As I have shared I was born in another country and came here as an international student. I’m often asked about getting a job on Post Completion OPT, What jobs to look for and how to choose a start date.
What is Post Completion OPT? At the end of your studies there is something called Optional Practical Training for F-1 Students. This allows you to work for a year and more for STEM OPT, in the US in your field.
So here’s how I went about getting OPT and looking for a job, this was in 2012 and things may have changed slight but it pretty much works the same.
The Immigration Paperwork Stuff
First your OPT may be filed as early as 90 days before the completion date listed on the I-20 and up to 60 days after completion. The date listed is very important you can determine your expected completion date with your academic advisor carefully. This date will be printed on your I-20 and reflects the expected completion of all degree requirements, including classes, exams, final thesis, etc.
Choosing a Start Date: The start date requested for post-completion OPT may be delayed up to 60 days after the completion date listed on the new I-20. You can start right away or not so soon.
For me, I delayed my start date about 40 days in. I needed time to move off, campus, find an apartment take a break and actually find a new job. I wanted to see where jobs were available and was pretty much ready to move if I had to (If you want to find out how I got an apartment being an international student, I can provide tips because I know that is a little tough)
First I suggest visiting your college’s career center first. They may already know companies that you are the right candidate for and understand that you are an international student on OPT.
As an International Student when looking at job postings you need to look for a few things other individuals probably do not need to:
- Job needs to be full-time. This is a requirement.
- Job needs to be related to your field of study; also a requirement.
- Jobs that require you to be a citizen or permanent resident. Most jobs will state this in the description but government, city type jobs tend to have this requirement so do some research
- The start dates. If you selected to start a month later on OPT, and it requires you immediately you may want to avoid it but however I would say to still apply for it and if they are able to wait and like you a lot they may accommodate your start date. Also avoid jobs that have start dates way later than your OPT start date.
- Jobs that need you short-term
- Definitely try using temp agencies. They need temporary workers so you don’t have to worry about an employer who wants something long-term.
Are you a F-1 Student and have more questions? Leave a comment or contact me privately if you wish.