Guide to the Job Search - International Graduate Student - UChicago ...

Page created by Lonnie Benson
Guide to the Job Search - International Graduate Student - UChicago ...
International Graduate Student
Guide to the Job Search
in the United States
Guide to the Job Search - International Graduate Student - UChicago ...
F-1 and J-1 International Student Work Authorization Options in the U.S.   4–11
F-1 On-campus Employment
F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT Extensions
J-1 On-campus Employment
J-1 Academic Training (AT)
Other Considerations
F-1/J-1 U.S. Work Authorization Chart

The U.S. Job Search			                                                     12–20
Getting Started
Networking Basics
Informational Interviews
Elevator Speeches
Cover Letters
U.S. Office Culture

Career Development and Fellowship Resources at UChicagoGRAD			             21–24
Introduction to Career Advisors
Making an Advising Appointment
When to See an Advisor
Workshops and Camps
Career Fairs and Conferences
Employer Information Sessions
Fellowship Resources

Employer Guide to Hiring International Students			                         25–29
UChicagoGRAD Employer Relations
Employing International Students
U.S. Work Authorization Chart
Guide to the Job Search - International Graduate Student - UChicago ...
What is this guide?
The International Graduate Student Guide to the Job Search in the United States
helps graduate students and postdocs at the University of Chicago better
understand and navigate the search for employment in the U.S. The guide also
aids university advisors who work with international students and employers
who seek to hire international students.

Why did we create this guide?
In today’s increasingly global economy, international students are a valuable
part of the talent pool that universities provide to employers. International
students bring unique benefits, such as diversity, adaptability, global
perspectives, and international connections.

However, international students may find it difficult to conduct a U.S. job
search. Both international students and U.S. employers can be unfamiliar
with work visa options, and international students may feel ill-equipped to
handle U.S. employers’ expectations and practices. Please consider the tips
and recommendations provided in this guide to become a more competitive

Who wrote this guide?
This guide was created by UChicagoGRAD and the Office of International Affairs
at the University of Chicago. Should you have any questions or concerns, please
contact an advisor:
Josephine Cai
Assistant Director, UChicagoGRAD
Amima Diagne
Assistant Director, Office of International Affairs

Note: This guide is for informational purposes only. Each individual situation
may vary. Students with questions are encouraged to contact UChicagoGRAD
or the Office of International Affairs for additional guidance.
Guide to the Job Search - International Graduate Student - UChicago ...
Section 1

F-1 and J-1 International
Student Work Authorization
Options in the U.S.
F-1 and J-1 visas are designated for full-time study, but they do allow students to
to engagein on-campus
            in on-campus andand
                                        off-campus employment
                                                       employment related
                                                                           to their
                                                                              to their
                                                                                    area of
              of these
                  Most of
                          these opportunities
                                        will require
                                                       require authorization
                                                                     prior to beginning
                                                                               prior to
      This work.
                     of the
                                   the provide
                                         guide will
                                                  a brief
                                                              a briefofoverview
                                                                        the typesofof
types of workavailable
                          to F-1available
                                 and J-1 students.
                                           to F-1 and J-1 students.

Section Topics
F-1 On-campus Employment
F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT Extensions
J-1 On-campus Employment
J-1 Academic Training (AT)
Other Considerations
F-1/J-1 U.S. Work Authorization Chart
F-1 On-campus Employment
During an F-1 student’s academic program (before the I-20                 The following types of opportunities may also be considered on-
program end date), the student is permitted to engage in on-              campus employment, but should be confirmed with OIA before
campus employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week                      accepting:
while classes are in session (during the academic year). During
                                                                          ■   Work done on school premises that provides direct service to
academic breaks (such as winter and spring breaks) and vacation
                                                                              students (such as working at the bookstore or a restaurant in
quarters (such as summer quarter, for many programs), there
is no limitation on the number of hours permitted. F-1 students
can typically engage in on-campus employment without any                  ■   Work performed on- or off-campus at an approved, close
specific authorization needed in advance of beginning work.                   educational affiliate of the University. If a student is uncertain if
Below are key examples of what may be considered on-campus                    an entity is considered on-campus employment, please contact
employment.                                                                   OIA for confirmation.

The following on-campus employment opportunities do not                   For additional details about on-campus employment, visit
typically require review and employment authorization or        
documentation by the Office of International Affairs (OIA), as long
as they adhere to the requirements outlined above:
■   Work done on-campus and paid by the University (such as
    working at the library or for one of the academic departments)

F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
CPT is an F-1 employment/practical training benefit that allows               the opportunity meets the established CPT criteria for that
students to engage in paid or unpaid off-campus training                      program.
opportunities during their program when the opportunity is                ■   Must be approved prior to beginning work.
integral to their program of study. To be considered “integral,”
                                                                          ■   Is approved on a quarterly basis. If the opportunity will extend
the employment must either fulfill a degree requirement (e.g. a
                                                                              beyond one quarter, a new application will be needed for each
training, internship, or practicum that is required for all students in
that program); fulfill a course requirement (e.g. a practical training
required for a specific course); or be part of an established,            ■   Approval comes in the form of a new F-1: I-20, and employment
formal co-operative educational agreement between a student’s                 details will appear on page 2 under the ‘Work Authorization’
academic program and an external employer.                                    section.
                                                                          ■   More specific application details and processing timeframes
CPT eligibility and options are based on both immigration
                                                                              (including template letters) can be found on the OIA website.
and academic policies, and they are specific to the details and
requirements of a given academic program. Therefore, CPT                  Students are not permitted to work outside of the approved CPT
options may vary by program (with some programs having CPT                start and end dates listed on the I-20. Working even one day
options while others do not), but they are always pre-established         without proper work authorization can have severe consequences
by the given academic program and OIA.                                    on the student’s immigration status and on the company.

Key Features of CPT                                                       CPT FAQs
■   Must be directly related to a student’s major or field of study.      Is there a limit to how much CPT I can use?
■   Can be for paid or unpaid opportunities.                              CPT is based on program-specific requirements and opportunities,
                                                                          and it is bounded by those details. But, it is important to note
■   Allows for part-time work (20 hours or less per week) during
                                                                          that students who accumulate 12 months of full-time CPT
    the academic year and full-time work (over 20 hours per week)
                                                                          authorization (over 20 hours per week) lose their eligibility for
    during breaks and vacation quarters.
                                                                          Optional Practical Training (OPT). Part-time CPT authorization (20
■   Students must be enrolled full time for one academic year             hours or less per week), or fewer than 12 months of full-time CPT
    (three academic quarters) before they are eligible.                   authorization, should not affect OPT eligibility.
■   Can only be used during (but not after) one’s academic
                                                                          Can I change employers while on CPT?
    program, as reflected in the program dates listed on the I-20.
                                                                          Yes, but since CPT is employer specific, F-1 students must apply
■   Students must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT,           for new CPT authorization with OIA before working for the new
    since the authorization is for a specific employer.                   employer.
■   Is sponsored by the University, not by the employer. But, the
                                                                          Review CPT information and application process details at
    CPT request does require the employer to provide a letter.
■   Requires confirmation from one’s academic program that

F-1 and J-1 International Student Work Authorization Options in the U.S.                                                                          5
F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT is a type of F-1 off-campus work/practical training                   Responsibilities while on OPT
authorization for degree-seeking students who wish to gain
experience in jobs directly related to their major area of study.         Student Responsibilities
                                                                          After an approved period of OPT begins and a student has
OPT may be used before or after a student completes their                 received their EAD card (and is thus able to begin working),
degree.                                                                   the student is required to report any changes to the following
■   OPT acquired before degree completion is referred to as Pre-          information, within 10 days of the change, via the SEVP Student
    completion OPT.                                                       Portal ( or through
                                                                          the OIA OPT Update Form (
■   OPT acquired after degree completion is referred to as Post-
    completion OPT.
                                                                          ■   Employment information: employer name, employer address,
Most F-1 students will apply for Post-completion OPT to get
                                                                              whether the position is full time or part time, and a brief
practical training/work experience in the U.S. after completing
                                                                              description of how the work is directly related to the student’s
their academic programs.
                                                                              area of study
Key Features of OPT:                                                      ■   Current physical address, email address, and phone number
                                                                          ■   Employment end date
■   A job offer is not required for application.
■   No employer sponsorship is needed.                                    If a student decides to end OPT early and leave the U.S., or if a
                                                                          student changes to another status in the U.S., they should contact
■   Students must work in a job that is directly related to their
                                                                          OIA directly so that appropriate action can be taken on the
    degree program or field of study.
                                                                          student’s F-1 immigration record.
■   OPT can be used for paid or unpaid opportunities.
                                                                          Employer Responsibilities
■   Students must be enrolled full-time for one full academic year
                                                                          Employers are not required to be involved in the OPT application
    before being eligible for OPT.
                                                                          process. However, they will need to provide employment
■   Pre-completion OPT (during one’s program) allows part-time            verification letters to F-1 OPT students for use upon re-entry
    (no more than 20 hours per week) OPT during the academic              to the U.S. after traveling abroad. Reporting of employment
    year and full-time (more than 20 hours per week) OPT during           information is the responsibility of the student, but reporting may
    breaks and vacation quarters. However, students on Post-              require confirmation of details from an employer.
    completion OPT are required to work full time (at least 20 hours
    per week).                                                            Note: Students are NOT permitted to begin their employment
                                                                          until their work authorization has been approved and they have
■   OPT applications are initiated by the student, and they are
                                                                          physically received an EAD card. Working even one day without
    authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
                                                                          proper work authorization can have severe consequences on the
    (USCIS) . Applications typically take several months to be
                                                                          student’s immigration status and future employment options.
    approved. USCIS does not expedite applications.
■   Eligible students have a maximum of 12 months of OPT.                 OPT FAQs
■   Students who have earned a degree in a designated STEM
                                                                          Can I have multiple employers while on OPT?
    (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) area of
                                                                          Yes, as long as (1) the student’s work with all of the employers
    study may be eligible to apply for an employment extension of
                                                                          adds up to at least 20 hours per week, (2) all of the positions
    an additional 24 months.
                                                                          are directly related to the student’s area of study, and (3) all
                                                                          employers are reported either to OIA or through the SEVP portal.
Application Process
                                                                          What status do I hold while on OPT?
Specific and up-to-date details and timeframes for the OPT
                                                                          An OPT recipient is still in F-1 student status during their period of
application process can be found on the OIA website. Here is a
                                                                          approved OPT.
general overview:
                                                                          Can I remain in the U.S. while OPT is pending?
1. Request OPT recommendation from OIA.
                                                                          Yes, a student can remain in the U.S. as long as their OPT is
2. Receive a new I-20 from OIA.                                           pending (even after the I-20 program end date), but the student
3. Mail the full application to USCIS for their review and                cannot begin working until their OPT has been approved and they
   processing.                                                            receive their EAD card in the mail.
4. Receive receipt notice.                                                Review more OPT information, FAQs and application process
   Note: If USCIS notices anything missing or incorrect upon initial      details at
   review, the student will receive a rejection notice outlining what     practical-training.
   was incorrect and inviting them to re-submit their application. If
   any issues are noted after the initial receipt notice is issued, the
   student will receive an RFE (Request for Evidence).
5. Approval arrives in the form of an Employment Authorization
   Document (EAD). This card will state the specific start and end
   dates for OPT.

F-1 and J-1 International Student Work Authorization Options in the U.S.                                                                         6
OPT Extensions
F-1 STEM OPT Extension                                                   Student Responsibilities
F-1 students who have earned a degree in a STEM-designated               After the STEM extension has been approved, the student
field may be eligible to apply for an additional 24 months of OPT.       is required to comply with several STEM OPT reporting
                                                                         requirements to keep their F-1 status active while on STEM OPT.
Key Features of the STEM OPT Extension:                                  These requirements include the following:
■   No employer sponsorship is needed; however, employers                ■   Report current employment and contact information to OIA
    must be highly involved in training and are responsible for              every 6 months to validate the student’s STEM employment,
    completing the I-983 Training Plan as well as follow-up progress         even if there are no changes to report.
    reports.                                                             ■   Submit a self-evaluation of their performance (pages 6 and
■   STEM OPT can only be used after a student completes their                7 of Form I-983) at the mid-point of employment and at the
    initial 12 months of “regular” OPT.                                      conclusion of employment for each job they have.
■   Students may apply for the STEM OPT extension no sooner              ■   Submit a new Form I-983 to OIA if there are any changes to
    than 90 days prior to the current OPT/EAD expiration date and            the original training plan or if the student gets a new job. OIA
    no later than the current OPT/EAD expiration date.                       must receive the new I-983 prior to any changes. Changes may
■   The application is initiated by the student, authorized by the           include but are not limited to the following: employer name and
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and may               address, decrease in compensation, reduction in hours (if the
    take several months to be approved. The application must be              student is working less than 20 hours a week), employer’s EIN,
    received by USCIS before the regular OPT expiration date.                or termination of employment.
■   Students must work at least 20 hours per week in a position
                                                                         ■   Report to the OIA within 10 days any change in the following:
    that directly relates to their STEM degree.                              name, address, employer name and address, or a change in
                                                                             employment or immigration status.
■   Students must be compensated for their work. Unpaid work is
    not permitted under the OPT STEM extension.
                                                                         ■   Notify OIA about the termination of employment within 5 days
                                                                             of the change.
■   Students must have a job offer from an E-Verify employer.
                                                                         Access the online reporting form at internationalaffairs.uchicago.
Application Process                                                      edu/content/stem-opt-update-form, which can be used to
                                                                         report any of the requirements mentioned above, via the OIA
Specific and up-to-date details and timeframes for the application
process can be found on the OIA website at internationalaffairs. Here is a general
                                                                         Employer Responsibilities
                                                                         The employer’s responsibilities and requirements for a student’s
1. Complete the I-983 Training Plan with the employer.
                                                                         STEM OPT include:
2. Request the OPT STEM recommendation from OIA (which
   requires that a student also submit an I-983 Training Plan
                                                                         ■   E-Verify. The STEM OPT employer must be enrolled in the
   completed by the student and their employer).                             E-Verify program.

3. Receive a new I-20 from OIA.
                                                                         ■   Compensation. The STEM OPT student’s compensation must
                                                                             be commensurate with the pay of a U.S. citizen with the same
4. Mail the full application to USCIS for their review and
                                                                             credentials in a similar position.
                                                                         ■   I-983 Training Plan. The student’s direct supervisor must
5. Receive receipt notice. If USCIS notices anything missing or
                                                                             review and sign the student’s I-983 Training Plan.
   incorrect upon initial review, the student will receive a rejection
   notice outlining what was incorrect and inviting the student
                                                                         ■   Changes to I-983 Training Plan. The direct supervisor must
   to re-submit their application. If any issues are noted after             review and sign a new I-983 Training Plan if there are any
   the initial receipt notice is issued, the student will receive            material changes to the student’s job (e.g. supervisor name,
   an RFE (Request for Evidence). After a student receives the               compensation).
   receipt notice, they can continue working up to 180 days past         ■   Student Self-Evaluations. The student is required to complete
   the student’s OPT EAD expiration date as long as the STEM                 two self-evaluations to monitor their progress and report on
   extension application is still pending.                                   their educational goals. One must be completed at the mid-
6. Approval arrives in the form of an Employment Authorization               point of employment, another at the end. The student’s direct
   Document (EAD). This card will state the specific start and end           supervisor must review and sign these self-evaluations, as
   dates for the OPT STEM extension, which typically starts the              needed.
   day after the student’s OPT EAD expires and ends 24 months            ■   Loss or Termination of Employment. The employer must
   later.                                                                    notify OIA when the student’s employment is terminated for
                                                                             any reason before the end of the authorized OPT extension
                                                                             period. This report must occur within 5 business days of the
                                                                             end of employment and can be sent via email to international-

F-1 and J-1 International Student Work Authorization Options in the U.S.                                                                     7
■   DHS Site Visits. STEM OPT regulations authorize the                If a student has an H-1B application pending with or approved
    Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to visit employers           by USCIS before the end of their OPT authorization, the Cap-
    who have hired STEM OPT students to confirm that the student       Gap Extension automatically extends an eligible F-1 student’s
    is adhering to the training plan on record. In most cases, DHS     OPT authorization during this “gap” period until the H-1B status
    will provide notice to the employer at least 48 hours in advance   becomes active (October 1).
    of any site visit. For more information please refer to the
    Study in The States webpage at           Eligibility
                                                                       This extension is available to F-1 students whose OPT was
To find more information about the employer responsibilities           approved or who:
listed above, please visit the Study in the States website of          ■   Have an OPT end date on or after April 1 of the current year and
the DHS at
                                                                       ■   Have a pending or approved Change of Status H-1B petition
                                                                           (I-539) with USCIS
Review more STEM OPT information, FAQs, and application                ■   Filed the H-1B petition in a timely manner with USCIS, according
process details at
                                                                           to the acceptance period and
                                                                       ■   Work for an employer who is subject to the H-1B cap (is not
Visit the Study in the States STEM OPT Hub at studyinthestates.            exempt from the cap)
                                                                       In most cases, USCIS automatically adds the cap-gap extension
H1-B Cap-Gap Extension                                                 to the records of students who are eligible. If a student believes
                                                                       the cap-gap should be added to their record but finds that it was
The “H-1B Cap-Gap Extension” refers to the period of time              not, they should contact their OIA advisor at internationalaffairs.
between the end of a student’s F-1 status (the end of OPT/    for more information.
OPT STEM extension or grace period) and the beginning of the
student’s H-1B status (October 1). The OPT Cap-Gap Extension           How do I know if my employer is subject to the H1-B cap?
only applies to students submitting a Change of Status petition        Being cap-subject (meaning subject to an annual limit on H1-B
(not consular processing) for cap-subject employers.                   visas per year for certain types of employers) varies depending on
                                                                       the type of employer. An employer will be able to confirm whether
                                                                       they are subject to the cap.

J-1 On-campus Employment
J-1 students can engage in on-campus employment, but it                ■   Work done on-campus and paid by the University (such as
must be approved by OIA in advance. Students can engage in                 working at the library or for one of the academic departments)
on-campus employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week                ■   Work done on school premises that provides direct service to
while classes are in session (during the academic year). During            students (such as working at the bookstore or a restaurant in
academic breaks (such as winter and spring breaks) and vacation            Hutch)
quarters (such as summer quarter, for many programs), there is
                                                                       ■   Work performed on- or off-campus at an approved, close
no limitation on the number of hours permitted.
                                                                           educational affiliate of the University; if a student is uncertain if
Below are the most common types of on-campus employment,                   an entity is considered on-campus employment, please contact
which should be reported to and approved by OIA in advance:                OIA for confirmation

J-1 Academic Training (AT)
Academic Training is a type of J-1 work authorization that allows      Features of AT
students to work off-campus in the form of a job, internship,
research position, teaching position, cooperative education            ■   A student may apply for Academic Training authorization from
position, or other opportunity to obtain experience that furthers          OIA at any time during their studies.
their academic goals.                                                  ■   A student must have an offer of employment to apply for AT
                                                                           since the authorization is for a specific employer and is specific
There are two types of Academic Training:
                                                                           to their job/internship/training opportunity. The required
■   Pre-completion Academic Training: training that begins and             employer letter template can be found on OIA website.
    ends during a student’s program at UChicago, before the            ■   Students must also have a recommendation from their
    program end date on the J-1: DS-2019.                                  academic department detailing how the opportunity is related
■   Post-completion Academic Training: training that continues             to their area of study and integral to their academic program.
    upon or begins after the completion of a student’s academic        ■   AT is limited to 18 months or the length of a student’s academic
    program at UChicago; Post-completion Academic Training must            program, whichever is shorter. This includes training both
    begin no later than 30 days after completion of studies and            before and after the completion of studies. The total training
    needs to be applied for before the current DS-2019 expires.            period may not exceed the amount of time spent in the full
                                                                           course of study.
                                                                       ■   For postdoctoral training, the overall limit is 36 months.

F-1 and J-1 International Student Work Authorization Options in the U.S.                                                                       8
■   All AT is counted as full-time, even if employment is on a part-      AT FAQs
    time basis.
                                                                          When can I begin Academic Training?
■   AT can be paid or unpaid if it occurs before the completion of a
                                                                          There is no waiting period to apply for AT. However, a student
    student’s program.
                                                                          cannot begin the training position before the start date listed on
■   A student must be paid (i.e. must receive a salary or other           their Form DS-2019.
    compensation for their services) if AT occurs after the
    completion of their program of study. If AT occurs after the          Can I change employers during Academic Training?
    completion of their program of study, a student must be paid          A student can change employers or AT positions only after they
    (i.e. receive a salary or other compensation for their services) or   have submitted a new AT request form to OIA. Each period of AT
    must provide other proof of financial support through the post-       is employer-specific. If a student begins working for an employer
    completion AT period.                                                 who is not listed on the Form DS-2019, the student is in violation
                                                                          of their J-1 status. The student is also not permitted to have any
■   More specific application details and processing timeframes
                                                                          gap in AT periods during the post-completion period.
    (including template letters) can be found on the OIA website.
■   J-1 students must receive Academic Training authorization from        Review specific AT information at internationalaffairs.uchicago.
    OIA before starting their training activity (internship or job).      edu/page/academic-training.
    These students are not permitted to work off campus outside           Request J-1 AT employment authorization at internationalaffairs.
    of the approved AT start and end dates listed on their DS-2019.
    Working even one day without proper work authorization can
    have severe consequences on the student’s immigration status
    and on the company.

Other Considerations
Answering Questions about International                                   Life after F-1/J-1 Status
Student Status                                                            Students must end their F-1 or J-1 employment once their
                                                                          practical or academic training has expired. However, depending
During the job application process, students will encounter some
                                                                          on the student’s individual situation, there may be employment-
questions regarding their immigration status and eligibility to
                                                                          based or other types of immigration statuses that a student may
work. These questions are asked to determine your employment
                                                                          be eligible for that would allow them to continue working in the
sponsorship requirements. Two main questions are usually asked:
                                                                          U.S. beyond their F-1 or J-1 status. Many students work with their
“Are you eligible to work in the United States?” The answer               employers, who may be able to sponsor them in an employment-
 is “yes,” as the F-1 and J-1 student statuses are eligible for work      based status such as H1-B.
                                                                          Please note that the OIA student services team is not able to
“Would you, now and in the future, require sponsorship in                 advise students on visa types outside of the F-1 and J-1 student
order to work in the United States?” This answer would also               statuses. However, one can find general information about the
 be “yes,” as student status and associated work authorization are        types of visa statuses that allow work on the USCIS website: uscis.
 limited, and a student would eventually require sponsorship from         gov/working-united-states/working-us.
 an employer or another immigration status in order to continue
 working after the F-1 or J-1 student status ends.

F-1 and J-1 International Student Work Authorization Options in the U.S.                                                                       9
F-1/J-1 U.S. Work Authorization Chart
                           Employment Authorization               Requirements                         Timing                    Cost                    Hours per Week

 F-1 Students:           No work authorization is          Employment must take             Upon formal offer and         No cost to            Part time – maximum of 20 hours/
                         required by OIA if you are        place on campus or off           acceptance of the on-         employer or           week while school is in session
                         working on campus or with a       campus with a close              campus position.              student.              (during academic quarters)
 Employment              close educational affiliate.      educational affiliate.                                                               Full time – over 20 hours per
                                                                                                                                                week when school is not in
                                                                                                                                                session (during academic breaks)

 F-1 Students:           CPT can be done prior to          CPT can be applied for only      After a student submits       No cost to            Part time – maximum of 20 hours/
                         completion of study. Students     after 3 quarters of full-time    a CPT request to OIA,         employer or           week while school is in session
                         apply for CPT approval with       enrollment.                      approval typically takes      student.              (during academic quarters)
 Practical Training      OIA prior to the start of                                          approximately 1 week.
                                                           A job offer letter is required                                                       Full time – over 20 hours per
 (CPT)                   employment.                       as part of a CPT request.                                                            week when school is not in
                                                                                                                                                session (during academic breaks)

 F-1 Students:           OPT can be authorized for         The student must obtain an       Applications typically        The OPT               Post-completion OPT requires a
                         full-time employment after        Employment Authorization         take several months to        application fee is    minimum of 20 hours per week.
                         the completion of studies         Document (EAD card)              be approved, and current      paid by student at
 Practical Training      (definition of completion         prior to starting work. The      processing times are linked   the time of filing.
 (OPT)                   varies by degree level).          EAD card is proof of work        from OIA website. Students    No cost to
                         The student files an OPT          authorization.                   can apply 90 days in          employer.
                         application with the U.S.                                          advance of their program
                         Citizenship and Immigration                                        completion.
                         Services (USCIS)

 J-1 Students:           AT can be done before and         AT training needs to be          After a student submits       No cost to            No weekly minimum—all work
                         after the completion of study.    authorized before the start      the AT request to OIA,        employer or           hours are counted as full-time.
                         Students are eligible to          of employment.                   approval typically takes      student.
 Training (AT)                                                                              approximately 1 week.
                         work from 18 to 36 months,
                         depending on length of study.

 J-1 Students:           Students can work on campus       The employment must              Upon approval from OIA        No cost to            Part time – maximum of 20 hours/
                         or with a close educational       take place on campus or          (typically within 1 week).    employer or           week while school is in session
                         affiliate, but they should seek   off campus with a close                                        student.              (during academic quarters)
 Employment              approval from OIA first.          educational affiliate.                                                               Full time – over 20 hours per
                                                                                                                                                week when school is not in
                                                                                                                                                session (during academic breaks)

F-1 and J-1 International Student Work Authorization Options in the U.S.                                                                                                           10
Section 2

The U.S. Job Search
The prospect of navigating the U.S. job search can be daunting. Finding
employment is itself a full-time job, one that requires energy and commitment
on the part of applicants. Section 2 of this guide will recommend steps that you
can follow to organize your search for employment. The guide also provides tips
and best practices for each stage of your journey.

Section Topics
Getting Started
Networking Basics
Informational Interviews
Elevator Speeches
Cover Letters
U.S. Office Culture
Getting Started
                                                                      Any discussion about salary would be premature until you have
Understanding Yourself and the Job Market                             an offer. Please contact your UChicagoGRAD career advisor for
The first step of the job search process is discovery—of yourself,    more information on salary negotiation.
the labor market, and your ideal jobs. You need to understand
your interests, strengths, and passions and then seek out             Identifying Employers Who Sponsor H-1B Visas
compatible opportunities for employment.
                                                                      Employers do hire international students with practical training
■   Labor Market Information. O*NET Online is a platform              work authorization. However, if your employment extends beyond
    sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and         the practical training period, your employer will need to petition
    Training Administration. It contains a comprehensive repository   for an employment visa. The H-1B is a common employment
    of professions and their outlooks within the U.S. job market.     visa (though there are other options). The resources below allow
                                                                      you to search for employers who have sponsored H-1B visas
■   Self-Assessment. MyNextMove is an interest inventory based
                                                                      in the past. You can search by job title or industry and identify
    upon the John Holland Codes. It asks you to answer questions
                                                                      companies that have sponsored employees for U.S. permanent
    about the types of work that you enjoy. The tool will then
    suggest careers and professions that match your interests and
    training. You can cross-reference these professions with the      ■   GoinGlobal – log in to GRAD Gargoyle for free access >
    information in O*NET Online.                                          shortcuts > GoingGlobal - Country Career Guide
For example, if you use MyNextMove and learn that your dominant       ■   MyVisaJobs
Holland Codes are Investigative (I) and Conventional (C), you can
input these interests into O*NET’s interests search tool. Then,       Discussing Work Authorization and
explore the list of relevant occupations, such as management          International Student Status with
analyst, computer and information research scientist, historian,
archivist, statistician, or financial quantitative analyst.           Employers
                                                                      There is no official time when you are required to tell an employer
Researching Industries, Companies, and                                about your international student status. Most employers will ask
Salaries                                                              about your status as part of an online application form or as part
                                                                      of an interview.
A number of resources can help you find information on
prospective industries, companies, and salary ranges:                 International students should (1) respond honestly when asked
                                                                      about your immigration status and work authorization eligibility,
■   Vault career guides – log in with your UChicago email for free    and (2) ensure that you discuss these topics with employers
    access                                                            before the interview process concludes, so that employers can
■   Individual company websites                                       make informed hiring decisions.
■   LinkedIn                                                          Employers who value talent will understand that the skills and
■   UChicago Library guides to company research and business/         global perspectives that you bring to the company will far
    economic research                                                 outweigh any extra measures needed to hire you. By disclosing
■   GRAD Gargoyle jobs board > Jobs > Search                          your immigration status, you can begin a conversation about
                                                                      navigating your employment options.
■   Indeed jobs site
■   Salary research tools Glassdoor and Payscale                      Employers unfamiliar with the process of sponsoring an
                                                                      employee’s immigration status may be intimidated. You can
Salary research is particularly important as you begin applying       prepare for this scenario by learning as much as you can about
for jobs, because employers may directly ask about your salary        your options. You can then present this information to the
expectations. In general, though, you should avoid asking an          employer in a confident, informed way that encourages the
employer questions about pay and benefits while interviewing.         employer to consider making you an offer.

Networking Basics
What is Networking?                                                   contact who offers to recommend you for or refer you to a job,
                                                                      that is a bonus. However, it is not an expectation you should
Networking is the process of establishing relationships with          impose on a professional contact.
people, such as peers and alumni, who will become your
community of colleagues and friends as you move through your          Why Should I Network?
career. Networking is not about asking for preferential treatment,
                                                                      Networking can be key to securing employment in the U.S., and it
nor is it simply an exchange of information and contacts. Rather,
                                                                      should be a priority during your job search. Networking activities
it is a common way to connect with professionals who can teach
                                                                      could result in the following:
you about their jobs and organizations (and, in turn, learn from
you).                                                                 ■   Improved conversation skills
When networking, you should not overtly ask for employment.           ■   Insider tips that help you stay current in your field
If you say, “Do you have a job for me?” the answer is likely to be    ■   Job search advice specific to your field
“no,” and then the conversation is over. If you meet a networking     ■   A new friend or professional ally

The U.S. Job Search                                                                                                                       12
■   Names of additional people to contact, which may result in        ■   Neighbors, clubmates, and members of associations or religious
    follow-up interviews                                                  communities
■   An offer of employment                                            ■   Acquaintances that you meet at the gym, cafes, and
                                                                          neighborhood stores
How Do I Develop My Network?                                          ■   Connections on social networking sites such as LinkedIn,
Chances are that you already know more people than you realize.           Facebook, and Twitter
Your network may include the following:
                                                                      Opportunities to network can arise at any time and place. Never
■   Family, friends, roommates, and significant others                underestimate an opportunity to make a connection. This does
                                                                      not mean that networking comes easily to everyone, of course.
■   School classmates, faculty, staff, and alumni
                                                                      If you are an introvert who at times struggles to comfortably
■   Past and present co-workers                                       interact with others, try building professional connections via
                                                                      informational interviews.

Informational Interviews
What Is an Informational Interview?                                   Subject: UChicago PhD Student Interested in Cyberdyne

Informational interviews are informal conversations with              Dear Miles,
professionals who are working in fields that interest you. They       I am a current physics PhD student at the University of Chicago,
allow you to “interview” a professional to learn useful information   and I noticed in the alumni directory that you work for Cyberdyne
about their day-to-day work and the best ways to break into their     Systems Corporation. I plan to graduate in two years, and I am
field. Informational interviews are a common form of networking       now starting to explore career options. The Skynet initiative at CDI
in the United States, and they are frequently used by job seekers     is fascinating, and I would like to learn more about Cyberdyne as
to meet people who can assist with their job search.                  well as your personal career path. Would you be willing to speak
Informational interviews are NOT job interviews. The professionals    with me over coffee or lunch sometime in the next two weeks? I
with whom you meet will not, in most cases, be able to offer you      look forward to speaking with you soon!
a job. Rather, these professionals can share their stories and give   Sincerely,
you advice, perspective, and additional connections that will make    John Connor
the job search easier. In some cases, these professionals can alert
you to new job postings or even become long-term mentors.             If the potential interviewee does not respond to your request,
                                                                      wait at least a week before following up. When setting up a
You may be asking, why would a busy professional want to take         meeting, do all that you can to make the experience as convenient
time out of their day to speak with me? Many professionals see        as possible for the interviewee, including offering to meet at a
an informational interview as a way to “pay it forward” and help      location of their choosing.
the next generation, just as someone helped them. Many people
also like talking about themselves and sharing their stories—they     How Do I Conduct an Informational Interview?
may be flattered that you asked. In some cases, you may even
be able to help the professional you interview by offering a fresh    Prior to any informational interview, be sure to research the
perspective or connections to people that you know.                   person and their organization thoroughly. Practice introducing
                                                                      yourself (your “elevator speech”) and draft a list of open-ended
How Do I Set Up an Informational Interview?                           questions that will help you organize the flow of the conversation.

First, decide who you’d like to interview. If you are nervous,        ■   Could you tell me what a typical day is like for you?
you can start by talking to a professional who is already in          ■   What do you like about your work? What are the most
your immediate network, such as a former colleague, current               challenging parts?
classmate, friend, or family member. You should not stop there,       ■   What skills did you gain from your MA/PhD/postdoc that have
however. Think next about your extended network or any
                                                                          helped you in your career?
professionals who you do not yet know but would like to meet.
You can identify potential interviewees via LinkedIn, the UChicago
                                                                      ■   Would you mind telling me about your career path and how you
Alumni Association platform WISR, or company webpages.                    got to your current position?
                                                                      ■   What advice do you have for someone with my background
To set up an informational interview, you can send a message
                                                                          who wants to enter this field/company?
via email, LinkedIn, or WISR. Email is the preferred medium for
outreach, but it is not always possible to find the email addresses
                                                                      ■   Is there someone here or elsewhere that you’d recommend I
of potential interviewees. Your request should take the form of           speak with?
a brief, one-paragraph message in which you introduce yourself,       Be respectful of the interviewee’s time by starting and ending
express interest in the person’s career path, and ask for 30          your meeting on time. Feel free to take notes as the person talks—
minutes of their time for an in-person meeting (when in-person        after all, you are there to learn.
meetings are possible). Do not attach your résumé to the email,
and do not write a message that is desperate, long, or full of
questions. You can review a sample message below.

The U.S. Job Search                                                                                                                     13
How Do I Follow Up after an Informational                              message. As your career exploration or job search continues,
                                                                       you should follow up with the person at least once to provide a
                                                                       status update, especially if the interviewee suggested additional
Always send a thank-you email within 24 hours of finishing an          contacts or resources. You should also be alert to ways that you
informational interview. Add the professional as a new contact         can help the interviewee in the future by sending a relevant article
on LinkedIn and personalize the LinkedIn request with a short          or providing a professional connection of your own.

Elevator Speeches
What Is an Elevator Speech?                                            2. It provides a big-picture summary of who you are in one to
                                                                          three sentences.
If you’ve ever gone to a career fair, employer info session, or
                                                                       3. It highlights one or two significant experiences that support
networking event, chances are that you have had to introduce
                                                                          this summary and reveal something unique about you.
yourself to someone you have never met before. Introducing
yourself can be challenging, especially when you want to create        These three goals can also serve as a basic outline for structuring
a good impression. The first things you say about yourself can         your elevator speech. After letting your listener know what
influence the rest of the conversation. So, what do you do when        you are doing at present—for example, completing an MA or
someone turns to you and says, “Tell me about yourself”?               PhD program—formulate a big-picture summary of yourself
                                                                       that describes your most important skills, characteristics, or
This is when a good elevator speech comes in handy. An elevator
speech is a short, concise statement that you use to introduce
yourself and answer questions like “Who are you?” or “What do          For example: “I consider myself a problem-solver, and I love
you do?” Generally, an elevator speech is only 30 seconds to           using data science to solve complex challenges.” Then, share
one minute long—that is to say, the time it might take you to ride     details about one or two of your most significant academic or
an elevator from the ground floor to the top. Imagine that when        professional experiences. You could include brief descriptions of a
you enter an elevator, you see someone you’d like to meet. What        recent internship, job, or research project, or you could discuss a
would you say to get that person interested in learning more           specific skill you have been developing.
about you before they reach their floor?
                                                                       Your elevator speech should be flexible and may change
How Do I Deliver a Good Elevator Speech?                               depending on your audience. Do not forget that making a good
                                                                       impression involves more than just having the right words. How
A good elevator speech provides the groundwork for further             you say those words matters. When introducing yourself to new
conversation. The speech is not meant to be a run-through of           people, show enthusiasm, make eye contact, and demonstrate
your résumé or an exhaustive list of your skills and experiences.      interest in the other person. With a good elevator speech, you’ll
Instead, a good elevator speech accomplishes three central goals:      have a solid foundation for making new contacts and expanding
                                                                       your professional network.
1. It tells the listener what you are doing now (or shares your most
   recent career or educational milestone).

What is LinkedIn?                                                      The intro is your profile’s prime real estate. This is what LinkedIn
                                                                       users spend the most time viewing. Here are some best practices
LinkedIn is a professional networking platform with over 600           for this section:
million users in more than 200 countries worldwide. The platform
enables you to create a profile, connect with professionals,
                                                                       ■   Photo. People are seven times more likely to accept your
search for jobs, engage with professional associations, and                LinkedIn connection request if you have a photo. Your photo
build knowledge about organizations. It is an essential career             should be a solo shot (no groups) with good resolution in
exploration and networking tool.                                           which you are dressed professionally. You do not need to hire
                                                                           a professional photographer, as most cell phone cameras have
How Do I Optimize My LinkedIn Profile?                                     high enough resolution.
                                                                       ■   Headline. The headline is the customizable, 120-character
LinkedIn organizes your profile into four main sections:
                                                                           line of text immediately underneath your name. Think of the
■   Intro (including photo, headline, and summary)                         headline as your branding statement. What do you want people
■   Background (including work experience, education, licenses,            to know about you at a glance? Use important keywords that
    certifications, and volunteer experience)                              you want associated with your profile. Review other people’s
                                                                           headlines for inspiration.
■   Skills
                                                                       ■   Summary. The summary enables you to tell a first-person
■   Accomplishments (including publications, patents, courses,
                                                                           narrative of who you are and where you are headed with your
    projects, honors, awards, test scores, languages, and
                                                                           career. Keep this section relatively concise (1 or 2 paragraphs).
                                                                           You can think of the summary as a personal statement that
                                                                           emphasizes your strengths and accomplishments.

The U.S. Job Search                                                                                                                        14
The other essential sections of your LinkedIn profile cover your            at least four days, you can send up to fifteen free one-to-one
experience, education, skills, and accomplishments. Here are                messages to fellow group members each month. This limit is set
some best practices for these sections:                                     for all the groups to which you belong (and not for each group
                                                                            individually). Note that only the original message is counted
■   Experience. Your experience section should convey your
                                                                            towards the limit; any back-and-forth replies from either party
    accomplishments. The most recent and significant experiences
                                                                            are free.
    get more description, typically in the form of concise bullet
    points. Make sure that these descriptions are accessible and        When reaching out to a new connection, you should
    easily understood by a wide audience. Your graduate and/or
                                                                        ■   Send a brief message (one paragraph maximum)
    postdoctoral research and/or teaching experience should be
    included in this section.                                           ■   Express interest in the person’s career path
■   Education. Your education section should include all of your        ■   Ask for 30 minutes of their time for a conversation about their
    earned (or in progress) degrees, with the title of your thesis          job/company/career path
    or dissertation included, as appropriate. You can also include      ■   Prioritize in-person meetings when possible, but give options
    a brief list of activities and societies. Save any descriptions         for phone or Skype
    of your educational experiences for the experience section.         ■   Follow up in one week if you do not receive a response
    Certifications and postdoctoral experience do not go into the
    education section.                                                  When reaching out to a new connection, you should NOT
■   Skills. LinkedIn allows you to feature three specific skills in     ■   Write an essay
    the skills and endorsements section, with a longer list of skills
                                                                        ■   Seem desperate
    available under “show more.” These highlighted skills should
    be relevant to where you are headed with your career, even if       ■   Attach your résumé
    they do not make up the majority of your experience. The skills     ■   Ask questions by InMail that negate the need to meet
    section should include everything from techniques to softer         ■   Send two messages in less than one week
    skills (such as public speaking).
                                                                        ■   Ask for a job
■   Accomplishments. The accomplishments section is a catchall
    for a variety of other experiences. It can include things like      Maintaining Your Connections
    organizations, languages, honors, awards, test scores, projects,
    courses, patents, and publications. You should complete these       Once you’ve made a professional connection, how do you
    as appropriate.                                                     maintain it past the initial conversation? Regularly interacting
                                                                        with your connections via LinkedIn or another means is a healthy
Building Your LinkedIn Connections                                      professional practice. Here are some common ways to keep in
LinkedIn is an excellent tool for finding new connections. Start
by identifying appropriate alumni, either from UChicago or your         ■   Keep your connections updated on your job search progress
previous academic institutions, as well as professionals who work       ■   Share interesting articles, papers, or events
in your target organizations or geographic areas. You can then
                                                                        ■   Congratulate your connections for major awards, papers,
reach out to them in a variety of ways:
                                                                            grants, promotions, and new jobs
■   Connect Directly. Send a connection request to a potential          ■   Continue to ask substantive questions about your connections’
    contact with a customized note. Though your note is limited to          jobs, companies, or career tracks
    300 characters, you should try this method first.
                                                                        ■   When appropriate, ask if a connection would be comfortable
■   Get an Introduction. Find a connection you have in common.              passing along your résumé for an open position at their
    Then, write a note to your mutual connection, asking them to            organization
    introduce you.
■   Send an InMail. InMail is the name of LinkedIn’s messaging          Using LinkedIn to Identify Job Openings
    function, which provides unlimited characters and messages.
                                                                        Many companies use LinkedIn to connect with new talent, either
    If you have a basic (free) LinkedIn account, you can only send
                                                                        by posting their open positions on LinkedIn’s job board or
    InMails to existing connections. To send InMails to people who
                                                                        through recruiters or hiring managers who are actively searching
    are not yet connections, you must upgrade to a premium (paid)
                                                                        for candidates. Be sure to follow companies that interest you,
                                                                        and use LinkedIn’s job board to search for positions. You can
■   Message a Fellow Group Member. You can join up to 50                set your specific “career interests” so that LinkedIn filters and
    groups on LinkedIn, from alumni groups to groups focused on         curates appropriate jobs. You can also set an internal flag that lets
    a specific career path. After being a member of that group for      recruiters know that you are open to new positions.

The résumé is the cornerstone of most job applications. It is a         There are no “hard and fast” rules to writing a résumé. Because
curated, tailored document highlighting your best—and most              you and your job search are unique, you should review your
applicable—experience for a position. Unlike the CV, an American-       résumé with a career advisor before submitting it.
style résumé is limited to one page (though there are some
exceptions). You should not include personal details on a résumé.
Omit your headshot as well as information like your date of birth,
blood type, marital status, gender, or parents’ occupations.

The U.S. Job Search                                                                                                                           15
Tailoring Your Résumé
To write a strong résumé for
each position, follow these

1. Read job descriptions
   with a pen and highlighter.
   Make note of repeated
   competencies and
2. Research the hiring
   organization’s mission
   statement. Who do they
   serve? What is their mission?
   Can you mirror this language
   in your résumé to show
   similar commitments?
3. Translate your experience
   and skills into the language
   of the job ad. It is okay to be                                      ■   Planning and Logistics: planned, coordinated, executed,
   overt about this; you can copy key phrases and terms.                    facilitated

Contact Information                                                     ■   Technical Abilities: coded, programmed, hacked

Your contact information appears first on the résumé. Do not            Your one-line bullet points should ideally articulate for the reader
waste unnecessary space; this should only take up two lines at the      the kind of project you were engaged in, the purpose of the
top of the document.                                                    project, and the impact that resulted from your participation in
                                                                        the project.
Education Section                                                       ■   Project: What was the nature of the work?
For current graduate students, an education section listing earned      ■   Purpose: What did the work aim to achieve?
degrees should occupy the space immediately beneath your                ■   Impact: In quantifiable terms, what did you contribute that
contact information. Postdocs can elect to put education at the
                                                                            made the work successful?
top of the document, or you can lead with your current role.
                                                                        Not every bullet will have all three elements. But, you should think
Experience Sections                                                     of each bullet as an opportunity to describe at least one or two
                                                                        of these elements. You can use quantification to help present
Your experience section(s) typically follow education. Rather
                                                                        a more complete picture of the size, shape, and scope of your
than using headings like “Work Experience,” “Volunteer
                                                                        projects. For instance, you can include the size of budgets, the
Experience,” or “Professional Experience” for this section, use
                                                                        number of classes taught, the amount of grant money raised, or
headings as an opportunity to show the reader your fit for
                                                                        the frequency of meetings.
a particular position. Example headings include: Leadership
and Management Experience, Communications Experience,
                                                                        Skills Section
Consulting Experience, Technical Experience, Analytical
Experience, Research Experience, Writing Experience, Teaching           You can conclude the résumé with a section listing all relevant
and Mentoring Experience, Laboratory Experience, International          technical skills and language capabilities. While it is great to
Work Experience, Curatorial Experience, Museum Experience, and          list information here, you should also show a reader how you
Nonprofit Work Experience.                                              developed or employed particular skills in your experience
Populate the experience sections with your past positions
(including your graduate research and teaching), and use bullet         Tips for Organizing Information
points to describe those experiences. Bullet points should be
written in the first-person singular point of view (but begin with an   ■   Each section should be arranged in reverse chronological order.
action verb, rather than “I”). Use present-tense verbs for current      ■   Within each individual job or experience, place the most
work and past-tense verbs for completed work. Here are some                 important tasks toward the top of the entry.
examples of strong verbs:                                               ■   Read the job description and make note of what qualifications
■   Leadership: managed, led, oversaw, trained, taught, tutored,            and experiences seem most important. If you have experiences
    mentored, drove                                                         similar to those required by the job description, move these
                                                                            higher in each section.
■   Production: produced, developed, created, innovated,
    completed, published                                                ■   The most important information on each line should be as far
                                                                            left as possible. Move dates to the right-hand side of the page.
■   Analysis: analyzed, researched, investigated
                                                                            Typically, dates are less important than the content of each
■   Communication: wrote, edited, presented, communicated,                  experience and skill.
    taught, tutored, mentored

The U.S. Job Search                                                                                                                        16
Cover Letters
In the United States, cover letters give job
applicants space to demonstrate interest in and
knowledge of a hiring organization. Cover letters
also provide specific and compelling reasons why
a candidate is a strong fit for a specific position.
As such, each cover letter is highly tailored.

Cover letters also serve as succinct writing
samples. It can be helpful to think of them
as short argumentative essays. To this end,
well-written cover letters should have a main
claim about your fit to the advertised position
(e.g. “I bring writing and communication skills
that qualify me for the position of Editorial
Assistant . . .”) and should provide the reader
with evidence to support this claim (e.g. “For
example, as an Editorial Intern with the University
of Chicago Press, I copyedited two book-length

Remember that cover letters work in tandem
with your résumé by creating narrative context.
Employers will not necessarily read the cover
letter first and then move onto the résumé. It’s
                                                                          Paragraph 2
likelier that a hiring manager will move back and forth between
your résumé and your cover letter. While many job openings no             ■   Make a claim about competency A (e.g. “I have excellent
longer require cover letters, these letters are still considered a            communication skills . . .”)
best practice for job seekers and (if done well) will never count         ■   Provide one or two examples that serve as evidence for
against you.
                                                                              your claim (e.g. “I have presented my research at multiple
                                                                              conferences . . .”)
Cover Letter Basics
                                                                          Paragraph 3
An effective cover letter should be one page long and contain the
following formal elements:                                                ■   Make a claim about competency B
■   Your contact information (name, address, city, state, zip code,       ■   Provide one or two examples that serve as evidence for your
    phone number, email address)                                              claim
■   The date (month, day, year)                                           Paragraph 4
■   Employer contact information (recipient name and title if             ■   Express gratitude and look to the future (e.g. “Thank you for
    available, company, address, city, state, zip code)
                                                                              your time and consideration. I look forward to discussing my
■   Salutation (“Dear [recipient’s name, if available]” or “Dear Hiring       application in an interview.”)
■   Body of the letter (divided into multiple single-spaced               Cover Letter Tips
    paragraphs)                                                           ■   Do not forget about the employer. Hiring managers want to
■   Closing (“Sincerely”)                                                     see evidence that you have taken time to learn about their
■   Signature (insert your handwritten signature, then type your              organization. Remember to answer the question, “Why do
    name underneath)                                                          you want to work for us?” It is also important to demonstrate
                                                                              that your letter is intended for a specific employer. One way to
Generic Cover Letter Outline                                                  accomplish this is to name the organization in every paragraph.
                                                                          ■   Write less about research. Research skills will be highly valued
Effective cover letters can adopt many different styles. The
                                                                              by employers, but it is not necessary to go into extensive detail
outline below represents one tried-and-true approach.
                                                                              about your dissertation, thesis project, or research interests—
Paragraph 1                                                                   unless the content of the job matches perfectly with your
                                                                              research projects. Take cues from the job description. Ask
■   State which position you are applying for
                                                                              whether the job requires knowledge of methods or areas in
■   Provide specific reasons for your interest in the organization            which you have expertise. If it does not, then consider writing
    (e.g. conversations with current employees or information from            about your research skills more broadly.
    the employer’s website or the media)                                  ■   Do not apologize. Sometimes graduate students and postdocs
■   Make a thesis statement that mentions two distinct                        will include sentences that begin, “Although I do not have the
    competencies (A and B) that make you a fit for the job                    exact experience you’re looking for…” Avoid this construction.
                                                                              Instead, talk about how your experience makes you a good fit
                                                                              for a position, and stay positive.

The U.S. Job Search                                                                                                                           17
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