In general, not being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident adds a level of difficulty to one's job search, but there are employers who are willing to hire foreign nationals. It will depend on the industry and the employer. Practical Training offers students who have studied in the U.S. on F-1 visas the opportunity to work for up to twelve months in a field related to your studies.
In general as a foreign national you cannot work for the U.S. federal government, for most other U.S. state and local government entities, or for private employers who receive government contracts. Avoid companies dependent upon contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense. Your visa status will be less of an absolute barrier with other types of employers.
If you want to work after graduation for only the period of time covered by your Practical Training, look for employers who will not need to invest heavily in your training and/or who normally experience a high degree of turnover. These are primarily smaller organizations.
If you hope to remain in the U.S. for longer than the period of your Practical Training, it is especially important to plan ahead with the campus office of International Students. Understand the basis on which you may stay long term and be prepared to explain them to an employer. For reasons beyond your control, an employer must sponsor you for an H-1 visa, and thus you will impose more paperwork on an employer than will a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Ask yourself what you offer to make an employer willing to take this extra trouble.
Joshua Waddell, MSEd
Director of Career Services