The Office of Career Management can assist you in your career and internship search.
Getting Started on Your Search
Searching for a career while studying in the United States can be a challenge, particularly for students who seek to secure an internship or post-graduate employment in the United States. As an international student on an F-1 student visa, it is important to remember that you are in the United States for the primary purpose of being a student. The recruiting/hiring process is highly competitive for both domestic and international students, with international students having the additional challenge of needing sponsorship (H1-B sponsorship) at the time of securing full-time career employment.
Connecting with Companies
Over the course of your career search, you may find that some companies do not recruit/hire international students. There are companies that have very rigid policies related to international candidate hiring, there are those companies that will be flexible in making allowances for candidates who are exceptionally prepared and qualified and there will be companies who are immediately open to hiring international candidates (exceptions are more common at the graduate level of study). Even with these additional visa challenges, international students can be successful when they are proactive, persistent and actively utilizing the resources available to them while they are students in the Fisher College of Business.
Understanding "Soft" Skills
In addition, the U.S.-based job search is heavily dependent on ‘networking’ and ‘relationship building’ and not solely on academics/grades, class ranking, or technical/hard skills. It is the ‘soft’ skills including interpersonal communication skills, relationship management skills, and leadership that are attractive to prospective employers as well. International students who quickly understand the nuances of the U.S. job search, hone their language skills, engage with the resources available, and actively network and build relationships with employers are those who will have a greater chance of securing employment.
International Student Checklist for Success
Finding a job or internship is a time-consuming process that can be challenging for all students, but particularly for international students. The Office of Career Management recognizes these challenges and we are here to help you. It is important to remain positive, proactive, professional and persistent with your search. Use this checklist to determine if you’re taking the necessary steps toward a successful search:
I stay in touch and meet regularly with a job search consultant in the Office of Career Management.
Even if you’re not sure what questions to ask, we can help get you started and monitor your progress to ensure that you’re building and maintaining momentum in your search. Stop by Gerlach 150 or call 614-292-6024 to set up an appointment.
I have a well-focused Career Marketing Plan, resume, job search correspondence and elevator pitch.
It is important to have a clear focus, so that you can identify target companies and contacts and clearly articulate your strengths, skills and the value you would bring to an employer.
I am fully engaged in all aspects of the Fisher community, including classroom participation and project work. I am also a highly active participant or have taken a leadership role with student associations and participated in at least one organization that is not related to my home country.
The classroom experience as well as student association involvement offer excellent opportunities to build your resume, expand your network and push yourself beyond your comfort zone.
I am actively practicing my English skills to improve both my verbal and written communication skills.
The ability to communicate well is a top requirement for most employers. Take advantage of opportunities to speak or present in class, participate in case competitions, and practice conversations with English-speaking friends. Learn common business language and phrases. It is important to work with our office to improve your job search correspondence and conduct practice interviews as well.
I am regularly identifying alumni or other contacts within my target career, companies or industries and sending approach emails requesting informational interviews.
Asking for advice and information from professionals in your target field or company will help you refine your focus, identify and address any gaps in your background, and ultimately help you uncover opportunities. Remember to ask for advice, not a job. If you’re nervous about reaching out to contacts, the Office of Career Management can provide assistance.
I have identified and joined trade or industry associations outside of Fisher to expand my network.
Joining associations and attending their events is an excellent way to meet contacts face-to-face. Use the internet to find local associations, call them up, and ask if they need volunteers to help with their next event, committee work, etc. The associations need not be related to your career path; consider joining an association or club related to your favorite hobby as well.
I am employing a multi-faceted approach to search for opportunities, rather than relying solely on FisherConnect.
Relying only on FisherConnect and random on-line job postings is not a productive use of your time. Ninety percent of your efforts should be focused on establishing a clear focus, clearly articulating what value you bring to an employer, building your professional support network, meeting individuals in your target career path, getting involved in associations, conducting informational interviews, and proactively searching for opportunities both in the U.S. and your home country.
I have a positive attitude and remain professional, proactive and persistent, seeking and accepting feedback as needed to enhance my professional image and gain momentum in my search.
When faced with a setback, analyze and modify your strategy, seek feedback if possible, stay positive, and don’t give up!
I am well-versed in immigration policy and can help educate a potential employer on CPT and OPT requirements.
Many employers, particularly smaller businesses, are not aware of US Visa policy. Explaining these requirements clearly and calmly can help them understand the process and make it easier for them to hire you.
Not sure how to move forward with any item on this checklist? Stop by Gerlach 150 or call 614-292-6024 to set up an appointment.
CPT Process for Undergraduate Students
Undergrad CPT Advice
Temporary employment such as an internship, practicum, alternative work-study, or cooperative education may be authorized under certain circumstances as Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Such training must not only be related to your major field of study but must also be an integral part of your established curriculum still in progress.
In addition, if your internship is UNPAID there is a document that MUST be completed by your employer to enroll in BA 2191 that you will need to bring to the appointment.
More information about BA 2191 and adding the class.
If you have questions, please schedule an appointment with the Office of Career Management at 614-292-6024 or the Office of International Affairs at 614-292-6101
CPT Process for Graduate Students
Graduate Student CPT Process
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a benefit of your F-1 visa and authorization is required for any off-campus employment (paid or unpaid) in which you wish to engage. You are not eligible to receive CPT until you have been enrolled in a full time program for one academic year.
If you are eligible and plan to begin or continue an off-campus internship position, you must apply for or renew your CPT Authorization and your employer must generate a new offer letter every semester.
In order to begin the CPT process, please send a copy of your offer letter to the appropriate career consultant below:
If you have questions, please contact the Office of Career Management at 614-292-6024 or the Office of International Affairs at 614-292-6101.
Going Global career and employment resources include world-wide job openings, internship listings, industry profiles and country-specific career information. More than 30,000 pages of constantly-updated content is included on topics such as: work permit/visa regulations, resume writing guidelines and examples, employment trends, salary ranges, networking groups, cultural/interviewing advice, corporate profiles and worldwide job listings... plus much more!
Going Global USA Career Guides and H1B Employer Listings
Accessible on the top menu bar of Going Global, Fisher students also have access to USA/Canada City Career Guides. USA Career Guides contain career and employment resources for the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the USA. Included in this database are job search resources, employment outlook, professional networking groups, cost of living, major employer listings by industry sector, non-profits and volunteer opportunities. In addition, H1B employer listings, searchable by industry, job title and location, are also provided for all 50 states.
Access Going Global and USA/Canada City Career Guides by logging into FisherConnect
Language and Culture Resources
Ohio State offers many resources for International Students to help with adjusting to a new culture and learning English.
Office of International Affairs
The English Conversation Program is a wonderful opportunity for international students and American students to expand their worldviews, improve their intercultural communication skills, make new friends and increase their Global English competency.
Global Engagement provides opportunities for international and domestic students to experience the diverse culture at Ohio State. Global Engagement has implemented a variety of programs and activities to better promote cross-cultural relationships on campus.
Office of Counseling and Consultation Service
Adjusting to a new culture and environment is a normal process and can generate a wide variety of reactions and feelings. The Office of Counseling and Consultation Service offers many different workshops for International Students to help manage the transition to the U.S. culture.
Fisher Office of Global Business
The Office of Global Business provides Fisher students with a variety of options where they can put classroom theories into action in a compelling international location. Employers value the diverse background that global experiences provide and list strategic international understanding and cross-cultural experience as two of their top four employee traits they seek.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
We are often impressed by the flexibility, adaptability and courage of our international students, who are taking coursework while conducting a job search in their non-native language. So it is not surprising that a U.S. job search is more complex and takes longer, largely due to several factors, including: 1) you are adapting to U.S. business culture and may need to take some time to learn business etiquette, how to network and build relationships, and how to converse and interview with confidence in your non-native language; 2) it takes an international student more time to develop a U.S. career search strategy because you need to familiarize yourself with U.S. companies and industries for your target list; and 3) you’ll need to become an expert on U.S. visa policy so you can remain compliant as well as have the ability to educate a potential employer so that it is easier for them to hire you. Given the complexity of the international student job search in the U.S., you should anticipate that your search will take a great deal of time, energy and focus.
How important is working with the Office of Career Management to the success of my internship/career search?
Working with the Office of Career Management is important to every student’s job search, but it is especially important for international students. A career search focused solely on FisherConnect and company websites is rarely successful for international students because of online filters and the number of applications companies receive. A successful career search for an international student is targeted, tailored and makes extensive use of networking. The career consultants in Career Management are prepared to work with you to develop an individualized strategy for your career search, based on your goals. In addition, your close collaboration with the Office of Career Management is a great way to develop your written and verbal communication, especially as it relates to cover letters, email correspondence, networking and interviewing.
Networking is an integral part of your career search, and often times, can be the differentiator between students that are able to secure positions and those that are not. Many jobs are not posted on job boards, thus making it necessary to know several people within your target companies so that you can learn of positions that may be available. Even when jobs are posted, it is simply not enough to apply online. We strongly encourage students to find contacts within companies/industries/functions that are of interest to you, seek out and develop professional relationships with those contacts, stay in touch with them often, and utilize your personal and professional connections to help get your resume selected from the online applicant pool.
Our advice to you as an international student – start with your networking early and make sure to focus on it often! Networking is the best way for international students to overcome challenges related to visa sponsorship.
Many students underestimate the amount of time it takes to implement a successful career search. We often tell students that “finding a job IS a job.” It is important to recognize this and apply a persistent, daily approach to your search. This means that you should spend a dedicated amount of time each day on your search doing the following:
International students in particular are often not clear on the fact that their job search process will be longer and will involve more networking and relationship-building. It is also important to realize that many countries, including the U.S., have a complex process for allowing international candidates to work in their country. It is important to thoroughly understand U.S. immigration policy, remain compliant and be able to educate a potential employer on the ways in which you can work in this country. While many employers state that they are unable to hire international students, many of these same companies make exceptions to this rule. Having a focused career search strategy and building relationships with as many people in your target companies and industries is a key factor in finding employment in the U.S.
For more information on employment eligibility for international students, visit the Office of International Affairs website.
Finally, it is important to become as involved as possible in the Fisher and OSU community. Some students make the mistake of socializing only with students from their home country and not becoming involved with a broad and diverse group of classmates. Push yourself out of your comfort zone; become involved on campus and connect with the entire Fisher and OSU community.
Communication skills are critical to the job search process. If your goal is to work in the United States, English language skills, both written and verbal, as well as listening and reading comprehension, can have a major influence on your career and internship search. Networking, career fairs, cover letters, emails and interviews are all key tools in the application and interview process, and all rely heavily on your ability to write and speak clearly and concisely. Many of these instances also require that you be able to sustain casual conversation that has little to do with your past experience or qualifications and is heavily influenced by culture.
With ongoing economic challenges, hiring in the U.S. has decreased among both domestic and international candidates. Growth is rebounding more rapidly in developing countries such as China and India and other economies across Asia, so it makes sense to keep your options open in your home country. With any search, it is advisable to have both a primary and secondary area of focus for your search. In tandem with your U.S. search, develop a target company list for your home country, identify networking contacts, and contact them for informational interviews if possible. It may be helpful to consider conducting informational interviews in person if you are going home for a break, for example. We encourage all students to have a multi-faceted job search which leverages opportunities through Fisher, your own target company list, and your professional and personal network
Please review the Checklist for Success below which provides several practical action steps.
Yes, it is true that some companies do not recruit/hire students who require visa sponsorship for positions in the United States. If you are an international student with an F-1 student visa, you are in the United States for the primary purpose of completing academic coursework.
The recruiting/hiring process is highly competitive for both domestic and international students, with many international students having the additional challenge of needing sponsorship (H1-B sponsorship) for full-time career employment in the United States.
Despite the additional visa challenge, some international students are successful every year when they are proactive, persistent and actively utilizing the resources available to them. Based on their work experience and unique skill set, students earning graduate degrees tend to have greater success securing employment.
In addition, the U.S.-based job search is heavily dependent on networking and relationship building and not solely on academics/grades, class ranking, or technical/hard skills. It is the ‘soft’ skills including interpersonal communication skills, relationship management skills, and leadership that are attractive to prospective employers as well. International students who quickly understand the nuances of the U.S. job search, hone their language skills, engage with the resources available, and actively network and build relationships with employers are those who will have a greater chance of securing employment.
There are a variety of companies who recruit and make offers to international students from Fisher. In the past, offers received, especially those in the United States, came as a result of students’ proactive, persistent, patient and positive approach to their career search and networking. Most of the students who successfully secured offers within three months of graduation worked closely with a career consultant to develop and execute a targeted career search. We encourage you to meet with the Office of Career Management to create a target company list and discuss your strategy.
Absolutely! Getting involved in student organizations provides international students with great leadership and networking opportunities. Participating in student organizations provides an added chance to learn and demonstrate your teamwork abilities and cross-cultural communication skills. While you are welcome and encouraged to join the student organization associated with your specific country/culture and major, do not make those the only organizations you join. We encourage you to increase and broaden your cultural exposure by joining one of the many other organizations active at Ohio State and in the local community. To review a list of registered student organizations at Ohio State, visit the Student Organization Directory.
There are a variety of resources available to you throughout your job search process. While the job search consultants in the Office of Career Management will serve as a great resource to you, we also have a number of online resources and guides for your reference. These resources cover a variety of topics including developing communications, preparing for case and behavioral interviews and networking. Be sure to spend some time reviewing the Student Resources page on the Career Management website.
Changing functions or industries post-graduate degree can be difficult for any student, as it is a challenge to show potential employers your relevant and transferrable skill sets. You also have the additional challenge of building a new network in a different industry or function. However, it is feasible to do if you are willing to put in the extra work and effort needed to make such a change. It will be imperative that you look for new opportunities that build off of your previous strengths. We encourage you to seek out internships, projects, relevant coursework and certifications relative to your desired career path.
Additionally, it is important to note that it is not always feasible to enter into a new industry or function at the same or higher level as your previous role. Employers may recognize that you have a number of years of work experience, but it may not be viewed as relevant experience.
If you are unable to secure an internship, we highly encourage you to spend summers doing other activities that can help build your resume and add value to your educational experience. These activities may include working directly with a professor here at Fisher on a research project, participating in local volunteer roles, studying for and earning specific certifications that are focused on an industry and/or function, and working with student organizations throughout the summer. Please keep in mind that most off-campus experiences, whether paid or unpaid, will require CPT authorization.