Working Off Campus
Employment Authorization

Before starting any employment, you must have authorization to be employed. For immigration purposes, employment can be paid or unpaid internships, paid or unpaid practicums, volunteer work, or a paid job, so be sure you have authorization to participate in any of these activities. Don't forget to read over the regulations on employment:

  • For F-1 and J-1 visa holders: off-campus employment
  • Other non-immigrant visa holders: Employment

Contact ISSS if you are unsure or have questions.

Once You Have Authorization

You can work off-campus if you are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) before graduation and you can apply for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) after your graduation.

The job market in the U.S. is competitive. You can search for jobs and internships, prepare a U.S. resume, learn what to expect in a job interview, and understand how to effectively market your valuable international experiences to employers through the resources below: 

  • Handshake: Handshake is JMU’s online career services management system that provides JMU students access to internships, full-time jobs, career fairs, workshops, information sessions, and more.
  • GoinGlobal: GoinGlobal provides country-specific career and employment information, including worldwide internship and job postings, H1B VISA employer listings, corporate profiles, and more!
  • Career and Academic Planning(CAP): CAP (located in the Student Success Center) provides opportunities and support that engages students in the process of exploring, evaluating, and choosing academic programs and careers.
  • International Student & Scholar Services(ISSS): The ISSS office will assist you in obtaining authorization to work in the U.S., as well as provide specific sessions and workshops designed for international students. Learn more about iCareer. (ß insert link)
  • Professors and Advisors: Most job applications require a list of references, which are people who can attest to your knowledge and skills and provide a favorable review to an employer. Your professors and advisors may provide good references for you, as well as provide advice about career and graduate school opportunities.
  • Your peers: Don't hesitate to ask your classmates, roommates, and friends for feedback about your resume and cover letter. Sometimes asking a third party to review your resume and cover letter can help you by figuring out whether your main points are clear.
  • Please see Off-Campus Employmentfor more details on the specific regulations governing off-campus employment.

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