If you are an international student, you know that you are authorized to work in an internship or co-op program while you are in school, and authorized to work for 12 or 29 months (STEM) after graduation under OPT. HOWEVER, when you see “authorized to work in the U.S.” next to a company’s name on a job fair program, it means that they have a stated company policy that allows them to  ONLY hire permanent residents.

SO WHAT SHOULD AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT DO? While these companies (sometimes every company at the fair) will probably not consider an international student who simply drops off his or her resume, almost all companies will make an exception to that stated company policy for an outstanding candidate who engages with them directly. As an international student, you should get to the fair as soon as the doors open and engage company representatives at your target companies in a quick conversation in which you confidently explain your exceptional qualifications (we call his a “value statement” or “elevator pitch”). If you do this well, and the representative likes your personality, there is a good chance that you will be one of the exceptions selected for an internship or job interview.

Need to develop a compelling value statement? Need to learn more about how to stand out at a job or career fair? Need to understand the steps necessary to dramatically increase your chances for a job or internship? Please check out “3 Steps to Your Job in the USA.” at Amazon.com and Kindle (amzn.to/1Ay6MT0).