Career Resources for DACA/Undocumented Students
Can I still get a job if I am undocumented/DACA?
On job applications there is usually a question that says: “Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?”
- If you have DACA you can answer “yes” to the question and continue through the hiring process without having to disclose more detailed information about your background. See the section below for more information on DACA.
- If you do not have DACA or another work authorization status, there are other options you may consider for gaining experience and finding employment. See the section below for alternative employment options.
How do I tell an employer I am DACA/Undocumented?
- It can be confusing and stressful to decide when and with whom to share your status. Throughout the job search and hiring process it is important to provide information that is true and authentic, however, you ultimately get to decide whether or not to share your status. Come in to talk with a staff member about strategies for disclosing your status at different points in the process.
You may decide to share your status with an organization early in the hiring process or in an interview if you feel comfortable doing so, and to start a discussion about how to move forward in the process. It is important to consider who you would want to disclose to (sharing with a recruiter vs. a supervisor) and in what manner (disclosing in a personal statement for graduate school vs. in an interview). If you are unsure about whether to and how to disclose your status, meet with a Career Coach. These individuals can support you during these uncomfortable situations.
What if I no longer have DACA?
If you do not have DACA, you may consider other avenues for gaining professional experience, such as:
- If you receive an internship offer, you may ask the employer not to be paid and pursue other means of financial support such as those mentioned above.
- You may discuss with an employer the option of working as an independent contractor. Independent contractors often do the same type of work, but instead of working for one employer, might work for multiple clients. Examples of independent contractor jobs include being a tutor or child care provider.
- An independent contractor can use an Independent Taxpayer Identification Number which can be obtained regardless of immigration status. Read Life after College: A Guide for Undocumented Students by Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) for more information (pages 29-35).
- If you are interested in starting your own business, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) may be an option to consider. An LLC is composed of an individual or a group of people who are both workers and owners of a business. Read Life after College: A Guide for Undocumented Students by Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) for more information (pages 35-37).
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for individuals who came to the U.S. as children and who meet certain guidelines. You may find the following resources helpful as you navigate employment in the US.
- Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Information on requesting consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA).
- Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC): Empowers undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals through personal, institutional and policy transformation.
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center: Provides legal trainings, educational materials and advocacy to advance immigrant rights.
- My (Un) Documented Life: Community for undocumented immigrants, including scholarship opportunities, strategies for navigating the educational system and information on how to apply for DACA.
- National Immigration Law Center: Leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of immigrants with low income.
- Student Caffe: Information on opportunities that DACA/undocumented students can and cannot apply for.
- United We Dream: Nonpartisan network is made up of over 100,000 immigrant youth and allies and 55 affiliate organizations in 26 states.
Interviewing and Success on the Job
The best way to prepare for life after graduation is to find experiences that will allow you to develop skills you can apply in the workplace. Whether it is a paid or unpaid position, it is important to choose experiences that help you explore your interests and fit with your career goals.
Skill-building experiences may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:
- Community organizing
- Academic projects
- Shadowing professionals
- Part-time positions
- Leadership roles in student groups
- Study abroad (with DACA)