The basics
THE USA: Student Finances

Finding a graduate career in the US for Malaysians

graduate work in the US

Also known as the land of opportunity, thousands of Malaysian students flock to the US for their degrees and hope to secure jobs there upon graduation. The country’s economic growth and its expansive employment sector make living and working in the US an attractive proposition. So, if you’d like to call America home after you finish your studies, find out more how you can find a graduate career in the US.

What’s the graduate market like?

As the world’s strongest economy, the job market offers interesting job opportunities to graduates. Fresh graduates are often sought to breathe new energy into companies and competition can be stiff.

Opportunities, employment rates and specific markets for jobs in your field are likely to change state-by-state, so be sure to research your options way before graduation. Spend time to devise a strategy. For instance, Washington D.C has roughly one advertised job opening for every unemployed worker in the region, including sections of Maryland and Virginia, while graduates in Las Vegas face a harsh 14.3% unemployment rate.

35% of employers in financial services are reported to be adding new positions, opening up opportunities for graduates in financial analysis, financial advising, accounting and auditing. Media students can also expect bright prospects as more creative industries are on a constant lookout for new blood.

Can I stay in the US?

Graduates who wish to stay in the US after completing their studies will have one of two options: enrol in an Optional Practical Training Programme (OPT) or apply for a work visa. After your student visa expires, you will have what is called a grace period to leave the US, extend your visa or secure a new one. The length of time you’re able to stay will depend on the type of student visa you’re on. F-1 students are allowed 60 days while M-1 and J-1 students have 30 days.


If you’re on an F-1 student visa, you’ll be allowed to complete up to one year of temporary employment in a position directly related to your field of study. Under this programme, you’re allowed one year of temporary employment for every study level you’ve completed. For example, you would receive one year of OPT after you’ve completed your Bachelors and another after you’ve done your Masters.

Work visa

As an international graduate, you’re most likely to be eligible for a Temporary Working Visa (H-1B). Under this visa, you’ll be able to stay in the US for up to three years, with the potential for extension to six.

Graduates are not able to apply for this visa themselves. Rather, once they have been offered a job in the US, their employer will lodge the application on their behalf. You must hold a qualification at degree level or higher to be eligible.

If you would like to stay in the US permanently, then you’ll need a ‘Green Card.’ You’ll be able to apply for one whilst employed in the US on your temporary worker’s visa. Your employer will need to sponsor you, and complete paperwork on your behalf. Be sure to check your eligibility, application and employment requirements on the US Department of Homeland Security website.

How can I find a job?

Jobs in the US are available in one of two markets; the hidden market and the open market.

Jobs in the hidden market are not publicly advertised and generally found through a connection, such as your university or a professional met at a career fair. These opportunities are typically more difficult to uncover and so it’s best to keep an ear to the ground and ask around for any links from your peers, lecturers or career advisors. It’s also worth researching companies you might want to work for and follow their social media profiles as positions may be advertised privately.

The open market is for positions that are publicly advertised. You can find these jobs anywhere in the public domain such as search engines like IdeaList, USA Jobs or American Job Centre.

Can my university help?

American universities are helpful in supporting international students and helping them dodge the perils of US bureaucracy. While it’s true that international students typically have a more difficult time in finding a job than local graduates, thousands of young professionals still manage to do it every year.

Every university will have at least one Designated School Official (DSO) that manages overseas students. Making an appointment with them or other counsellors will help you see your options, with important leads on where to start. Ask for advice on interview tips, immigration information and US business etiquette.

American universities gear towards preparing graduates for employment and often run many faculty-specific career events. This is a chance for you to make connections and network with people in the industry. Be courteous, ask for business cards and make a good impression.

Now that you’ve got an idea of your post study options, why not browse courses in the US now?


Study in the USA


'Study in the USA' eBook

Enjoy what you’ve read? We’ve condensed the above popular topics about studying in the USA into one handy digital book.

Get your eBook

Search for a course

About Author

graduate work in the US

An aspiring journalist with a passion for investigative journalistic work. Also a self-declared masterchef.