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How to build your resume for studying and working in the US

If you’re applying for a job or university in the United States, you’re probably wondering how you can make yourself stand out amongst the thousands of other students competing for a spot in that university. The best way to distinguish yourself from everyone else is to provide an organized and impressive resume. When applying for a US job or university, the first thing potential schools or employers look at is your resume. No matter where you apply to, you will be asked to present your resume. Here’s how to build a winning resume:

Rules of a good resume
  1. Do not make it longer than one page - Employers and universities spend 2 minutes at most looking at your resume. Only put the important information on there and do not put anything that does not help you.
  2. Do not make any grammatical mistakes - If you have any grammatical mistake in your resume it is perceived to show unprofessionalism and carelessness. If you need, have a native English speaker look over your resume before you finalize it. Also, in resumes it is better to avoid the “I” pronoun and the first person tense.
  3. Make yourself look as good as possible - Use past leadership experiences and titles to your advantage. The best place to brag about who you’ve worked with or what you’ve done is in your resume. If you founded an organization or did some interesting volunteer work, mention it! The resume is not the place to be shy.
  4. Format and organization are very important - Keep your resume consistent with the tenses and wording you use, otherwise it can end up being very confusing. Also keep related information close to each other, for example put all of your personal information at the top and all of your work experience in another category somewhere else on the page. Do not mix between the sections.

American resumes have specific rules:
  1. Use keywords - Unfortunately, some resumes aren’t read very carefully, there are simply too many that the company or school are looking at. They look for key phrases and words that they think will fit with their environment. Most keywords are action verbs that show you have a diverse skillset such as proficient in, facilitated, mastered, negotiated, led and specialized. Also use keywords related to the degree or position you are seeking. It will help you get noticed.
  2. No pictures - As opposed to many other countries, on an American resume you should not put too much personal information (such as date of birth or ID number), and you should definitely not include any pictures. There is a fear of discrimination in the US based on these factors, and you do not want them to have this fear when they are reviewing your materials.
  3. Think about how you will fit in - A lot of companies and schools are looking for fit more than specific accomplishments. Use your resume as an opportunity to express how you stand out and how you will be a better fit than anyone else. If you need to, do some research on the company or school to figure out what they are looking for.
Main differences between a job resume and a university resume
While a university and job resumes have the same basic structure and intent, there are a few key differences. In a job resume you want to express what you are looking for in a work environment and that you have the right skills and experience to be able to perform the job you are applying for. Professional fit is the most important aspect for a job resume. For university, they will want to see how you as a person and as a student will fit into the academic and social environment, therefore you will need to show how you were involved in extracurricular activities such as clubs leadership activities, so include organizations, volunteer work and sports teams that you have been a part of. Another difference between the academic and professional resume is the order. In the academic resume, education will be first. In the professional resume, list all of your professional experience first and put education further down.

Whether it is for a Job or a university program application, your resume is the first contact with your future employer or university so you should really perfect it. You can also ask your professors, friends in your current school, or a GradTrain coach to review it if necessary. Use all the help you can get!

Need more help with planning your studies, internships and the steps following graduation?

Best tips for finding a summer internship while studying abroad

As a foreign student on an American campus, you surely want to enjoy your long summer vacation, but you also might want to take full advantage of this time to prepare yourself for the next step after graduation. Summer is the best time to explore the country, but also to learn and develop professional skills. With a student visa (F-1 or J-1), students are eligible to work (in some cases paid and in some cases unpaid) in study-related positions to help develop skills and to start a professional network abroad.
Continue reading if you want to know about the best strategy to land a great summer internship.

Summer job or Summer internship? Gaining a summer job or internship depends on the type of visa that you have. If you have an F-1 visa you can apply for a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) position and get paid for it or for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) position. Still, some conditions must be met and your internship must be approved by the school’s International Student Office and the Immigration Office. For students with a J-1 visa you can access OPT positions like students on an F-1 visa and your internship must be related to your field of study.

Where to search and how to apply?
The internet can help you find the perfect summer internship or job. The following websites are great to search for a summer internship : USA internships,, or AngelList if you are looking for internships at start up companies.  
Also, do not hesitate to check in on your student careers office on campus. You can find some internships or job opportunities for the summer and can sometimes connect with previous students who can also share their experiences with you. Do not hesitate to use your network on campus to help you think about and find internships.

Adapting your profile to the market is also key, especially your resume
American recruiters spend no more than 2 minutes on a resume (and in many cases less than 10 seconds), so think about what to write! It should be no longer than one page and without any pictures or personal details. Have it reread by a native American or a career counselor on campus. Once you are ready, send your resume with a personalized e-mail to the recruiters or directly answer to the job opportunity.

What to look for?
Summer internships can be a great opportunity to gain work experience in your field of study. Ask some of your professors which jobs would help in building your career and would look great on your resume for after your graduation. Most of the time students are very particular about the companies they want to intern for and are willing to consider only top multinational companies, but this might not be the best place to learn a lot and have interesting tasks. Law students can apply to work with law firms as summer interns or at the in-house legal department of a foreign company. The American Bar Association itself also has some internships.  As to business or finance students, a great experience is working in a bank during the summer and you can find offers for these positions on Indeed. You will help clients, deal with checks and simple bank operations which will help you develop practical skills. If you want to work extra hard and get serious experience, big banks such as Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan Chase offer a lot of interesting positions. Even though the experience may be limited, you will experience the reality of work and stand out on your resume as motivated to work and learn, with some real world experience to show for your efforts.

But above all, do not forget that a summer internship experience is what you decide to make of it! Be proactive and see what you can learn during this time. Take this opportunity to create relationships and make connections to learn about your future, which will help you make the right career decisions towards graduation.

Need more help with planning your studies, internships and the steps following graduation?

The most in-demand and well-paid professions in the US market

When thinking about applying to an American University, you might also have to look at the market and see if the studies are going to lead you to a highly demanded and well paid job.
Sometimes students choose where to study because they find the area interesting but they do not even look one step further- to the job search. You should see your studies as a time of learning and enrichment but also as an investment in your future.
The tips below are here to help you make the best choice for you and your future career if you plan to work in North America after your graduation.

A recent study from Glassdoor gave a list of the highest paid and in-demand jobs in the US. You can see that a large number of high paying jobs are related to the Health and Tech industries. Physicians and Pharmacists are highly in-demand and earn a median salary of nearly $149,064. Same goes for the engineering industry or certain jobs in Finance such as Corporate Controllers. IT jobs are also always in-demand and easily exportable.
Many students do not think about all the potential jobs in the data analysis space. Career Cast recently published a list of the best and worst jobs in America for 2017. The top job is a Statistician, a job linked to data and analysis which is in-demanded for many companies.
On the opposite end, jobs in journalism or communication are part less sought out and the market is extremely saturated. With a base salary of $36,000, the potential of earning a living is not high and many students do not take this into consideration before starting the application process. That said, if you have always been interested in Communications or Marketing, try first to see how the jobs are evolving in this industry: what are the trends? What are the new top positions in this industry? Some students majoring in communications, ended up having a great position as a marketing analyst in a big corporation, thus using their skills to help promote the vision of the company.

Be proactive about your career and start having a look now at jobs which are linked to the studies you are planning to pursue. Your time studying abroad will be finished much faster than you can imagine, so you need to think about the step following your studies.
Need more help with planning your studies and the steps following graduation?

Big city universities vs. rural universities: what is the best choice for me?

You finally received the answers from all the universities you applied to. Congratulations! It is now time to make the final choice. Many foreign students target different kinds of universities for a study abroad program and find it difficult to choose between a city or a rural university. You like the countryside but also want to experience the active American life? You want to enjoy life on campus and find new local friends, but traveling in the States or flying to the countries near by for Spring Break is also part of your plan? If that dilemma sounds familiar to you, read our below tips to choose the type of university for your study abroad experience.

A rural university is for you if:
You want to deeply immerse yourself in American Culture and to connect with local people. A Rural University will surely be the best place for you to improve your English and to experience a new cultural environment.
You like the outdoors, the countryside and are dreaming of playing sports in your university. Usually, rural Universities have huge campuses with very impressive stadiums and a strong sports culture, and you should not miss the Friday night football game experience while you are there. Some campuses are close to amazing nature preserves, such as the University of Colorado in Boulder which is practically in nature and is a car ride away from Rocky Mountain National Park.
If you prefer quiet and want to focus on your studies rather than being in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a big city – a rural university in most likely the right choice for you.

A city university is for you if:
You want to experience a cosmopolitan atmosphere and are a big fan of Melting Pot. Studying in New York city, Boston or San Francisco is a once in a lifetime experience and you will have the opportunity to make new friends from all over the world. You will end up celebrating Chinese new year and eating turkey for Thanksgiving!
You like museums, exhibits and concerts and you see your study abroad experience as a cultural exploration. Exploring cities like New York City or San Francisco can take your entire year abroad. You will never have enough of all the different cultural events big cities can offer.
You have a large budget and are ready to spend more on hobbies and every day activities. Student life is definitely more expensive in big cities. You should prepare your budget in advance and have it in mind once you make your final choice. Food, hobbies, transportation, housing, are not all on the same level when comparing certain big city universities.
Another advantage of choosing a city university is that you will likely be able to walk to school every day as well as walk to other attractions around town. If you like to walk, this can make a difference for you.
The major metropolitan cities in the US also have airports that reach most destinations worldwide, so if you plan to travel during winter or spring break, or plan to visit home during your time abroad, it will be easier to reach your destination from the big cities.
Before making your choice, remember that the US is a very different place than most other countries. Going to a remote city can be much farther away than what you know from your home country, and on the other hand, a big US city can be much bigger than any city you have seen, and may be overwhelming for some.
We hope these tips will help you to make the best choice for your study abroad experience. Whatever choice you make, the study abroad experience is sure to have an impact on the rest of your life and career.
Want to know more? Need help with applying to universities abroad?

Trump’s H-1B Visa changes: should you care?

Whether you are an international student, a prospective student, a faculty member or an employer in the United States you need to know (and care) about the H1-B Visa. Student visas such as the F-1 visa, the F-2 Visa, J-1 visa, J-2 visa allow foreigners to study (and in some cases – work for a set period of time) in the US, but the H1-B visa gives the permit to stay and work even after graduation and after the completion of CPT or OPT. The ability to obtain a work visa can be a determining factor for international students aiming to come to the US, for financial reasons and for career development reasons.

Recently, on April 18th, 2017 President Donald Trump issued a specific Executive Order in which he orders to prioritize the hiring of American citizens and added some conditions and provisions to the H1-B visas in this context. If you are in the process of applying to a study abroad program, or are planning to apply for this specific visa after your graduation, read the below article and first of all - do not panic!
The H1B Visa
Already found a job in the United States? If so, this visa is for you. Among different work visas in the US the H1-B visa is given to foreigners in "special occupations" with a request from the employer with a preference to international graduates who studied in the US and have a master’s degree. The visa is given out by “lottery” and the process can take about six months.
There are three requirements for this visa
1. You need to at least have a bachelor’s degree. You will have an advantage if you have a higher degree related to the job which you are hired to do.
2. You need to already have a job offer when applying for this visa. The job position needs to be in the field of math, engineering, business, medicine and other STEM fields and related to what you studied.
3. You must be paid the prevailing wage for the position which you will be working in. You cannot ask for a lower salary just to get sponsored for an H1-B visa.  
Not everyone can get an H1-B
There is a cap on the H-1B visas given out and it’s only handed to 85,000 people each fiscal year. But, if you are seeking to obtain the visa to work in a higher education institution, a nonprofit organization related to education or a government organization, you should not worry since these institutions are cap-exempt.
You should also know that this visa is given for up to three years. It can be extended but usually not for more than six years.
The recent Trump Executive Order is mostly a warning given by the Trump administration regarding the recruitment of programmers in the field of Information Technology and the consequences for foreign students are not yet clear. For the moment, it will probably add some more time to an already very long process.
Why this is important to international students
Choosing a study destination is based on parameters such as the study program, location, weather, university ranking, and more. As a prospective student who is thinking about a future in a new land, you should also take into consideration immigration policies. The fact is that most international students move back to their home country after graduation and do not pursue a career in their country of study, in many cases due to immigration issues.
Due to the high costs of studying in the US for international students, having the opportunity for employment in the Unites States and being able to stay for work and even one day to immigrate, should be a major factor towards deciding whether or not to study in the US in the first place (unless of course you have an endless amount of cash).
Want to know more? Need help with applying to universities abroad?

Want to study abroad? How to get started

The idea has been on your mind for weeks, you have been speaking about it seriously but have no idea where to start. Studying abroad is a big decision, which requires making decisions based on many factors that you cannot fully predict. The more useful information you get, the better prepared you will be for this process. If you want to know more about the process but feel a bit lost in all the information online, here are a few tips to help you start your experience abroad in the best way possible.

1. Identify your real source of motivation: Why do you want to study abroad?  It sounds simple but identifying your source of motivation is key to keep you on track in the long and hard application process. Are you excited by the life on an American Campus? Or are you dreaming to get a degree in Finance to enrich your resume? Are you looking to become a Professor? A lawyer? A Software engineer at google? Are you simply bored with your current job or looking for a change in your career? Having the right motivation will help you significantly through the long application process and once you make the transition to you new campus and need to adapt to the North American student system and culture. Be honest with yourself upfront.
2. Read and read again: sources on internet, blogs, forums. The more you read about the study abroad adventure, the more you will clear your mind with your objectives and figure out if this is what you really want. Getting a lot of information at the beginning will help you to focus on a specific field later. This will also help you see if your profile is a good match for joining a foreign university (grades, level of English, available funds). You can also use our admissions predictor to get a better idea of your chances of acceptance.

3. Prepare your timeline and plan: When are you willing to join a study abroad program? Planning is key and will help you to achieve your goal in this adventure. You need almost a full year to complete the standardized tests (GRE, GMAT, TOEFL / IELTS) and apply according to the University application calendar. Check if this is compatible with the time you will finish your current degree or the time in which you plan to leave your current job to embark on this adventure.
4. Think about…after: Studying abroad is a step is your life, not just the objective. Try to think about the time after you complete your studies and graduate. If you make the right choices along the way, this can be an exciting experience and can enrich your career and education path. A good method to bridge the information gap is to contact some previous students who went through the same experience and get their feedback and see how their choices impacted their career and their life.
These are a few steps to get you started in the process. If you want advice on student life in America and need guidance of an admissions predictor or a mentor who has gone through the process, please visit