Career Tips for International Students

Career Branding Myth #1 Experience That Matters to US Employers

In this episode, I’ll talk about finding what work experience matters when applying for jobs in the US.

When searching for jobs, it can be very discouraging to see how many job openings require experience – even entry-level positions sometimes ask for 2-3 years of work experience.

For international students that are coming over without work experience in the US, or maybe even have no work experience at all, this can feel like an even more intimidating obstacle.

If that’s how you feel, here is data that may help you feel more hopeful. More than 50% of ICAway students have managed to secure jobs with zero prior work experience. What are you going to put on your resume if you haven’t had a relevant job before? Or haven’t had any job at all?

The answer is to use your school experience instead. Contrary to popular belief, the projects you work on in school can be very compelling to interviewers if you know how to tell your stories. Highlight them on your resume if they are relevant to the job you are applying for

For example:

if you are applying to work in data analytics and in school you did a project that required you to analyze data and you also led the team by arranging meetings and controlling deadlines.

Highlight that on your resume! For example, one of my students got to work on a data analytics project at school. Her school provided the database and ask students to define the factor that affected income in the U.S.

She could even write a bullet like

“Led a team of three to extract data from the government database for regression analysis to define factors affecting income inequality in the U.S.”

What if you don’t even have compelling school projects? Find opportunities to volunteer.

There are many non-project organizations that may need to have someone with diverse backgrounds and skills like you! And you don’t need a CPT work volunteer in those non-profit organizations. If you are from an Asian country like I am, I’d recommend that you check into https://www.ascendleadership.org/. For the Hispanic community, I’d recommend that you check https://www.prospanica.org/ and https://www.alpfa.org/

Or you can also reach out to your professors or leaders at your school to ask if there are any projects you can do to volunteer as you want to build skills in that area.

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