You came here for a better life, for you and your family, however week after week, the job rejection letters have been cluttering your inbox. You apply to countless jobs every day, but your mobile phone remains stunned in silence at the lack of response. The calls don’t come, and if they do, they don’t turn into jobs. Now you’re filled with doubt. Did you make the right choice? Was it all worth it? Are the skills that got you to this country worthless in reality? What happened to the American dream? Below we will discuss some of the issues immigrants have encountered and how to resolve them.
- Missing Soft Skills / Interview Techniques
A hiring manager’s perception of your soft skills and knowledge of American work culture are important. Many candidates have said they were getting calls for interviews, but it never converted to a job. Think about it, if you got called for a job interview, the hiring manager already knows you have not worked in the US from your resume. Why would he or she call you for the interview if this was a problem?
What most likely happened was that during the interview, the candidate failed to demonstrate the soft skills that the job desired. Either communication skills were falling short, or they downplayed their accomplishments when asked to talk about the professional experience (using too much “we” instead of “I”). Many international cultures are more prone to downplaying the I mentality and support for a “we” or team environment. In the US, however, there is nothing wrong with speaking up about YOU and what YOU can do. Some candidates are also more prone to not making eye contact during the interview, as this may be the normal way of communicating in other cultures.
- Not taking an active approach to your job search
If you just machine gun your generic resumé to online jobs and rely on technology to do the rest you will be job searching for a long time. Machines don’t hire you. Humans do. So, you have to demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are willing to work hard and think outside the box.
This is why customizing your resume and personalizing your cover letter for every job application, and possibly taking it a step further by creating your own personal website to stand out, will destroy your competition. As long as you’re aware of the common expectations of hiring managers and learn skills in a standout resume and cover letter writing, you can increase your chances of landing that new job tenfold.
- Not using publicly available services
It is important to take advantage of the resources available to you. Many non-profit organizations offer services that help immigrants locate work in their field. There are resources out there for resume help, interview preparation and job search assistance.
- Not using a US resume format.
I have seen international resumes and some of them have been up to seven pages long! People mistakenly believe they should throw all their experiences up on a word document and mail blast it to every US job board. It’s guaranteed failure. Recruiters don’t want to read long reports and portfolios. People should seek professional help and learn the methodology of updating your resume to suit the manager’s needs. A big part of this is knowing how to market your job experience in a way that convinces a US hiring manager and recruiter that you are the best person for the job. A hot tool for doing a quality check on the resume is Jobscan. This tool allows you to compare your uploaded resume to the copy-pasted job description side by side and score it for compliance.