👩🏽‍🎓International Student Stories: The Key to Landing a Job Before Graduation


By Amanda Rosenberg


Imagine landing a full-time job offer three to four months before you graduate. Searching for jobs as an international student is time sensitive. When your post-graduation OPT starts, you will have only 90 days to secure a job offer.

[Read more on What To Do When Your 90-Day OPT Unemployment Is Running Out]

Receiving a job offer before graduation can lead to lessened-anxiety and a much easier time staying in the US. If you are unsure about when you should apply for your OPT and when your start date should be, please listen to this podcast episode: CPT and OPT (Do’s & Don’ts)

At ICAway, we have had many students who have successfully received a full-time job offer before they graduate. Read on to hear more about their individual stories and how ICAway helped them to land their dream job.

Immanuel Augustine - “I wasn’t sure about the process to stand out in the US job market”

Augustine will be graduating this December from the Zicklin School of Business with a Masters of Science in Information Systems. Because of his upcoming graduation, Augustine joined ICAway to ensure he would land a job before graduating. He now works as a business analyst for a healthcare consulting firm – a full-time internship Augustine started three months before graduating.

Alina Sun - "I didn't have a clear plan of my future"

Sun has a masters in accounting and is currently studying supply chain management at Syracuse university. When joining ICAway, Sun was looking for jobs on CPT but had little success. Now, she works as a product manager for Linde, a fortune 500 company. 

Josh Zhou - “I wasn’t confident with my interview skills, having had little experience”

Zhou received his masters at Texas A&M University in Management Information System. He eventually received two job offers in one day. Right out of college, he started working as a data visualization analyst at a consulting firm in Dallas, TX and six months later received a more senior role to serve clients on a larger scale from a Management Consulting company in Atlanta, GA. Opportunities keep pouring in!

Barriers to Overcome


 As Augustine began to look for jobs, he “wasn’t sure about the process to stand out in the US job market, and getting the interview” was difficult. It seemed impossible to crack into the job market with more experience and without a plan. Eventually, Augustine joined ICAway to build a career brand and strategy. 


When beginning to look for jobs, Sun was not connected within job search or recruiters and was completing job applications online. She thought to herself, “I don’t know how to reach HR or a recruiter…I don’t know a more effective way to apply.” Also, Sun said she didn’t “have a clear plan of my future, I didn’t know what the time frame I was supposed to go in. I didn’t have a clear goal for myself.” These challenges were the biggest barriers Sun had to overcome, and did so successfully with ICAway. 


Zhou’s biggest barrier in his job searching was a lack of interview skills. Zhou said, “I applied to many jobs, and my interview rate at the time was less than 1%. During the interview I didn’t know what to say and I made lots of mistakes, so I failed all interviews and didn’t get any job offers.”

Job Searching


Joining ICAway directly led to Augustine’s success in job searching. He said, After I finished developing my career brand according to Coach Kwan’s methodology, I have had at least one company express interest daily and a couple of recruiters contacting me directly even after landing a full-time job.”


Sun had applied to more than 1,000 jobs, but said she “got more than ten interviews but only five final rounds, and felt lost at that period.” Recalling this time, Sun realized she had very little interview experience. Sun said, at the time “I get a lot of final interviews but I don’t know how to interview more effectively, to show my advantages better.” So, despite her talents and strengths, Sun wasn’t showcasing herself effectively in interviews during her job search.


Zhou became more focused. He said, “when joining ICAway I had a clear focus, I knew what my career goal was which was to become a data analyst. From that moment I stopped casting a wide net and  focus on this one direction.” Zhou also had a similar experience as Sun when interviewing for jobs. Luckily, Zhou says, “From the platform I learned how to crack job interviews, I learned to be my genuine self….my experience in ICAway helped me to become more successful at job interviews.”

Landing the Job


After receiving various offers, Augustine accepted a full-time offer with his current employer. Impressively, he said, “I am about to graduate in December 2021 but I started this dream job of mine in October 2021 – 3 months before graduation!”


Having started a full time job in September before her graduation in December, Sun had a variety of options to choose from. She said, “for a full-time offer I received two, within sixteen days, and for a contract job offer, I would say countless. So everyday I’d get more than ten people calling me and sending me emails, to reach out and say they’re interested in me.”


After learning how to crack job interviews, Zhou had no trouble finding a job. He feels relieved, saying “I got this job in April before my graduation, so, I don’t have to worry about the jobless experience after graduation. Things have worked out really well.”

Becoming Success Stories


Augustine has had no regrets in his decision to join ICAway and accept his dream job offer. In fact, in doing so, he now says “I feel relieved not having to risk falling into the 90-day unemployment allowance timeline of OPT and not having to worry about being unemployed after graduation. Besides, my dreams of joining Corporate America and working with data and client-facing roles have come true!”


Sun’s biggest takeaway from her job search experience was the strategies she learned that will last a lifetime. She says, “Through the whole process of branding and identifying my advantages made me more confident and more target specific for jobs that I’m good at, instead of randomly applying for jobs that I might only be 50% good for that position. It gave me a better strategy.” 


Zhou has had a variety of reasons to call himself a success story. Most of all, he says, “from the platform I learned how to crack job interviews, I learned to be my genuine self. To sum it all up, my experience in ICAway helped me to become more successful at job interviews.”

As we don’t know how to approach things in a different country, we need a coach to guide us.

This program answers our needs as an international candidate.

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Coach Kwan

In this 3-week strategy, you'll find some great examples like...

  • How to plan your career strategy based on your situation
  • How to create an effective networking game plan to turn your new connections into your mentors and job referrals in the future
  • How to build your brand on a resume, LinkedIn profile, and much more to draw recruiters to you

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