International Students

International Students

Academic Training for J-1 Students

Academic Training is training directly related to a student's field of study and may involve sequential or simultaneous activities, either paid or unpaid, with several employers. A program sponsor must evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the academic training in achieving the stated goals and objectives in order to ensure the quality of the academic training program.

Contact Us

Office of International Programs and Services, (703)-993-2970
Student Union Building I, Suite 4300

University Career Services
Victoria A. Suárez, Assistant Director, Employer Development

Job Searching During COVID-19

The social distancing guidelines brought on by the Coronavirus have made the already challenging job search process for International Students even more difficult. This does not mean you should stop applying; you may just need to take a different approach. We recommend you consider these 9 Job Search Tips for International Students in the Age of Coronavirus as you navigate the job search process.

The Cooperative Education ended effective Fall 2020. Contact the Office of International Programs and Services for options to use CPT.

University Career Services helps international students navigate the U.S. world of work and acclimate to the American work culture through individual appointments as well as specialized programs. 

As an international student, you may be able to work while studying. The type of visa you are on determines your eligibility to work in the U.S. The Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) can help you understand your work options and obtain proper work authorization.

Finding employers who hire international students

Passport Career
Use Passport Career to find jobs and internships in over 75 countries across the globe including the United States. Passport Career features an H-1B database with 300,000+ employer profiles for U.S. job searches. Select "Register Now!" in the upper right corner of the homepage and enter "gmuniver" as the registration key.

Save your job search criteria in Handshake and customize job alert notifications in Handshake to identify employers who are hiring international students.

Networking means developing relationships through in-person meetings or social situations. Reach out to your friends, family members, faculty, and alumni to see if they are aware of any employers who have worked with international students in the past. Volunteer at seminars, job fairs, and other university events. This will help you develop social skills required in the workplace.

Informational Interviewing
Schedule an informational interview with professionals in fields that interest you. Use a neutral greeting (dear sir or madam) if you do not know the person you are writing to. 

Resume and Cover Letter
Develop well-written resumes and cover letters that focus on your strengths and achievements. Highlight your multicultural background including work, educational experience, and language skills. Do not include personal information about yourself or your photo. Make sure all of your materials are error-free, and do not use the same resume and cover letter for every job application. Change it according to the job requirements.

Job Boards and Other Resources

Overcoming challenges when searching for a job in the U.S.

For international students, finding employment in the United States can be challenging. The best way to overcome barriers is preparation.

Some international students may not understand or feel confident about the job search process in the U.S. Attend University Career Services events and talk to a career counselor or industry advisor for advice about the U.S. job search. Know your skills and strengths, and be prepared to demonstrate why you are a competitive candidate. 

Because English is typically a second language for most international students, some may not feel comfortable with their speaking or writing abilities. Consider enrolling in the Academic English Program or joining Mason's Toastmasters Club to practice your speaking skills, and visit the Writing Center to have your papers or written documents critiqued.

VISA Status
International students may have some anxiety about when to reveal their visa status to an employer. Educate yourself on the process of hiring an international student so that you may inform potential employers.

Interviewing in the U.S.

Interviewing for a position in the U.S. can be very different than in your home country. If you would like to practice your interviewing skills, schedule a practice interview with a career counselor or use InterviewStream to practice on your own.

Tips to help you prepare for an interview

Give a firm handshake
First impressions are important during an interview. One of the first impressions you will make with an interviewer is through your handshake. A firm handshake communicates confidence and enthusiasm. If you are unable to give a handshake, it is appropriate to say “I am sorry, my religion does not allow me to shake your hand but I am pleased to meet you.”

Maintain eye contact 
In the U.S., maintaining eye contact with an interviewer conveys confidence and trustworthiness.

Beware of illegal interview questions 
It is illegal for employers in the U.S. to ask questions about your age, religion, politics, sexual orientation, disability, race, sex, or marital status.

In some cultures, it is considered inappropriate or rude to talk about yourself. In the U.S., employers expect you to talk about your accomplishments, skills, and talents. Assertiveness is expected, as well as open discussion of your personal strengths and job fit. Employers like to hear about how you work in a team, but also how you contributed as an individual to the success of the group. International students bring a  unique global perspective to complex issues, making you an ideal asset to employers. You are adaptable, ready to take on challenges, are often multilingual, and possess multicultural skills that will help you excel in diverse workplaces.

Additional advice
Dress professionally keeping accessories simple and avoiding strong perfumes. And do not forget to turn off your cell phone!

Review our Interviewing content for more information.

Requirements (see the Office of International Programs and Services for details)

  • J-1 degree seeking undergraduate students are eligible for 18 months total of Academic Training pre and post-completion (during or after they finish their coursework).
  • The student is in the U.S. primarily to study rather than engage in Academic Training.
  • Students must spend at least one year in their degree program before beginning Academic Training.
  • When school is in session, Academic Training cannot exceed 20 hours per week. During the summer it can be full-time.
  • If a student opts for post-completion Academic Training, their program must be extended prior to Academic Training authorization by OIPS.
  • Students must have health insurance for the duration of the Academic Training.
  • OIPS is not involved in approving Academic Training for credit.

INTO Students Searching For On-Campus Jobs or Career Help

During your time at Mason, you may be looking for a part-time job. INTO students are limited to working on-campus positions only. Visit our On-campus Jobs page to find out more information on applying for on-campus positions.

You may access any of our online resources by visiting our Career Resources page.