Graduate school is about fine-tuning your skills to take your career to the next level.  Our team works with students to identify career options, prepare for their internships and employment upon graduation, and build professional networks through workshops, panels and other development opportunities. The resources below are compiled to help students towards a successful internship and job search.

Job/Internship Exploration and Search

Tips and resources to help you towards a successful internship and job search.

Career Exploration and Planning Tools

Imagine PhD
A career exploration and planning tool for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

ONET Online
A tool for career exploration and job analysis.

Vault
Access in-depth information on what it’s like to work in an industry, company or profession and gain insight on how to position yourself to land a job or internship. To access Vault, log-in into your Handshake account, click on ‘Career Center’ and go to ‘Resources.’

UCLA Library Research Guides
Public Policy
Social Welfare
Urban Planning

Job Search Tools

Career View
Luskin Career Services maintains a free searchable online employment database for its graduate students and alumni. CareerView features full-time career positions, part-time positions, internships, and applied policy or planning research projects that are referred to us by alumni, faculty, staff, and employers. Access CareerView by registering for a new account.

Handshake
Handshake is a campus-wide platform that connects Bruins with internships, jobs and career opportunities. Use Handshake to find workshops, events, other career development programs hosted by the UCLA Career Center and to schedule counseling appointments with Career Center advisors.

Company Directories
The University of California system and UCLA has licensing to access a variety of business databases to help students research companies for academic use. The following are ones that may be useful for students to learn more about specific organizations.

AtoZ databases: Target Company Lists
Creates custom lists from more than 30 million US business profiles filtered by geography, industry, public/private ownership, employee size, annual revenue, and more. The database also includes more than 2.3 million job listings, 1.1 million healthcare professionals, 2 million new businesses, and much more. Users must be connected to UCLA VPN in order to access the database for free.

Uniworld Online
Information on multinational firms operating around the world. The database may be searched by country, state, keyword, zipcode or postal code, industry code, revenue, and the number of employees. Users must be connected to UCLA VPN in order to access the database for free.

Glassdoor
Get reviews of companies and their management from current and former employees.

GoinGlobal
Resource for job/internship search throughout the US and abroad. Obtain expert advice on CV, resume, work permit & visa requirements for work abroad. Identify companies who have submitted H1B visa applications. Log-in Handshake, click on ‘Career Center’ and select ‘Resources’ to access UCLA subscription.

UCLA GRAPES
Database to help students find funding to support unpaid internships and internship fellowships. Most deadlines are between August and March. Prospective applicants should plan ahead.

General & Field-specific resources

The following sites have been recommended by UCLA Luskin students as being useful in their job searches:

APA American Planning Association

CA Non-Profit Careers Non-profit jobs in California

CalCareers Jobs in California

Career Builder Job search site

Commongood Careers Non-profit executive jobs

Council on Foundations Foundation jobs

DevEx International development

Dot Org Jobs Non‐profit jobs: Fundraising, project management, etc.

EcoEmploy Environmental jobs and careers

Eco.org Environmental jobs

Ecojobs Environmental jobs

Geography Jobs GIS, urban Planning, transportation, environment, housing, remote sensing

Grantmakers without Borders Job opportunities in social change

GreenBiz Sustainability jobs

Green Jobs Renewable energy jobs

ICMA State and local government jobs

Idealist Non‐profit job listings (www.idealist.org)

Indeed Job search site

InterAction International job listings

Jobs LA Aggregate job search site hosted by the Workforce Investment Board of Los Angeles

LinkedInJobs LinkedIn professional job search site

LA Non‐Profit Careers Non-profit jobs in Los Angeles

NCSL Jobs National Conference of State Legislature

Non-Profit Career Network Non‐profit job resource center

Non-Profit Jobs Cooperative   Non‐profit jobs

Opportunity Knocks Non-profit jobs

Philanthropy News Digest Job openings at U.S. foundations, grant-making public charities and non-profits

Planetizan Urban planning, design and development

PolicyJobs.net (The Department of Public Policy maintains an account for Luskin School of Public Affairs students; Username and password are both UCLASPA)

Public Service Careers Co-sponsored by ASPA, APPAM and NASPAA; public sector job listings nationwide

Riley Guide Jobs in public service and administration

SocialServices.com Social work, counseling, psychology, mental health, case management

Social Work Job Bank Professional social work jobs

Sustainable Business Green business jobs

Urban Land Institute Real estate, affordable housing, land development

USA Jobs Federal government’s official job site


Regional Job Listings

Bay Area Careers Jobs in the Bay Area

DC Jobs Jobs in the Washington, D.C. area


Internships and jobs in Local Government

Southern California Association of Governments

San Diego Association of Governments

Association of Bay Area Governments

Sacramento Area Council of Governments


Southern California Counties

Los Angeles

Orange

Riverside

San Bernardino

Ventura

Other California Counties from the CA State Association of Counties

Counties in other States from the National Association of Counties


Local City Governments

Los Angeles

Long Beach

Beverly Hills

Culver City

Inglewood

Santa Monica

West Hollywood

Other California Cities from the CA League of Cities

Other US Cities from the National League of Cities (NLC)

Salary Negotiation

Before you start negotiating your salary, understand your base requirements, which can be calculated using the following:

1. Your living wage – the minimum income requirements you need in order to cover basic requirements such as rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, and car/transportation.

2. Your current worth – research pay scales for individuals at your current skill and qualification level, position, industry, location, and business climate.

3. Top of the scale – for your position, industry, location, and business climate.

Below are some resources to help you determine your base. Once you have determined your worth based on the job market and your salary requirements, decide on an amount that you want and what you’ll accept before starting negotiations. See the UCLA Career Guide: Negotiating a Compensation Package for the monthly worksheet and more detailed tips for negotiating salaries.

Recommended article: Salary Negotiation Skills and Strategies for Navigating The Tough Terrain

Key Points

  • Always negotiate but know your audience
  • Do your research
  • Know what you need and what you’re worth

Salary Research and Pay Scale Calculators

PayScale
Information based on salary surveys, salary and compensation information and analysis. Includes evaluations for job offers or raises, and salary in your current position.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook
Statistics on targeted position or potential career path, including educational requirements, national salary levels, working environment, and more.

Salary.com
Compare what positions are paying in your choice of industry and location based on years of experience and education.

SalaryExpert.com
A leading provider of online compensation data, including salary comparison, serving both individual employees and HR/Compensation professionals.

UCLA Salary Calculator and Resources
Enables students and alumni to estimate anticipated salary levels for several occupations, factoring in career titles, geographical location, education, and more.

Professional Associations and Journals

CareerOneStop Professional Association Finder
Locate national professional associations by occupation or industry served.

Directory of Associations
Search for over 36,000 associations worldwide

Company Research

AtoZ databases: Target Company Lists
Creates custom lists from more than 30 million US business profiles filtered by geography, industry, public/private ownership, employee size, annual revenue, and more. The database also includes more than 2.3 million job listings, 1.1 million healthcare professionals, 2 million new businesses, and much more. Users must be connected to UCLA VPN in order to access the database for free.

Uniworld Online
Information on multinational firms operating around the world. The database may be searched by country, state, keyword, zipcode or postal code, industry code, revenue, and the number of employees. Users must be connected to UCLA VPN in order to access the database for free.

Vault
Access in-depth information on what it’s like to work in an industry, company or profession and gain insight on how to position yourself to land a job or internship. To access Vault, log-in into your Handshake account, click on ‘Career Services’ and go to ‘Resources.’

Networking

Tips and resources for developing your networking/informational interviewing skills and elevator pitch.

Networking Basics

Networking is one of the most important skills that job seekers need to master to be truly effective in their job  searches.  It has been reported that upwards of 60% of all jobs are secured through networking.  A well-developed career network can provide support, information and job leads.  There are a number ways to develop a career network – joining professional associations, attending industry-specific social events and conferences, setting up informational interviews, or even just meeting colleagues for lunch. Getting involved with your alumni association, participating in volunteer opportunities and actively utilizing LinkedIn are additional ways to expand your circle.

On-campus networks: Get involved to meet people with similar interests, different backgrounds, inspiring life paths and networks of their own. Consider joining student organizations, get to know your faculty advisor, and attend lectures and talks within your department, Luskin, and across campus.

Mentoring programs: Consider applying to the Senior Fellows program.

Professional associations: Become a member of professional associations for your field and concentration, consider attending conferences and local meetings.

Informational Interviewing

An informational interview is a type of networking you conduct with an individual in a job or profession to gain a better understanding of the your field of interest. What you can gain from informational interviewing:

  • Learn how to best approach a job application
  • Learn how best to present yourself to a particular job or profession
  • Make professional connections and tap into the large hidden job market
  • Gather “inside information” to use when honing your resume and cover letter
  • Build your confidence in your ability to discuss your interests and how they match with a potential employer’s needs

Types of questions to ask:

  • What attracted you to the field?
  • Describe a typical day on the job.
  • What do you enjoy most/least about the work you do?
  • What personal and professional characteristics do you feel are important to this position or industry?
  • What trends and opportunities are developing?
  • What would be the best types of stepping stone positions I could take in order to gain the experience I need to do this job well?
  • What type of courses or education would you recommend?
  • What professional associations have you found useful?
  • What advice would you give to someone entering the field?

After the informational interview, write a thank you letter and contact anyone you were referred to for more information.

Elevator Pitch

When attending networking functions, it is helpful to have your “elevator pitch” or “sound byte” prepared. This is a 20‐30 second statement that succinctly summarizes who you are, what you do (and what the value is),  what makes you unique, and your immediate goals.


Developing the Pitch

Imagine that you are standing in the elevator with a potential employer or business contact and you have 20 seconds to make an impression.   What would you like them to take away from the interaction?

Consider the following while preparing your pitch:

  1. What are your key strengths and positive qualities?
  2. What do you have to offer?
  3. Why are you interested in this company or this industry?
  4. How do you work to meet the types of problems/challenges facing this industry or position?
  5. What unique contributions will you make?

Example: My name is Sarah.  I’m a community builder and housing developer with GIS training.  I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree in urban planning at UCLA.  I’m bilingual and my experience includes designing multi-purpose residential units in small communities. Not only do I hire local talent, I recruit community leaders as volunteer project co-managers so I have the input of the neighborhood.


Continuing the Conversation

After the initial introduction, it is helpful to ask questions to keep the conversation flowing. Here are some questions that you can ask if your conversation comes to a lull:

  1. Tell me about what you What has your experience been like working there?
  2. What advice do you have for someone [that is getting ready to graduate from a master’s program; that is looking to transition into “x” field, etc.?]
  3. Would you mind telling me about the professional atmosphere at “x” company?
  4. How did you get involved in “x?” or What made you decide to do “y?”
  5. What do you like most about what you do?
  6. What do you see as the current trends in your field?
  7. What would make someone the ideal employee for your company/industry?
  8. Why did you choose this profession?
  9. What projects are you working on?
  10. What can you tell me about “x” firm?

Job/Internship Application Preparation

Tips and resources for preparing your resume, cv and cover letter.

Resume

Resume Content and Formatting Tips

A resume is a forward-thinking advertisement – it is marketing your successes and value to your target audience/department and not just describing tasks that you performed on a daily basis. It is NOT a laundry list of past responsibilities; it is promoting your transferable.

Content, Action, Result (C-A‐R)
Write accomplishment statements focusing on achievements, rather than just describing the situation. Focus on:

  • New processes or programs you implemented or initiated
  • Goals you accomplished
  • Problems you solved

Prove that you added value by showing results whenever possible. Demonstrate that you are contribution-focused.

Start bullets with action verbs as opposed to more generic phrases such as “responsible for,” “worked with,” “assisted,” etc. (See Action Verbs list on the following page)

Prioritize bullets based on their relevance to targeted company/position (most important at top). Strategize: What are the five to seven key skills you are marketing that are relevant to your audience? Determine whether each bullet is clearly selling one of these

Update your resume regularly – make sure it is current. Include new events, awards, projects, responsibilities.

Bullet points are most effective when limited to only one to two lines of

Be concise and avoid redundancies. Consolidate related bullet points when possible. Every word counts. Are you expressing your point as concisely as possible?

Formatting: Keep it simple and clean. Style is important, but do not overuse italics, underlines or bold font. Avoid decorative bullets and

Watch for consistency throughout each section of the resume both in terms of format and content. For example, if the months are spelled out, then make sure all of the dates listed follow this same format.

For additional sample templates and action verbs, see the UCLA Graduate Student Career Guide.




Curricula Vitae

A CV is primarily used when applying for academic and research positions. It may also be used as part of the fellowship and grant application package. A CV should include your academic background, teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, affiliations, among others.

Header & Footer

  • Include your name, address, phone number, and email address. If you plan to move while the CV is in use, include your current address and permanent address.
  • Number each page and include your name

Education

  • Include your PhD, institution, date expected, major or area of specialization
  • MA or MS, institution, date of degree, major and minor
  • BA or BS, institution, date of degree, major and minor

Dissertation

  • State the title and your dissertation chair
  • Include a four- or five-sentence abstract or summary addressing both the content and methodology

Research and Teaching Interests

  • Briefly describe your research and teaching interests, areas of specialization including areas outside your field

Honors and awards

  • Special distinctions associated with passing the MA and PhD exams
  • Fellowships, scholarship, grants-in-aid, etc.
  • Honorary awards received including those received at the bachelor’s level (avoid irrelevant non-academic awards)

Teaching experience

  • Position and institution
  • Descriptive titles of courses taught
  • Extent of experience (number of sections and quarters, semesters or years)

Research experience

  • Position, location, dates
  • Brief description of work conducted as it relates to the desired position

Publications

  • List all publications you are willing to show to a search committee; include URLs to papers accessible online
  • Include work in progress or submitted but not yet accepted

Other possible headings

  • Conference papers/research reports
  • Academic service (committee work)
  • Professional memberships (attendance at conferences/meetings can be noted)
  • Language skills – describe skill level (“reading knowledge,” or “fluent speaking ability”)
  • Additional work experience including research, consultation, and other experiences relevant to the type of position
  • Miscellaneous categories when relevant to teaching/research

For additional information and CV sample, see the UCLA Graduate Student Career Guide. See section for PhD students for additional resources.

Cover Letter

Well‐written cover letters/emails are an extremely important part of the job search process. They are your opportunity to grab the employer’s attention, highlight relevant skills, experience and education, and illustrate what you know about the employer and the position.  Cover letters also provide an opportunity  for you to showcase your excellent writing and communication skills.

Before you start writing, consider the following:

  1. Know your Understand the value that you bring to the organization.
  2. What relevant skills, experience and education do you want to highlight for this particular position and organization?
  3. Know your Who will be reading this letter? What skills will they be looking for?
  4. Research the company. Show familiarity/understanding of the department and why your background would be of value to the role that you’re targeting.

Focus on the following:

  1. Customize/personalize your letters. Tailor EVERY cover letter you write to the organization and specific position. Always address the letter to an individual, not “to whom it may concern” unless you are unable to find this information. Use “Dear Hiring Manager” when the name is not available.
  2. Be positive and contribution-focused. Focus on what you have to offer.
  3. Be concise – in most cases, cover letters should be no longer than one page.
  4. Proofread! Mistakes or typographical errors convey a lack of attention to detail.
  5. Use action verbs when possible.
  6. Clearly express why you are a strong fit for the position and how you will contribute to the organization.


Interview Preparation

Tips and resources to help you prepare for your job and internship interviews.

Before the Interview

  • Prepare for your interview by getting your career goals in focus, identify your main strengths related to the job, and gather specific accomplishments to back up your skills.
  • Research the organization and review in advance the most common interview questions and behavioral interviewing techniques.
  • Find out the dress code in advance and dress appropriately.  Here are some guidelines.
  • Practice by yourself, a career counselor, or with a friend.
  • Use InterviewStream to practice interviewing anytime from a computer or mobile device and access over 7,000 general and industry-specific interview questions. Log-in to Handshake, select Career Center from the toolbar, then Resources.
  • For additional tips on successful interviewing, see the UCLA Career Guide and 10 Types of Interviews (and How to Ace Them).

During the Interview

  • First impressions count so be on time or a little bit early to allow yourself time to relax and feel comfortable.
  • Begin on a positive note.  Listen for open-ended questions and respond with your main strengths and skills plus examples to back them up.  For example:
    • “I think the most important thing I can offer you is…(main strength).”
    • “One example of this is…(specific proof).”
  • Send the right body language by relaxing and being yourself.  Sit erect, use gestures if they come naturally, and maintain good eye contact.
  • Speak clearly and concisely.  Keep your responses specific.  Ask for clarification if needed.
  • Let the interviewer set the tempo but be prepared to take the initiative if you’re not getting the opportunity to make your points.
  • Ask relevant questions to increase your understanding of the job.
  • Ask about their timetable.
  • Close positively, end the interview as you started it by emphasizing your main strength.

After the Interview

  • Write a thank you letter or email to all you interviewed with.  Add any pertinent information you might have left out of the interview and reiterate your interest in the job.  See a sample thank you note.
  • Keep an organized log of names and contact information along with interview dates.
  • Take any additional steps suggested by the interviewer, (completing an application, talking to others, sending a transcript or portfolio).

Virtual Interviews

In addition to the in-person interview, it is common for organizations to conduct a phone or video interview as a first-round screening to determine if you’re a fit to come in for a full interview. You prepare for it just as you would for an in-person interview with some key adjustments to accommodate technology.

  • Rehearse. Ask a friend or colleague to do a mock interview with you so you can feel comfortable responding as you would in an in-person interview.
  • Prepare in advance. Be ready at least 5 minutes prior to the time the employer is scheduled to call you. Relax and review your materials as you wait for the call. Have water nearby in case you need
  • Prevent interruptions. Silence phones and find a quiet place to conduct the interview. If you share a living space, post a “Do Not Disturb” sign. Test your Skype/video platform, headset, and internet connection beforehand.
  • Use your notes. This is one main benefit to phone or video interview.
  • “Dress” for an interview. Putting on smart, interview-style clothes before your scheduled telephone or video interview can help you to focus and get into a professional mindset.
  • Smile. If you make yourself smile during the conversation, you physically become more relaxed and, as a consequence, your voice will sound more confident, friendly and assertive. You will come across much better when speaking.
  • Lighting and surroundings. Pay attention to lighting and glare when you are doing a video interview. You do not want the interviewer to be distracted from your responses.

For additional tips on successful interviewing, see the UCLA Career Guide and 10 Types of Interviews (and How to Ace Them).

Sample Interview Questions

Questions That Your Resume and/or Cover Letter Should Answer

  • Why do you think you’ll be a good fit for this company? What are your qualifications for this position?
  • What personal and professional qualifications do you possess that have allowed you to be successful in your field?
  • What specific strengths did you bring to the table?
  • What has been your most important work-‐‐related contribution? What were your most significant accomplishments in your last job?
  • What is the most important thing you’ve learned from your previous experience that will enable you to be successful in your next position?
  • What personality traits do you possess that you think are necessary to succeed in this field?
  • What is the most significant improvement in (your field or area of expertise) that you have achieved in the last year?
  • What can you do for us if we hire you?

Questions for Recent Graduates

  • What made you choose this field?
  • Why did you attend this particular school?
  • How does your degree prepare you for a career in this industry?
  • What natural skills do you possess that made this the ideal academic and career choice? How will your education help you to excel at a job here?
  • What qualifications do you have, beyond your academic achievements that will enable you to excel or succeed within our company?
  • Do you think your grades are a good indicator of your ability to succeed here?
  • What other types of positions and companies are you considering right now?

Questions for Assessment

  • What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives and how are you preparing yourself to meet them?
  • What rewards are the most important to you in your chosen occupation?
  • What expectations do you have in terms of earnings in five years?
  • What do you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would you describe yourself?

Questions for Fit

  • What qualifications do you have that make you think you will be successful in this field?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in our organization?
  • In what ways can you contribute to our organization?
  • Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and employee.
  • What factors are most important to you in your job?

Knowledge of Employer Questions

  • Why are you interested in working for us?
  • What do you know about our organization?
  • Do you prefer a small, medium, or large organization?
  • What criteria are you using to evaluate the organization for which you want to work?
  • Do you have a geographical preference?  Why?

Behavioral Questions within Themes

Champion the Mission

  • Understands the Mission: What makes you optimistic that our organization will continue to Thrive?
  • Motivated to work for our mission: Outside the role you’re interviewing for, why are you interested in being at this organization?
  • Participates in a community of culture: Tell me about a time that you’ve felt the most motivated or successful. Why?
  • Prioritizes a mission over self-interest: What is something you’ve worked hard towards in the past for no other reason than you were passionate about it?
  • Cares for others: What’s the most compassionate thing you have done for someone else in the last 6 months?
  • Encourages participation: Tell me of a time you championed someone else’s work?
  • Listens and communicates: Tell me about a time you disagreed with someone. How did you resolve it?

Entrepreneur

  • Bold: Tell me about a time you’ve done something you consider risky in either your personal or work life?
  • Imagines the ideal outcome: What’s one big problem in the world that you are passionate about solving? How?
  • Resourceful: If you woke up tomorrow and didn’t have to worry about money for a year, how would you spend your time?

Embrace the Adventure

  • Curious: When is the last time you had a big change in perspective? Who changed your mind?
  • Owns and learns from mistakes: What is something that’s challenging for you that you’re still working on?
  • Optimistic: Tell me about a time something important to you didn’t go as planned. What did you do?

Questions Job Candidates May Want to Ask During Interviews

  • What do you see as this position’s primary responsibilities on a daily/weekly basis?
  • How, if at all, do you see these responsibilities changing over time? What do you feel are the most important responsibilities of this position?
  • What are some additional aspects of this position that are unique to your company? What are this company’s current challenges?
  • What do you view as this company’s greatest goals and missions?
  • Has this company experienced a downsizing at any time in its history, and if so, when? What do like the most about your position here?
  • What is the work environment like day to day?
  • Is there anything else I should know about this company?
  • Are there any aspects of my skills or background that you would like to hear more about?
  • How would my performance be measured and how is successful performance usually rewarded? Can you describe your organizational culture?
  • Where does this position fit into the organization? What kind of person are you looking for?
  • What problems might I expect to encounter on this job? Tell me about promotions and advancement in this company.
  • What are your expectations of the person hired for this position?
  • What are the three most significant things that need to be accomplished in this position in the first year and what do you foresee as the major hurdles?
  • Describe the performance evaluation procedures you use.
  • When can I expect to hear from you about the next stage in the interviewing process?

Resources

InterviewStream is an online platform to practice interviewing anytime from a computer or mobile device and contains over 7,000 general and industry-specific interview questions. Log-in to Handshake, select Career Center from the toolbar, then Resources.

Resources for International Students

Additional career resources for international students looking to find internship and full-time positions in the US or abroad.

On-campus Employment

While at UCLA, there are various opportunities for graduate students to obtain employment on campus such teaching and research assistantships, as well as reader and tutor positions. To learn more about the types of positions, visit the Graduate Division page.  Additionally, many offices and departments offer part-time employment opportunities to students. Log-in to your Handshake account to see on-campus job postings.


Employment Authorization

F-1 Students
In general, all F-1 students are eligible for on-campus employment up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during winter and summer vacation. F-1 students can work on-campus without obtaining employment authorization from DCISS or the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. See DCISS for more detailed information.

J-1 Students
J-1 students may work on campus part time (up to 20 hours per week) during the academic year. In order to be employed, students must be in good academic standing and obtain on- campus work authorization from DCISS. This includes assistantships (TA, GSR) and fellowships.  See DCISS for more detailed information.

Off-campus Employment

International students can be eligible to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during the academic year and full-time over winter and summer breaks.  Below is a brief summary of the employment authorization.  See the DCISS website for more detailed instructions and application process.


F-1 Students

F-1 students are eligible to obtain employment authorization for “practical training,” which is employment in their field of study.

INTERNSHIP: CPT – CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING

Curricular Practical Training, or CPT, is employment authorization before graduation, which is issued by the educational institution on the Form I-20 (a U.S. government document that verifies a student’s admission to a U.S. institution). Students pursuing unpaid internships are still required to apply for CPT. For more information regarding legal issues around unpaid internships, see NACE article.

Employment period: Full time during the summer months between first and second year of study and part time during the second year

Employer’s Role: Provide students with a job offer letter

Student’s Role: Obtain work authorization from the UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars (DCISS). Since the authorization is approved by the educational institution, CPT is authorized according to the institution’s ability to approve that the off-campus internship is curricular, or directly related to the student’s field of study.

Cost and Processing Time: There is no cost to the employer. The processing and approval time for CPT is within 5 working days.

SHORT TERM FULL-TIME POSITIONS: OPT – OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING

F-1 students may also use OPT during the summer break but should consult with DCISS to determine if CPT or OPT is needed for their summer position.


J-1 Students

J-1 students are eligible to obtain employment authorization using “academic training” (AT) which is employment in their field of study.

Employment period: Academic training is available both before graduation (Pre-Completion AT) and after graduation (Post-Completion AT). Before graduation, AT is allowed part-time during the academic year and full-time during breaks, or if the student has advanced to candidacy. After graduation, AT is allowed either full-time or part time, but must be for a minimum of 20 hours per week. The total amount of time allowed depends on the duration of the exchange program up to 18 months. Students with Ph.D. degrees may be extended for a total of 36 months. Some J-1 students have a two-year home residency requirement that must be either waived or fulfilled before they can pursue other employment options such as H1-B or Permanent Residency.

Employer’s Role: Provide students with a job offer letter.  It is the student’s responsibility to apply for Academic Training prior to starting employment.

Student’s Role: Submit Academic Training requests before beginning employment and before the academic program completion date if applying for Post-Completion AT.  Students approved for academic training will receive an updated DS-2019 showing Academic Training Approval and an employment authorization letter. Both the letter and DS-2019 will show the duration of your academic training approval based on your application and job offer letter.

Cost and Processing Time: There is no cost to the employer. DCISS processes the student’s Academic Training documentation within 10-14 working days.

After program completion/Full-time job search

F-1 Students

SHORT TERM FULL-TIME POSITIONS: OPT – OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING

Optional Practical Training, or OPT, is employment authorization generally after graduation which is issued by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) on an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card).

Employment period: After degree completion, up to 12 months of full-time or part-time

Employer’s Role: For the first 12 months of initial OPT, the employer does not have any paperwork responsibilities beyond hiring the employee.  It is the student’s responsibility to apply for OPT, which can be granted with or without an offer of employment.

Student’s Role: Follow OPT guidelines and application process as outlined by UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars.

Cost and Processing Time: There is no cost to the employer. DCISS requires 5 business days to process the student’s OPT documentation for submission to USCIS. The USCIS processing time for OPT takes an average of 90 days. It is highly recommended that students submit their OPT application to DCISS at least 3 months before their requested OPT start date. The new employee must have the EAD card in hand to start work and the start date of OPT (as indicated on the EAD) must have been reached.

LONG TERM FULL-TIME POSITIONS: H-1B VISA

Employers can continue employing international graduates beyond the 12-month OPT period by filing a Petition for a Nonimmigrant (temporary) Worker on behalf of the employee, the most common category being the H-1B visa.  Other visa options can be found at the USCIS website.

Employment period: H-1B petitions may be initially approved for three years but can be renewed for a total of six years.

Employer’s Role: The employer is responsible for filing the H-1B petition on behalf of the international employee. Many companies find that retaining an experienced immigration attorney is helpful to facilitate the process. Dashew can refer interested employers to law firms that have worked success-fully with our staff and faculty in the past.

Cost and Processing Time: Inclusive of the attorney fee and USCIS application fees, the total cost to apply for an H-1B visa is between $5,000-$7,000. The earliest date for filing a cap-subject H-1B petition is April 1. As there is high demand for H-1B visas, it is strongly recommended that applications arrive at USCIS on April 1. Approved H-1B visas become effective October 1.  The process for cap-exempt H-1B visas is slightly different.

Cap-Exempt H-1B: Only 65,000 H-1B visas are given out for candidates who have completed undergraduate degrees, and an additional 20,000 are available for those who have completed graduate degrees in the U.S. An exemption to the cap is available to U.S. employers that fall into one of the three exemption categories including:

  • Higher education institution
  • Non-profit organization associated with a higher education institution
  • Non-profit research or government research organization

Additional information can be found here.


J-1 Students

J-1 students are eligible to obtain employment authorization using “academic training” (AT) which is employment in their field of study.

Employment period: Academic training is available both before graduation (Pre-Completion AT) and after graduation (Post-Completion AT). Before graduation, AT is allowed part-time during the academic year and full-time during breaks, or if the student has advanced to candidacy. After graduation, AT is allowed either full-time or part time, but must be for a minimum of 20 hours per week. The total amount of time allowed depends on the duration of the exchange program up to 18 months. Students with Ph.D. degrees may be extended for a total of 36 months. Some J-1 students have a two-year home residency requirement that must be either waived or fulfilled before they can pursue other employment options such as H1-B or Permanent Residency.

Employer’s Role: Provide students with a job offer letter.  It is the student’s responsibility to apply for Academic Training prior to starting employment.

Student’s Role: Submit Academic Training requests before beginning employment and before the academic program completion date if applying for Post-Completion AT.  Students approved for academic training will receive an updated DS-2019 showing Academic Training Approval and an employment authorization letter. Both the letter and DS-2019 will show the duration of your academic training approval based on your application and job offer letter.

Cost and Processing Time: There is no cost to the employer. Dashew processes the student’s Academic Training documentation within 10-14 working days.

Job Search Strategies

Utilize resources and networks to broaden potential employment opportunities.

Work Authorization and Visa Resources

  • Going Global is an online database with domestic and international job listings, job search resources, and more. View the H1B section for a list employers that have sponsored visas by each state and major metro areas. Access through Handshake.
  • MyVisaJobs.com allows you to learn which employers have utilized H-1B visas for a three-year period and also provides other excellent resources
  • USCIS H-1B Cap will allow you to monitor the number of available H-1B visas and provides helpful information.
  • RedBus2US.com provides information and experiences for international students and professionals looking to study, work and live in the US
  • VisaDoor is a central visa database of employment based green cards, H-1B visa, student visa, immigration attorneys, etc.

Job Search

  • Use Handshake and other job search tools to find job opportunities
  • Vault.com: provides in-depth information on specific industries, company, or profession.  Access through Handshake.
  • GoinGlobal: provides information on companies sponsoring H1-B visas, work permit & visa requirements, and job/internship postings.  Access through Handshake.
  • Glassdoor: Search job listings, anonymous salary details for any job or company.
  • Company Directories
    The University of California system and UCLA has licensing to access a variety of business databases to help students research companies for academic use. The following are ones that may be useful for students to learn more about specific organizations.

    • AtoZ databases: Target Company Lists
      Creates custom lists from more than 30 million US business profiles filtered by geography, industry, public/private ownership, employee size, annual revenue, and more. The database also includes more than 2.3 million job listings, 1.1 million healthcare professionals, 2 million new businesses, and much more. Users must be connected to UCLA VPN in order to access the database for free.
    • Uniworld Online
      Information on multinational firms operating around the world. The database may be searched by country, state, keyword, zipcode or postal code, industry code, revenue, and the number of employees. Users must be connected to UCLA VPN in order to access the database for free.
  • Lockin Job: Online platform to learn about companies and jobs in China.

Interviewing Strategies

During the interview, you will be expected to verbally communicate your interest in the position. For advice and resources for interviewing, please review the Interviewing Section for more information. Also, consider the following tips:

  • Don’t apologize for your accent. Work to improve your English skills if you are a non-native speaker but practice your interviewing skills to build your confidence.
  • Emphasize positive aspects of your international background. Certain employers are seeking to expand to global markets. Your international background may be an asset to these employers.
  • Practice, record and get feedback using InterviewStream (access through Handshake) or through mock interviews with a career counselor.

Additional Resources

Resources for PhD Students

Additional career resources for doctoral students for the academic and non-academic job search.

Academic Job Search Resources

In addition to working with your faculty advisor as you prepare for the academic job search market, below are some additional resources to help you.

Career Planning

A Guide to Academia: Getting into and Surviving Grad School, Postdocs, and a Research Job by Prosanta Chakrabarty (free access through UCLA VPN)

ImaginePhD is a free online career exploration and planning tool for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

The Professor is In: The Essential Guide to Turning your Ph.D. Into a Job by Karen Kelsky

UCLA Graduate Student Career Guide


Job Search

Academic Job Listings is a list of job resources compiled by the UCLA Career Center.

Academic Job Search Process by Andrew Green, UC Berkeley


Interviews

Non-Academic Job Search Resources

Explore Your Options

ImaginePhD ins an online resource for graduate students in the humanities and social sciences.

The Versatile Phd is an online resource for graduate students in all field.


Conduct Your Search

HASTAC (“haystack”) is a network of humanists, artists, social scientists and engineers committed to new forms of collaboration across disciplines.

My Next Move is a free resource from the US Department of Labor.

By academic discipline (compiled by UVA Career Development)

UCLA Career Center Non Academic Job Search Resources

Non-Academic Career Options for Humanities and Social Sciences (compiled by Columbia University Career Education)


Prepare Your Application Material

CV/Resume Samples (compiled by UVA Career Development)

UCLA Graduate Student Career Guide


Articles and Books

Before Your Write a Cover Letter for a Nonfaculty Job, Try this Exercise by Erin Bartram (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

The Ph.D.’s Guide to a Nonfaculty Job Search by L. Maren Wood (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

“So What Are You Going to Do with That?”: Finding Careers Outside Academia by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius

Internship and Fellowship Resources

The following list contains just a few organizations that offer internships for doctoral students. Additionally, many organizations offer internship programs. Visit the websites of organizations that interest you for internship and summer opportunities.

Internship Opportunities

Asian Development Bank

J.P. Morgan Summer Internships

RAND Graduate Student Summer Association Program

United Nations University PhD Internships

World Bank

Internship Listing Sites (compiled by UCB)


Fellowship and Postdoc Databases and Resources

ProFellow

UCLA GRAPES

Inside Higher Ed

Academic Jobs Wiki

Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Social Sciences (compiled by UCB)

Advising

Graduate students can make individual appointments with any career counselor for career guidance and exploration, resume and cover letter critiques, mock interviews, and other career-related topics.  PhD students looking to explore academic and non-academic careers should meet with Emily.

Schedule a counseling appointment through Google calendar: VC’s calendar, Emily’s calendar.  Please include the topic you wish to meet about in your appointment note.  Appointments are updated on a weekly basis so please check back for updated availability.

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