When you study in the US you are at the start of an international career. Your international job search begins the minute you step on campus. You have access to resources and people to explore worldwide opportunities from entry level international jobs to high tech jobs in top companies. While you might be focused on how to get a job in the US after graduation it’s smart to pay attention to opportunities outside the US. It’s getting harder for international students to find work in the US. H-1B jobs aren’t guaranteed even if you find companies that sponsor international students. Understanding global hiring trends, exploring international job search engines, and knowing how to get hired in countries outside the US (like Canada!), will make you a more successful international job seeker.
Research and communication are the foundation of your international job search. Here’s how to build an international job search strategy while still searching for jobs in the US.
Start with international job search websites
Broaden your job search by exploring opportunities on international job search sites. Below are three options.
This European focused website has a feature I wish all job search sites had: a work permit filter. You can search by companies that offer visa support or where work permits are not required. Here are the jobs with visa support or no work permit required.
This website is designed for global job seekers like you. If a company offers visa sponsorship, the job post will include details about visa sponsorship. Featuring tech jobs and non-tech jobs in places like UK, Singapore, Estonia, Canada, Australia, who knows where you might find a job abroad. Plus they give good advice like how to find a job at a startup in Berlin and how to get a software engineering job abroad. Jobbatical also gives you a quick glance at living costs and a city guide. This makes it easier for you to imagine your new life in a foreign country.
International Alumni Job Network (IAJN)
The International Alumni Job Network is an international community for returned international students featuring global job and internship opportunities, as well as events. They feature local opportunities across the Asia Pac region at top companies like EY, Microsoft, Adobe. Their events help you connect to other students and build a network in your home country.
Another option is Indeed.com/worldwide. You can search jobs by country. While not as targeted as the sites above, it’s another option to familiarize yourself with opportunities.
Next, focus on one or two countries
It’s hard to search in multiple countries or regions at once. You can’t be everywhere. Focus on one country or two at a time. Then commit to learning everything you can about that country. Learn about hiring practices in that country. Find out which countries have global tech startup hubs. Just like you are experiencing in the US hiring practices are different by country and even by organization. Don’t know anything about hiring practices in your target country? Ask your classmates! Also, remember to adapt your communication style to your target country’s communication styles. Here’s an introduction to this from Erin Meyer, Professor at INSEAD.
Remember your classmates
You are surrounded by people from other countries. Talk to your classmates about their experience working in their country. Even if they haven’t had a job, they know people who have. Ask them which companies might hire international candidates. Find out where expats live in their country. Learn what you can from them about how to get a job in their country. Visit on-campus international clubs that represent regions from around the world to learn more about those countries.
Don’t forget about faculty
Your campus is home to international faculty. Find them. Ask them for advice about finding a job in their country. Inquire about where to find openings at businesses or organizations. Find international faculty in language departments, science departments, engineering schools, and business schools. Many international graduate students are TA’s, so they may be teaching your course. Ask them about the job search in their home country. Don’t be shy to approach them. You aren’t asking for a job; you are simply gathering information.
Connect with alumni in your target countries
Ask your career services center for a list of alumni in the country you are targeting. If they don’t have one, learn how to use LinkedIn’s alumni tool.
Try rotational programs
Rotation programs, also known as leadership development programs, are common at large multinational companies. They offer a chance to travel around the world, gaining new perspectives in different parts of the company. These are ideal for a student seeking an international career. The company handles also takes care of visas, allowing you to focus on work. Here is a list of top rotation programs by industry.
Visit the country
This might be the hardest step because it requires a financial commitment. But if your school offers a study tour (common in business schools), a global consulting project, or even a study abroad term in the country, participate in it. Employers look for signals that you are serious about their company. A country visit shows you are serious about an international career. Also you gain an opportunity to make professional connections while in country. Keep the conversation going with new connections when you return to the US.
Make time for an international job search
Just like your US job search, you have to make time for these activities. Therefore make plans to commit 20% of your job search time to international opportunities. Schedule it on your calendar. Make plans each week to talk with other international students to learn as much as you can about their country, culture, hiring process, and companies. Start exploring and don’t stop!