3 Crucial Job Search Tips for International Students

                 3 Crucial Job Search Tips for International Students        

1) If you’re thinking about staying in the US, think about applying for the OPT STEM extension.

As a student at GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), you are likely eligible to be considered for the OPT STEM extension. If you plan to stay in the United States after you graduate, it is important that you begin this process. SEAS students who have earned degrees in certain science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT employment authorization if they are an F-1 student who earned a STEM degree, are employed by an employer enrolled in E-Verify, and received an initial grant of post-completion OPT employment authorization based on their STEM degree.

Contact the International Services Office if you have questions about the OPT application process.

You can find a list of E-Verify Employers here

2) Timing is everything–Make sure you start early.

This goes for your job search, applying for OPT, and for the OPT STEM extension. Like all things worth pursuing, getting your application successfully processed takes time. It is better to start the OPT application process early than to wait until it’s too late for it to be approved. For graduating students, the earliest you can file your application with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for OPT is 90 days(3-months) prior to the completion of your studies. The latest you can apply is 60 days following program completion (the ending date on your I-20).

If you do not adhere to deadlines established by the USCIS, you will lose the opportunity to enroll in OPT.

3) Make sure you’re eligible to be hired at the places you apply.

To effectively streamline your job search, it is critical that the places you apply to hire international applicants. If you’re not sure, you can always visit the employer’s website, contact the company to discuss your concerns, or simply ask. This will not only get you the information you need, but it is likely to also save you and the employer valuable time. In Handshake, you can find information about employers as well as their contact information. Unfortunately, while you may be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed for a certain position, employers must follow the guidelines set forth by Human Resources and the United States government. We encourage you to spend most of your time and energy applying to positions for which you are eligible to be considered for employment.


Last revised: October 16, 2017

By Amber Samuels
Amber Samuels SEAS Career Services Fellow Amber Samuels