Many of us international students dream about working in the U.S. Although our visas might force us to go back to our home countries after the exchange studies (I’m not bitter at all…), we hope that we can return to the States in the future and have an amazing career.
But getting a job as a foreigner is a challenge. Mike Tomasello, author and speaker, came to Purdue last week to talk to international students about how to land a job in the U.S. when everyone says you can’t. Although his lecture at Purdue is old news by now, I’d like to share some of his most important advice.
Qualities of success:
- Know what you want, why you want it, and really want it – The power of your dream is the fuel to making it happen. Tomasello said this is the most important quality.
- Communicate that you are the best fit and the most valuable for the position – Do research before a job interview so you know what skills and experiences the company values, and emphasize those.
- Be likeable and easy to work with – A great personality is more important than great grades.
- Have someone the hiring manager knows vouch for you – Tomasello said networks are very important; do what it takes to get to know people. You can email employees of the company you want to work for and ask to see them for 20 minutes to get their advice, and in that way create a network.
Mistakes foreigners usually do:
- Communicating why they should not get the job – An example of this is asking questions about the salary and benefits in the beginning of the job interview, instead of showing the hiring manager why you are the perfect fit.
- Not communicating that they are the perfect fit – Maybe you didn’t do your research about the company so you don’t know which of your qualities you should emphasize during the job interview.
- Not working on improving their English fluency or adjusting their accent – There are Americans wanting the same job as you; you need to speak good English in order to compete with them.
According to Tomasello, if you take his advice, you are guaranteed to get a job. I’m skeptical, but that might be because I can’t even figure out what job I’m striving for. But once I do, I’m sure his tips will come in handy.