International Students

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Given the global competition for jobs and the unpredictability of today’s world, it is important for international students to keep up the energy and the focus while broadening your search into three, specific areas that must be considered simultaneously to position yourself for the greatest gains in opportunities.

Prong #1: Find work in the United States

For a majority of international students, this is the main goal of coming to college in the United States. But, as stated above, it can’t be the only place to search given the global competition for jobs.

Prong #2: Identify companies that have operations in countries outside of the United States

There’s no guarantee you will gain visa sponsorship in the United States. That said, are there companies you’re interested in who have operations in the United States and abroad? You may find that the best route to gaining sponsorship in the United States is to work abroad first.

Prong #3: Look for jobs in your home country

For many, this is not the ideal option. But, it must equally be considered in your search.

You want to be sure you are looking at all three areas simultaneously in your search. The more open you are to opportunity, the more likely you are to land internships and jobs, both in the United States and abroad.

Forbes Magazine published findings from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), in which 200 employers prioritized the 10 skills they seek in employees, in order of importance:

1. Ability to work in a team
2. Ability to make decisions and solve problems
3. Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
4. Ability to communicate verbally with people inside and outside an organization
5. Ability to obtain and process information
6. Ability to analyze quantitative data
7. Technical knowledge related to the job
8. Proficiency with computer software programs
9. Ability to create and/or edit written reports
10. Ability to sell and influence others

The good news: Regardless if you’re a domestic student or an international student, you will have gained the top 5 skills on this list simply by attending the College of Engineering at UIC.

Having a diversified resume which highlights these skills is necessary. The good news is that many of these skills can be gained by participating in non-engineering activities. Skills gained from student organizations, sports, entrepreneurial hobbies, part-time jobs, volunteering, research, presentations, group projects, publications, job shadows, internships and co-ops can all lead to your gaining these skills, which will ultimately set you apart. These experiences will show real value to employers, beyond your technical expertise as an engineer.

Engineering Career Center Website

Egineering Career Center website

Why use it?

  • This is your first stop. Read This Week, identify upcoming events, and get advice about the job search process from resumes to success on the job and everything in between.
  • This is a great resource especially if you are unable to meet with a career coach. There is a ton of information here that you can access on your time!

UICcareers

UIC Careers which you can access through the Engineering Career Center website

Why use it?

  • UIC Careers allows you to see if employers hire international students.
  • Most of the jobs posted on UIC Careers are from employers who specifically seek UIC College of Engineering students.
  • If you have questions about a particular company, you can follow up with the Engineering Career Center staff for more information.

Employer Events hosted by ECC and OCS

Engineering Career Center and Office of Career Services Employer Events

Read This Week weekly to learn about which employers are coming to campus. These events can be info sessions, pop-up events, tech talks, panels, networking events, or career-related workshops.

Is it worth attending?

  • Do some research before and get a sense of who they are before attending. These events are a chance to learn more about a company, even if you’re not entirely sure you’d like to work there. The employers attending these events realize not everyone in the room will be interested in their opportunities.
  • This can help you to prepare for an upcoming interview, either with that company or with another, as you may pick up some insider knowledge about the industry.
  • It’s a chance to practice a firm handshake, as is common in the US, with an employer.
  • Some employers do not attend career fairs, and instead opt for these kinds of intimate events.
  • It’s a chance to connect with someone new on LinkedIn.
  • Ultimately, it’s networking, and it’s been said that 80% of all jobs in the US are found by networking.

Student Organizations and Professional Associations

The College of Engineering has 23 student organizations within a larger pool of over 280 organizations within UIC.

Why join, and does it have to be related to engineering to get noticed by employers?

  • You can learn about careers and general interest areas by joining student organizations. And no, it doesn’t have to be an engineering organization.
  • Build connections with students, alumni and employers that can help you learn about different career paths and opportunities.
  • Gain valuable skills be taking on leadership roles in student organizations rather than just being a member.
  • Many of UIC’s student organizations are attached to region, national and international professional associations. Getting connected on campus with student organizations can lead to volunteer and employment opportunities with professional associations, which can increase your network and connect you to more opportunities.
  • For more information on student organizations campuswide visit the UIC Center for Student Involvement

Engineering Student Organizations

 

Additional Professional Associations

Network of Indian Professionals North America

National Society for Hispanic Professionals

Asian American Architects/Engineers Association

Asian American Professional Association

Use Google to find even more professional associations to connect with!

Uniworld

Uniworld

This resource can help you to identify companies that are based in the United States and have offices globally, as well as global companies that have offices in the United States. You can sort by industry and location. Be sure to visit these websites and utilize LinkedIn to find connections at these companies.

MyVisaJobs.com

MyVisaJobs.com

This resource can help you to focus on the companies that have offered H1B Visas and Green Cards. Try the employer search feature, which allows you to search by location and company name.

It's all about networking!

In the US, networking is big. Networking is the practice of developing relationships, which may or may not lead to jobs or internships. You may network with someone who introduces you to someone to hires you. The more that you attend events where you can meet, the likelihood increases that you could be introduced to someone who may hire you.

Even for domestic students, networking can be uncomfortable. Often times, students feel uncomfortable because they believe they are asking for something without giving anything in return. Networking is not about asking for a job. It’s information gathering. It’s building your network. As you progress in your career, you may be able to offer assistance, advice or even opportunities to those you connected with early in your career.

 

Where can I network? In class?

Well, not exactly. But, your professors could be a good start. From there, think about UIC and these possible venues:

  • Student Organization Meetings
  • Campus Events and Presentations
  • Engineering Career Center and Office of Career Services Employer Events
  • UIC Games

From there, think beyond UIC:

  • Professional Association Conferences and Events

 

As stated above, many student organizations at UIC are attached to larger professional associations. Check your professional association website to find events. For instance, IEEE is hosting their 2017 Power and Energy Society General Meeting in Chicago in July with over 2,000 attendees, which includes a student program. While costly, many of these conferences will waive their registration fees for students if they volunteer. What better place to network than by working the registration table at an event like this.

Also, UIC is hosting AIChE’s 9th Annual Midwest Regional Conference. Get involved with your student organization on campus and learn about opportunities to bring professional associations to UIC and Chicago.

  • Networking Events in Chicago

There are always places to network, and not far from UIC. Check out Eventbrite.com and meetup.com to find networking events in Chicago. You can also find events specific for engineering.

  • Career Fairs

Do a Google search to find career fairs coming to Chicago. Great practice for networking and for UIC’s career fairs.

  • LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to build professional connections through UIC alums, groups, topic areas, companies and industries you’re interested in.  

  • You can network on the Train! On the Plane! Anything is possible if you’re open to opportunity.

How do I network?

  • Know yourself. What gets you excited about being an engineer? Use some of this language when talking to someone new.
  • Know what you are seeking. Is it more information about a company, or more information about a career path?
  • As stated above, do not ask for a job or internship when networking. Focus on your interests and ask questions about them. People love talking about themselves if they love their job and company. You can notice this when networking. Ask questions if you cannot think of anything to say. This can help create the foundation for an organic conversation.
  • Who do you already know? Use the list above to build a list of family members, professors, guidance counselors, previous and current supervisors, co-workers, classmates, alumni, professional associations, volunteer commitments and religious affiliations that may be helpful to you.

During an event

  • Bring a friend! Always good to go with a friend to help ease nervousness.
  • Set a goal. Examples could be to get 3 business cards and follow-up on LinkedIn, or go up to 6 people and say hello.
  • Hello and a firm handshake. Identify common ground as soon as you can to help develop rapport.
  • Ask questions so you don’t have to worry about running out things to say. This is how an organic conversation can develop.
  • People may not be as responsive to you. That’s ok. It happens. Move on. Be glad that you made the effort and said hello. Going to events and meeting new people takes energy.
  • Be curious about people and what they do. You never know where this can lead.
  • Weave your interests and passions into the conversation organically.
  • Appropriate Networking Topics:

-TV Shows

-Weather

-Current Job/Career/Academic Interests

-Classes at UIC

-Sports

-Professional Background

  • Inappropriate Networking Topics:

-Religion

-Politics

-Personal Finances

-Health

-Gossip

-Age