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.
Welcome to the Alumni Career Q&A for International Students blog series! Each month, NCA will feature a Q&A with former Northwestern international students about their experiences navigating the U.S. job search process. The goal of this series is to help current international students understand what they can do to successfully plan their career and excel in the job search.
In this month’s edition, NCA solicited feedback from three international student alumni:
- French master’s graduate from civil engineering program working in structural engineering
- Chinese master’s graduate from analytics program working as a data scientist with an insurance company
- Korean undergraduate from electrical engineering program working for a financial software, media, and data company
- Chinese master’s student from integrated marketing communications program working for a marketing strategy company
Here are their responses to questions related to interviewing and networking for positions within the United States:
What challenges did you experience with the U.S. job search and how did you handle those challenges?
A lot of employers do not know the process to hire international workers and are afraid to look into it. A good way to prepare employers to that process is to give them a brief summary of how it will go, and to reassure them that nothing is asked from them while you are on OPT.
I got a lot of rejections. Also it was quite unclear to me what I did during the interview [that] was wrong. So I talked to a lot of alumni, asked for referrals, and asked them to help me (with) mock interviews.
Many challenges are regarding immigrant status. I dealt with them with people skills and tactical skills.
What advice would you give current international students who are seeking jobs in the U.S.?
Practice your networking skills. Build your network and get referrals.
Networking is the key no matter what position or industry it is.
Read the job description carefully, find the ones that MATCH your training background the best.
What resources did you use since the start of the school year for your job/internship search?
Stay tuned for next month’s blog post on the non-academic job search for PhDs!