational hierarchy may
determine the amount of respect an
individual is given.
Attitudes on gender, race and other
individual characteristics and how
they impact hiring decisions vary
from culture to culture.
Knowledge of
organization prior to
Obtain as much information as
possible about the company before
the interview. Demonstrate
awareness of organization in letter of
application and during the interview.
Research about organization may
indicate excessive and undesirable
initiative or independence.
Edited from original source: “International Students and the Job Search.” Goodman, A.P., J.A. Hartt, M.K. Pennington and K.P. Terrell, Journal of
Career Planning & Employment, Summer 1988
The Job Search Timeline
September ‐ November: Prepare. Make sure your résumé is perfect and you know how to write cover letters.
Start attending educational workshops and sign up for a practice interview as your baseline so that when an
opportunity arises, you are ready. Don’t miss early on‐campus interview signups via BizLink and Bullseye.
Attend on‐campus interviews, and go to the Management Career Fair and STEM UP fair if relevant. In the
second year of your MBA, attend national fairs, such as the National Black MBA and Prospanica conferences.
Research national organizations that have hiring programs for new grads. Larger firms that hire several people
will want candidates to apply via their websites as early as October. Do not miss these early deadlines. Even if a
company visits specific colleges and UB is not on its list, you are not out of the running. Use LinkedIn Alumni
tool, MentorLink and Firsthand Career Connectors to identify alumni working at key companies and ask the CRC
for an alumni query for the companies you are targeting and network and learn that way.
Keep in mind that most “college recruitment programs” who conduct fall interviewing are targeting domestic
candidates. Statistically, the international students who gain U.S. employment offers do so via “just‐in‐time”
hiring, or immediate hiring openings. It is easier for an employer to justify hiring an international candidate for a
specific role that has defined needs and is harder to fill. Conversely, it will be easier for you, the international
candidate, to demonstrate how your unique skill set satisfies this specific job opening. Targeting your skills
towards the employers’ specific needs allows you to convince the employer you are the right person for the job
and worthy of the company spending the extra money to petition for you and taking the risk of losing you in the
H‐1B lottery.
December ‐ February: Continue to network and interview. Recognize that during Christian holidays recruitment
is very slow. Do not take it personally if you are not called as much during this time. Attend Network New York in
January and any other networking event you can.
March and beyond: Applying for full‐time “just‐in‐time” positions in early March is awkward for most students,
and especially for an international student whose OPT has not started because you cannot actually start working
yet. Think about it from the employer’s point of view: Why would they interview you for a job that is open now
when you cannot start working for three months? But do not let this discourage you. Some employers post
positions for May grads at this time, and some are willing to wait. It is hard to recognize the difference from the
posting itself, so just apply! However, manage your expectations. Launch your OPT at the appropriate time
(February for June grads) so you can be available to work upon graduation. You do not want an employer to
move to their second candidate because they have to wait three months for you to start after graduation
because you did not launch your OPT in time.
Start your full‐fledged job search in mid‐spring if you do not already have an offer. Manage your time well with
academics, as you should be spending a lot of time on your job search if you are still looking for employment.
Spend most of your job‐search time talking to people—not at your keyboard.
The Job Search Process
Looking for a job while working hard to finish a degree can be rather overwhelming. The best way to approach
this dilemma is to start organizing and using your resources the year before you graduate. Your job search
strategy should include:
 Preparation (of country‐specific résumés and cover letters, and for interviews)
 Exploring resources
 Gaining experience
 Networking your way to a job (start now!)
 Preparing Résumés and Cover Letters
A well‐prepared résumé and cover letter are essential to getting a job interview. For a U.S. job search, your
résumé and cover letter must conform to basic, generally accepted standards. International résumés are often
vitas in comparison and very long. U.S. employers expect one page per ten years of related experience. The U.S.
résumé is succinct, including only information relevant to an employer's needs.
Some students with a previous technical bachelor’s degree may have two résumés ready because they may
apply to both business‐oriented opportunities and more technical positions as the job search progresses.
Turning a technical résumé into a business résumé can be a challenge. Consider writing how you…
worked in cross‐functional teams created results in the projects
collaborated with clients used technology to work internationally in teams
compiled and analyzed data audited or analyzed process and made suggestions
interviewed and selected staff trained and mentored new staff members
developed public speaking skills prepared reports for C‐level managers for business decisions
Personal information is usually excluded. The CRC has several resources on our website and in the office that can
assist you. If you are creating a résumé for the first time, begin by using the guide and template provided at This online tool designs your résumé in a way that 99 percent of the U.S. employers
we work with expect to see your résumé. They want to easily find information on your academic background,
accomplishments and skills, and fumbling to find that information in a difficult or unfamiliar format will just hide
the content from them. The template formats are guidelines. Your style can still show through with personal
edits, but let your content differentiate you in a positive way rather than being the reason you are not selected.
Remember, it is your responsibility to ease any concerns employers may have about hiring you. Writing bullet
points or listing advanced coursework that showcase your communication skills can help:
 “Translated written and spoken English daily for two years.”
 “Tutored international students in reading, writing and speaking English.”
 “Gave PowerPoint presentation on paper titled ________ to 50 C‐level executives.”
Give a frame of reference for foreign employers and schools when the company or school is not widely known:
 “No. 1 research institution in India”
 “Second largest technology manufacturer in Europe”
 “A US$10 million marketing firm”
International GPAs (specifically Indian)
Most employers in the U.S. would consider a percentile of 80 percent to be a “low B” average and barely passing
a graduate‐level program. Yet, in many countries, 80 percent is fantastic. It is difficult and often inaccurate to
calculate percentile into a U.S. GPA on a 4.0 scale. Therefore, we recommend you use other methods to show
your success, such as your class rank or phrases like “top 10 percent in class” or “graduated first class.”
Additionally, it is your responsibility to highlight qualities that make you unique.
International Experience:
 “Lived in Ghana for three years and the U.K. for two years.”
 “Traveled extensively throughout South and Latin America.”
 “Developed a solid understanding and appreciation for Russian culture and customs.”
Language Skills:
 “Fluent in Chinese (Mandarin) and proficient in French.”
Note: Omit that you are skilled in English. The employer will assume you are fluent, so do not give them a reason
to question your English skills. Your domestic competition never lists that skill. The marketable and unique skill is
the language that is foreign to the U.S.
Your résumé should be free of spelling and grammatical errors. After you have developed a résumé, bring it to
the CRC for review. You should also have your cover letters reviewed by a counselor to ensure the writing style
and content conform to employers' expectations. Read our cover letter guide:
 Preparing for an Interview
The interview is your opportunity to convince the employer that you are the right person for the job. In most
instances, an employer is expecting you to articulate your future career goals and past accomplishments, and
how those experiences have prepared you for the position at hand. The interviewer is assessing you according to
values such as self‐confidence, initiative, directness, teamwork, individualism and ethical standards. You must
learn to become comfortable with the idea of marketing yourself to an employer.
Nonverbal behavior may also be a barrier to successful communication with an interviewer. Eye contact,
physical distance, personal appearance and manner of dress all communicate things about you to an
interviewer. It is important that you understand exactly what you are communicating.
Understanding and mastering appropriate verbal and nonverbal communication before an interview is essential.
The CRC offers a digital video on basic interviewing at and an in‐person workshop
each fall on advanced behavioral interviewing. Once you are feeling more comfortable with the process,
schedule a recorded practice interview at or use BullsEye’s InterviewStream at ubcareers. This is a baseline practice. Make your mistakes with us instead of an actual employer! The
practice interviewer will make suggestions for improving your technique. Remember, the more practice you
have, the more prepared and relaxed you will be when the time comes for an employment interview.
When you have an actual interview coming up, arrange a quick appointment with one of our counselors to
prepare specifically for that interview. Preparation for an interview always includes doing research about the
employer. Also, the interviewer will expect you to have questions about the job or organization. It is helpful to
have those prepared in advance. Check the CRC Web and in‐office resources on preparing for the interview
ahead of time.
Note: Employers may ask about your visa status, so being able to clearly, accurately and honestly explain your
status during the interview is key.
After an interview, it is always appropriate to follow up with a thank‐you note. In this correspondence, reiterate
your interest in the position and emphasize the skills you would bring to the employer. This type of follow‐up is
not considered pushy. In fact, if an employer does not hear from you after an interview, the assumption may be
that you are not sincerely interested in the job. Read the CRC’s Web resources on writing effective thank‐you
letters and let us critique your letter if you are concerned about its contents.
“Should I list my visa status on my résumé?”
Your visa status should not be included on your résumé. Your educational background and work history will
display that you are an international student. Hiring managers will ask the appropriate questions during the
recruitment process. You should never lie about your visa status, but given the reservations employers have
about hiring an international student, it is not to your advantage to draw attention to it.
Questions about Your Status / Illegal Employment Practices
Government regulations that forbid discrimination on the basis of national origin and citizenship are somewhat
more complicated than regulations concerning such characteristics as race, sex and age. Before you go into an
interview, and even before applying for a job, you should know what information you are not required to
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 prohibits discriminating against a U.S. citizen or
intending citizen because of citizenship status. Intending citizens include lawful permanent residents, temporary
residents under the legalization provision for pre‐1982 entrants, special agricultural workers, refugees or those
granted asylum.
There is no government‐endorsed way for employers to distinguish applicants who are authorized for a limited
time or specific employer. Some employers may approach this question in the following way, which is probably
legal even though it has not been officially endorsed. The employer may ask, “Are you a U.S. citizen, permanent
resident, temporary resident, asylee or refugee?” If the answer is yes, the employer should not inquire further. If
no, the employer may ask if the applicant has a legal right to work in the U.S. If the answer is yes, the employer
may ask the applicant to explain and can then inquire into the duration and basis of their authorization.
However, an employer who uses this approach runs the risk of inquiring about citizenship or national origin.
Typically, the employer will ask one or both of the following questions in an application, of which we expect
international students to answer in the following truthful ways:
 Are you legally authorized to work in the United States? Yes
 Are you legally authorized to work in the United States on a full‐time basis for any employer? No
 Will you now or in the future require sponsorship for an employment visa (ex. H‐1B visa status)? Yes
Answering no to the second or yes to the third question does not always mean the employer will not interview
or hire you. Sometimes it just means they need to know they will have to petition for your H‐1B in the future.
What an employer can and cannot ask prior to a job offer
An employer can ask An employer CANNOT ask
National origin • What languages can you read, speak
or write? (if foreign language ability
is relevant to the job)
• What is your nationality, lineage,
ancestry, national origin or place of
birth (or those of your parents or
• What is your native language or the
language you speak most often?
• How did you acquire your foreign
language ability?
• Are you legally authorized to work in
the United States?
• Will you now or in the future require
sponsorship for an employment visa
status (ex. H‐1B visa status)?
• Of which country are you a citizen?
• Are you a naturalized or native‐born
• Can you produce your naturalization
• When did you acquire citizenship?
• Visa type
• Whether your parents or spouse are
naturalized or native‐born citizens,
or the date when your parents or
spouse acquired citizenship
An employer can ask An employer cannot ask
Name • Whether you ever used another
• Any additional information
regarding an assumed name,
changed name or nickname needed
to enable a check on your work and
educational record
• Your maiden name (this helps the
employer know if you are married,
male or female)
Age • Are you 18 years or older? • Age
• Birth date (determines age)
• Ages of your children (determines if
you have children)
Color and race • Nothing • Race or color
• Questions regarding the color of
your skin, eyes or hair
Religion • Nothing ‐ May state the employer’s
regular days, hours and shifts
Sex, marital status • Name and address of parent or
guardian, if you are a minor
• Names of relatives already
employed by the employer
• May state the employer’s policy
regarding work assignments of
employees who are related
• Questions that would indicate your
• Questions that would indicate your
marital status
• Number and/or ages of children or
• Questions regarding pregnancy,
childbearing or birth control
• Name or address of relatives, spouse
or children, if you are not a minor
Physical Description and
• Height and weight, but only
commensurate with specific job
• A photograph, either required or
optional, at any time before an offer
is made
Disability • Whether you can perform the
essential functions of the job, either
with or without accommodation
• If you have a disability
• If you have ever been treated for
any specific diseases
• Whether you have, or ever had, a
drug or alcohol problem
Arrest Record • If you have ever been convicted of a
crime (if yes, the employer may ask
for details, but there must be a
direct relationship between the job
and the offense to use conviction as
a basis for denial of employment)
• Whether you have ever been
Membership in Organizations • Membership in organizations that
you consider relevant to your ability
to perform the job
• List all organizations, clubs, societies
and lodges to which you belong
(determines religious groups,
national origins or political beliefs)
Military Service • Questions regarding relevant skills
acquired during U.S. military service
• Whether you received a
dishonorable discharge
• Questions regarding service in a
foreign military
Education • Your academic, vocational or
professional education
• Which schools you attended
• Dates of attendance or dates of
degrees obtained
How do I answer when I am asked by an employer about my work authorization?” (F‐1 student)
Start by explaining that you have “the legal right to work in the U.S. for 12 months remaining in Optional
Practical Training, which requires absolutely no work on your part.” Then share that “my work authorization can
be renewed for another three to six years with an H‐1B work visa.” Avoid saying the word “sponsor” when
talking about the H‐1B application process, and instead use the word “petition.” MS in MIS and MS in Finance
students can get an additional 24 months after the initial 12 months if they get hired by a company who is everified
because the MS in MIS program is a STEM program. (There legislation proposed to require all companies
to become e‐verified.)
“When in the hiring process do I reveal that I am an international student?”
This is a very sensitive question that needs to be assessed on a case‐by‐case basis. While some employers
adhere to strict policies against hiring foreign nationals, others may prefer to hire U.S. citizens but can be
convinced otherwise. Therefore, it should be your goal to get past the initial screening measures to the
interview. It is usually recommended that students wait until the employer asks, but be aware through research
if the company has petitioned for visas in the past, especially in the functional area in which you plan to work.
However, if you are being asked to travel for an interview, it would be wise to ask at that time: “Is this a position
in which the company is willing to petition for an H‐1B as I am currently on an F1 visa?”
“If a company says they do not hire international students, should I even apply?”
Sure. A lot of times when employers say they do not hire international students it means that they have not
hired any international students yet. Or, it could mean that it is not their regular practice to hire internationals
candidates. But you can check to see the company’s history on H‐1B petitions. To
convince prospective employers, it is your responsibility to educate them about the process of hiring a foreign
national. Be mindful that they still may not hire you, and this can become frustrating. It is recommended that
you first target organizations with a history of hiring employees on a work visa. However, use methods other
than the traditional human resources and online tools. Network, network, network! Go straight to the source
and find the hiring manager. But remember, be honest in your formal applications about your visa status.
“What can I do to make myself a more attractive candidate?”
 Get your résumé and cover letters reviewed by a career counselor, employer or alumni.
 Become thoroughly familiar with immigration regulations and benefits attached to your visa status.
 Research the employers and positions in which you are interested.
 Participate in a mock interview.
 Practice speaking confidently about your skills, interests and career goals.
 Improve your English skills by speaking up in class, making presentations and expanding your circle of
native English‐speaking friends.
 Create and actively use a LinkedIn account.
 Network, network, network: Get to know influential people at companies in your target industry.
• Questions about financial credit
• Questions about union membership
• Questions about financial status
• Can you produce your naturalization
• What type of visa do you have?
• What is the citizenship status of
your parents or spouse?
 Exploring Resources at
Identifying organizations that hire international companies is key. There are several resources to help you do
this. offers a list of companies—by industry and year—that have petitioned for H‐1B visas,
along with other details about those petitions, including the job title, level of position and salary offered. This
website also offers a job search engine and the ability to search a specific company’s H‐1B petition history. By
using this tool concurrently with other job search tools, such as LinkedIn, Indeed, BizLink or Bullseye, you can
research if an organization has a history of petitioning for H‐1B visas to know if it’s likely your candidacy will be
considered. This tactic is more feasible for larger organizations because smaller companies are less likely to have
received international candidates.
Foreign Labor Certification Data Center
Provided by the U.S. government, the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center discloses relevant information
about recent H‐1B petitions, including companies that hired internationals, jobs titles, salaries and company
locations and where the hired person is working. If a company hired an international candidate before, it should
be on your list to investigate. It is a very difficult tool to use, however.
NACELink is a national job search tool from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, used by
hundreds of colleges and universities career centers. Certain postings will be available only in the NACELink
portion of our website.
Vault, found through BizLink, offers customized industry profiles, job boards, integrated searches, detailed
reporting, blogs and company reports, with 100 multinational corporations specifically highlighted. This is an
amazing resource, updated several times per year.
Hoovers, through the UB Libraries (found on CRC Job Market and Research Tools page): Use this tool to get
comprehensive info on companies, industries and executives, and build a list of organizations worldwide based
on geographic location or industry.
Going Global (Log on to UB Career Services BullsEye)
Offers country‐specific career and employment information including worldwide internship and job postings, H‐
1B employer listings, corporate profiles and career resources for more than 30 countries.
The UB Library includes several resources that name American companies with divisions throughout the world:
Here are a few:
 Directory of Foreign Firms Operating in the United States:
 Directory of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries:
For our MS in MIS students who fall under the STEM category, a list of companies that are already e‐verified can
be found at
A list of companies that have hired UB graduates in recent years is also available online. If they have hired our
grads in the past, they will be more likely to hire you in the future. Visit for
many of these resources.
 Gaining Experience
Many of our MBA students are required to complete an internship before graduation, the MS in MIS students
have a capstone course that incorporates an practicum/internship and the MS in Accounting and Finance
programs have an internship option in the curriculum that students are strongly encouraged to take. The MS in
Supply Chains and Operations students all work on a relevant industry project. Additionally, juniors and seniors
in the bachelor’s program are encouraged to intern. All international students who intern off campus are
required to update their visa status to show Curricular Practice Training (CPT) status. However, some of our MS
programs are rich in coursework and not set up in the curriculum to allow for CPT status. CPT is only allowed
when an internship an “integral part of the academic curriculum.” Therefore, gaining a traditional internship for
the MS in SCOM programs as an international student is not an option. However, MS SCOM students who spend
considerable time at a company while doing their industry research should get their I‐20 updated to show CPT to
protect them and to follow the USCIS guidelines.
Gaining relevant work experience, in addition to your degree, will make you a more competitive job candidate.
But there are many ways to get experience. Occasionally, our faculty members engage in on‐campus projects on
which students can work to develop relevant skills. You can join academic and professional clubs in which
projects take place, such as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, hosted annually by Beta Alpha Psi
during tax season. You can participate in competitions sponsored by the school or by local, regional or national
professional associations related to your concentration. And, of course, you can take a leadership role in team
projects required during your coursework, which develop relevant business skills that can be showcased on your
résumé and cover letter.
For bachelor’s and MBA students, a summer internship with an organization that has a history of petitioning for
H‐1B visas is the ideal scenario. Larger firms that create internship programs, often to test the following year’s
graduates for potential hire, should be your target so you can build a relationship with an organization that is
more likely to hire you for a full‐time position upon graduating. Many employers favor applicants who went
through their internship programs.
Note: In exploring the opportunities above, always check with the international student advisor in ISSS to
confirm your eligibility for work authorization. Unlawful employment can include engaging in unpaid work.
 Networking Your Way To a Job
In seeking advice from any American career counselor, you will hear the benefits of informational interviewing
and networking as ways to find a job. It’s common to find employment by having the right connections. The
ability to make connections with people, or network, is a skill you can begin developing during your degree
program. Begin talking with faculty members and fellow students. Many faculty members have worked in
industry and maintain professional contacts with former colleagues. In addition, start building relationships with
upperclassmen and attend networking functions where alumni will be in attendance, such as Network NY. You
can even use the Career Fair as a networking and educational event. It will prove to be helpful for you to
connect with people who have already successfully found employment in the U.S. and can provide insight about
the process. The best way to find companies that are willing to hire international students is to talk to other
international students and alumni, since companies who have hired internationals in the past are likely to do so
again. Joining a professional association related to your field of interest is also a wonderful way to make
connections with those who can provide sound advice about how to find jobs in their field. Visit the websites of
these organizations to request information on their publications, student rates, chapters and conferences. For
the names of professional associations, speak with faculty members, CRC staff or members of student clubs
affiliated with these groups, such as SCOM, HR and MIS.
The UB School of Management boasts more than 37,000 alumni. Many alumni volunteer to assist current
students through our mentoring program and attend networking events throughout the year. We encourage
you to request alumni queries from the CRC based on job titles, company name and geographic locations.
You may also find industry contacts on organizational websites or LinkedIn, in membership directories for
professional organizations, in business articles or journals, and by a targeted Google search. Don’t be afraid to
get creative in finding the right people. In fact, calling the organization directly and asking who is in charge of
marketing, operations or finance isn’t a bad plan. Hoovers, LinkedIn or Glassdoor can provide names of key
people at organizations as well.
Many international students are discouraged because they believe that they have no network in the United
States, as their connections are with people in their home countries. It is important to understand that in the
U.S. a network is actively developed and does not connote longstanding, lifelong relationships based on family
ties or community status. Anyone can develop a network with some knowledge of the process. Be as creative as
possible. Do you have a community host or language partner who can provide you with information or a
referral? Have you joined a student organization related to your field of interest? Have you attended a career
fair or alumni panel discussion and asked an employer or alumnus for a business card? Start there, conduct
appropriate follow‐up and let the CRC help—but don’t wait until April or May to start building your network.
Join LinkedIn, the professional version of Facebook. Make sure your profile is complete and keep it up‐to‐date.
Conduct your job search using this network and reach out to as many contacts as possible for advice and
conversation via this resource. Join LinkedIn groups; when you join or update your profile, your contacts will be
notified of your activity and reminded of you. Remember to keep this as professional as possible. Use the Help
Center at the bottom of the LinkedIn page to learn how to create the best profile and use the tool to job search.
The secret to networking is to introduce yourself to as many people as possible. With each person you meet, use
the following steps:
1. Find common ground with your acquaintance.
 He likes basketball; you like basketball.
 She scuba dives; you scuba dive.
 He has been to China; you are from China.
 She works in finance; you want to work in finance.
2. Let him or her know what you are currently doing and what you want to do.
 I am working on my MBA and hope to break into the field of marketing when I’m done.
 I am learning financial modeling and look forward to using those skills as an investment banker.
 Though I am from Germany, I really want to live and work in the United States.
 I will be graduating in May 2017, but I hope to get an internship with a marketing company for
the summer before I graduate.
3. Find out as much about your new acquaintance as possible.
 Where do you work?
 Where did you go to college?
 Do you have a business card I could take with me?
 Have you read an interesting book recently?
 What LinkedIn groups are you following that have been helpful?
4. If appropriate, ask for your acquaintance’s help. (If this is a new acquaintance, get to know the person
before you ask for his or her help.)
 Could you tell me how you broke into the real estate valuation field?
 If you know anyone looking for a summer intern with excellent analytical skills, let me know.
 Do you know of any other people I should talk to who could answer a few of my questions?
 May I contact you again?
5. Thank your acquaintance sincerely for his or her help.
 Handwritten notes are always appropriate, welcomed and often set you apart from others.
 In a casual conversation, a verbal thank you may be sufficient, unless the other person has
offered to act on your behalf.
 A thank‐you sent by email is quick and appropriate most of the time.
 If you do not have contact information for you new acquaintance, find it and send your thanks.
The fact that you went out of your way to track him or her down will say a lot about your
resourcefulness and tenacity.
 After meeting someone, you can also search for them on LinkedIn. While asking to connect,
reference your initial meeting and thank them for the conversation.
6. Offer to return the favor. Networking is reciprocal.
 Do not assume you don’t have anything to offer your new acquaintance.
 You may know someone your acquaintance would like to meet.
 Reassure your acquaintance that you will return the favor when you are able.
 Follow up on your offers to help.
7. Follow up with your acquaintance at least every two to three months.
 Email an article of mutual interest.
 Invite your acquaintance to lunch or coffee.
 If you know he or she collects something small that you could send to them, send one to them.
But don’t buy anything big, which can be inappropriate.
General tips to follow when meeting with a contact
 Prepare questions in advance. Read “40 Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview” on our website.
 Do your research on the company and industry before you call.
 Send a brief email, asking for “a few minutes of their time” and stating why.
 Make the phone call.
 If you leave a voicemail, leave a brief, clear message with your phone number, but say you will call again.
 Always be polite, appreciative and respectful.
 Do not monopolize their time.
 Do not ask for a job.
 Do not ask if they hire international students.
 Do not monopolize their time.
 Try to meet in person, if possible.
 Use winter and spring breaks to do your geographic‐specific networking.
 Always send a thank you within two days.
 Follow up is your responsibility.
 Create an Excel tracking process.
Sample LinkedIn introduction
The below sample would be sent in October for a late November meeting. Note that contacts through LinkedIn
know who has made the referral, so you do not have to reference the referral; however, if contacting someone
via email, you should mention who gave you their contact information.
Dear Shawn,
I noticed on your profile that you started with Company X in its Financial Leadership program and had a
technical bachelor’s degree. I have a similar background and have researched Company X’s program and
company via the website. I would very much appreciate having a phone conversation or in‐person meeting while
I am visiting your city this Thanksgiving break to discuss the program, hiring process, expectations and any
advice you’d have for a May grad switching from IT to finance. I will contact you in a few weeks if I don’t hear
back, but you can reach me at (phone number). Thank you in advance for your time and effort.
Student Name
Contact information below
Sample elevator speech or “30‐second sell”
Hello, my name is ______. I am a first‐year MBA/MS student concentrating in ______. (Pause for breath)
I am a member of ______ and ______ clubs, where I have held ______ leadership role. I have worked at ______,
where I developed strong (customer service/analytical, time management, etc.) skills, and at ______, where I
developed ______ skills. Or: I learned from my role as a ______ that I excelled at technical and analytical aspects
and the MBA/MS is now expanding my teamwork, presentation, negotiation and delegation skills necessary for
future management. (Pause for breath)
One example of something you can end with: After researching your company before today’s event, I learned
that you have a current opening for a ______. This is the type of position I’d like to aspire to obtain upon
graduation this May. I noticed that this posting asked for ______ skills and my experience in (case competitions,
clubs, internships or past work) gave me the chance to develop the skills you desire. Do you often have openings
like this posted? Do you tend to hire MBAs for this role? (Ask questions to start a conversation, and make sure
they remember you.)
Finding employment can be a long, time‐consuming process. The information contained in this handout is meant
to get you started. It is important to begin preparing early to compete in the job market after graduation. Use
the resources mentioned throughout this guide. If you have difficulty understanding any part of the job search
process, make an appointment to speak with a CRC counselor, your faculty advisor, the international student
advisor—or all three. Don't give up!
The guide was created based on a variety of international student job search guides from schools across the U.S., such as Rice, Texas A&M
and University of Virginia. Many of the schools replicate the information provided.