Mr. Bartoskewitz mentioned that after attending a local career fair, you felt that international students were being handicapped by the potential red tape employers had to handle to hire you. That is certainly true in some instances, but often it is only because they are unfamiliar with it, or had problems with it in the past.
No doubt. If you want to work in this country it won’t be as easy as if you were born here. However, I know quite a few international students who overcame this and got really nice jobs. Some stayed here, and some ended up working for their US company back home as their representative.
All of this may not apply to you, but you might consider something along these lines:
1) You have to make a case for yourself. Don’t just go up to the recruiter and say “Here I am”, like your peers. Go well dressed with a full resume, stating everything you ever did that makes you stand out above your peers. Put your photo on your resume so they will remember who you were when they talked with you.
2) Admit your disadvantages, both to them and to yourself, but try and slant them to your advantage. Something like “I was born in Iran and graduated from college 2nd out of a total of 543 engineers from wherever. I took advanced classes in the following subjects and did these other nifty things. I came to the United States to attend what is considered in Iran as the top engineering school to learn water resources. And hope to someday return to contribute those talents to my hometown and country.
3) I am hoping to work in the U.S. for about 10 years to complement my technical education and fully develop my engineering skills. I hope also to develop strong bonds with the engineering community here, then return home, hopefully still under the guidance and/or partnership of my US employer. I feel that such cooperative efforts would be highly advantageous to all concerned.
4) I have good business skills, speak fluent Farsi, Greek, Spanish, whatever and have good knowledge of the business practices and mores of the region, along with good contacts with the engineering and business community there. I feel that the technical skills I have gained at A&M, along with engineering practical experience here could open major business opportunities.
5) I am currently in the country under a H1B Visa which permits me to work here for 2 years to gain practical engineering experience, with no paperwork required of the hiring company. After that time a single form is required simply stating that I am indeed employed and contributing to the company. Copies of these forms can be found at http://www.path2usa.com/h1b-visa-petition-requirements (I have no idea of any of this, but I remember some other student told me something along these lines. You do the legwork to show them how little is involved.)
6) I would also say that the recruiters attending a jobs fair don’t have the same ability to see past small hurdles, as do those back at the home office. Thus, I would suggest that you look over the jobs emailed to you and posted on the jobs listserv, and send them your resume. I think those people will be far more open to hiring an international student and will often pass your resume on up the line if they aren’t sure what to do with it. If you don’t have the jobs listserv address, email me back and I will forward it to you.
7) I am also told that there are F and J visas which require different things, some of which let you work for 27 months before any paperwork is required? I have no idea. But spell it out carefully so they perceive no risk on their part, or at least as little as is the case, and hopefully no cost added in hiring you. One student told me that on one of these visas there would be a thousand or two dollars legal work involved and that he would happily save it up from his salary so there would be no expense to the company. If so, let them know.
If I can help you in any way, please let me know.