Career Services for International Students

The Career Center helps undergraduate students develop professional abilities and to explore, engage and pursue internships and jobs. Here are answers to some questions frequently asked by international students.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Center:
What services does the Center provide?

The Center provides a full range of professional development activities, job search preparation workshops, career fairs, one-on-one sessions with coaches, networking workshops, industry specific trips and much more. First steps may include:

Visit the Center’s home page to learn more.

Where is the Career Center located?

The Center offers services at two locations:

Main Office 
Student Life Center, 2nd floor [MAP]
Open daily, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Walk-in hours: Every Monday through Thursday from 2:00-4:00

Satellite Office 
The Commons Center, #217 [MAP]
Walk-in hours: Wednesday & Thursday: 2 – 5 p.m., Friday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Jobs and Internships:
Do employers that come to campus recruit international students?

Some do, but there is not a list of these employers because many hire on an as-needed-basis. A company may hire someone this year, but not next year.

How can I understand the requirements for working in the U.S.?

For specific questions and answers related to when you are eligible to start working, please contact the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). It is recommended that you focus on your academic success first before beginning a job search to allow yourself time to get acclimated to campus life, as this is a major transition (new level of student, new educational system, new country, sometimes new language, etc.).

› ISSS: Employment Information for F-1 Students 
› ISSS: Employment Information for J-1 Students

ISSS offers daily walk-in hours, one-on-one advising, and workshops where you can get more information: › ISSS: Advising Hours & Appointments .

Can I work on campus? How do I find jobs on campus?

For specific questions and answers related to employment eligibility, please contact the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). Most part-time on-campus jobs are posted in the Student Employment job bank, HireADore.

› ISSS: Finding a Job

How can I find a job or internship with a company that hires international students?

The Center provides several online databases that may be helpful in locating jobs or internships:

Are employers required to interview international students?*

Employers are not required to interview an international student who has an F-1 or J-1 visa, even if the student is otherwise qualified for the job. Some employers may have set policies stating that they will not sponsor, and therefore will not interview, F-1 and J-1 students, even though those students may have Optional Practical Training (for F-1s) or academic training (for J-1s) allowing them to work temporarily after graduation. This type of policy is lawful, and an employer can freely state that it will not interview or sponsor students in F-1 or J-1 status.

Can employers limit their interviewing/hiring to U.S. citizens?*

Although employers can refuse to interview or hire international students who do not already have some form of permanent work authorization, most cannot stipulate that U.S. citizenship is a job requirement. (Note that “work authorization” and “citizenship” are different things. A person can be authorized to work in the United States without holding citizenship.)

As a general rule, an employer cannot legally limit job offers to “U.S. citizens only.” An employer may require U.S. citizenship for a particular job only if U.S. citizenship is required to comply with a law, regulation, or executive order; is required by a federal, state, or local government contract; or the U.S. Attorney General determines that the citizenship requirement is essential for the employer to do business with an agency or department of the federal, state, or local government.

These exceptions are extremely limited in scope. An employer cannot simply impose a “citizens only” policy unless the job fits into one of the categories listed above. Even in those limited cases where “citizens only” may be allowed, the citizenship requirement must be related to a specific job that has been identified in the government contract, by law, or by the U.S. Attorney General. For example, an employer that is a U.S. Department of Defense contractor cannot require U.S. citizenship for all of its jobs relating to the contract if the contract identifies only certain jobs as requiring U.S. citizenship.

Accordingly, employers should not ask a job applicant about his or her citizenship during a job interview, unless the employer is confident that the job falls into one of the lawful bases for requiring U.S.-citizen applicants only. The employer, however, can ask if the candidate is authorized to work in the United States, and on what basis.

*Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers. Current as of October 2014.

Networking & Creating Connections:
How important is networking in my job and internship search?

Many students and graduates establish and maintain effective networks to get jobs and internships. Resources for creating and maintaining a professional network of contacts include:

  • LinkedIn – Search for alumni who work for companies you want to work for and join affinity groups that may expand your network. To locate alumni living in your country through  LinkedIn, go to the Connections tab, select Find Alumni, type Vanderbilt University in the search box, click on the magnifying glass and type in your country in the Where They Live section.
  • VUconnect – Research Vanderbilt alumni on VUconnect to determine if any live in your home country. If so, reach out to them and let them know you are attending Vanderbilt.
  • Anchor Link – Join Vanderbilt student organizations, especially those that align with your professional interests.
  • Faculty and staff – Seek out faculty and staff in the classes you are taking and ask for advice and information.
  • REDBUS2US – Catch up on the latest information about studying/working abroad. 

Aside from these online resources, a few other ways to network as part of your internship or job search that are available to you include:

  • Connections with former international students with jobs in the U.S.
  • Home country consulate
  • Those in your home country who have connections to U.S. companies
  • U.S. companies that export to your country
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