Career Advancement supports international students in the College with career advising, programming, and funding opportunities. This webpage provides a brief overview of the many resources available to you!
Frequently Asked Questions:
THE FUNDAMENTALS | HOW TO BE A COMPETITIVE JOB CANDIDATE
Throughout your experience at the University of Chicago, Career Advancement is here to assist you in navigating your career path no matter where in the world you are interested in working. Our team offers valuable resources, connections, and tips that will help you stand out in a competitive job market.
The best way to launch your path to success is to meet regularly with the Career Advancement advisers. Personalized advising will help you explore potential career paths and apply for internship and full-time positions. Students can make an appointment with a career adviser on UChicago Handshake, by clicking ‘Career Center’, then ‘Appointments’, and finally on ‘Schedule a New Appointment’. You can choose the appointment type and time that work best and are available to you.
PREPARING TO APPLY FOR U.S. JOBS AND INTERNSHIPS
During your job search, you will come across many applications that require you to submit both a resume and a cover letter. Career Advancement provides tools and templates for students to use that can help you put your best foot forward. You can access those resources in the Resume and Interview Toolkit.
Additionally, you will need to be prepared for the next steps after your resume and cover letter have landed you an interview. Practicing in a mock interview through Career Advancement is a great way to prepare. Schedule an appointment to practice your interview skills through Handshake and find out more information about practice interviews here.
INTERNSHIPS: GAIN VALUABLE EXPERIENCE
Internships are an excellent opportunity to gain skills in your field of interest and add experiences to your resume. You can find many different internship opportunities in UChicago Handshake, including:
- Jeff Metcalf Internship Program: The majority of Jeff Metcalf internships, which are posted on Handshake, are available to international students and are located both domestically and internationally.
- On-Campus Employment: Working on-campus is a great way to develop your skills. Positions are available to students throughout the academic year and in the summer.
- Internship Grants: If you have secured an unpaid internship, consider applying for a Jeff Metcalf Fellowship Grant.
No matter what your plans are, it is vital to have a strong professional network. This is especially true if you are seeking to work in the U.S. since the work authorization process can be much easier if you have someone advocating for you. Below are a few ideas and opportunities to get you started:
- Career Treks: Treks are career exploration experiences where groups of students visit employers in cities throughout the U.S. and around the world. Each trek focuses on a specific field or industry and serves as an introduction for students to jumpstart their careers.
- Job Shadowing: A great way to learn firsthand about a company is to spend time in their office. Job shadowing is an excellent opportunity to experience daily life in your field of interest, explore your career interests, and build your professional network.
- Wisr: Wisr is a mentoring platform for students to seek advice from alumni or mentors on careers and professional development. Setting up a profile only takes a few minutes and allows students to reach out to mentors in the field with their questions.
- Informational Interviews: Another great way to learn about your industry is to have a brief informational interview with a company that interests you or with a connection in the field. These conversations can also help you build your network, which is beneficial for when you are looking for employment. Wisr is an excellent resource for informational interviews, and students can also use the Alumni Directory to reach out to UChicago alumni for informational interviews and professional advice.
U.S. JOB AND INTERNSHIP SEARCH RESOURCES
YOUR VISA STATUS
Learn as much as you can about your immigration status and which work authorization options are available to you. Not all employers are familiar with immigration regulations and work authorization types, so it is important that you research all work authorization options in order to be best prepared with the most accurate information. Your international adviser at the Office of International Affairs (OIA) is available to support you in this process and can help you understand your options in accordance with governmental regulations. For more resources surrounding work authorization and employment for international students, visit the OIA website on employment resources.
While employers are legally forbidden to ask about your immigration status, they may inquire about your work authorization status or if you will need visa sponsorship now and/or in the future. You should be prepared to facilitate a conversation with your employer about all work authorization options and be sure that your employer is aware of their role in the process. OIA can help you prepare to have this conversation with potential employer – don’t hesitate to contact them at any stage of your professional development to gather information on your work authorization options. You can also direct potential employers to the employer guide on the OIA website for more information. If you have determined you will need Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for your job or internship and need a Letter of Support from Career Advancement, please request the letter using this form!
U.S. REGULATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL-FRIENDLY EMPLOYERS
Aside from on campus resources, there are many useful websites that can help you during your search for employment. Below are a few tools to support your research:
- USCIS: There are many laws regarding work authorizations and visas in the U.S. and it is important to have a clear understanding of them. The USCIS website outlines your options and provides details of the application process, forms, and requirements. Please visit the USCIS website to be sure that you are in compliance with the U.S. regulations.
- US Department of Labor: H-1B Data: If you are applying for the H-1B work visa, you may be interested in researching the trends and patterns for this visa in your state or industry. The U.S. Department of Labor publishes reports on top occupations for H-1B by state, top employers sponsoring this visa, and best occupation areas for permanent residency applications, among other data.
- H1-B Salary Database: This database includes up-to-date official H1-B data disclosed by the United States Department of Labor by company, job title, location.
- MyVisaJobs.com: MyVisaJobs.com reports data on H-1B hiring trends by industry and location. Also, candidates who are interested in working the U.S. may post a profile on this webpage to market themselves to American employers.
- Monster International: Monster International is Monster’s European database, with the ability to filter on specific industry and position criteria.
- EuroJobs: This is a job board used for finding positions throughout Europe.
- Worldwide Indeed: This is a job board for positions around the world.
INTERNATIONAL JOB AND INTERNSHIP SEARCH
Even if you are planning to work in the United States, it is always a good idea to have as many professional options available to you as possible. A position in a country in which you already have a work authorization or where you can easily obtain one might be helpful as back up plans for your career path. Below are useful tools to help you find a job abroad:
A great first place to start is to search for international positions on Handshake and filter the posts by location. This can be done by clicking on the ‘Jobs’ tab at the top of your dashboard and using the drop-down feature to search for a specific location. For more suggestions or if you are looking for a Metcalf internship abroad, you can also subscribe to the International Opportunities Newsletter to receive updated job postings.
ADVISING FOR INTERNATIONAL JOBS AND INTERNSHIPS
Career Advancement is available to offer support and guidance throughout your international job hunt. Students can make an appointment with a career adviser who specializes international opportunities on Handshake by clicking ‘Career Center’, then ‘Appointments’, and finally on ‘Schedule a New Appointment’. You can choose the ‘International Job/Internship’ option as your appointment type, and a time that works best for you. Once you have filled out the information, you can click ‘Request’ and wait for the confirmation email.
UCHICAGO INTERNATIONAL ALUMNI CLUBS
As graduates from the University of Chicago, our global alumni are willing to network and mentor students in their professional development from their locations around the world. To connect with them, please search for your region of interest on the alumni page and reach out to the contact person listed.
WISR, UCHICAGO ALUMNI DIRECTORY, AND LINKEDIN
Wisr and the UChicago Alumni Directory are available to help build out your global professional network. Both resources list mentors and alumni, domestic and abroad, for you to seek advice regarding your career and professional development. You may also wish to use the LinkedIn UChicago alumni group and search tool to connect with alumni in your area of interest.
International Student Job Search Planning Timeline
- Learn about the Office of International Affairs (OIA) and the resources they provide, including visa statuses
- Understand the process of applying to CPT and how it relates to on and off-campus internships
- Learn best practices for drafting your resume and cover letter and tips for interviewing
- Develop list of companies you would like to network and intern with
- Identify Career Cohort Programs of interest
- Determine and seek out any professional development programs and information sessions you would like to attend
- Sign up for Career Advancement newsletters of interest
- Understand the visa requirements for the country you would like to intern in during the upcoming summer, or work in upon graduation
- Understand recruiting timelines for your area of interest
- Identify networking opportunities, such as LinkedIn and informational interviews
- Identify networking and professional development opportunities applicable to your area of interest
- Meet with a Careers In… advisor, if area of interest is finalized
- Tailor resume and cover letter to area of interest
- Request a Letter of Support for CPT, if necessary
- Apply for academic year or summer internships
- Understand the process of applying to post-graduation work authorization (OPT)
- Identify companies that may provide sponsorship for post-graduation positions
- Speak with OIA about the OPT application timeline and strategies for applying
- Identify full-time positions or graduate/professional school programs you would like to apply to
Almost all U.S.-based companies will require a resume at some point during the application process. If you need to convert a CV to a resume, you may review the Undergraduate Resume Guide.
Additional tips for how to tailor your personal information and experiences include:
- Introduce yourself using your legal and chosen name so employers know how you preferred to be addressed.
- If multilingual, emphasize the languages you speak.
- Exclude personal data to limit bias and discrimination within the hiring process. Personal data includes: date of birth, age, gender, ethnicity, social security number, visa status, political or religious affiliation, photographs
- If you attended an institution within another country, list your GPA given by the school while also providing a U.S. equivalent GPA so employers can better understand your academic performance.
For additional support, please schedule an advising appointment with any Career Advancement adviser on Handshake.
INTERVIEW PREPARATION: TIPS AND POTENTIAL QUESTIONS
U.S. interview expectations can differ depending on the region or industry. However, the following tips are helpful to keep in mind for both virtual and in-person interviews.
- Be punctual. Arrive 10-15 minutes early for in-person and 5 minutes early for virtual.
- Expect to receive questions about your experience and skills.
- Keep eye contact with your interviewer, as it conveys confidence and interest.
- Shake hands to introduce yourself. Please note, if this is contrary to your religious beliefs, you can decline.
- Research the company beforehand to show interest and a clear reason why you want to work there.
- Be prepared for varying interview styles. For example, the interviewer may decide to start with small talk or may start with direct questions.
- End the interview by asking the employer where they are in the interview process and when you should expect to hear back. Additionally, you may follow up to ask about the status of an application after your interview.
DISCRIMINATORY INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws protect employees from job discrimination. During the hiring process, interviewers may ask a wide variety of questions, but there are certain questions that are illegal to ask (these vary on the state or country). It is illegal for employers to ask about age, genetics, birthplace, country of origin or citizenship, disability, marital status, family, pregnancy, race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sex, or sexual orientation.
It’s not always easy to know whether you are being asked an illegal question, but this list captures many of the questions that are either strictly illegal or fall into a gray area.
Responding to Red Flag Interview Questions
There are different approaches of answering potentially discriminatory interview questions, depending on your comfort level. Reference the following methods to prevent risking next steps with the organization:
- Respond: If you believe there is no malicious intent behind the question, you may choose to answer. It’s best to keep it short and general.
- Redirect: Try to respond to the question without mentioning the identity in question or confidential information. Instead, refer to your work experiences, skills, and capabilities and express your confidence in your ability to perform the job.
- Return: Inquire how the question they asked relates to the job description or responsibilities or ask for clarity on the question. This will help you understand the intention behind the question so you can determine next steps.
- Decline: You always have the option to not respond and instead say “This question does not pertain to or affect my ability to do this job” or “I would prefer not to answer this question.” You can also change the topic or segue into another question or topic that is relevant to your experience and the job description.
INTERVIEW FOLLOW-UP: NAVIGATING A JOB OFFER
Congratulations on your job offer! To know how to best handle the offer and negotiation steps, reference these resources!