Employers Report Students Don’t Have Enough Work Experience

April 4th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

Finding a job 477036985The Issue:

Finding employment after college is often difficult. Traditionally, few degrees offer work integrated learning, internships, or actual job experience as part of their programs. Even fewer programs and degrees offer straightforward career placement upon graduation.

This lack of infrastructure to support students’ transitions from the university to the workplace hurts both students and employers—students graduate and move on to the “job hunt”, wherein they regularly must settle for nearly any employment opportunity (often completely outside of their specific field).

Employers, on the other hand, are left with a series of new hires with absolutely no prior training or hands-on experience from which to draw—according to Inside Higher Ed, nearly two thirds of employers surveyed cited these new hires as drains on productivity and resources.

The Solution:

In response, institutions around the world are taking actions to emphasize and increase work integrated learning and networking opportunities into both the curricula of an increased number of programs, as well as broader university infrastructure.

These actions include:

  • increasing the amount of hands-on training within particular career fields (while introducing it to others)
  • providing research and employment networks through the university
  •  a shift toward competency-based degrees, wherein degrees are awarded based on evidence of learning rather than earned credit hours, etc.

For students, this shift toward competency-based learning can be a real boon in that students can use supplementary resources (like MOOCs [Massive Open Online Courses]) to enhance their understanding of a field and thus, shorten the time it takes to receive a degree in an area in which they have demonstrated mastery.

  • Many students have a difficult time finding employment that pertains to their degree upon graduation due to a number of factors, including: limited or no prior experience in the workplace, lack of access to research or career networks within the university that would assist in finding employment, and no career-oriented education
  • Many employers find themselves with new hires who are a drain on resources as they have no prior experience
  • Work-integrated learning and competency-based degree systems are current ways of addressing these issues—making employment easier to find for graduates, and making graduates more competent in the workplace and, hence, more employable.
  • International students can benefit tremendously by getting ahead of this trend in international education and employment by looking into programs that offer work-integrated learning, internships, mentorships, or offer competency-based degrees.

Want to learn more? Check out International Student Loan’s article on how you can find a job in the US after graduation.


5 Ways To Land A Job On Campus

November 27th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

classroom ta181165421As an international in the US, employment opportunities are not easy to come by as many of you may have already seen if you are a current student. Finding a job is not only hard in general, but your visa status may restrict where you work, what type of work you can do, and how long you can work for.

All hope is not lost, though! Many schools across the US will allow you to work right on campus up to 20 hours a week if you hold a F-1 visa. It’s important to discuss your employment options with your international student advisor before securing any type of position.

To help you on your way, we have given you 5 ways to land a job on campus:

  1. Get chummy with offices on campus – Depending on your school size, there may not be a central hiring office for student jobs. The best way to find out if opportunities exist is to talk to each office and see if they are hiring. Dress professionally, bring a resume, and have a smile!
  2. Say hi to the career center – You will want to talk to your career center on campus and provide you with information about your school’s on campus positions. Since you’re there, they may even be able to look over your resume and cover letter, and give you a mock interview!
  3. Talk to your international student advisor – International student advisors can be a great resource to help navigate working in the US. Talk to them and find out what options are available for you to work on campus.
  4. Put extra effort into your classes – There are many on campus jobs where you can act as a teaching assistant (TA) or a research assistant for your professor. While in your classes, make sure you go the extra mile and make an extra effort to build a rapport.
  5. Browse your school’s job posts – Many schools have a job portal that lists all of the available jobs on campus. Be sure to check these out and submit an application. This can be a great way to get the dialogue going. Job openings can also be listed on flyers posted around campus so keep your eyes peeled!

For official guidance on working in the US as a J or F visa holder, check out InternationalStudent.com’s Working in the USA or ICE for more information.


Networking Tips for International Students

November 11th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

jobsearch124114057Dan Beaudry is the former head of campus recruiting at Monster.com and former associate director of corporate recruiting at the Boston University School of Management. On October 10, Beaudry presented “How International Students Can Find Employment in the US” to students at Drexel University, and shared his knowledge of the job search system which he has used to help international students.

Drawing on his own experience, Beaudry shared innovative networking ideas that are valuable for both international and American students. For many international students, the word “networking” is an intimidating term that begins following them the moment they set foot on campus, evoking images of overwhelming career fairs at which they find themselves jockeying with dozens of other students for the recruiters’ attention.

This association can prove especially daunting for international students. After all, how are international students supposed to compete with their American peers when they are often conversing in their second or third language? According to Beaudry, you may not have to.

Read the rest of this entry »


5 Reasons Why Studying Abroad Can Help Your Career

October 20th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

interview135895794In today’s economy it is getting harder and harder for recent college graduates to differentiate themselves from the herd. Despite the fact that potential employers see application after application with a strong GPA, solid test scores, and positive recommendations, though, there is one thing you can do to help yourself stand out: study abroad. That’s right, studying abroad is not just about having a fun adventure – although, of course, it can be – it can also help your chances when you enter the job market. Here are the top 5 reasons why studying abroad can help your career:

1. Language Skills
Even if your classes are in your native language, immersing yourself in a second one by living abroad has been proven to be the most effective way to learn (or polish) the must-have language skills needed in modern international business.

2. Communication Skills
There is more to getting your point across than the words you use, however, and employers know that applicants with study abroad experience can work with people from different backgrounds – be they in the classroom or in the boardroom – a crucial skill in today’s global economy.

3. Independent Thinking
Because studying abroad, by definition, means leaving home – and the usual support network it entails – behind, employers know that students with international experience are more capable of making well-reasoned decisions on their own.

4. Multi-Cultural Exposure
Because more and more business is being done across national borders (but less and less time is being dedicated to on-the-job-training), hiring managers are eager to find employees who already have hands-on experience in a particular international market. With such experience employees can begin to contribute to bottom-line from day one.

5. International Experience
The piece de resistance, of course, is international work experience. Above and beyond the normal practical experience such opportunities impart, internships and jobs abroad are proof positive that you have developed the skills listed above and can use them in a useful context.


Funding Your Education in the US

August 16th, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

As an international student in the US, chances are you have to worry more about funding your education in the US than your domestic peers do. Because international students do not qualify for federal loans and often have to pay out of state tuition at state colleges, they generally end up paying more for their education than US students.

This infographic seeks to help international students explore their options when it comes to funding their education in the US. Renata and Cristian are both international students, one at a private university, the other at a community college. Like 63% of international students, each primarily rely on personal and family support to pay for their education. However, when something comes up, they both have to find different ways to support themselves.

We hope that this infographic will prove helpful to you as you learn about your different funding options. With the right combination of financial aid, we are certain that you will be able to afford your US education.

Click the infographic above to zoom in.

Interested in applying for international student loans? Find your loans now.


Top 4 Places for Financial Aid for International Students

May 31st, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

girl with computer146789416Funding college can be expensive, especially if you have to pay for your education overseas. Most students rely on their own personal savings and get help from family members, however this many not necessarily be enough to cover all of your costs. With most degree programs taking four years, and sometimes even longer, getting an international education can certainly add up. If you are looking to get financial aid for your education overseas, we recommended looking at the following sources:

- Institutional Help – Many colleges and universities offer some sort of financial assistance to their international students. While some schools offer more than others, get in touch with your international student advisor to see what’s available, how competitive it can be, and whether you can rely on it. You will also want to find out when you need to apply and be sure to write down any deadlines in your calendar to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines.

- Private Scholarships & Grants – Universities aren’t the only organization that provides financial assistance to international students. Home country governments, host country governments, non-profit organizations, and international companies do support studying abroad through scholarships, grants, and other awards. Be sure to do your research to find out which awards are available so that you can apply and increase your likelihood of winning awards.

- Work in the US – Many visas have restrictions on the type of work you can do and in what capacity you can do it. Many schools do have openings for part-time employment opportunities that are available to international students. To find out what’s available, check out your school’s current openings and make sure that you are eligible. Remember, payment is minimal and should be expected to cover only ancillary expenses.

- International Student Loans – International students can apply for an international student loan as long as they have a US cosigner. This cosigner must be a US citizen or US permanent resident with good credit and who has lived in the US for a minimum of two years. If international students have a cosigner, they can apply for the total cost of their education minus any other financial aid they’ve received.


Ten Highest Paying Majors

March 18th, 2013 by Ben Cohen

A report recently released by NACE, the National Association of College Employers, has detailed the ten highest paying majors in the United States. The study measures these majors with top pay by looking at the average starting salary for a newly hired employee. Here’s the full list:

  1. Computer Engineering
  2. Chemical Engineering
  3. Computer Science
  4. Aerospace/Aeronautics/Aeronautical Engineering
  5. Mechanical Engineering
  6. Electric/Electronics and Communications Engineering
  7. Civil Engineering
  8. Finance
  9. Construction Science/Management
  10. Information Sciences Systems

Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of these ten highest paying majors come out of the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There are a few major reasons for this.

First off, STEM fields are many of the vital forces that drive our world today – the influx of computer and web technology in day-to-day life, for example, makes jobs in the above categories of Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Information Sciences Systems significantly more important than they were even a few short years ago.

Another main reason that most of these majors with top pay come from the STEM fields is that relatively few students choose to pursue these majors over the more popular ones in liberal arts, making the actual STEM-field graduates very hot commodities for employers desperate to hire workers with the appropriate expertise.

Does this mean that you should go into one of these fields just because it’s one of the ten highest paying majors in the United States once you snag that first job? Certainly not. But some planning ahead and honest soul-searching in your pre-college and early college years can help you consider what you’d really like to do and see if any of the above majors is in fact something that inspires you.

Also keep in mind that it’s never too late to shift gears into one of these ten highest paying majors if you decide that it is indeed the right thing for you. Even if you’re already finished with your undergraduate education, there are various ways such as grad school and community college that you can use to get you started on a major career change.

If one of the above majors sounds like a good choice for you, make the commitment, study hard, and be ready to land a great job once you join the workforce!


Finding a Job During School

February 11th, 2013 by Ben Cohen

working on campusFor international students who don’t receive significant financial aid and need some extra help funding their education in the USA, finding a job is one of the best ways to make ends meet. But, just like with financial aid, on-campus jobs can be hard to come by for international students due to legal red tape. Here are a couple tips to help you go about finding a job to facilitate your education:

  • Know your student visa limitations

Student visas, such as the F-1 visa, restrict international students’ legal right to work in the United States, even if they need a financial boost during college. Students on a F-1 visa can only work in certain capacities, the most freely offered one is on-campus employment. For on-campus work, an F-1 student is subject to the following rules:

  1. You must maintain valid F-1 status
  2. You can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session
  3. You can work full-time on campus during holidays and vacation periods if you intend to register for the next academic semester.
  4. The employment may not displace (take a job away from) a U.S. resident

Some exceptions can be made such as if a student is approved for severe financial hardship or an off-campus job on OPT or CPT status. Make sure you check the specific details of your own student visa so you know if you are eligible to work in the United States.

  • Check for jobs off campus

Part of the federal aid that is unavailable to international students is work study, which helps US citizens get on-campus jobs to fund their education. Plenty of on-campus jobs are not officially limited to work study applicants, but work study employees are legally allowed to be paid with federal funds. If you’re an international student worried about finding a job on-campus, check with your advisor to see what options are available and try widening your search to unaffiliated employers in the immediate area where your ineligibility for work study won’t be a disadvantage.

  • Start early

With all the obstacles international students face in finding a job, don’t add getting a late start to your personal list of difficulties! If you are eligible to work in the U.S., start your job hunt before you actually need the money from a job. It may be hard to focus on the job hunt while adjusting to college life, but keep in mind that it is for other students too – so starting on it right away will give you a big head start!

* Photo of paying money courtesy of Shutterstock


Travel Video Content Launched – Now Is Your Chance To Win $4,000!

September 14th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

That’s right, if you are currently studying outside your home country – or if you want to study abroad, you have the chance to win $4,000! The 2012 Travel Video Content hosted by InternationalStudent.com has just opened allowing you to submit your video with the opportunity to add $4,000 to your travel budget.

As the 7th annual Travel Video Contest, this could be your year to win! To enter, submit a video of less than 5 minutes explaining why you want to study or travel abroad! If you are currently abroad, then talk about a trip you’d like to take and why.

Check out previous winners to get those ideas flowing, and submit your video before the deadline, October 31st. The winner of the Travel Video Contest will be announced on the InternationalStudent.com website the week of November 12-16, International Education Week.

In addition to the grand prize of $4,000, the winner will get their very own blog on International Student to document their trip and share their experience with viewers. This blog will start immediately after the winner is announced, and will continue through the trip until return to school. For more information, check out the Travel Video Contest for rules and regulations, to see previous videos, and learn how to submit your video.

Good luck to you all!

* Professional Video Camera picture thanks to Shutterstock


International Students Working On Campus

March 19th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

Did you know that if you are an international student in the US, you are allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours per week when classes are in session? The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services also allow international students to work up to 40 hours per week during summer, winter, and spring breaks (when classes are not in session). While this will probably not cover all of your costs, it can be helpful to cover many of your personal expenses.

According to the US Department of Homeland Security, on-campus employment is “work that takes place either at your school or at an off-campus location that is educationally affiliated with your school. This work could be for an on-campus commercial business, like a bookstore or cafeteria, as long as the work directly provides services for students.”

In order to work on campus you will need to maintain a legal F-1 status and be currently enrolled in a full-time class load. You can begin working as early as 30 days before classes begins until your graduation (exceptions may apply if you will be enrolling in another program at your school).

While your work does not need to be related to your field of study, many international students look for a position where they can gain transferable skills that will prove useful upon graduation. Many of the positions on campus start at minimum wage (which is currently at $7.25 per hour for the national standard); however depending on your experience and position you may be able to find a higher paying position. On campus jobs include working at your school’s:

  • Cafeteria/dining facilities
  • Bookstore
  • Library
  • Health Club
  • Administrative offices

Or, students can find other opportunities as a:

  • Teaching or research assistant
  • Resident Assistant (RA) after your first year in an on-campus dormitory – free accommodations, sometimes salary or meal plan

Not only does working on campus acts as a secondary source of financial aid, but it also enhances your overall experience in the US. By working on campus, international students will gain meaningful work experience as well as organization and time management skills that will be a valuable asset to your future employer. By working on campus, you will have the opportunity to meet friends and develop contacts who can serve as a reference during your job search.

If you are an international student working on campus, don’t forget that you will be required to pay and report your earnings. Depending on your country, you may be eligible for tax exemptions depending on if your home country has tax treaty.