Job Search as an International Student

As a college student, finding your first full-time position can be a challenge. As an international college student, you will encounter some additional barriers in your search. In order to position yourself for success, it is important to be aware of global recruitment trends.

The 2011 NACE employer survey asked employers about their global recruitment trends. This survey targeted 83 employers across multiple industries including accounting, finance, biotech, consumer products, energy, manufacturing, medical, and technical. Some of the key findings included:

  • 72% of companies had global locations
  • 30% manage university recruiting globally
  • 60% manage U.S. recruiting but collaborate with global colleagues
  • 39% sponsor U.S. educated international students in the U.S.A. for full-time jobs
  • 47% of employers are focused on recruiting international students to work in their home countries
  • 40% recruit talent for internships that does not require sponsorship
  • 30% recruit all U.S. educated talent for internships
  • 16% always recruit U.S. educated international candidates for U.S. positions and 8% often recruit U.S. educated international candidates.

What does this mean for you as an international student?

Companies are hiring globally. There is a demand for skilled employees abroad and companies are looking to hire U.S.-educated foreign nationals to return to their home country for work. That said, my advice to you would be to not limit yourself to a U.S.-only job search–develop job search strategies for both the U.S.A. and abroad. For your global job search, make sure you are communicating with your local college recruiter as well as checking companies’ websites, as they can most likely connect you with their counterpart handling recruiting in China, for example.

As an international student, you have a global perspective and can add a lot of value to a company. Why limit yourself to a U.S.-only search? Cast a wide net in your search and apply for positions with global companies both domestically and abroad. The more open you are to location, the better the chance of you landing your dream job!


Heather currently serves as the Associate Director of Student Services for the Undergraduate Career Services Office in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. In her role, Heather guides students throughout their career development, lectures on career-related topics and personal branding, presents career workshops for students, supervises a team of career coaches, and develops/manages the social media efforts for her office. Before making the switch to Student Affairs, Heather worked in Marketing, Sales, and Promotion within the Music & Entertainment industry. Originally from New Jersey, Heather attended Indiana University for her undergraduate degree and The Ohio State University for her graduate studies. You can connect with Heather on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Related posts:

  1. Leveraging Social Media in Your Job Search
  2. Name Dropping in Your Job Search
  3. DIVERSITY CAREER RESOURCES: International Students

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