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Desi OPT Alumni Job Search Experience

Published: 01/18/2014

    I had been in the same shoes are you were few years ago. I graduated from Chemical engineering from Bangalore University. I saw the trend was to start reading GRE and Toefl and plan to go to USA. Well since the job market in India was not that great, so thought why not follow the trend. Landed in US and joined master’s program in Computer Science. With 9/11 and bad economy, there were no chances of funding or even getting on-campus jobs. Somehow my luck favored and I got my first on campus job in few months. Then got my Assistantship, then my Internship and was ready to graduate.

Job market was still worse. More then job market I didn’t have a mentor to guide me through the job search process. My friends were in the same boat as I was. Some were looking for Internships; some were going to Indian consultants, few landed with big corporations and got jobs.

One this which I noted was that when economy was good, it was easy to get OPT CPT H1B jobs. People with no or some experience can get a job. The reason being, companies have more money to try new people. But when economy is bad things gets tougher. There are few jobs and chances of taking risk are minimal. Companies are looking for very specific skill sets, so that results can be produced in small time frame. This makes the process even more tedious.

Well, during the crunch time I could find a mentor who gave me valuable advice on job search. Having someone guide you though the process makes it bit easier and makes you more confident. Ok so let me share you few thoughts.

What do you think is the most important part in job interview process? It’s getting an interview or say face to face interview with hiring manager. One more important thing is that the likelihood is more when hiring manager has urgency.

How to get that OPT job interview? There are many ways to get an interview, the most important being networking. I would suggest contacting your Career development center and your Alumni’s, Email them, let them know about yourselves, mention about your interest and ask them to notify you if they or someone they know are looking to fill a position. You must contact your Career Development Center. They will have tons of information. You should be persistent and visit them more often. They usually have employers contact them with new OPT CPT job openings.

Other great source is your friends. Have a network of like minded people who are looking for jobs. Let them know that you are looking for job. This way they can refer you to the recruiter whom they are working with. Offer to send them a copy of your resume.

Family is also a great source. Call your family members and let them know about your situation. Let them know to pass your information to anyone who they know would be hiring.

You can also contact your Professors, as they will be having contacts with industry research group. They can advise you and also give you valuable reference.

Other sources could be your previous employers. Make a list of all the on-campus jobs you have done so far. Meet them and let them know about your availability. Ask them if they know of anyone is other sectors. They could be a great reference.

Apart from all this we have a very strong channel which is consulting firms. When none of the channels works, this channel is proven to work. This system had been there for few years and certainly works.

What I did was, early on I started networking with my friends and asking them about consulting companies, there expertise and experience. Based on there feedback, I started thinking about the area I would like to enter the Job market. Once I was approaching towards my graduation, I started calling these employers and meeting them personally.

I would suggest you start talking to friends, search online for established employers. Make a list of packages they are offering.

· Post your resume in small sites or region specific site so you understand out from rest of the crowd · Non IT employers (chemical, mechinal) are less in number, less opportunities – unless I am exceptional I can’t think of making a comfortable career so I found two hottest skills that are currently in the market and started getting training – Once I was comfortable with those skills – I started becoming comfortable to change my career – Now I feel I did the right thing by making the move to IT

Once you shortlist the employers, meet them personally to find more details. Check when batches are starting, training dates and other terms and conditions.. Try to find students who have joined them and there opinion. Once everything looks good you can go through the employer.

The author of this article is an Alumni, who been through OPT/CPT/H1B job search process

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