Thursday, May 7, 2009

Students on OPT: Tips for Finding Job After Graduation

Thursday, May 07, 2009 | , , , , ,

If you are on OPT after graduating from an American university and currently actively looking for a job, you may find this post helpful. In recent years after talking to many friends and colleagues overtime, I have found that it is not easy to get an entry-level job. Especially if you are an international student, life gets more tough. With new 90-day unemployment rule, finding job is a challenge. One would have to apply for many jobs daily, even to get a single call from a Recruiter. I have found that many individuals will randomly apply for a job which they come across online job-board like Monster, dice, Hotjobs or Careerbuilder. Some applicants would not even bother to send a cover letter with their applications.

Here are few steps that are recommended if you are applying for a job.

  1. Always prepare a cover letter defining your qualification, skills (technical, research or teaching) and brief summary on how you obtained them during different employment you held. Do not make an unique cover letter. Make sure every cover letter outlines work that will complement the job requirement.
  2. Resumes and application forms give employers written evidence of your qualifications and skills. The goal of these documents is to prove—as clearly and directly as possible—how your qualifications match the job’s requirements. Do this by highlighting the experience, accomplishments, education, and skills that most closely fit the job you want.
  3. Screen through the job requirement and see if recruiter or hiring manager has mentioned a contact email address or a phone number. Your resume will reach right people soon if you will email them than applying online.
  4. Spend some time on working on Steps 1 to 3 and once you are convinced that you have a good case then apply for the job. Apply few jobs but make sure that Resume and content that you submit is qualitative and not quantitative.
  5. Most of the people get jobs through networking. Try joining Linkedin, Alumni network at your school or other networking sites. Join different groups at these networking site. Talk to your Professors. Go to different networking events in your city.
  6. Most of the students will end up getting their first job locally. Screen through craigslist or local newspaper. Check your university's career website regularly. See when your university and neighboring universities are holding a career fair.
  7. Lastly, start searching for job well in advance from your graduation. If possible, try getting an Internship or Co-op during summer. You are most likely to end up with a full-time job with the same company.

If you will follow aforementioned steps, you are more likely to get a call from Recruiter. Other issue that international student face even after following above steps is company will not consider them, even being perfect match. The reason being company will not file H1-B for individuals future employment. To overcome this, usually I will not apply jobs with companies that do not have history of filing H1Bs, unless I am close to the best match they are looking for. To search for the companies that hire H1B holders in your field, please visit this website. Most of the companies that do not have history of filing H1Bs would immediately turn you down since they do not want to go through the hassle of filing H1B in April or would not like hiring lawyers for your case. In addition, it also cost them $4000 above your base pay. There are few small companies who have never even heard of H1B work visa.

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