This my job search story: I was preparing my resume. I took a copy of my old resume and after admiring it for few minutes, I wasn’t sure why I would even need a new resume or that’s what I thought.
Then I asked my roommate for his copy of his resume, so I could use it for the template and replace the contents with what I have done, what courses I have completed and other fun stuffs.
I was sitting on my bed with my laptop and I froze. Words weren’t coming out. I didn’t know what to write and how to form the sentence.
Then I did what anyone with access to Google would do. Then I had a resume after about 1 week of work. Then I would admire the work I have done crafting this resume.
So, I would apply for few jobs, then wait for an email or phone call. After a couple of weeks, I would work on getting new version of my resume with brand new layout and the same content. And it was a a cycle of expectations of an interview call and disappointment.
Then I asked my batch mates who were applying for internship around the same time to learn what they are doing and how are they feeling. Guess what? There weren’t any different. We’re all pretty much doing the same routine and expecting different results.
Then I learned the hard way, but good way. I eventually got an internship, then full-time job. Here’s the lessons I learned along the way and something that no one is going to tell you.
When I was going through the application process, I was looking a at the following journey that looked like this:
Get Admission. Get a Degree. Get a Job. Get Paid.
But, none one told me about the missing pieces.
Probably you are hearing (or heard) the same story. Just find a way to go to the USA and your life is all settled for happily ever after. But, that’s not the reality. Here’s couple of stories to prove that:
- 10 Months. 968 Jobs Applied. 704 No Responses. 12 Interviews. 1 Job Offer
- 5 Reasons Why You Are Not Finding A Full Time Job On OPT (Or CPT Internship).
So, what can be done about that?
What can you do about that?
How can I help you find a career here in the U.S.A. based on my experience and journey?
I have collected and answered some of frequently asked questions about job search for students on F1 Visa. Well, let say the real picture of what it takes to find a Full-Time job!
1. How do I find a job in the USA as an International student?
Just like how every other student finds a Full-Time job: Be a “Grade A” student. You could be attending B, C, D Grade schools., but remember “A Grade” student.
When I say Grade A, I mean everything about you counts here. Your academic skills, subject knowledge, interview prep, personality, communication skills, maturity and attitude.
So, how to improve yourself? Refer to the following video interviews. These two students reinvented themselves and forged a path for forward coming from a below average background
- 300% Increase in my H1B Visa Salary between jobs
- Study In USA Vs Canada (Jobs To Salary) – Interview With Sri Harsha
2. What does A class student mean?
Don’t chase grades, chase knowledge. Scoring B grade in a tough course is better than A grade in an easy course. Have you thought about taking two easy courses and one tough course to keep up the grades? That’s probably not going to help you.
Along with that, you have to re-invent yourself. Studying in the USA is a golden opportunity that is available to a selected few. Make maximum utilization of the resources available at your campus. And experience your life on your terms and find ways to enrich and enhance your experience.
Note: When I say A Grade, I mean Type A personality kind of thing. It includes overall personality and your attitude.
3. What does it take to find a job?
Effort. Actually, quite a lot of effort. First, start with developing yourself and your knowledge. Then build your network. Find a mentor. Improve your communication skills. Understand what it takes to find a job. Don’t expect to come into the country as an average student, take easy courses and expect that you deserve a job. Unless you have stretched yourself, finding a decent job is going to be tough. I’m talking about finding a full-time job, not a “Desi-consulting” kind of jobs.
4. How do I find a mentor?
There two types of mentors: Real people and Books.
You can find someone who can guide you. If you can’t find a person, then read the books. Lots of books. Reading 200 to 300 books will give you pretty much the same effect or at lest 80% of a direct mentor. In either way, you need to invest time to book reading habits if you don’t have one. Then become good at reading the way that’s going to give maximum impact and a system to go back to refer to important points in the future. Check out the Resources Page for a list of recommended books for boosting your career.
5. How do I build your professional network?
Think Network as circles.
- Circle 1: Family Members
- Circle 2: Friends
- Circle 3: People you meet at networking events, meetups, professors.
- Circle 4: Your Mentors
- Circle 5: People you meet in conference, hiring managers, HR personnel’s.
- Circle 6: Industry leaders.
- Circle 7: Potential Hiring Managers and HR professionals
- Circle 8: Influencer’s
Now, consider these circles as concentric circles.
It’s easy to build your network up to level 3.
It takes effort to build your professional network for Levels 4 and above. Students who end up finding jobs without a ton of effort are those who get good at building their network beyond Level 4.
6. I get it. Circle 4 and above is tough. But, how do I reach them?
Ask your mentor for introduction. Then ask the new person for another introduction. Keep at it daily, weekly. Your network will grow.
If you like to learn more about building your professional network, join this Free Job Search Boot Camp course delivered via Email.
7. Why do I need to improve communication skills?
Communication skills don’t mean writing emails and speaking over the phone. It’s way beyond that.
How you act and react to a specific situation. Understanding the clues based on the situation. That’s called situational awareness. It’s part of your communication skill. If your English proficiency test scores are below par, then you have to work hard on improving your spoken English, situational awareness skills. And not to mention your personal productivity.
8. How to do improve my spoken English?
Read books and more books. Ask feedback from your mentor. Make sure you pick a mentor who can point out the mistakes. Then think about ESL courses in your campus or online courses to improve your spoken English. It can take 3 to 6 months of practice with 15 to 30 minute effort per day to see improvements to your slang and length of sentences that you can speak.
9. Gosh, that’s a lot of work. Is there an easier way?
Yes, you can take shortcuts. Let me know how it works out for you. Guess what happened to those who did not want to work or took short cuts?
10. What else should I be doing in the school to get a job?
Well, you need a resume, good social media profiles to showcase your personal branding like a blog or a profile page.
Go to events, build your social skills, join clubs and society, etc. Then by proactive and productive.
11. Did you just say a Blog?
A blog is a must to showcase your work. There’s a difference between having a blog that really showcases you as a person and your abilities and hiding under a false name with fake resumes. More about that here – Consulting companies and their dirty business.
12. Why not Facebook?
Make sure you block access to your Facebook posts and photos if they are not “Mom Approved”. Did you see a high school basketball coach was fired fired over a picture on she posted in FB with another high school coach (and finance).
13. Why do I need a resume for job search?
Of course you need a good resume for job search. Even if you have a LinkedIn profile and a blog, you still need a resume. A Good Resume, one that’s crafted to showcase your accomplishments and lessons earned.
14. How do I know if my resume is good enough?
Get your resume reviewed by your mentor and professionals in your network or have your resume written professionally. The resume is an evolving document. Most students resume would have work experience and projects. That’s a good start. But, what you write below that counts. Then you have to make sure the key elements of your resume are highlighted and visible when hiring managers scans the resume.
15. Why professionally written resume, why spend the money?
You are an Engineer, when you are awarded an Engineering Degree.
You are a Doctor and you get the medical degree.
They don’t teach resume writing skills in college.
Would you go to a Dentist for your stomach problem? No, you don’t. But, when it comes to resume writing, don’t try to be a certified resume professional, when you are not.
16. I don’t have any work experience. Is it easy to find a job as an entry level student?
Millions of college students don’t have on the job work experience, when they graduate.
As an international student on F-1 Visa (U.S.A.) it can be a challenge to find a job, unless you put in your work and ready to transform yourself. To find a Entry Level job, you have re-invented yourself during the period of stay in the USA as a student.
If you don’t have work experience and would be graduating to look for Entry Level job, then make sure you find an Internship and work one or two semester on CPT. Then try to get that CPT Internship converted into OPT Job.
17. What should I do to re-invent myself?
Ask yourself the following question
- Are you stretching your knowledge and ability?
- Are you taking tough courses that make you better?
- Are you facing problems head-on or ducking?
- Are you learning new skills?
- How many self-improvement books are you reading per year?
- Do you have a monthly, quarterly, yearly goals that are tracked, monitored and measured?
- Are you networking relentlessly?
- The list goes on.
If you like to have multiple job offers lined-up when you graduate, then you have been different.
18. What should I do, if I don’t know what kind of job I need?
As a young adult, it’s hard to know where you want to be in your life and what kind of career you like to have.
When you don’t have a clear picture, then start with the first job offer you get. Then you can develop and identify your interest.
Don’t chase dollars and higher pay in your first few jobs, rather focus on learning opportunity.
You have several decades to earn money, but what you learn in first 5 years after your school is going to stop you for success or failure in your life ahead.
19. I know my interests, what should I do next?
Great. Work towards that. When you work on a job that you love, you will make money on auto-pilot.
Instead, if you chase the dollars by doing the job you hate, you are not going to be successful at it.
20. What should I do to make more money?
Be an entrepreneur where you an be your own boss you control your destiny.
Know the difference between making money and making wealth. I know what you are going to say next. How can I be an entrepreneur when I’m on F-1 Visa? Let me tell you this – If you have the will, there is a way!
Target wealth, not pay check to pay check savings. Start small. Even a passive income ($100 per month) idea can pay dividends in the long run.
21. How do I make wealth?
That’s simple. Make more money by doing what you love. It’s tough to grow your wealth by doing what you hate. Ask this question to yourself “Do I love and enjoy the job I do?”
22. I hate my job, but I’m not sure what I should do to enjoy life?
If you hate your job, then figure out what you love to do. It can be working for, another employer or starting something on your own. You can still work in a company and start something on your side that you enjoy. Use the motivation and energy that you get from one source to drive the rest of your day.
23. How do I make money by doing what I love?
Remember that 10,000 hour rule? You become an expert when you have spent at least 10,000 hours (from the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell). When you become an expert or even when you have spent 5,000 hours, you can start selling and charging for services. You start making money when your expertise level increases. You start making wealth, when you become an expert.
Do the math: Spend 3 hours per day on what you like. That’s 1095 hours per year. In 4 years time, you can start making money. You should be doing part time to full- time income from 4th. If you think, you can’t make a full-time living from the work by then, then just push yourself for one more year. If nothing works out to 5 years, think about another new interest.
25. I can’t spend 5 years to know if I can really make money?
Well, you can’t become an expert over night. I have been blogging for close to 10 years now. I had zero blogging skills. But, I kept at it, I learned as I went along. I picked-up new skills. I invested in courses and networked with professional bloggers. Now, I charge for my services, courses and products. Universities reach out to be promoted via the blog. How did this happen? It did not happen overnight. It took small dedicated effort over long time. But, I kept doing something related to blogging everyday for last 10 years. Some days I spent 10 hours straight and some days I spent 10 minutes.
26. I don’t want to work hard or go through all this long, hard process. I live to have fun and relax.
That’s good for you. You can earn money by doing a job that you will hate or others hate you at work. But, there will be a point in time in your life, you will realize you need to get going, change yourself. I just hope, it’s not too late when you realize you wasted precious life by being average and chasing your your moving dreams.
That’s 26 things to set you on the right path to find a full-time job. But, I hope if you can get just a few things right, it would make a considerable difference in your life and career. Don’t forget to join this Free Job Search Boot Camp course delivered via Email.