GECD Sponsors International Student Career Series

Marilyn Wilson, Associate Director of Career Counseling and Exploration, GECD

In early May, GECD sponsored two events to help international students understand the process of job searching in the U.S. The first, “What Every International Student Should Know About U.S. Employment,” was co-sponsored with the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education and featured speaker and author Dan Beaudry. The second, “Job Search for International Students,” was a panel talk with recruiters from Exponent, Broad Institute, Formlabs, and EverQuote. The International Students Office helped promote the series, which drew 145 students and postdocs.

Dan BeaudryInternational students looking for jobs in the U.S. face many challenges and much uncertainty. First, they need to find employers willing to sponsor them for work visas. Even when employers are eager to sponsor them, candidates have to enter into a national lottery to obtain work visas, with no guarantees that they will receive one. The current federal administration’s approach to immigration has created additional uncertainty.

Beaudry often addresses these challenges in his talks on campus, drawing on his experience as former head of campus recruiting at and author of Power Ties: The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States. A key part of his advice to international students is that the conventional method of sending out resumes to listed job openings is an ineffective and discouraging way to find a good job.

With numerous examples from the world of recruiting, Beaudry encouraged students to have career research conversations with professionals in the field. Students can learn from these conversations while developing a functional network, and in many cases uncover relevant job openings. A number of students commented after Beaudry’s talk that though they knew they should be networking, they weren’t really doing it. His advice and examples convinced them to get started.

At the panel talk, recruiters discussed the nature and culture of job searching in the United States. They stressed the importance of relationship-building as part of the U.S. job search, and encouraged students to get to know representatives like themselves over the course of their time at MIT by attending company events, reaching out via email, and talking with employees. Recruiters encouraged folks to be up front with them about their work authorization status, so the company can figure that into their hiring process timeline. When asked if it was okay to apply to a position for which you don’t have the preferred amount of experience, or lack some of the requisite skills, they said, “Go for it!”

GECD encourages international students interested in work in the U.S. to check out our own International Student Career Guide (pdf) and schedule an appointment with a career advisor using CareerBridge.