Tips for International Students

The Career Center helps international students with all aspects of the job search.

If you’re planning to search for jobs in the United States, be sure that you understand the requirements for students on F-1 and J-1 visas. Guidelines are issued by U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and by the Tufts International Student Center. Changes to these guidelines can occur.

Diversity Resources provides visa information, job search advice and listing sites, tips for adapting to a new culture, and resources for improving communication skills.

Quick Tips for Applications

Prepare your personal marketing materials

Review Resume and Cover Letter information for formatting and content guidance specific to U.S. employers. For the resume, you may notice some differences between your country of origin and U.S. standards. For instance:

  • U.S. employers prefer single-page resumes (and cover letters) vs. multi-page documents
  • In the U.S., resumes do not include personal photo or mention of age, gender, marital status or home country
  • U.S. resumes provide little or no information about high school, especially for junior/senior resumes
  • In the U.S., the term “CV” refers to a longer document used by researchers and academics
Be aware of what U.S. employers may not know

For example, a U.S. employer may not know that a certain company is the top biotech firm in India or that your school was one of the top five universities in Japan. Be sure to provide this context in your resume.  

Know when to address your visa status

Talk to a career advisor if you have questions about how or when to address your visa status with employers.

Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t mention your status in a resume or cover letter unless you are asked to specify.
  • When an interviewer asks if you’re eligible to work in the U.S., you should answer that you can work in the U.S. on Optional Practical Training (OPT) for the duration of your OPT, after which point you would need to be sponsored.
  • Do not wait until the second or third interview to discuss sponsorship.
     
Take advantage of networking resources

Networking is important. In particular, talk to other international students and international alumni to see how they handled the job search process.

Quick Tips for Interviewing

Prepare and practice

Review our interviewing information and practice answers to sample questions out loud, in the mirror, with friends or family and with a career advisor.

Enhance your communication skills
  • Talk in class; give presentations
  • Join conversation groups; participate in clubs
  • Take communication and public speaking classes
  • Watch American TV, listen to the radio, read newspapers and academic publications
Understand and prepare for cultural differences

Interviewing standards and expectations are different in the U.S. than in other countries.

U.S. employers:

  • Expect that the interview is your chance to sell yourself as you answer their questions.
  • Value candidates who can express how they made a difference through their accomplishments or by overcoming obstacles.
  • May start with direct questions. Some small talk might be appropriate, but not for very long. Be ready to get down to business pretty quickly.
  • Expect that you will research the organization and demonstrate that knowledge during the interview.
Know which questions are illegal for U.S. employers to ask
  • How old are you?
  • Are you married?
  • Are you a US citizen?
  • How many children do you have?
  • What is your religion?
  • Where were you born?

*If these questions do come up, we encourage you to see a Career Advisor for help.