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Career Resources for International Students

This guide has been created to help international students navigate the job market and get involved in ways to increase their job opportunities. Understanding your visa status, researching companies, finding job boards with opportunities, and getting involved on campus is a great ways to increase your chances of finding a job/internship. The information provided has been developed in collaboration with The Office of International Education and Development.

Highlight your identity

International students have an abundance of desirable skills and abilities as a result of their international experiences. Choosing to go abroad and immerse yourself in a new culture (and potentially a new language) is courageous and shows adaptability. Employers appreciate flexible employees who can communicate with diverse groups of people. Your resume and cover letter are your opportunity to demonstrate these unique skills and abilities!


Most countries in the world use curriculum vitae (CV), but in the United States, resumes are the most common application document. A US resume and an international curriculum vitae (CV) have some significant differences. 

  • One page
  • Summary of your most relevant professional experiences
  • Used to apply to a specific position.
  • Most common in the US and Canada
  • Multi-page
  • Includes all of your professional experiences
  • Most common in the U.K., New Zealand, Asia, and the European Union

Generally, US employers will expect to receive a resume instead of a CV. Higher education (including graduate school applications and doctoral program applications) is one exception to this rule and will generally accept either or CV or a resume. 

Take a look at some helpful tricks and tips for creating and formatting your resume!

Cover letter

A cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself, showcase your writing abilities, and create a compelling application package to show how you’re the right candidate for the role. It is a chance to show your personality, strengths, goals, and values. A cover letter is a great place to showcase your international experience, your intercultural communication skills, and your ability to work effectively with diverse groups. You may also choose to include information about your bilingualism if you speak more than one language. 

Learn more about drafting your cover letter.

Evaluate the employer

International students may find it particularly helpful to think of their employment opportunities in two categories: employment before graduation and employment after graduation. 

Before graduation

F-1 Visa Students

F-1 students are eligible for on-campus employment for the duration of their academic programs. Please visit the OIED website to learn more about the process for getting a campus job as an international student. International students must inform the International Students and Scholars Services and Outreach Team if they get on-campus work. If you are interested in working off-campus, F-1 students may also apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) after completing one year as a full-time student. The US Immigration Customs and Enforcement page has helpful info about specific requirements for CPT opportunities. 

J-1 Visa Students

J-1 students are eligible to apply for authorization for on-campus employment. If you are a J-1 student interested in working off-campus, you may apply for pre-completion Academic Training off-campus employment authorization after one semester as a full-time student. To do so, your employment must be related to your field of study. You may work up to 20 hours per week in an Academic Training position. 

After graduation

F-1 Visa Students

If you are an F-1 Visa student planning to remain in the US after graduation, you may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). The position that you accept must be directly related to your field of study and you must work at least 20 hours per week. 

Tip: Don’t wait until your final semester to start reviewing OPT policies! The Office of International Education and The Career Development Center would love to speak with you in advance. 

J-1 Visa Students

A J-1 student planning to stay in the US after graduation may apply for Post-Completion Academic Training. To do so, you must apply for Academic Training and obtain a job offer before graduation. Your employment must be directly related to your field of study and you must work at least 20 hours per week.

Choosing an employer

  • MyVisaJobs: MyVisaJobs provides information about companies that regularly sponsor international students. This resource is helpful when searching for positions and making informed decisions about where to apply.
  • Mergent Online
  • When interviewing for a position, remember that you are interviewing your prospective employers as much as they are interviewing you. It may be helpful to ask questions like:
    • Tell me about a time when you worked with an employee who required visa sponsorship. What challenges did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
    • How do you create an inclusive environment that supports cultural diversity?
    • In what ways does your office create space for new ideas and perspectives?
Make connections

An estimated 80% of jobs are never advertised. Instead, most employees get their jobs through networking. Networking allows you to tap into this hidden job market. Every connection that you make on campus or in the community can lead to a potential job, whether through a reference or by letting you know about a hidden position. 


  • Office of International Education and Development: Making strong connections with the International Student and Scholars Services and Outreach team at The Office of International Education and Development is a great way to get connected with great resources and advance your career. International student advisors can serve as strong job references for international students! OIED frequently hosts International Education Career Chats to discuss international career opportunities in the US and abroad. These events can help international students identify new and exciting career paths.
  • International Friendship Program: The International Friendship Program provides international students an opportunity to connect with a member of the Boone or Watauga County community. This is a good opportunity for students to build a long-lasting relationship with someone off-campus and have a rich cross-cultural exchange.
  • Cultural Ambassadors: Cultural Ambassadors are international students and scholars who share their culture in presentations to groups on and off-campus. You can gain transferable, marketable skills that will give you an edge in the job market, network with schools and organizations in the community, and make friends with fellow participants from around the world.
  • Clubs / Organizations
  • Networking Events
    • Global Education Symposium: The Appalachian Global Symposium is an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to share their global work on a professional platform while simultaneously contributing to global learning at Appalachian.  Symposium presenters will discuss a variety of topics including science, technology, business, education, music, and politics. This symposium can be a great opportunity for international students to get a formal presentation on their resumes and practice their professional public speaking skills.


Getting involved with on-campus clubs and organizations with a community focus can help you make connections off-campus. For example, The International Friendship Program can connect you to a local in the community. Alternatively, the Cultural Ambassadors Program can allow you to make connections with schools and organizations in the community.

Know your rights

State and Federal Laws

Understand your rights in the employment process and as an employee

OPT/CPT Information and Process
  • Office does authorization, not a company
  • Ensuring experiences connect to major/program of study
  • CPT-During education
  • OPT-After Education-Typically a year-long with some exceptions
Information Differentiating between Degree-Seeking International Students and Exchange Students
  • Exchange Students- J-1 Visa
    • Generally only on campus for a semester
    • Can do an internship concurrently or after their semester
    • The internship can only be as long as they are on campus
    • Many approach the career fair looking for a place to work later in their career once they have more experience and want to return to the US
  • Degree Seeking Students – F-1
    • Full-Time Student
Explore your resources

On-campus resources

  • The Office of International Education’s International Student and Scholar Outreach team is your best resource for questions about employment with regards to visa compliance. Please visit their website to learn about the basics of getting a job as an international student. 

Job search

  • Handshake
  • GoinGlobal: GoinGlobal provides a wealth of information for students when searching for jobs/internships in international markets. Not only does it have a job board, it also provides resources for students to learn about different markets and differences in career documents like resumes and cover letters.
  • OverseasJobs: OverseasJobs is a simple job board for people looking for jobs abroad.
  • EuroJobs: EuroJobs is a job board that specializes in positions in Europe and provides an easily navigated search engine.
  • Students have the best luck with multinational companies who have offices/franchises around the world
    • These companies are typically more versed in sponsorship information and are readily available to provide sponsorship to an international student upon OPT or CPT