Even if an international student has become a fortunate holder of a grant or a scholarship that wholly or partially covers the costs of studying in the United States, the question of work always remains relevant.
Despite the fact that the F-1 student visa, which is held by the majority of all international students in the United States, provides some opportunities for official employment, it also imposes some restrictions, the non-compliance of which threatens with the deprivation of status.
Work at the university
In general, a student has two opportunities to work legally in the US. The first is the work at the university (at the campus). It is called “on-campus job”. The second – paid internships OPT and CPT.
Work as assistant
Work as an assistant – a type of on-campus job. This work is an assistant to a teacher, professor or department (department, faculty). The assistant has many advantages: it is official and allowed work, the acquisition of experience (especially teaching or experience in working on a scientific project), various benefits and incentives from the university. But getting the cherished place is not so simple: the competition is high not only among international students, but also among Americans. Also, to be accepted as an assistant, you must have an excellent academic performance, as well as demonstrate the need for such work.
The downside is that most of the vacancies of the assistants are available for postgraduate students.
Works as trainee
At each stage of the training, the student can pass a paid internship for OPT or CPT. From the pros: official work for an American company, obtaining practical experience related to the specialty and subject of study in college, higher income compared to work on campus. But there are disadvantages too. First, you will have to look for the employer, and having an internship permit does not mean getting a seat. Secondly, only 12 months of internship are allocated for each level of study. This means that for four years of study in a bachelor’s degree, you can work on CPT or OPT for only one year. The next such opportunity will be presented already in the magistracy (only OPT) and also just for 12 months.
Other working options
Practically for any branch of any university, there are jobs. And the higher the institution, the more developed its structure and the more vacancies it can offer. But there will be more competition among applicants there.
So, who else can you work within the walls of your Alma Mater as a student? For example, it could be a library, a cafeteria, a gym, a parking lot, a bookstore and so on. Jobs can be found in various departments, offices, centers and laboratories: Student Life Office, International Student Office, University Information Center, Financial Aid Office, Computer Lab and so on.
How to get a job on campus?
To get any position at the college, including the assistant, start the search beforehand.
Filling a resume is must have to find any work. It should be brief, but informative. It is better if it is not more than one page in length. It should specify all information about education and work experience if any. It will also be useful to demonstrate other skills (for example, working with a computer), social activity and leadership qualities (for example, membership in a community), experience in volunteering, achievements (sports, academic), and so on.
Then you should contact the Career Center and the International Student Office and find out if there are open jobs. Leave there your resume and fill out all the proposed documents (application form). Even if there are no vacancies at the time of application, the student can add to the waiting list or the job queue.
Do not wait for a response from the Employment Center. It is better to take the initiative and apply directly to any office, ask if there is no free space, whether an employee is required, whether new positions are proposed for which employees will be recruited. And be sure to leave your resume.
Note: work for students on campus means employment no more than 20 hours a week during the training period and up to 40 hours during the holidays. The average salary (excluding OPT and CPT) is 7-15 dollars per hour. In assistant posts, sometimes more. For all these types of work, a work permit is not required.
This definition falls into everything that was not described above. Any work outside the college walls (except for OPT and CPT) requires a work permit, the existence of an SSN (Social Security Number) and is illegal if there is no permit. Large employers will not accept a foreign employee without the necessary documents, so in most cases, everything that an international student can count on is an unskilled labor of an unskilled worker with hourly pay for cash. That is a cleaner, a loader, a dishwasher in a restaurant, a car washer, a gas station worker and so on. A trendy job is a nanny and a dog-walking service.
Note: most likely, even for such work, you will need SSN (Social Security Number). If the student already had experience working on the campus or probation period for OPT and CPT, SSN already has it, since the employer issues this document.
How to find illegal work?
You can use the Internet resources that specialize in the vacancies of handymen in different fields. For example, this one. This is the site of ads from around the world on a variety of topics: from relationships and finding a partner to selling children’s things. Here you can view vacancy announcements and post information about yourself (resume, questionnaire) and the services provided. Also, newspapers will help in the search – suitable ads can be published there.
Another way to search is recruiting agencies. Some companies specialize in recruiting personnel for this type of work.
As with the search for work on the campus, you can contact the potential employer directly: go to restaurants, refuel stations and other places where theoretically workers may be required.
Other variants of earnings
Sell books. In the US, it is widespread to sell textbooks that are no longer used. You can sell them to a bookstore at a university for half the price, in bookstore stores (or used books) or even on eBay. In the case of eBay, you can not limit yourself to books, because you can sell and buy anything here.
Translation. An international student studying in the United States probably knows English at a high enough level to provide translation services. You can do this remotely, through the sites-exchanges of services and specialists. You can also track through social networks ads for finding an interpreter for translation or assistance in anything. For example, to go to a doctor, to conduct negotiations, to participate in the exhibition and so on.
To play on the stock exchange. Perhaps, this option is more suitable for those who understand the securities market and analysts. Nevertheless, this kind of earnings is also possible. Also, the F-1 visa does not impose restrictions on this type of activity. There are broker companies with which even a foreigner can conclude a contract for brokerage.