The Center for Career Development and International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) recently hosted a virtual panel discussion “Navigating the Job and Internship Search for International Students”. This was an opportunity for current international students and alumni to learn about the panelist’s experience searching and applying to jobs and internships in the U.S. Attendees gained tips and strategies regarding securing OPT and utilizing CPT for internships.
The undergraduate panelists were Qi Xia, B.S., Computer and Cognitive Science (2021), and Chenxi Yu, B.S., Actuarial Science (2021). The graduate student alumni panelists were Anand Gupta, Ph.D., Pharmaceutical Sciences (2020), and Feiyang Chen, Ph.D., Chemistry (2020).
Here is some of the advice from the panel discussion:
A common thread this year in hiring is the importance of networking. One panelist commented: “learn from people about what they seek in a competitive candidate, talk to them at career fairs, events, etc. Even if they can’t help you get a job, they can help you learn what skills and experiences are necessary to be a competitive candidate.” Remember that those who you reach out to have been in similar job search situations.
Students and alumni are encouraged to create a LinkedIn profile and utilize it for networking with UConn alumni and others in the field or industry that you are interested in pursuing. “Students who are ahead of you and already working may hear of opportunities at their companies.”
Utilize UConn Resources (ISSS, Center for Career Development and Academic Advisors/Professors)
One panelist explained that ISSS made authorization paperwork go smoothly. Further ISSS helped with timelines for the process. They explained that attending the CPT and OPT workshops were instrumental in understanding what steps to take.
Participate in the Center for Career Development’s Career Fair and “reach out to the companies to learn about r job opportunities available. Ask the employer about job openings even if they don’t have an immediate opening for a position that interests you, it is still worthwhile to develop that relationship.”
Another panelist said, “the Center for Career Development helped with revisions to their Curriculum Vitae, résumé, and development of a LinkedIn profile.” They also searched for jobs in Handshake.
Furthermore, “your professors often know other students who have had internships and can recommend potential companies that have had other students from the department as interns.”
It’s Possible to Find a Job During the Pandemic
Many students are concerned about the job market during this economy. Our panelists successfully landed their current jobs and internships during this challenging economic time. They explained that “while some employers experienced a negative impact on their business from Covid-19 other employers are thriving and exploring new ways of doing business, expanding research, etc.”
Take comfort in the knowledge that companies are always hiring as people are promoted and others move out of positions.
Be open to opportunities beyond what you only think you want. It can be hard to find opportunities, but not impossible. Keep trying and be persistent. One panelist explained “when looking for opportunities start early and consider trying to work on-campus to get a Social Security number.”
Best of luck in your job and internship search!
Desirée Martino is a Career Coach in the Center for Career Development