Career resources for international students

Succeed at a career fair

Career Fair do's and don'ts for international students

  • DON’T begin with "Do you sponsor?"
    DO let the employer raise the issue of sponsorship if they are interested
  • DON'T begin with "Do you hire international students?"
    DO begin with questions that will get a conversation started and let the employer learn what you bring beyond being an international student.
  • DON’T begin with "Hi, I'm Punit and I'm from India."
    DO begin with an introduction that emphasizes your qualifications for the job and the company.
  • DON’T begin with "Hi, what does your company do?"
    DO showcase what you have done to research the company and your fit for it.
  • DON'T approach recruiters in groups or pairs.
    DO approach recruiters to talk to them one at a time

Things to think about

As an international student, there are a few important things you may want to think about as you search for internships and full-time employment.

  • Gain experience in addition to your studies. Get involved in student groups, do research with professors, volunteer, or find an internship. Check out CSE Career Services' Get Experience Guide (PDF).
  • Work on campus. International students can work up to 20 hours a week on campus without a change in visa status. To search for student jobs on campus, visit the University of Minnesota's Office of Human Resources' Student Employment web page.
  • Be aware of the expectations for getting a job in your home country or culture and how that might differ from those where you'd like to work.
  • Your unique cultural background and skills may make you especially attractive to organizations that have an international focus, such as political and cultural non-profits, large non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and multinational companies.
  • To read stories from international alumni about how they found work after graduation, visit the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) website.
  • For information on how to answer questions from employers about sponsorship, visit the "Answering common employer questions about sponsorship" webpage.

Connect with professionals and peers

  • Meet with professionals who work in your career area of interest, especially those who once were international students. For strategies on how to expand your network, see the International Student Job and Internship Search Guide (PDF).
  • Attend organization meetings to find professionals who can help you navigate the world of work. Visit CSE Career Services' Major and Career Exploration web page, or search online using keywords such as "International Engineers Professional Association."
  • Create an account on LinkedIn, an online professional networking site, and join groups such as "Diversity in Minnesota." To get started, visit the LinkedIn website.
  • Join a student group that relates to your professional goals. This is a great way to network with your peers. Many groups also bring in professionals to speak with students. Visit the CSE student groups web page for a full list.
  • Attend career fairs, employer information sessions, networking events, and career panels. Find upcoming events on the Handshake website.
  • Visit the University of Minnesota International Careers Facebook website to join the group, connect with other international students, and get the latest information.

Work authorization

Before working in any position off campus, it is important to get work authorization. To watch online workshops or find the schedule of in-person workshops, visit the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) website.

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - CPT is work authorization that allows you to work in a job directly related to your major area of study before degree completion. The internship must be for credit and part of your academic program. CPT authorization is provided by ISSS and can be granted within seven business days of application submission.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) - OPT is work authorization that allows you to work in a job directly related to your major area of study either before or after degree completion. The majority of students use OPT to work after degree completion. OPT authorization is provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and is usually granted within 2-3 months after the student submits an application.
  • H1B visa - The H1B visa is the official and primary U.S. work visa available to international professionals. To obtain an H1B visa, you must first find an H1B sponsorship job with a U.S. sponsoring company. Then your employer must file an H1B visa application with the U.S. Immigration Bureau on your behalf. It is the employer's choice whether to sponsor you.

Job search and preparation resources

Your legal rights

  • To learn what constitutes an illegal interview question and how to handle the situation, read the “Handling Improper Interview Question” page on the Middlebury website.
  • If you experience discrimination once you are in a job, check out tips and information about employment discrimination on the FindLaw website.