Throughout my tenure, and now, as the Executive Director of the SPS Career Design Lab, I have seen firsthand the challenges of international students to obtain internships and jobs in the U.S.
The U.S. job search and interview process has many unique traits. Once we help a graduate student get a foot through the door of a stellar organization, my goal is to ensure that the candidate aces his or her interview, and is fully prepared to take on and excel in the role. I would also say that there are many misconceptions about how to approach a job search.
So what are the top three myths of the U.S. job market?
Myth #1: “I don’t have to think about my job search now. I’ll wait until I finish my first semester.”
Reality: Top employers recruit a year in advance for internship programs and full-time roles. Many alumni regret not beginning their preparation sooner. To be competitive, you need to use the summer to build strong application materials and hone interview skills.
Myth #2: “I know my English is fluent enough to land a job at a top company.”
Reality: Talent competition is fierce in the U.S. and many international students have a false sense of career readiness and competency. To compete, you must have a thorough understanding of business culture and industry vernacular.
Myth #3: “There are no jobs for international students. Employers don’t want to hire them.”
Reality: Jobs are available. Most of them, however, are not posted online. According to Forbes and LinkedIn, 70% to 85% of jobs are not posted online at all. There are also multiple entry points in multinational companies nationally and internationally, including Canada.
This summer, SPS is offering a new course designed for incoming master’s students preparing to engage with the top companies that are recruiting this fall. The U.S. Career & Communication Accelerator is a four week online course that provides international students with hands-on practice, real-world application, and a competitive edge to help them tackle the U.S. job market confidently and competently.
If you have any questions about this new course or about how to get plugged in to the Career Design Lab, don't hesitate to CareerDesignLab [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu (reach out to me and my team).