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By Brett Boettcher, NCA associate director of professional program strategy & management, serving students in the School of Professional Studies and master’s students in The Graduate School.

Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) would like to welcome you to the first of five international master’s student blogs that will share tips and strategies to manage job searching in the U.S. Our hope is that tBretthese blogs will inspire thoughtful reflection on your job options and search. Each blog will be posted at key points during Fall Quarter featuring significant milestones for your search.  

For many of you, your new Master’s program will represent a new direction in your career path and will mean that you will be seeking a new job at its completion. Today’s blog will identify key strategies and information to assist you in starting your program and beginning your job search in an effective way.

Your best strategy for starting your program and your job search is to clearly understand your options and to develop an industry-specific plan and timeline. By doing so, you will find more job search success than without. A great place to start examining your options and setting your job search plan is the career services office that aligns with your programs, including McCormick’s Office of Career Development, Medill Career Services, School of Communication’s EPICS, or Northwestern Career Advancement. Visit each office’s website to determine services for your program.

By scheduling an appointment with the appropriate career services adviser/coach, you will better understand recruiting for international students and make the most of the job search in your industry of choice. In your meetings, you will learn:

  • Important facts about recruiting for the industry you are planning to pursue and when it makes sense to start the job search.
  • Should you exercise your CPT option and pursue an internship? Internships are great experience and skill-builders, but may not work for everyone.

Your career services office can assist you to avoid common master’s student pitfalls. Far too often new master’s students start their job search in a non-organized manner. Some start prematurely and others delay the start of their job search due to lack of career direction or a desire to focus only on classes. Either strategy can bring negative results including poor impressions on employers or missed opportunities.

Finally, it is important to fully understand student visas and how they impact the internship and job search. Northwestern’s International Office is a critical partner in understanding U.S. visas and your options as well as assisting with visa processing for CPT and OPT. NCA encourages students to reach out and establish a relationship with an adviser at the International Office.