10 tips for immigrants on their first U.S. job hunts

Job tips for immigrants
By Upwardly Global

If you’re an immigrant to the U.S., finding a job is probably on the top of your priority list. How to do so, however, might remain a mystery. The process may be very different than what you would have done at home. Here are 10 things you need to know for your professional job search in the U.S.

1. You don’t have to go back to school in the U.S.
Your foreign degree is not only valid here, it can be just as valuable. To show this to employers, you may want to get your credentials evaluated by an organization such as World Education Services. While there are some instances where continuing your education might be worthwhile, it’s not always necessary, and a credential evaluation could be just what you need.

2. Don’t put personal demographic information on your résumé.
Marital status, ethnicity, age, religion and photographs should all be left off of your résumé in the U.S. as employers are not legally allowed to consider this information in the hiring process.

3. Be specific.
Whether it’s in a résumé bullet point or in an interview response, give examples structured around Problem, Action, Result. What was the problem, how did you act, and what was the result?

4. Be quantitative and results-oriented.
Showcase your achievements in terms of numbers, e.g. increased revenue by 40 percent, decreased employee turnover by 10 percent, or came in under budget on 98 percent of projects. American culture treasures numeric valuations of achievements, so if you want yours to shine, back them up with some figures.

5. Arrive on time.
While in some cultures it is perfectly acceptable to arrive at a meeting 10 minutes late, Americans do not take kindly to it. If you have an interview, be at least 5 minutes early. You might want to arrive 30 minutes before and relax at a nearby coffee shop before going in –– you don’t want to arrive at the office any more than 10 minutes ahead of time (there is such a thing as being too early, as well).

6. Be aware of your body language.
Smile, make eye contact and have a firm handshake to exude confidence. It’s not just about what you say, it’s also about how you say it. In American culture, you approach an interviewer as a peer, which may be quite different than the way you would approach them in your home country.

7. Network, network, network.
Meeting new people is essential to your search, as they can tell you more about the employment landscape here and about opportunities that are not yet publicly advertised. Find networking events or meet-up groups to expand your circle, and make sure to follow up and stay in touch with a personalized message on LinkedIn.

8. Ask people for informational interviews.
Like networking, it’s a great way to learn more about your industry from an insider’s perspective and make key contacts. An informational interview is not a job interview; it’s a casual meeting to learn more about how the job search works for your specific profession.

9. Be positive.
A positive attitude is an important part of U.S. professional culture.  Americans are the “can do” people and negativity doesn’t sell here.  Instead of focusing on frustrations with your job search, think about your strengths and share your excitement about new experiences and opportunities when talking about your search during networking or informational interviews.

10. Your international experience is an asset.
Promote your cultural savvy on your résumé and highlight any language skills. Remember: Your foreign degree and experience is an advantage. You will bring a unique perspective to a company, and employers are looking for that.

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