International Students - Job & Internship Search Strategies
A successful job or internship search involves using a combination of several strategies. Familiarize yourself with the strategies and resources in the Job Search and Internships sections and the information specifically for international students below.
- Start Early
It’s never too early to begin exploring career interests and options and developing a job search plan. Check out this yearly planner for some ideas and get feedback on your plan from a Career Counselor.
- Diversify Your Search Methods
Callisto is just the beginning in your search for jobs or internships. Here are some resources that provide additional strategies:
- Review these international student-specific job search resources
- Expand and Maintain Your Network
Networking is one of the most common and effective ways people find out about positions and secure employment. The Networking for International Students page includes more information.
- Attend Career Fairs and Employer Info Sessions
It’s never too early to begin interacting directly with employers and these conversations are the best way to find out what employers are looking for!. Hundreds of company representatives visit campus each year so take advantage of these opportunities. Find the list of career fairs for this academic year and see which employers are offering Employer Info Sessions on Callisto. View the short videos, Career Fair Dos and Career Fair Don'ts for tips on how to prepare and maximize your interactions with employers. To receive updates on upcoming career fairs, employer info sessions and other career events and news specifically for international students, subscribe to the CareerMail for International Students on Callisto.
- Refine Your Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Make an effort to refine your English language skills, both written and verbal, so you can be successful in your search, have rewarding experiences at Cal and excel in the US workplace. Strong English language skills, non-verbal communication skills and interpersonal skills are all crucial for international students who wish to work and succeed in the US, and right now is the best time to polish those skills. Improve your English skills by getting involved in and around Berkeley and utilizing English language resources.
- Research International Employee Friendly Employers
Be intentional about your job or internship search by researching which companies have hired international candidates in the past.
- US Style Application Documents: Resume & Cover Letter
Review how to write a US style resume and cover letter and make sure to get feedback from native speakers of English and Career Counselors at the Career Center.
- Become Confident with Interviewing
Review the Interviewing for a US employer page to explore Career Center resources on interviewing and specific tips for international students.
- Understand Your Off-Campus Work Authorization and Employment Visa Options
When searching for off-campus employment in the US, it is essential for international students to understand when and how they can start working off campus. Students need to be able to articulate their student visa work authorization options and their employment visa options to employers, as not all U.S. employers are experienced in hiring international candidates.
- F-1 international students
- J-1 international students: Academic Training (AT)
- Berkeley International Office (BIO) H-1B workshops
- Additional employment-based non-immigrant US visas
- Share the U.S. Employer's Guide to Hiring UC Berkeley International Students (PDF) document with employers who inquire about international student's work authorization options.
If you have detailed questions on student visa work authorization options, please consult with a BIO advisor during drop-in advising hours.
- Get Involved
In addition to internships and jobs, US employers value students with extracurricular activities and leadership experiences. See what transferable skills employers look for in candidates and the various ways you can get involved in and around Berkeley.
- Have a Plan B
Expand your pool of opportunitues by applying for positions both in the US and in your home country (or perhaps a third country too). Explore where your education and experiences are in demand and be open to options you previously hadn’t considered! Check out the Callisto Job Widget for International Jobs and the International Careers section.
- Review the US Jobs and Internships for International Students (PDF - 2 pages). This excerpt from the Career Center Job & Internship Guide (JIG) includes job search strategies, advice about US resumes and interviewing, permits and visas, the long distance job search, and more. The JIG is available online as well as in paper form at the Career Center.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Revealing your international student status to US employers:
There is no 1 right or perfect time for international students to reveal their immigration status to US employers. Different students approach this topic differently: some prefer to reveal their status at the beginning of an interaction, while others wait until the interview phase.
What is important is that international students 1) respond honestly about their immigration status and work authorization eligibility when asked and 2) ensure the topic is discussed before the interview process ends so that employers have this information when making their hiring decision.