H1B sponsorship is achievable even in a bad economy. Many claim otherwise, but the truth is that frustrations with H1B are rooted in focusing on the wrong jobs. The trick is to know what jobs will sponsor H1B, and work diligently to intern and obtain full employment for such positions.
This is not to say it will be an easy task. To succeed as an international student you will have to play an un-leveled playing field. You will have fewer options than American students and you will have little maneuvering room for potential mistakes. You will have to convince potential employer that you are worth the extra time, money, and effort it takes to hire you over a plethora of domestic candidates.
This is a first article discussing general steps that you need to take to land a job that will sponsor you for an H1B visa. In the articles to follow, I will discuss each area in more detail.
Planning, planning, planning…
The single most powerful thing that will boost your chances of employment in the US, is to have a solid game plan in place early on. Most of your classmates, domestic and international, will be running around, trying different things out, and reflecting on what they want to do in life. I want you to be different. I want you to have a plan and a vision of where you’re going. I want you to monitor your progress and re-asses your tactics. I want you to be employed and not worried about your H1B visa when graduation comes around.
What do I mean by planning? Well, in order to get into college you had to plan. You had to take a number of tests such as TOEFL, SAT, etc. You had to research colleges, write essays, possibly interview. You had to take care of F1 visa paperwork.
In order to get a job you have to have the same discipline and structure in place. You will have to pick a major and classes to take. You will have to have a series of internships. You will have to develop a solid network and people willing to speak highly of you as references. If you put this structure in place, getting jobs by the time you graduate should not be stressful, but rather exciting.
I’ve spoken with a number of students seeking advice and the mistake I see over 90% of time is lack of planning. Conversly, the students who have plenty of job opportunities even when times are bad, have all one thing in common: they planned.
Take action (now)!
So start taking control of your future now! Take out a notepad (or launch your favorite word processor) and do the following exercise. It will help you start sketching out the roadmap to the goal of H1B sponsorship.
Answers to the following questions:
- What industries sponsor students for H1B?
- Of those, which one seems appealing and congruent with your interests and skill set?
- What skills can you develop to become a desirable candidate?
- What are the 3 top companies that you would like to work for?
- What are the “backup” 5 companies?
- Can you interview for an internship at one of those companies with the skills and connections you have?
- If not, what intermediate internship would be a step in that direction?
- Who can you start talking to get closer to the internship?
- What classes and what major would make you a more desirable candidate?
- What books or publications can you read to become more knowledgable?
Write your answers to these questions and any relevant thoughts. You might not know the answers to all the questions, but do the best you can. Then over the next 4 days, make it a point to research the area where your knowledge is lacking and revise your answers.
In the following posts here we will discuss in depth specific areas you need to focus and will give you tangible and actionable advise on how to proceed with your job search.