Preparing for a U.S. Job Search

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Understanding Work Authorization

Before searching for an internship or a job, whether it is paid or unpaid, on or off campus, it’s important to understand immigration requirements and university policies regarding your visa type. 

For F-1 Students

Off Campus Employment:

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
    CPT is work authorization which allows a student to work in a job directly related to the student‘s major area of study before degree completion. CPT authorization is provided by ISSS and can be granted within 7 business days of application submission.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
    OPT is work authorization which allows a student to work in a job directly related to the student‘s major area of study either before or after degree completion. OPT authorization is provided by USCIS and is usually granted within 2-3 months after the student submits an application.

On-Campus Employment

For J-1 Students

H-1B Visa Info

H-1B Status Frequently Asked Questions

Every semester, ISSS hosts an workshop on employment-based visa options such as H-1B, O-1, and L-1 visas. 

View these workshops on the ISSS event calendar or sign up for the ISSS Weekly Update to receive notifications about these events.

How to Look for Internships & Jobs in the U.S. (and International Friendly Companies)

Job and Internship Search Sites

Gain Experience

On-Campus Job Postings

Center for Community-Engaged Learning: Gain real-world, skill building experience through volunteering. 

MN Nonprofit Job Board: Many government organizations and nonprofits hire international students for internship positions. Meet these employers at the Government & Nonprofit Career Fair. 

UMN NYC and San Francisco Summer Internship Program

Staffing Agencies: Staffing agencies hire short-term, temporary positions on behalf of other companies. These could be great opportunities to gain experience in addition to internships. 

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

Deluxe E-ternship: Semester part-time paid internships with local startups.

Check with your career center for major and industry specific job posting sites

International Student Friendly Companies

Use these resources to research companies in the United States that are international student friendly.

  • is an “employment website for foreign workers seeking opportunities in the United States.” Here are some tips for navigating this tool:
    • Just because an organization listed on this site has sponsored H-1B visas, that does not necessarily mean they will hire international students and/or recent graduates.
    • Check the job title and salary range for clues on whether the position is for entry level, mid-level, or experienced professionals.
    • When searching for visa sponsors, you can check the “Cap Exempt” box to see employers that are exempt from the H-1B cap.

  • Top 200 CPT Employers of 2019Top 200 OPT and STEM OPT Employers of 2019 (from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement)
    • DISCLAIMER: All of these employers on these lists have not been invidually reviewed by UMN Career Services staff. It is important for students to thoroughly research employers they are interested in. Visit your career services office to discuss individual employers, and get any questions answered. 

Top Employers who Have Worked with UMN Undergraduate International Students on CPT, OPT, and STEM OPT 

Below are alphabetized lists of companies that have historically worked with UMN Undergraduate International Students on CPT, and OPTNOTE: These companies may have hired different numbers of students each year, and their hiring may be limited to specific majors. Please discuss with your Career Counselor if you have questions, and do not limit your applications to employers on this list. Please email International Career Consultant, Jane Sitter at [email protected] if you have questions about this information. 

CPT Top Employers from 2019-2021

  • Sezzle
  • Ecowater Systems
  • SPS Commerce
  • Hennepin County
  • Nanomotif
  • Country Financial
  • Chart Industries
  • TADS (Community Brands) 
  • Flywheel 
  • Veritas Technologies 
  • Arkema Inc. 
  • MANO
  • Ovative Group
  • TigerRisk Partners
  • Abbott
  • Nelnet Diversified Services
  • Cummins

OPT Top Employers from 2019-2021

  • University of Minnesota
  • Open Access Technology International 
  • Amazon 
  • Microsoft
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Robert Half
  • Ovative Group
  • Google
  • 3M
  • Apple 
  • Yangtze River Consulting 
  • Beaconfire Staffing
  • Cummins Inc. 
  • 200 Orphanages Worldwide
  • Pace Analytical
  • Sezzle
  • Concord

Prepare for Job Search in the U.S.

Informational Interview
Informational interview is a casual conversation with someone working in a position that you are interested in, and it can help you learn about a job, a career path, a company, or an industry. It’s a common practice in the U.S.

But if you have never done this before, it could be intimidating, even for domestic students. Here are some great tips to get you started! 

Connect with International Alumni
One of the first steps of informational interview is finding the person you want to speak to. UMN alumni are happy to help, especially our international alumni! 

Talking to international UMN alumni can help you discover opportunities and strategies you may not have thought of before. Join the Maroon & Gold Network to access UMN alumni and friends of the university who have volunteered to connect with students.


Skills for Success


MN English Language Program offers many resources and tips for non-native English speakers on speaking, reading, academic skills and US culture. 

Want to practice your conversational skills? Check out these opportunities and student groups


Many employers look for leadership and teamwork skills in their candidates. Check out the following opportunities to develop these skills.

Stories from International Alumni Working in the Twin Cities

Click here to watch videos of UMN International Alumni sharing their advice! 

Video Topics include: 

  • Being Proactive to Get Experience
  • Career Advice from Current International Students
  • Continuous Nature of Exploration
  • Importance of Building Relationships
  • Skills Gained From an On Campus Job

Visit Your Career Office

UMN Career Services Featured on IELTS Podcast

Learn about UMN Career Services on an episode of the IELTS podcast

IELTSPodcast is an online IELTS test preparation company helping international students pass the world-famous IELTS exam. The site helps students pass by publishing weekly tutorials, and has an online IELTS course and has an essay correction service. 

Avoid Job Scams!

Scammers are targeting students at universities across the country with fake job "opportunities." Please be cautious in responding to any job opportunity that seems "too good to be true." To learn more about these types of scams, please review these resources.  If you have any questions, please reach out to career services - we are here to help.