Completing Higher Education USA is one part, then comes the job/internship search phase. In this page, you will find all the information that will help with your internship and full time job search. Unlike in India, campus placements, interviews doesn’t exist in over 95% of the schools and colleges. I have heard campus placements only for MBA in Ivy League schools, Stanford, Harvard and few other schools.
When there are no campus placements, you have to take efforts to find full time job. Process of applying for jobs is much different than India (or other countries). If you will be looking for entry level job after completing college, then you better find an internship first.
If you don’t have previous work experience, then you HAVE to find an internship position for atleast 2 semesters. Also, if you applying for internship have 2 fold advantage
- Helps you learn about Job Search process
- Same company may end up hiring you as full time employee
International students in first semester will try hard to get RA/TA and then part time jobs. They forget to focus their energy in preparing and learning about internship search process. F1 visa rules require students in F1 visa to complete atleast 2 semesters (Fall and Spring) before they can work as an intern.
First Semester Plan
You can spend first semester by doing following activities
- build your professional network
- build your brand
- get perfect resume written
- how to use twitter for job search
- how to use linkedin for job search
- how to use facebook for job search
- Identify target companies
- Learn to write customized cover letter
- Rate Your Resume (how good is your resume)
Second Semester Plan
You have to start applying fort jobs during second semester. Check with your university about
- CPT policy
- Requirements to get CPT
- How many semesters they would allow CPT
- How long it would take to get CPT approval when you get the internship
- Department requirements
- Course Requirements while you will be working in CPT
Start applying for internship as soon as your second semester starts. Do include your intended start date in your resume and cover letter. Start preparing for interview process (phone and in-person). Its very bad idea to start preparing for interview, only after company have scheduled an interview (phone or in-person).
Internship interviews are not as tough as full time job interviews, which can go for 2 to 8 hours in a day.
Full Time Job Search
If you have experience in searching/applying for internship you can use that learning curve to apply for full time jobs. Typically it takes about 4 to 7 months to find a full time job. So, you better start applying for full time job during your last semester.
STEM graduates have to find a full time job or internship within 90 days into your OPT. If you start looking for job after you graduate, then you are going to be in trouble. Previously, consulting companies would hire students in OPT and sponsor their H1B, but after recession, neufeld memo things are pretty strict. Unless you have a project, consulting companies are not going to hire you.
In order to get an interview call, you need to have strong resume. I strongly recommend you to get your resume written professionally while applying for full time jobs. I have seen over 400 resumes of students from India and just by looking at the resume over for few seconds, I can say what kind of person I’m dealing here.
Don’t even think of having 5 page resume, that are famous in India.
Number of pages in resume is not equal to high quality or better resume. Try to keep resume within 2 pages. Don’t leave resume hanging with 1.5 pages. Make it 2 full pages.
Job Search Plan
I strongly recommend you buy the following books even before you start your job search.
You need to create a job search schedule and stick to it. Allocate atleast 2 hours per day just for job search activities, which includes
- Building your network (contacts)
- Finding job openings
- Finding contacts within the company
- Customizing the resume and cover letter for each job you apply
- Keeping track of jobs applied and status
- Improvising your job search skills
- many more activities
Job search should be approached as full time job. Try to find a secluded place in your campus, if you do the above tasks every day, then it within few weeks, you will not feel the pain of searching for jobs.
Start preparing for job interview, when you start applying for jobs. Since you know the types of job you are targeting, allocate 30 minutes to 1 hour per day for learning the technical stuffs. Also, learn about behavioral interview questions and how to answer them.
It’s very hard to master behavioral interview questions, just 2 days or a week before the interview. You have to find all such questions and rehearse answers for them. Sample questions
- Explain your weakness
- What will you be doing 5 years from now
- Tell me about yourself
- What Not to Say During Interview
After attending in-person interview always send a thank you note. Utilize this opportunity to highlight any skills you may have missed to explain during the interview. If your interviews didnt; go as expected, try to explain how you can overcome the weakness.
When you the job offer, don’t accept the offer without negotiating the salary. Avoid these 9 salary negotiating mistakes.
If you have additional questions about job search process, post your questions int eh comment form below. Do share this page with your friends.