International students in the US usually apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) when they intend to continue working in the USA and receive a full – time job. However, it is not as easy to get a full – time job on OPT for international students. There are a lot of factors that determine your job security. The 5 Reasons why you are not finding a full-time job on OPT are:
Work visa sponsorship – Employers will have to sponsor your work visa therefore they are very reluctant when it comes to hiring international students.
You do not have a professional network – Connecting to people is very important. It is beneficial for both parties.
Communication Skills – As an international student, you might find it difficult to communicate in English. If your English is good maybe work on other communicating skills.
You are an entry-level student – When you are applying for a job experience beats all. Experience is valued a lot in the job sector and the one thing entry-level students usually can’t offer is enough experience.
Poor Grades – To stand out as an entry-level student good grades are important.
Pursuing a carrier in the USA can be enduring and lengthy. Even if you work under optional practical Training there is no guarantee that you will get employment in the US. Sponsorship is needed to let international students legally work full – time. The chances of getting an H 1- B visa are 30 %. As each year government provides a limited number of H1-B visas and the company will have to sponsor the visa. This article provides you with 5 Reasons Why You Are Not Finding a Full-Time Job on OPT. At one point you might start to question why it is so difficult to get a job.
Optional Practical Training is an opportunity for international graduates to develop their skills and build a good relationship with potential employers. In the future, it can help you get permanent residency in the US. If you want to continue staying in the US after graduating this is a great option to solve the visa problems and you could potentially land a job in a good company. It will also let you experience working life in the US and give you time to decide what you want.
Every year a lot of international students choose Optional Practical Training. It lets you keep your F – 1 student status with a work permit in the related field. The OPT can be as short as 12 months. However, students that are in the STEM field can be in OPT for 36 months.
How to get an OPT Full-Time job?
You can apply for optional practical training after being enrolled for at least 9 months in the institute. However, employment cannot be authorized until you receive an EAD ( Employment Authorization Document) from USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service). One year of enrollment in the company is also required for employment.
Application takes up to 90 days to process.
- Employment must be related to the student’s field of study
- Must maintain lawful F1 status as an international student.
- Must apply for OPT before completing one’s degree.
- Students who were in full–time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for 12 months or more are not eligible to apply for an OPT.
- OPT is valid for 12 months
OPT before completing a degree:
- Must be enrolled in university full – time.
- Only allowed to work for 20 hours per week.
- May work full 0 times during long breaks.
- May work full- time after completing all the course work.
OPT after completing a degree:
- Must be full time, which is 40 hours per week.
- OPT must be completed within 14 months after completing the degree.
5 Reasons Why You Are Not Finding a Full-Time Job on OPT
- H1B sponsorship
Sponsorship is when a company agrees to pay the additional cost for their employees to work in the US. It can cost thousands of dollars where the major spending goes on immigration lawyers. Due to this process, many employers are discouraged to give full–time jobs to students on OPT.
When employers are giving full–time jobs to international students on OPT, they tend to be choosy. That is because they are responsible to sponsor your H1B visa. The employer must think that you are needed in their company and will benefit the company, for the employer to sponsor your H1B visa. Your job shouldn’t be something any American can take. You have to be irreplaceable and show a lot of potentials. You have to stand out.
Students majoring in computer science, finance, or marketing may find it easier to get sponsorship, especially from big companies. Some companies are willing to sponsor for only specific positions.
- You do not have a professional network
Think of Network as circles. It could be :
- Family Members
- People you meet at in-person
- Your Mentors
- People you meet during the interviews, conferences, hiring managers, HR personnel.
- Industry leaders
- Potential Hiring Managers and HR professionals
These people in your life can help you connect to people and also good jobs or potential employers. Even if you only have a good connection with your family, friends, and mentors, you can find a good job.
Through them, you can meet more people and eventually meet the industry leader, influencers, or potential hiring manager. Do not hesitate to take some help. As an international student at an entry-level it difficult to land a job or even get to a job interview. With some help, you will have the opportunity to show your potential and dedication.
At US University you have a lot of opportunities to connect. Attend a career fair; connect with international students outside your program with the same career interests. Meet professionals from different schools; let them share their experiences with you. Networking can be helpful in several ways.
- Lack of communication skills
As an international student, you might face language barriers and have difficulty communicating. Situational awareness is part of your communication skills. If you are aware of the fact that your lack of understanding of English gets in the way of communicating, you should work on it.
When you are in a new country it is overwhelming and there is a lot of new things to learn. However, learning communication is the most important one yet. It is necessary for jobs and your daily life in the USA. Work on your spoken English with friends and family or language apps.
If you are good with English but still struggling, you may have a look at your communicating skills in general. Communicating can be difficult even with good English. Approaching new people, voicing your opinions and suggestions during jobs, and leading a team. All of this requires good communication skills.
When you are in a job interview, the interviewers can tell if your communication skills are good enough for the job or not.
Besides speech, there are other communicating skills, which are important like:
- Facial Expressions
- Eye contact
- It’s not easy to find a job as an entry-level student
When you are a fresh graduate it is difficult to find jobs. Entry-level students lack experience, even with the best grades experience is valued. Employers would want to experienced employees.
As an international student, you already have a disadvantage of work visa sponsorship. Not many employers are willing to sponsor international employees, being an entry-level students makes things a bit more challenging.
The OPT is giving you job experience and also a chance to show your full potential to your employer. They must think that you will benefit the company and help it grow. You can also consider start-up companies. The pay may not be as high but there would be less competition to get the job.
- Your grades are not excellent
Your grades do not determine your potential. However as all the other reasons mentioned, it is important to stand out among other job applicants, especially as an international entry-level student.
If you are an entry-level student the employer can judge your potential by your university grades and the short – time you spend on Optional Practical Training. Graduating with good scores and from a good university will help you when you are looking for jobs. As international students who need to be sponsored by the employer, you will need to be exceptional and irreplaceable.
In the end, it depends on the employer whether they give you a full-time job or not. Use your time during the optional practical training to show your potential and stand out amongst the others. Getting a full-time job is never easy, several students apply for a lot of jobs every year until they get one. It is challenging but once you get a job and enjoy it you will think it was worth it.