U.S. Employer Expectations
If Americans find job searching overwhelming and difficult here, then it can be even more so as an international student. But just keep in mind that engineers are in high demand in the United States. To get started, schedule an appointment with Keriann K. Niles from OVIS at Dartmouth or Thayer Career Services via Handshake. You can learn about the best resources, tools and strategies to ensure you are set up for success in the United States.
Visas and Sponsorship - OVIS at Dartmouth
For the most up to date information, refer to:
- OVIS: Dartmouth’s Office of Visa and Immigration Services
*Your direct contact at OVIS: Schedule here with Keriann K. Niles
*You may request to join trainings and find other specific information via iDartmouth
Employment While a Student
* International Student QUICK GUIDE (*currently being updated).
Job Search Strategies & General Resources
Find out about each company’s work authorization requirements before applying to any job or internship.
Keep in mind:
Generally, international students can’t work for the U.S. federal government, for the majority of U.S. state and local government agencies, or for private companies contracted by the government.
Here's a list of companies that hired our international students.
- H1-B Employer Data Hub: filterable list of employers who have applied for H1-Bs
- Foreign Labor Certification Data Center
- Lader.co: Every company on Lader sponsors H1B; a job board built for international students, by international students
- Monster.com's Global Gateway: contains resources for international students who want to work in the U.S., and U.S. students who want to work abroad
- myvisa.com: use this site to match your visa to potential job opportunities. Find employers who have sponsored your skills/occupation before, and contact them directly.
- Salary Expectations: Use this website to see the salaries of previous H-1B recipients by company, role, and/or location.
Common Cultural Differences
The list below is a sample of the differences you may encounter throughout the interview process:
- In the United States, interviewers appreciate a firm handshake and making eye contact. It’s appropriate to discuss strengths, weakness, and personal experiences that relate to the conversation.
Schedule a mock interview with Thayer Career Services, so you can practice!
- During the interview, follow their lead. This is typical for interviewers to engage in small talk (e.g., topics including the weather, sports, movies, or travel) right at the beginning of your interview.
- It is customary to follow up with a thank you note 48 hours after the interview takes place.
- Your ability to communicate clearly and correctly is the number one skill employers seek.
Work on your English at Dartmouth’s Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, take a class at the Rassias Foundation, and make an appointment with us so we can review your communications (e.g., cover letters, resume, and networking emails) in advance.
- Consider higher education opportunities:
Your international experience, cultural competence, and language skills are desirable.
- Should I list my visa status on my resume?
No. Your educational and work background will typically indicate that you are an international student.
- When should I reveal my work status?
This depends. Hiring managers and interviewers should ask appropriate questions during the recruitment process, and you should always answer honestly.
- Are there questions that are illegal for an employer to ask me?
Yes - visa type, nationality, place of birth, citizenship, and inquiries into your native language are off limits. Factors like race, gender and age cannot be considered in the interview process.
See these Guidelines: Lawful and Unlawful Interview Questions
- What if someone from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) calls and threatens me with deportation or tells me to make a money transfer?
Hang up and report it! For more information, visit the USCIS website.
- How should I dress for my interview?
For your virtual interview, it is suggested you wear business casual professional clothing—the same way you would for an in-person interview. Although the interviewer may only see your upper half, it is a good idea to wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up for any reason.
Thayer Career Services provides a zero cost 'Career Closet' outside their office in MacLean M113. All donated business clothing came from staff & faculty, so take what you like and feel free to keep it!
Resources at Dartmouth
- Institute for Writing and Rhetoric
- Rassias Foundation: offers Accelerated Language Programs and regular programs in English as a Second Language
- Dartmouth's Graduate Studies Program: offers support for multilingual graduate students as they write seminar papers, articles for publication, theses, dissertations, and grant applications.
Choosing to spend time abroad is a great way to acquire language skills and to prepare for work in an increasingly globalizing world. Thayer Career Services will help you evaluate your goals and will connect you to the best resources so you can determine if this is the right path for you.
- Costs: with very few exceptions (i.e., government-sponsored positions that can last a year or two), there will be expenses for working or doing research abroad. Even paid positions will typically have program fees or start-up expenses.
- Visa Requirements: A visa is an official stamp in your passport allowing you to travel, work, or study in your country of choice for a specific period of time. All countries require one for foreign workers (including the U.S.) and you can not work without one.
Working Or Interning Abroad
The resources below will help you organize your search
- GoinGlobal: provides country specific employment and career information that is updated daily, including internship and job listings.
- Cultural Vistas: The Cultural Vistas Internship Program offers paid internships for undergraduates or graduates and is 3 or 6 months in duration; offered in Germany, Argentina, Chile, and Spain.
- Dickey Center for Dartmouth
Engineering Specific Opportunities
- DAAD Rise: a summer internship program for undergraduate students from the U.S, Canada, and the UK in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, and engineering.
- UROP International provides undergraduate students with opportunities to conduct research programs at RWTH Aachen University in Germany over the summer.
- IAESTE: The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experiences is a global organization promoting intercultural exchange between students in STEM fields across the globe.
The majority of service opportunities are unpaid, although room and board is sometimes provided. Duration can be anywhere from two weeks to two years (e.g. Peace Corps). For those who are interested in the helping professions and/or working with underserved populations, volunteering is one of the best ways to gain hands-on experience.
- Goabroad.com: comprehensive international education and alternative travel resource.
Teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language (TEFL or TESL) is a great opportunity to spend more time abroad (anywhere from a few months to more than two years). Programs are available at different academic levels, and for certified or non-certified teachers, though a college degree is typically required as well as some teaching/tutoring experience.
Scholarships and Fellowships
- University of Michigan Work Abroad: comprehensive site covering each of the topics listed above
- Council on International Educational Exchange - CIEE provides quality programs and services for individuals, employers, communities and educational institutions.
- International Internship Directory: search for any type of internship anywhere in the world