International
Students

Building Skills

When evaluating candidates, employers look for strong communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills acquired in a variety of settings. It is important to develop these skills and learn how to articulate them.

Communication Skills

Effective communications skills are important in any situation and are applied in writing emails, giving presentations, making phone calls, participating meetings, and more. If you lack fluency in English, take practical steps to improving them with the many campus resources.

Leadership Skills

Leadership encompasses multiple aspects which include making decisions with consensus, delegating tasks, influencing others, creating innovative solutions, and taking informed risks. Students that develop leadership skills are able to make a positive impact within their student organizations, classes, and community. Students can look into taking on an active role in student organizations, develop leadership and communication skills through the Center for Community Involvement, or become a resident assistant, peer educator, and other mentor-type positions offered by various offices on campus.

Interpersonal Skills

Individuals with strong interpersonal skills contribute to a work environment of mutual trust and respect by building and maintaining positive working relationships with their colleagues. Interpersonal skills includes offering assistance to colleagues, listening to others attentively, speaking tactfully, and resolving conflicts. Here are some practical ways to build your interpersonal skills: get involve and be active in group projects, student organizations, and team building activities, develop friendships with students of different background and learn about other cultures.

Academic Preparation

Choose a major or specialization that will provide you the skills needed for your intended career. Learn more about what you can do with your major.

Tips for On-Campus Employment

F-1 and J-1 students are eligible for on-campus employment. Please see the ISPO website to make sure you meet the authorization conditions for on-campus employment prior to applying for a position. If you are unsure of your work eligibility, please check with the ISPO office.

  • Job Search Portals
  • Timeline for applying
    Peer mentor/advising program recruitment usually start in winter or spring quarter for the following year. Non-peer and administrative positions are posted based on need throughout the year so you should keep checking on a weekly basis to see new positions.
  • Search for on-campus positions online
    • Stop by the Career Center to during drop-in advising (M-F 10am-3pm during the quarter) to get your resume and cover letter (if required) critiqued.
Types of student positions include but are not limited to: resident assistant, peer advisor, lab assistant, social media/marketing assistant. Students should look at the working title and job description to understand the overall duties of the position and find positions that may give you relevant skills for future jobs and internships. For example, students interested in business or finance may be interested in 'accounting associate' or 'accounting clerk' positions.

Tips for Off-Campus Employment

Off-campus internships and employment are opportunities to develop job-related skills and experiences that will help you be more competitive for full-time positions after graduation. Paid internships opportunities are an option for F-1 visa students after one academic year and require Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Paid internship opportunities can be found through Handshake. Internships for academic credit can be found through the Academic Internship Program.

  • Learn about job industries
    Many employers will post and recruit for internship opportunities 2-3 quarters in advance, depending on the industry. Start learning about your specific industry early. Tools to learning about industries/companies:
    • Vault.com: provides in-depth information on specific industries, company, or profession. Access: initial access through Handshake, under Career Center and selecting Resources from the drop down menu.
    • GoinGlobal: provides information on companies sponsoring H1-B visas, work permit & visa requirements, and job/internship postings. Access: initial access through Handshake, under Career Center and selecting Resources from the drop down menu.
    • Company Directories: a list of resources to look up companies. ACCESS: Some resources require connection through the UCSD VPN if trying to access the subscriptions off-campus.
    • Glassdoor: Search job listings, anonymous salary details for any job or company.
  • Job search strategies
  • Avoiding Fraudulent Job Postings and Scams
    The UC San Diego Career Services Center is committed to partnering with employment professionals that comply with employment laws in all recruiting activities. Although extremely rare, on occasion a fraudulent posting or employer may make its way into the Port Triton job listings or Career Fair. It is important to pay attention to warning signs to avoid becoming a victim of this illegal activity. 
    • Protect Yourself! The great majority of employers are honest, but for those employers who are not, be aware of these security tips:
    • Never pay a recruiter or an employer for a job
    • Never supply bank account, social security number or credit card information
    • Never meet a potential employer at their home, meet at a public coffee shop or at a lunch restaurant
    • If the job sounds too good to be true, it probably is (examples, “no experience necessary” “ earn money fast”)
    • When you are in doubt, ask a career counselor or Google the company name with the word “scam.”
    • If you suspect a fraudulent job posting or employer, please contact Richard Rathburn, Senior Associate Director for Industry Engagement at 858-822-4055
    • For additional resources, you can access the Federal Trade Commission website to learn more about fraudulent job postings or how to file a complaint with your local consumer protection agency.
    • View the FBI's Public Service Announcement on Employment Scam. 

Tips for Employment After Program Completion

Allow adequate time in your job search as securing a full-time job starts in the fall quarter and continues into the spring quarter prior to graduation. In addition to applying to jobs online, there are several resources you can take advantage of to help you throughout your job search.

    • Preparation
      • Career preparation
      • Get your resume and cover letter critiqued during Walk-in Advising (M-F 10am-3pm during the quarter)
      • Connect with an alumni on the UC San Diego LinkedIn Network
      • Attend the quarterly career fair to meet with company recruiters
      • Attend employer information sessions as an opportunity to connect with employers
      • Use biginterview to prepare for interview questions based on type and industry and practice interviewing
    • Work Authorizations and Visa Resources
      • F-1 students: apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)
      • Attend an ISPO offers employment workshops to go over the OPT process
      • Going Global is an online database with domestic and international job listings, job search resources, and more. View the H1B section for a list employers that have sponsored visas by each state and major metro areas. Access through Handshake
      • MyVisaJobs.com allows you to learn which employers have utilized H-1B visas for a three-year period and also provides other excellent resources
      • USCIS H-1B Cap will allow you to monitor the number of available H-1B visas and provides helpful information
      • RedBus2US.com provides information and experiences for international students and professionals looking to study, work and live in the US
    • Job Search
      • Use Handshake and other job search tools to find job opportunities
      • Vault.com: provides in-depth information on specific industries, company, or profession. Access: initial access through Handshake.
      • GoinGlobal: provides information on companies sponsoring H1-B visas, work permit & visa requirements, and job/internship postings. Access: initial access through Handshake.
      • Company Directories: a list of resources to look up companies. ACCESS: Some resources require connection through the UCSD VPN if trying to access the subscriptions off-campus.
      • Glassdoor: Search job listings, anonymous salary details for any job or company.

Accepting a job offer

Evaluating an Offer – carefully consider your job offer and inquire about the timeline for making a decision. Set a time to meet with the Career Center to review your offer. Address any concerns with the employer and any accommodations prior making the decision. Once you accept an offer, decline other job offers as it is a conflict of interest to continue pursuing additional offers once you have accepted an offer.

Interviewing Strategies

During the interview, you will be expected to verbally communicate your interest in the position, your qualifications, explain related examples of your work and show your personality.

For advice and resources for interviewing, please review the Interviewing Section for more information. Also, consider the following tips as you prepare for your interviews:

      • Don't apologize for your accent. Make strides to improve your English skills if you are a non-native speaker but practice your interviewing skills to build your confidence.
      • Emphasize positive aspects of your international background. Certain employers are seeking to expand to global markets. Your cultural background may be an asset to these employers.
      • Practice, record and get feedback using biginterview.

Additional Resources

For additional help, come into the Career Services Center for walk-in hours or schedule an appointment with a Career Coach via Handshake.