Preparing for U.S. Job Search

  • two students

University of Minnesota Job and Internship Fair

February 26, 2018

Connect with over 300 potential employers at the biggest student career fair in Minnesota! We have created preparation tips specifically for international students.

The 6 Most Important Things to Know if You’re Searching for Work in the U.S.

The 6 Most Important Things to Know if You’re Searching for Work in the U.S.

1.  Major Matters for CPT and OPT: Your internship and OPT work have to be in the area of your major (not minor, not area of expertise) because you are working on your student visa and your work needs to further your educational experience.  If you double major, you can find work in the area of either major!  We know from student experience that students with some majors in high demand areas like accounting and computer science find more openings for internships and OPT positions.  If you want to major in an area where positions are more difficult to find, you may want to consider pairing that major with a double major in one of these areas of more opportunity.  Career counselors can help you think through these options.

2. Major Still Matters for the H-1B Work Visa: American employers tend to hire international candidates most in areas of U.S. labor shortages, so certain majors are more in demand than others.  For example, for the past 5 years, H-1B hiring has been most robust for candidates with majors in computer science/computer programming, accounting, actuarial science, information systems/science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, data science, and financial engineering.  Majors that offer extended STEM OPT are good, but they are most helpful when they coincide with U.S. labor shortages.  Other majors can get jobs; it may just be harder.

3. Experience Matters: In the U.S., employers expect potential employees to demonstrate that they can DO things, not just KNOW things, so candidates who have had internships, jobs, projects, or at least have been active in student organizations have an advantage.  Take advantage of your time here to become a leader of a student organization, to get a job on campus, and to get an internship at home, in a third country, or here in the U.S.  You will have to have more than just get good grades to compete for work in the U.S.

4. Degree Level (and Institution) Matters: Companies are more likely to hire holders of advanced degrees (in the right fields—see above) for long-term employment than undergraduates because H-1B visas are easier to get for advanced degree holders, and there are fewer applicants at higher levels.  Work experience can still matter—many employers will expect that you get work experience in addition to the advanced degree, but sometimes that can be internships in your home country.  Choose your graduate program very carefully.  Hiring of international graduate candidates can be very influenced by the status or reputation of the graduate program (some companies may hire international candidates from a program ranked in the top five in a given field, for example).  Ask a graduate program for their placement numbers specifically for their international students.

5. Location Matters: The vast majority of H-1B hiring happens in the coastal states of the U.S. (plus Texas and Illinois).  The top locations are California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida, Massachusetts, and Washington.  This is important because it can affect where you choose to go to graduate school—getting a job can be easier from a school located near lots of companies that already hire lots of international candidates, for example.  Also, when you need to network with a company to get a job, it’s easier to do that when you are geographically nearby. 

6.  Soft Skills Matter: Employers, surveys of international alumni, and career counselors all agree--soft skills are more important in getting jobs in the U.S. than international students think they are.  When surveyed, international students report that they struggle to find jobs because of visa issues.  Employers and international alumni working in the U.S., on the other hand, when surveyed, say the number one barrier to hiring international students is their lack of English language skills and their lack of understanding of American culture.  So take the time while you’re here in the U.S. to develop your language skills and to become an “anthropologist”—study and learn the culture!  Interact with Americans and practice so when you reach the point of an interview, you are already an expert.  Use your college career center to help you get ready.

U.S. Job Search or Preparation Sites

U.S. Job Search or Preparation Sites

Non-University resources such as many of these job boards and web sites, are not administered or controlled by the University of Minnesota, and the University makes no representations or warranties regarding those sites or the opportunities that they post.  Please investigate opportunities and employers thoroughly before committing, and share any questions or concerns with Career Services staff. 

University of Minnesota Specific Sites


University of Minnesota job posting site for everyone except Carlson students.  Posts full time and internship positions.  Also the place to go to find career-related workshops and opportunities to interact with employers.  See the User’s Guide at for detailed instructions. 

The Edge

Job Posting and Career Programming site only for Carlson undergraduates.  See the Carlson Undergraduate Business Career Center if you have questions about access.


Job Posting and Career Programming site only for Carlson graduate students.  See the Carlson graduate business career center if you have questions about access.

UMN Employment Site

University of Minnesota posting site for on-campus positions for undergraduates, graduate students, and professional opportunities.  Some of these positions can be extremely good resume building opportunities for international students.

Sites covering all types of Jobs


An aggregator that posts jobs exclusively pulled from corporate websites from all over the U.S. in highly searchable format.  Searchable by state, job function, keyword (like “internship”).  Job postings show how long they have been posted so you can concentrate on newer, more likely still active roles.

LinkedIn Students

A sort of student entry point to the wider world of LinkedIn.  This site offers lots of job seeking advice as well as a curated set of its job postings most appropriate to students (lots of internships) and recent graduates.


A job aggregator, one of the largest in the industry.  Full time jobs and internships from around the world, searchable by function, company, location, etc.


A variety of job types but with emphasis on areas that are friendly to international hiring including New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, and Chicago.  Includes a section on exploring companies to help you do your research, including on fast growing small- and medium-sized companies

Tech specific job sites

Break Into Tech

This site offers lots of advice on types of tech roles and how to compete for them, a section on what it’s like to work for different tech companies like Google, and a good section on what interviews are like at the top tech companies but also has a robust job board for tech jobs.


Easily searchable, major companies like Dell, Google, eBay, Deloitte, and all major tech roles.

ieee JobSite

A searchable database of jobs available in the electrical, electronic, engineering, and computer-related fields.

Consulting specific preparation sites

Victor Cheng Youtube free

Management Consulted free

Non-Profit or Volunteer specific job sites

Minnesota Council of Non-Profits

Lists full time and internship positions.  The internship positions especially are often open to international students and can be in tough to find functions like marketing or HR.  U of MN international students have had considerable success using this site for internships!


Posts internships and full time positions across the world, paid and unpaid.

For company Research (all accessed through the University of Minnesota Libraries/Indexes and Databases)

Free to U of MN students through your online job system (GoldPASS, The Edge, TalentLink)—log in and look for the GoingGlobal Logo to link to it). Provides international job seekers with 53 U.S. city career guides that include H1B records tracking back to 2010. Job search resources, industry and employment trends, top companies, networking resources, information on work permits and visas, and resume/CV guidelines are also provided.


Corporate information covering over 200 countries and over 2000 companies.  You can find contact information for branches and subsidiaries all over the world.


Can research both industries and entire industries (for example technology consulting companies) so if you know one company you are interested in, this resource will help you find others.


Financial and directory information for 50 million companies worldwide.  Includes private and public companies in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America. Useful for products, strategy, competitors, and financials.


Collection of top media outlets, trade and consumer publications, and websites of more than 35,000 global news and information sources from 200 countries in 26 languages.  Top news sources include The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires, The New York Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, and Le Monde.  Includes financial information for publicly traded companies.  Useful for knowing what is being said and written about a company you’re interested in.

What companies, what states, and what cities sponsor the most H1B visas and for which roles?

What companies, what states, and what cities sponsor the most H1B visas and for which roles?

(According to

20 Most Common Job Titles for which Employers File H1B Applications (2016)

Programmer Analyst
Software Engineer
Computer Programmer
Systems Analyst
Software Developer
Business Analyst
Technology Lead
Computer Systems Analyst
Technology Analyst
Senior Software Engineer
Senior Consultant
Project Manager
Assistant Professor
Database Administrator
Physical Therapist
Lead Engineer
Systems Engineer

15 Companies Who File for Most H1B’s (2016)

Tata Consultency Services
Deloitte Consulting
Hci America
Tech Mahindra (Americas)
Igate Technologies
Cognizant Technology Solutions
Larson and Toubro Infotech
UST Global

5 States Where Most H1B’s are Filed (2016)

New York
New Jersey

15 Cities Where Most H1B’s are Filed (2016)

New York, NY
Houston, TX
San Francisco, CA
Atlanta, GA
San Jose, CA
Chicago, IL
Sunnyvale, CA
Charlotte, NC
Irving, TX
Dallas, TX
Mountainview, CA
Redmond, WA
Boston, MA
Jersey City, NJ
Austin, TX

Know What American Employers May Expect

Know What American Employers May Expect

Answering Common Employer Questions About Sponsorship

Answering Common Employer Questions About Sponsorship

When to Raise The Topic of Sponsorship

When to Raise The Topic of Sponsorship

Click here for a printable version of the information below.

It’s important to understand what most companies mean when they ask something like “Will you require sponsorship?” as part of their application process.  When applying for jobs online, many international students choose to answer “No” to this question, reasoning that they do not need sponsorship to work an internship or during their OPT period.  

The problem with this approach is that no matter how they word the question, most companies are asking if you will eventually need sponsorship if they keep you on long term.  In surveys of employers, employers make clear that when F1 or J students answer “No” to the sponsorship question, the company believes that that student is being dishonest (NOT a good way to begin a productive relationship with a potential employer!).

Having asked that question and getting an answer that they believe means you will never require sponsorship, many employers never bring the issue up again during the interview process.  They are, therefore, surprised when after they make you an employment offer and you fill out the legal offer paperwork, they discover that you do indeed need sponsorship eventually.  Over and over again, we have seen companies withdraw offers over this issue!

So how should you disclose your sponsorship status to employers?

  1. If a question is asked about sponsorship as part of an online application process for a full-time position or an internship that is clearly part of an internship-to-fulltime process, we recommend that you answer “Yes” that you will need sponsorship.  You may disagree, arguing that you can work during your OPT period without sponsorship, but again, that isn’t what companies mean by the question.  As you might expect, answering “Yes” may make it less likely that you will be invited for an interview.  But, our experience is that while you might get an interview by answering “No,” you will not get the job.  If a company is not willing to sponsor, they will still not be willing to sponsor even after an interview and offer, but they will be angry that you wasted their time.
  2. If the question of sponsorship is not asked either as part of the online application or by the employer in person, we recommend that you disclose your need for eventual fulltime sponsorship no later than before you accept a second-round interview or before the first interview to be held on the employers’ campus.  Many American employers do not understand the sponsorship needs of international students, and they don’t like to be surprised with this information late in the hiring process.  When surveyed, employers say that disclosing your status will not necessarily mean that you will be eliminated from the hiring process, but they also make clear that they prefer to know early in the hiring process!
  3. If the question is asked in regard to an internship that is clearly free-standing (i.e., not likely leading to a fulltime position), you may choose to answer “No.”  Even in this case, however, we encourage you to disclose the fact that you would require sponsorship for a fulltime position by at least the second interview.

Disclosure language that you can use:

I’m very excited to accept your offer for a second-round interview.  I really enjoyed learning more about your company during the first-round interview and I’m very interested in the possibility for working for your company.  I want to make sure before we proceed, however, that you understand:

  1. That while you would have to do nothing extra to hire me as an intern, if you were to want to keep me on as a fulltime long-term employee, you would need to take steps to sponsor a work visa for me after X months of work.
  2. That while I am able to work for you fulltime for X months with you doing anything extra, after that number of months, you would need to sponsor a work visa for me.

If the company asks what is involved in sponsoring a work visa, you could share that it’s a process of filing paperwork with the U.S. government, that generally lawyers are required to prepare the paperwork, and that there is a fee to file the paperwork.  In general the process often costs between $2,000 and $6,000

If they have questions beyond that, encourage them to talk to an immigration attorney and/or to look at the US immigration website:

Companies that have hired University of Minnesota international candidates

Companies that have hired University of Minnesota international candidates

Company Lists

Please note that just because a company has hired international candidates in the past does not automatically mean that they are still open to hiring international candidates or that they will be open to your major or your degree level.  At the same time, the fact that a company does not appear on this list does not mean that the company is closed to hiring international candidates.  They may have hired too few for us to include them on this list, or they may only hire occasionally for a really outstanding candidate, or they may have recently changed their policies and may now be open where in the past they were not.

If you’re interested in more specific information on employers that hire from your college or major, see a counselor in your college’s career center.

U.S. Companies that Have Historically Hired International Students for Internships from the University of Minnesota from at Least One of Our Colleges from at Least One Degree Level

  • 3M
  • Allianz Life Insurance
  • Amazon Corporation
  • Cummins
  • Deloitte
  • Deloitte Consulting
  • Ecolab
  • Epicor Software
  • E&Y
  • KPMG
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Metropolitan Council
  • Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • Northstar Fire Protection
  • OATI
  • Pinnacle Light Industrial, LLC
  • PwC
  • Quetico Partners
  • Seagate
  • Siemens
  • Symantec
  • TCF Bank
  • TE Connectivity
  • The Toro Company
  • Turk, Inc.
  • Sogeti
  • RBC Wealth Management
  • IBM Software Group
  • Hennepin County
  • Electrolux Major Appliances
  • Chart Industries
  • Archer Point LLC
  • Ameriprise Financial
  • Amazon

Companies that Have Historically Hired International Students for Full-Time Roles from the University of Minnesota from at Least One of Our Colleges from at Least One Degree Level

  • Amazon
  • Archer Point
  • Capital One
  • Chart Industries
  • CHS
  • Cummins
  • Dell
  • Deloitte
  • Discover
  • Dish Network
  • Ecolab
  • E&Y
  • Google
  • Inovalon
  • KPMG
  • Lamex Foods
  • Medtronic
  • Microsoft
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Northstar Fire Protection
  • OATI
  • PwC
  • Rockwell Automation
  • Symantec
  • Starkey Hearing
  • University of Minnesota


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