International Students - Alumni Success Stories

Lee (Sherry) L.
Lee (Sherry) L.
Bachelor's, Media Studies, May 2013
Current Position: Marketing Associate, Lanner Electronics USA, Inc., Fremont, CA
Previous Position(s): Marketing Intern, Honkison Ltd, Hong Kong; Intern, Bleu Marketing Solutions, Berkeley, CA; Marketing Intern, Children's Center at Dance

Please describe what you do in your current position.

I oversee all marketing activities, like trade shows, and coordinate with the HQ in Taiwan.

What strategies and resources did you use to find your current position?

  1. Set your goal of how many resumes should be sent out per day, and consistently follow this target number until you get a job. This is a tedious process, but it will all pay off in the end.
  2. Periodically check out the major recruiting sites for job openings. E.g. Monster, Indeed, BayAreaHires, and so on.
  3. Get an internship. That's the fastest way to gain professional skills and beef up your resume. Companies usually hire their interns after the probation.
  4. Other resources that are helpful for job search/interview: company website, Forbes, Ask.com, Bloomberg, and other relevant websites which keep you informed about the latest issues in a particular industry. For example, if you want to work in a tech company, you may want to check out TechCrunch and CNET.
  5. For the interview preparation, I recommend borrowing an interview guidebook from a library. It has more detailed explanation and strategies for a wide variety of questions than the online sources do.

What was your approach in discussing your student visa status with your employer?

It depends on which stage I am on for my OPT. When I just began my OPT, I didn’t bring up the sponsorship issue during an interview unless the interviewers asked about it. When that happened, I told them I needed sponsorship, but always emphasized that my priority was to work for their company and we could discuss the possibility later after my probation.

When I knew I had been a positive contributor to my company, I found a time to speak with my supervisor (Reminder: always first talk to the boss who you closely work with) and asked if there was any possibility of sponsoring my work visa. Meanwhile, I addressed the mutual beneficial relationship between both parties.

However, if your status is time sensitive, like you have only two months left before the H-1B application deadline, you should express your need for sponsorship during an interview. It’s better for you to study what a company should prepare for this procedure, as they might not know much about it.

What are your top tips for international students looking for a full time job?

Enhance your communication skills. Attend a panel, career event, etc. Networking equals job opportunity. My best advice is go there ALONE. Force yourself to speak with strangers and get connected! Always ask for their business cards or contact information in the end, but I don’t recommend asking for the contact information without any preliminary conversation. Sometimes, even though you don't know what the company does, you can give them a good impression if you express your interest in what they do by asking constructive questions.

Be proud of your international identity and take advantage of it. I met many international students who worry that they are less competitive than English native speakers due to their ESL. However, your language skills and your unique experience in the States can make you a valuable candidate. Confidence is very important to convince your interviewers that you are the right candidate.

 

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