Careers & Internships
International Student Resources
International students face unique challenges in transitioning from student life to the professional sphere. This section outlines some steps international students can take to start making their careers dreams a reality.
Set Goals, Conduct Research, and meet with your Career Services and ISS advisers.
Having a clear understanding of your your career goals will provide more clarity on which steps you’ll want to take while studying at the Jackson School. For example: Do you want to pursue a graduate degree? Work in the US? Work in your home country? Get into a specific career?
Based on these goals, conduct research on what preparation you’ll need to be more qualified to meet these goals. If your goal is to work in the US upon graduation, start researching which companies have applied for H1B Visa in the past, companies that hire international students, and for what types of positions companies will submit H1B applications.
The UW International Student Services office is the best resource of questions regarding your work eligibility, visa status, and rules/regulations for employment. It’s important to know when and where you are allowed to work in the US and how to apply for permission to work. It is strongly recommended that you connect with your ISS adviser. Employers may ask about your work authorization and you will need to confidently respond to their questions – they may not be familiar with the rules/regulations.
Note that the off-campus jobs, internships, and professional training programs generally require you to have completed one academic year (three quarters) to be eligible to apply for authorization. We recommend Jackson students consult their ISS adviser with any questions related to visa status and employment authorization.
F-1 status allows the following five categories of employment:
- On-campus Employment
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- Severe Economic Hardship
- International Organizations
Having trouble deciding if you need to apply for CPT or OPT? This handout will help you figure out which to use.
Changing from the F-1 student visa to an H-1B employment visa:
Access University Resources and Prepare Application Documents
There are several resources available that will help you succeed while at UW and in your internship/job search.
Jackson Academic Advisers can provide advice on balancing class loads, academic/graduation planning and succeeding in the classroom.
The Writing & Research Center, located in Odegaard Library, is an excellent resource to polish written communication. Written and verbal communications are important aspects of the job search process as well as in professional work, and this resource offers assistance by reviewing documents and tutoring to improve written communication.
To apply to positions in the US, a resume (PDF) and cover letter (PDF) are generally required. It is recommended that students create a LinkedIn profile, participate in mock interviewing, and attend workshops/seminars to gain further professional development and a better understanding of US cultural norms as well. Companies are looking for well-rounded candidates with leadership experience, a strong understanding of their skills/talents, good communication and the ability to work on teams. Your ability to represent this in your application documents and in person will be a critical piece of your success in securing any practical learning experience outside the classroom.
Networking will be a critical aspect of your experience at UW. While it will be very helpful in building community, it also helps build (professional) connections. Professional networking is quickly becoming one of the best ways to get jobs and internships. Through networking you may find out about the hidden job market/unadvertised open positions that aren’t posted, be recommended by a contact at a company, or identify companies that fit your needs that you didn’t previously know about. Remember that the purpose and goal of networking is to connect with other individuals, not to get a job. A job may be a byproduct of creating a connection with others, but shouldn’t be the only reason to participate in networking.
You can engage in in-person networking by joining a student organization (Jackson student organizations and UW Student organizations), attending professional development and networking events and participating in career fairs and opportunities to meet employers.
Having an online web presence for virtual networking is also important. LinkedIn is a place for professionals to highlight their expertise, work history, and connect with other professionals. For assistance on starting a LinkedIn profile, click here (PDF)
Internship search, job search and additional resources
Searching for an internship or job can be a long process for any job seeker, not just international students. Having a high quantity of job applications isn’t a measure of success, instead we recommend that you search with intention and an understanding of how you are uniquely qualified for the open positions.
Your knowledge of another language, or business practices in the US or abroad, may help you to be a standout applicant. Perhaps you’ll want to look for jobs with companies that do business with your home country. Or you may want to search for jobs that will be needed both here in the US or in your home country. Finally, you may want to do a comprehensive job search that includes a variety of locations or flexibility in the type of work you are willing to do. While your internship/job will need to match your academic degree, you may find that broader job search will help you to better reach your intended goal (see Step 1).
- Jobs outside of the US for International Students: A UW board for international students searching in outside of the US
- Key things to know about CPT and Internships: Learn about what you need to do BEFORE you apply.
- Going Global: Provides country-specific career and employment info, as well as H-1B employer listings.
- The Riley Guide – International Job Opportunities: Directory of job, career, and education information.
- US Citizenship and Immigration Services: *U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States, this site provides information on working in the US, as well green card and citizenship information.
- myvisajobs.com: This site provides analytical data services (what companies hired international individuals) on H1B Visa, H2B Visa and Employment based green care (PERM).
- Global Jobs: This site provides information on postings connected to international affairs and international organizations within the US.
- H1-B Employer database: http://www.myvisajobs.com/H1B_Visa.aspx
- H1-Base Solution Center: http://h1base.com/
- Association for International Practical Training Programs and Scholarships: http://www.aipt.org/
- AIESEC: AIESEC (translated from French is: International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Services) is the global youth network impacting the world through leadership development experiences. AIESEC has been facilitating youth leadership activities as well as international internships & volunteer experiences for over 65 years, developing a global learning environment across 124 countries & territories.
Getting a Social Security Number
A Social Security number (SSN) is issued to track earnings over a worker’s lifetime. Students holding F-1 and J-1 status who are employed in the U.S. must apply for a Social Security number. Dependents in F-2 status are not eligible for a Social Security number. (Students who will not work on campus but who receive a taxable scholarship can apply for an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) for tax purposes).
In order to issue a Social Security number, the Social Security Administration requires evidence that you are eligible to work in the U.S., that you are a full-time student, and that you have received a formal offer of on-campus employment, or have been authorized for off-campus employment through Curricular Practical Training, Optional Practical Training, or Academic Training.
For more info on the application process, click here.