WES Advisor Blog

Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

Preparing for Your Career After Graduation

Friday | May 12, 2023 | by WES Advisor

An African American graduate smiles big and is looking away from the camera.

The end of your college or university education is a good time to start planning your next steps. Graduating from college or university is an exciting achievement. However, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed when you begin preparing for your career after graduation.

With the right preparation and resources, international students can increase their chances of navigating the job market successfully. Here is a guide to help organize your job search and for beginning your career after you graduate from college or university.  

Start the process early 

It is always best to prepare well in advance. Finding the right opportunity can take time. A few ways to start the job search process:

  • Research the job market. Begin your job search by learning about potential employers in your field. Visit popular career sites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor to learn about available positions. You can even set up job alerts and receive notifications when a job that fits your experience and skills becomes available. Your research will help inform your understanding of employers’ requirements and the skills they are looking for.
  • Draft your résumé. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to prepare your résumé. The research you have done will provide you with a solid understanding of the skills and experience you need to highlight. Make sure to include applicable skills and experience beyond your completed coursework. Consider mentioning experience you have gained through internships, part-time jobs, or extracurricular activities. 
  • Explore internships. These short-term roles are ideal for students who are ready to acquire practical, hands-on experience in their field. You may wish to explore an internship, as it could lead to long-term job opportunities. Read our blog post for advice on how to secure an internship.
  • Network and meet others. Networking can help you establish relationships that could lead to job opportunities. Attend career fairs, networking events, and workshops offered by the career services office on your campus. Connecting with professionals in your field can help you learn more about the career you are pursuing. They can provide valuable insights and share their personal experiences.

Visit the career services office on campus 

Many schools have a career services office. If yours does, make an appointment with one of its advisors to discuss your goals and strategies for reaching them. The advisor will be able to:

  • Provide feedback on your résumé and cover letters 
  • Help you practice interviewing skills 
  • Share job search tips and strategies 
  • Tell you about relevant job search events or workshops 

Prepare for interviews 

It is never too early to prepare for job interviews. As mentioned above, your campus career services office is a great place to start. You can also practice with friends and classmates who may be preparing for the job search too! Ask each other some common interview questions, such as: 

  • Tell me about yourself. 
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? 
  • Why are you interested in working in this field? 
  • Why should we hire you? 

Additionally, when you do secure an interview, it is important to carefully review the job description and research the company. That will help you prepare for questions that are specific to the role and the company.  

Understand your visa options 

International students should understand their visa options after graduation. In the U.S., international students typically have 60 days after completing their education to enroll in another academic program or an Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. International students in Canada have the option of obtaining a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

For current visa rules and regulations, please refer to the official government websites for the U.S. and Canada. 

Stay determined 

Beginning your career after graduation can be a long process. However, it is also one of the most important steps you will take in your adult life. Allow yourself plenty of time, and make use of all the resources that are available to you.  

Related resources 

WES Career Pathways Tool
How to Reduce Stress During a Job Search 

WES Advisor is an initiative of World Education Services, a non-profit organization with over 45 years of experience in international education. We provide advice and resources for international students and skilled immigrants to help them make informed decisions about education, employment, immigration, and integration opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.