Navigating the Job Search as an International Candidate

updated on 22 November 2021

Are you an international candidate looking for a job in a foreign country or wondering how to get jobs in other countries? Then this blog is for you!

Note: This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Please consult an immigration specialist for any immigration related queries.

Are you seeking a global career?
Are you seeking a global career?

The job search process can often seem taxing 😰 - constantly working on your resume, applying to jobs, preparing for interviews, dealing with rejections and still keeping yourself motivated until you get that dream job offer you’ve been waiting for. More so, for international candidates, you constantly have the clock ticking ⏰, a strict timeline to adhere to and lots of visa and work permit technicalities to navigate through. Although this might seem like a test of patience to many, what if we tell you, it’s not all that bad? The process can be just as rewarding if you’ve followed the right job search strategies. And we’re here to help you! 🤘🏼

The Different Pathways ⛳

Choosing the right pathway can make your job search process much easier.
Choosing the right pathway can make your job search process much easier.

If you are looking at a global career, the three most common ways to land a job in a foriegn country as an international candidate are:

  1. Study abroad and apply to jobs there based on your education 📚 
    This is one of the most common ways. Candidates often choose to study in a foreign country and apply to jobs there once they graduate. Studying abroad helps you get familiar with the visas and policies of the country, the job markets, cultural nuances and build connections through university or otherwise, that could lead you to your dream job.

  2. Get hired directly by a company in your target country 🎯
    While this option is often difficult, it is not impossible. You can directly apply to companies in other countries provided they’re willing to sponsor your visa and you possess the right skills and qualifications to be eligible for the job. Besides, you could look at applying to FAANG+ companies like Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, Google etc. who have had sponsorship-friendly hiring processes for the longest time.

    Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic has created several job opportunities with companies willing to provide remote work visas or sponsor foreign employees to meet the skill shortages and job opportunities in their country. A thorough research of the job markets could help you identify such opportunities and grab them to plan your move.

    Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about our services and break into FAANG+ companies.

  3. Get an internal transfer from your home country 🛩
    An ICT permit is another way you could move abroad. ICT permits or ICT visas are work authorisations for employees of a company in one country to move to a company location in another country. ICT stands for ‘Intra-Company Transfer’ and as the name suggests, you can only move to another office location of the same company that you’re currently working with, for assignments or client projects.

Visas...Work Permits...Job Sponsorships… 🤔

Visa options can differ based on various parameters.
Visa options can differ based on various parameters.

Before you start your job search process, it is important to understand the different visa options you have available in the country you’re targeting. It will affect the type of jobs you can apply to and the duration for which you can work in the country. 

For this section, we’ll be talking specifically about the different visa options available in the U.S.

F-1 Visas

F-1 Visas are for academic students enrolled at an accredited educational institution. Students under this visa cannot work outside of their university campus for the first academic year, after which they can take up internships based on CPT(stands for Curricular Practical Training)(which can be paid) but must receive some kind of credit for the internship. For CPT, candidates must apply for an authorisation on their student visa and receive an updated I-20 form before they begin. Doing CPT internships can help candidates get ahead in their game and build work experience in the U.S. which they can later use when applying to full-time roles. 

Upon graduating, students can work in the U.S. anywhere between one to three years on their OPT(stands for Optional Practical Training). Generally, candidates can work for a year in the U.S., but candidates with a STEM degree can get two additional years on their OPT. Provided the organisation they work for is willing and authorised to sponsor them, they can switch from the F-1 visa to the H-1B visa before they exhaust their OPT, to continue working in the U.S.

H-1B Visas

H-1B Visas are primary work visas for international professionals in the U.S., that are assigned with a residency cap of three years. These are generally applicable to academic students looking to switch from F-1 visa to H-1B, or for candidates hired directly at U.S. companies with a visa sponsorship. Candidates can obtain this visa upon employment at U.S. companies that are authorised to apply for an H-1B petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on their behalf. To be eligible, the candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. 

However, it is important to note that the H-1B visa applications are subject to a lottery system. Each year, a maximum of 85,000 H-1B visas are allotted, out of which 65,000 of them are regular visas and an additional 20,000 are offered to candidates with a master’s degree or higher. Candidates can acquire an H-1B visa only if the company they’re working for can sponsor it.

You can find a list of companies that sponsor for H1-B visas in the U.S. here.

L-1 Visas

L-1 Visas are applicable to professionals who are temporarily transferring within a company for a definite period of time to a U.S. office location, either in a managerial or executive position from a company location outside of the U.S.(eligible for L-1A visa) or for positions that require specialised knowledge(eligible for L-1B visa). The L-1A visa is assigned for three years whereas the L-1B visa is assigned for the duration of a year.

An Effective Job Search Strategy 🎖

International candidates can bring new perspectives and expertise to an organisation, helping improve productivity and enhance cross-cultural experiences. But at the same time, it is time-consuming and involves significant costs on the organisation’s part to meet the sponsorship criteria, making it difficult for international candidates to land a job.

An effective job search strategy can accelerate your job search process
An effective job search strategy can accelerate your job search process

An unintended upside to this arduous process is that it can help you gain more clarity on what you want to do, why you want to do it, and what your end goal is. And that is exactly what an effective job search strategy begins with! 🚀

  1. What Do you Want to do? 👀
    Having clarity about what job roles you are interested in and how your skills and qualifications can support your interest in that role is crucial. The biggest mistake candidates often make is not focusing on specific roles and applying to jobs randomly, which leads them nowhere. Apart from knowing what you want to do, identify what skills are in demand in the job market you’re focussing upon. This will help you plan your job search process better and target countries, companies and roles where you have better chances of landing interview calls, job offers and visa sponsorships.

    Boost the chances of getting your dream job with useful career guidance by our industry experts at FAANGPath.

  2. Start Early! ⏳
    This is the most important piece of advice you will receive from anyone you’ll discuss your job search process with. As international candidates, you will have to spend more time identifying which companies can sponsor your visa and whether they hire foreign employees, not to mention the regular interview process you’ll have to go through before you land an offer. This changes from country to country, organisation to organisation and one role to another. On top of that, you will also have a timeline within which you will need to start working while in the country or after you graduate. Hence, if you are an international student, do not simply wait for on-campus job opportunities or till the end of your graduation to start applying.

    Tip: How to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job?

  3. Your Network is your Net Worth 🤝💸
    As cliche as that line may sound, it couldn’t be more true. In today's time, all the information you need is readily available online for free, it is about the people you know that will make a difference to your approach. Build connections with people who can help you navigate your job search process. Speak to people who’ve moved abroad for work as an international candidate, get to know about their journey, experience and approach. Identify the employees who work at companies you are looking to apply to, keep in touch with them and see if they can refer you for a role when you apply. Harness the power of platforms like LinkedIn or opportunities like attending career fairs to build meaningful relations with professionals.

     Also read: The Art of Networking on LinkedIn

  4. Make the Most Out of Career Fairs 💯
    If you are already studying in the country you want to work in, make the most of career fairs. Universities often organise career fairs every semester or once a year. They can be great opportunities for you to connect with potential employers, market yourself and land interview calls. Having an optimised resume, updated LinkedIn profile and an elevator pitch ready can boost your job search process at career fairs.

  5. Create Job Alerts 📱
    Another way to stay at the top of your game is to set job alerts on job platforms for positions or companies you’re targeting. Apply for positions soon as they are posted to ensure you’re one of the first few candidates who’ve applied. Timing is everything and applying after hundreds of candidates increases the chances of your application getting lost among others. You can create alerts on top international job sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed or the specific company’s career website and set your preferences and alert frequency.

  6. Track your Applications 📨
    Following up after you’ve applied for a job is a great way to show your employer that you’re serious about the role and company. For this, it is important to keep a track of your applications. You could create a spreadsheet with details about the jobs you’ve applied to, the dates of application, the job description, and the version of your resume and cover letter that you’ve submitted. You could then follow up two or three times at an interval of two/three weeks each. You could similarly maintain a spreadsheet with details of people you already know at those organisations who could help you with referrals or at any point of your application process.

  7. Work on your Resume and LinkedIn Profile 📃
    While all the above mentioned points are precursors to applying for a job, once you've leveraged all of these tips to find the right connections and jobs, it is now time to apply. And you do not want to get rejected based on your resume or LinkedIn after all the hard work.

    Resume writing is a skill. Focus on building your resume according to the country you’re applying to. If we look at the U.S., Americanize your resume. By that, we mean optimise your resume according to American industry practices and the job role. For example, there are no CVs in the U.S., only resumes; do not add your photograph in the resume ; you wouldn’t need to mention your full address, just the city you’re based in or wish to relocate to.

    Want to get your resume reviewed by professionals working at FAANG+ companies? Reach out to us today.

    Also, focus on building a solid LinkedIn profile and presence. LinkedIn can help you land job offers even without you approaching recruiters yourself and can add to the credibility of the skills and qualifications you claim to have. You can also cold message employees or recruiters of the organisations you wish to work at and request a referral or more information on the specific job role you’re targeting.

    Pro tip: You can refer to our blog on 3 easy ways to give your LinkedIn profile a much-needed boost! and also choose FAANGPath services for a LinkedIn makeover or to optimize your profile.

  8. Practice for Interviews 💻
    No matter how many connections you have, how good your resume is or how active you are on LinkedIn, if you do not clear the interviews, you’re back to square one. Here are a few golden rules to keep in mind during interview preparation:

    - Research about the company: You must know the company you’re applying to inside-out. Stay up to date with any recent updates about them, know more about their work culture and values through their website or other articles available online.

    - Research about the role and compare it with your skills: Learn more about the expectations of the role and see how it aligns with your skills and qualifications. Find instances from past experiences that you can make references to when sharing why you are the best fit for the role.

    - Do your homework on possible interview questions: Websites like Glassdoor have now made it increasingly convenient to know what kinds of questions you can expect in the interview. Make a list of all the questions you find there and be ready with your answers that you can back with examples.

    - Take mock interviews: Contact your university’s career centre, your friends, or mentors who’d be willing to practice your interviews with you. This can help build your confidence, and make amends based on the feedback they have to provide.

    You can also schedule mock interviews with FAANGPath mentors to ensure you give your best shot on the final interview day.

  9. Focus on Your Skills 🔍
    At the end of the day, it will all boil down to how skilled you are at what you do. Hence, this is the aspect you should be focusing most upon. The beauty of the job search process lies in the fact that you get to decide the pace at which you want to approach it. Focus on upskilling yourself and practicing the skills you’ve already learnt. Your success as a candidate in standing out from the rest of the applicants will be determined based on your ability to do things and communicate effectively how you do it. This could greatly influence the preference you get for your visa sponsorship and job offer from the organisation.

  10. Keep Going! 🙌
    Rejections are a part of the process. It is important to not take them personally, improve on things you know you can do better and keep going. The job search process might require some heavy lifting when you begin, but once you’ve understood how it works, it is all about learning from the process and progressing towards the offers you’re looking to bag.

FAANGPath team is committed to help job seekers to take the first step towards their dream job. The team of our dedicated mentors will provide you with an in-depth overview of resume preparation, best LinkedIn tips, interview guidance, career mentorship, and much more.

Here is a short infographic you can save and share to quickly remember an effective job search strategy.
Here is a short infographic you can save and share to quickly remember an effective job search strategy.

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