Tuesday, October 18, 2011

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT U.S. JOB SEARCH #4 – Considerations and Resources


This is the fourth part of the compendium. It covers some tactical considerations and resources to tap.

Overall: It’s primarily about your career, not a visa

Concern yourself with articulating your unique value, compelling business reasons for hire, and levering relationships -- not company visa policies. Reinforce that you are more than “just a student”. Most Kelley MBA students average over 5 years of prior work experience.
  • Company policy is not the final word on visa sponsorship – exceptions are made.
  • Never appear that you are just taking a job as a convenient path to U.S. citizenship.
  • Build on your Me, Inc. program foundations. Use your GCS Coaches.
Minimize unsolicited internet job applications
  • Use multiple job search channels. The internet on its own has not proven to be effective. It is an impersonal media where no response is required. It represents a very easy way for employers to screen out international students. The position may not actually exist, or be already mandated (slotted for another candidate).
  • Apply on-line when you have a “warm body” follow-up contact.
  • Use key words in resumes and cover letters to foster matches with automatic filtering tools
  • Prefer to spend time discovering hiring managers / decision makers / true buyers at targeted companies. Communicate with them after thoughtful preparation.
Minimize initiating first contacts with HR departments except for information, as HR is typically:
  • Charged with preserving standard hiring rules and processes (including the articulated company visa sponsorship policy!). They ask “Which applicants can I eliminate?
  • Not the ultimate decision maker – they say “no” or “maybe”. Only the hiring managers own the positions to be filled – they say “yes”.
  • Detached from the underlying substantive businesses, not really understanding jobs, and thus not fully appreciating where you differentiate yourself
  • Often considered an obstacle to a company’s own business partners
Avoid asking: “Do you sponsor international students?”
  • Suggests a stronger interest in a visa sponsorship than in the company or working for it
  • Not a positive way for building a relationship at a company that interests you
  • A “No” answer effectively ends the conversation, while any reactions may give negative impressions
  • Offers an easy exit if a company representative is looking for one. Note: under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and Justice Department guidelines, in the hiring process, employers can inquire about legal employment status, but not citizenship, unless required by law, regulation, executive order, or government contract. See http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/June/11-crt-726.html
  • Reduces the flexibility to explore referrals to a parent company, sub, partner, or other units which may have different recruitment policies
Have a system to track your job search
  • Log your connections, applications, responses, follow up dates, critical information, personal facts, etc. Use to refresh your memory of past interactions prior to having future interactions. Format does not matter, but keeping track is, whether it is an old fashioned spreadsheet or a tool like a paid subscription to jibberjobber.com.
  • Be cautious of anyone who requests money or a transfer of funds for: reviewing or distributing resumes, conducting job searches or placements, seminars, etc.
Set daily goals from your plan. Achieve them.
  • Prioritize and work the best investments to further your career, not things that are just nice to do. Obtaining a good job can almost be likened to a full-time job.
  • Make them specific, quantifiable, and objective. Things like: X# of new LinkedIn connections, X# Informational Interviews, etc., within a specific time frame
  • Find a partner to keep you honest to your plan -- Don’t discount the power of support for you in this process.
Prepare for questions regarding specific employer international hiring and visa information so your answers reduce procedural angst about making you an offer. Confidently be able to talk with non-experts about features, procedures, alternative authorization paths, specific country programs, and actual activity within their own companies:
  • Review GCS website tools related to international careers: https://gcs.indiana.edu/GCS/ and OnCourse GCS PD-Network which include lists of companies who have hired Kelley students in past years.
  • Consult: Indiana University’s Office of International Students www.indiana.edu/~intlserv/. Share work objectives with them to explore visa options and related logistics. This office represents a great resource for international technical questions.
Division of the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs
Franklin Hall 306, 601 East Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Phone: 812.855.9086 Fax: 812.855.4418 Email: intlserv@indiana.edu
  • Reference accessible public sites about visa information: www.uscis.gov
  • Access actual visa sponsorship data: Search www.myvisajobs.com/ for specific H-1B visa information by company, including job title, status, and work location. Use its filter capabilities to find sponsors by occupation, industry, economic sector, and state. Another source is the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center: www.flcdatacenter.com/. Improve business communications skills
  • Take advantage of the free one-on-one public speaking and writing training available for Kelley students at http://kelley.iu.edu/BusComm/coaching/page12648.html, or call the Business Communication Office at 812.855.5613
  • Enroll in the Indiana University Writing Tutorial Services (WTS) campus-wide courses
  • Participate in Indiana University English Conversation Clubs through the Leo R. Dowling International Center
  • Join the Kelley Toastmasters Club or other similar speaker associations to practice speaking and meeting people. Contact Robert Lowe at rflowe@indiana.edu or Adam Borson at aborson@indiana.edu
  • Seek out native English speakers to review and proof read all job search correspondence prior to sending
Get a driver’s license, if you do not have one.

Refresh knowledge of U.S. business etiquette. There are many internet articles and books for your reference. Ask questions and for feedback in low risk, non-recruiter environments. “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

Attend corporate presentations. Conduct subsequent, relevant conversations with the presenters, make a good impression, and retain contact information for use at a later time.

Read: POWER TIES – International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States by Dan Beaudry (2009). It was a helpful resource for this blog series compendium.

Please share any of your ideas on this topic with Paul Binder at: pjbinder@indiana.edu. These may serve as content for additional articles. Best wishes for your success!

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