Job hunting can be time consuming and frustrating if you don’t quite know what you’re doing. However, it gets even more complicated if you’re an international student searching for a job in the U.S. The job market can be immensely different from that of your home country but these 7 tips can simplify the process. Check them out below!

Be Selective

Sounds a little crazy right? But it’s really not! You don’t have to apply for every single job that is advertised; it will only cause frustration and it’s actually anti- productive when you really think about it. Here’s what you should do instead. Utilize reputable job sites such as CareerBuilder, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Glassdoor etc.; they usually have a wide range of jobs being advertised by well-known companies. Make sure to narrow your search based on your particular industry or use certain keywords to filter out jobs that don’t apply to you. Most importantly don’t apply to a job that won’t be an ideal fit; if you don’t have the outlined qualifications, expertise or experience required for the job, don’t apply.

Sign up for Job Alerts

Most—if not all online job sites allow you to register and upload your resume, making it easier and faster for you to apply for jobs that match your resume. You can also sign up to receive job alerts that are similar to the ones you’ve applied for on the site. The alerts allow you to be very specific; you can filter based on location, companies or even job titles. However, these alerts can get quite annoying if not done correctly. Make sure to specify the type of alerts you want ( whether my email, or text) and how often you want these alerts sent to you—hourly, daily, weekly or once per month.

Do your research

It’s important to arm yourself with adequate information about the company and the job that you’re applying for—after all you can never be too prepared. Once you see a job post, ask people in your circle what they know about the company culture. You should also check the company website and do some research on their size, background, company history etc. and use this data to make your job letter more specific to the advertised post. DO NOT use a generic letter for each application. Try to have diverse cover letters and resumes on hand for the different types of jobs you are applying for. You’ll also need to research other imperative things such as employee benefits offered by the company, employee turnover rate etc. Online research can also reveal information such as the typical work schedule for a particular business, their pay scale and other details that will help you decide whether or not you want to apply for the job.

Read instructions carefully and follow directions

It’s very important that you read the job listing and its requirements thoroughly before you rush to apply for the job. Sometimes you will be more than qualified for a position, but you didn’t get the job because you didn’t follow the direction outlined therein—that is indeed a ‘red flag’ for employers. Lately companies have been outlining a list of things to include in your application —sometimes they’ll ask applicants to include a particular keyword or a specific subject line in your email application— just to ensure that you read the job description in full. Make a note of all the requirements and tick off each one before sending off your application. It doesn’t matter how fantastic your resume is, if for example a company asks that interested applicants must include ‘Technology Analyst’ in the subject line of the email and you didn’t do that, they’ll send your email to spam and your amazing resume won’t be seen by anyone! This is a part of the screening process, so make sure to read the instructions carefully and follow the directions.

Practice makes for a perfect interview

Ask family and friends to set up a mock interview with you before the official one. This practice can be extremely helpful, especially if you don’t have much experience in this area. The aim of this mock interview is to adequately prepare you on how to answer certain questions that an employer might ask; so that you’re not caught off guard during the real interview. Use this to also practice your posture, demeanor and overall body language; here are some great tips:
• Start with a smile and a firm handshake. A limp handshake shows a lack of confidence and it’s also a clear sign that you don’t have much experience doing interviews.
• Sit in your chair with your back straight, and whatever you do… DON’T FIDGET. Luckily the mock interview will highlight some of your nervous habits so that you can correct them in time.
• Listen, then speak and do so slowly. Fast talking is a sign of nervousness.
• Interview the interviewer! Yes you need to have a list of questions to ask the interviewer as well; it shows that you are serious about the job. You can ask about the role you are interviewing for; company culture; the team you’ll be working with, etc.

Start with an internship or Part time job

Don’t filter out the internships or part time jobs that are being advertised; especially if it’s a respected company. Keep in mind that if your establishment of choice doesn’t have any permanent slots available then working for them part- time or as an intern is a great way to get your foot in the door. A 2012 Forbes article revealed a study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). It revealed that 60% of internships turn into job offers. However this was specific to paid internships —as for unpaid internships the study showed that only 30% actually led to full- time positions. Part- time jobs should be an option during your job search as well. Who knows, the company many not have space to accommodate you full- time, but someone might exit while you’re working for the company and you might just be on the top of their list when that space opens up. Furthermore, even if the part-time or internship position doesn’t lead to a permanent job you would’ve gained valuable experience which you can add to your resume while making some well needed cash.

Learn to overcome your obstacles

If you’re from a different country there are certain requirements and limitations for working in the U.S. You need to know what those are and figure out how best you can overcome them. Keep in mind that there are employment eligibility requirements for non- U.S citizens. You’ll need to complete an I-9 form — this is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of persons employed in the United States. Employers will need this form along with other documents to prove your identity. You can find and download the form from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services website. Once you have all the necessary documentation needed— in conjunction with the other 6 essential tips outlined today—you’ll be more than ready to take on the challenge of getting a job in the U.S. Remember that knowledge, confidence and perseverance is key to finding the right job. Also try to be realistic during your job search; it won’t happen overnight but you have to keep searching and sending out resumes until you hit gold!
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