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OPT Job Search FAQs and Guide

OPT Job Search FAQs and Guide

There are many students in the US on OPT (Optional Practical Training) and CPT (Curricular Practical Training) programs. Many of them moved to the US not only for their education, but also hoping to get a job there afterwards. Luckily, you can get a job while on OPT visa as long as you approach it the right way. 

HiCounselor is the preferred career accelerator for tech grads and we know that many students choose to do an OPT job search rather than wait to complete their education before working. We’ve compiled some FAQs about the OPT Job Search here. If you need more help in getting the right job in the US, contact us and have a chat with one of our expert mentors. 

Is it easy to get a job in the US after graduation?

While we wouldn’t call it “easy”, the odds are in favor of those who’ve completed their education in the country. Statistics show that two out of three international students manage to secure a job in America after completing their education. Many students get a job offer within six months of having completed their course. 

What sort of job opportunities are open to international students? 

If you’re on an F-1 student visa, you can start by looking at the closest job opportunities near you. Many times, you can get a job on campus or within your university. If you’re unsuccessful there, you can expand your OPT job search to small firms and companies near your campus. Here you could get either paid or unpaid internships so you can get some experience. When OPT job hunting, look for roles that are in-demand in your area.

What are the easiest part time jobs for international students?

Work and study programs like CPT make it possible for students to take on part-time jobs while they complete their education. One of the easiest routes for your OPT job search is to look for part-time work on campus. You can apply for roles like Research Assistant, Student Union Member, Library Assistant, Campus Tour Guide, Research Study Member, etc.

When should I start my OPT job search?

Keep in mind that getting a job usually happens a while after you start applying for it. You should start your OPT job search at least 3 months before you get your OPT EAD card. This will give you enough time to apply for several roles, to understand the job market, to figure out your strengths and weaknesses, etc. You might make mistakes in the beginning so starting your OPT job search early will give you time to course correct. 

To ensure you go about things the right way, you can refer to the USCIS website where you’ll get accurate and up-to-date information about how and when to take steps for your OPT job search. You’ll need to follow all regulations about the 90 days of unemployment from the OPT EAD application time. Before you begin the job hunt, make sure you have all the necessary information. 

What kind of hours and pay can international students expect?

When it comes to the number of hours you can work while you’re studying in the US, the rules are different for different times. If your classes are ongoing, you can work for 20 hours per week. If your classes aren’t happening, you can work for 40 hours per week. 

The pay range will also differ according to company and location, but the average pay scale of international students in America is from US$8 to US$ 10 per hour. It will also differ according to the coursework you’ve taken on. Science streams usually pay more than others. 

How can I improve my chances of getting a job?

The best way to approach your OPT job search is to be methodical in your approach. Look at the kinds of job opportunities that are high in your area. See the skills and certifications you’ll need to get those jobs. Then check if your skills and qualifications might help you. Some skills can be easily applied to several fields while others are more specialized. 

One of the best ways to improve your odds of getting a job in the US is to pursue an internship on or off campus. Not only does this show your prospective employer that you have some work experience, you will also gain some practical knowledge which will help smoothen the transition from student to worker. 

We hope this article helps you refine your OPT job search! If you want to browse some companies that help with H-1B visas, use our free search tool here. This not only provides you with a list of companies, you can also narrow down your search by different criteria. We also provide you with recruiter names and their alma maters so you can connect more easily with them! If you’d rather have more help finding a job in the US, connect with us and let one of our mentors help you out!

HiCounselor has forged technical advances to transform the hiring landscape for job seekers and recruiters alike. Our career accelerator program provides job seekers with coaching and mentorship from industry leaders employed at FAANG companies while recruiters ally with HiCounselor to empower their hiring strategy and hone in on the best candidates. Learn more about HiCounselor here and reach out to us on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.