Friday, October 31, 2014

Important Details You Must Not Ignore: Looking to Work in the U.S. After Graduation?

By: Megha Roy
Research Assistant, World Education Services

If you are an international student getting ready to apply to a college or university in the U.S, you probably have a lot on your mind. One of the most pressing worries would be the prospect of finding a job after college. According to a recent WES research report - career prospects after graduation are amongst the top 3 information needs when applying to colleges/universities in the U.S. and approximately 80% international students cite the desire to expand career and life opportunities as one of their top two reasons for pursuing their education in the U.S.

Whether you intend to go back to your home country or stay in the U.S. to pursue a career, finding a job after graduation takes a lot of hard work. As an international student, you must know your career prospects and the processes involved for working in the U.S after your studies before applying to colleges.

After you have finalized the course you intend to take up at a U.S institute you should spend some time researching job prospects and only then decide on an institute. You should also be aware of all the H1B work visa processes and regulations in advance, so that you can make informed decisions about studying in the U.S. Listed below are some important details you should not ignore before shortlisting colleges or universities:

1. Gather information: Know which institutes, geographical locations and courses have offered maximum F1 visas and which cities in the U.S have retained maximum number of international students to work on OPT after the completion of their courses. Our previous blog talks in detail about the top jobs for international students in the U.S. 

2. Know about CPT/ OPT/ Internships rules: U.S. immigration laws allow international students to be employed in the country during and after a course of study, but there are restrictions. If you want to work in the U.S. you must plan ahead and familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations that accompany the immigration laws and better understand your position as an international student. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as an employment which is an integral part of the curriculum. It is available only prior to the completion of the program and you must have a job offer at the time of application. As an international student, you have 60 days after graduation to either enroll in another college program for further studies or enroll in an Optional Practical Training (OPT) program to gain employment after you graduate from college on an F-1 visa. The OPT program allows you to extend your F-1 visa status for a year while you work, train, or intern in your area of study (the OPT time for STEM graduates is for a period of 29 months). Applying for an OPT program can take several months, so you should apply several months before graduation. You can get more detail information about CPT, OPT & H1B visa regulations from our previous blog.

3. Know all rules and regulations related to H1B visas/other work visas: If you hope to remain in the U.S. for longer than the period of your Practical Training, it is important to look into acquiring an extended visa such as the H-1B. It is not uncommon for international students to receive job offers from the sponsoring American companies after completing an internship with them, so this may be a great opportunity to seek full-time employment.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides information on their website about working in the U.S, eligibility criteria, required timelines, period of stay, H1-B cap and many more. You can also access annual reports of employers who have received approval for H1-B petitions and characteristics of specialty occupation workers, to get a better understanding of the job prospects in your area of study.

4. Use resources like the institute’s career services: The best place to know about your career prospects is to talk to the school’s Office for International Students and Career Development Center. These are two resources that can give you more general information on what you can do after graduation so you must investigate career service offerings before application. Reach out to the career centers to inquire about employment rates, graduate school placement, and salary statistics. Ask questions like which employers recruit on campus? What kinds of jobs and internships (in your area of interest) have been posted on the college’s website? Does the college partner with other institutions to offer job fairs or networking opportunities that can provide you with access to professionals in your desired field? Do they provide services related to career assessment, resume development, or interview preparations? All these pieces of information will help you tremendously in assessing the institute you should be shortlisting.

5. Network with prospective school’s alumni: Social media platforms are a great way to connect with current students and alumni. Websites like LinkedIn will give you an opportunity to know where the alumni are situated and what they are doing in their professional lives. You must try and get every possible detail on the time period it took them to get a job and their recommendations on choosing the right course as electives to ensure that you have all information that the industry demands. Read our previous blog that talk about the use of social media to shortlist universities.
Megha is a Research Assistant for WES Research & Advisory Services team at World Education Services. Megha specializes in marketing research and has several years of brand management experience in media and publishing Industry. Megha earned her master’s degree in marketing intelligence from the Graduate School of Business Administration at Fordham University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics with honors from Delhi University, India.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. . . It sounds like a great chance for former students to explore their talent in STEM. As this post is added in February, so I think most of the alumni used this opportunity. Also, work visa usa requirements is not so tough so students can apply for work.


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