Job Search in the U.S.

It is important to understand the job search process in the U.S. as you seek CPT, OPT, and other employment opportunities. The search process may be very different than common practice in your home country. It may be common in your country for government, family, or academic advisors to find jobs for you, but in the U.S., it is largely your responsibility to identify and pursue your own employment.

Utilize resources on campus such as I-Link, career workshops and career fairs as you seek positions. Enhance your search with networking. Many employment opportunities can be found within your network and or through referrals, therefore, it is crucial to begin networking as soon as possible! Using LinkedIn or reviewing lists of companies who have hired international students for CPT or OPT can also be helpful.

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Skills U.S. Employers Value

To be competitive in the U.S. job market, you need a diverse set of skills that employers highly value. Sometimes, the skills that U.S. employers desire may be different from those valued in your home countries. It is more important to develop broad career readiness skills in addition to having a strong academic record and technical knowledge relevant to your career interest.

Excellent communication skills are required to be competitive in the U.S. job market. You must be able to verbalize, write, listen, give presentations, facilitate discussions, and share knowledge effectively in English. Employers also highly value candidates with strong interpersonal skills and ablity to work on a team. Interpersonal skills include abilities to relate to colleagues and customers, inspire others, understand culture, and resolve conflicts. Employers seek graduates who have demonstrated leadership by being active contributors on campus and in their surrounding communities. 

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Home Country Job Search

As you consider career opportunities in your home country, it is very important to understand cultural traditions and job search conventions in your home country. Recruiting cycles, key skillsets, resume/cover letter writing, and interview preparation strategies may be different from those in the U.S. Become familiar with job sites that are popular at home and connect with alumni and acquaintances who work in your home country, preferably in the areas of your interest, to learn more about the job search process and opportunites.

The Global Career Opportunity (GCO) series of events, hosted by The Career Center, showcases job markets outside the U.S. and connects students with country-specific job market information and professionals. GoinGlobal provides country-specific job search resources for more than 20 countries. For Chinese students, the Shanghai Office of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hosts many career events in China including career fairs in Beijing and Shanghai annually. Meeting and greeting international employers who visit our campus is another strategy for your home country job search. 

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Alumni Groups

Search LinkedIn groups or other social media to find alumni groups for your college, department, or nationality. On LinkedIn, send a request to join the group, identifying yourself with credentials such as being a current student at UIUC. You can also connect directly with individuals on LinkedIn.

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