6 Mistakes to Avoid as an Immigrant Jobseeker
Updated: Feb 9
“You should switch to IT. It is the only way to land a job in the U.S. as an immigrant.”
“Your experience, prior to moving to the U.S., doesn't count.”
“Switching to IT is the only way to get a job in the U.S as an immigrant.. Maybe, you should connect with some IT consultancy as they can provide you with technical training and possibly a job thereafter.
“You are not getting interview calls because of your current visa status.”
“How many jobs have you applied for thus far? Only TEN?! You need to step-up your game, my friend. I applied for at least 300 jobs before I got my first interview.”
Raise your hand if any of the above statements sound familiar to you. These are a few common pieces of advice I hear throughout the immigrant community. If this makes you feel like you are not good enough or you made a mistake by moving to a foreign land, leaving your successful career behind, then I completely resonate with you. Your emotions are valid and justified. I have been in your shoes and know how it feels to be rejected - again and again and again... 273 rejections later, I got my first job!
After eight (8) years of working for a Fortune 500 company, I retired from Corporate America to become a full-time Career Coach where I share my best practices and empower the immigrant job seekers to achieve their professional goals in life. Over the past one year through my signature One-on-One and Group Coaching Programs, I have helped many dependent wives and international students from across 11 countries land their dream jobs worth $5 million in both the United States and Canada.
If you have recently moved to a foreign land and/or are trying to restart/elevate your career, then this guide may be helpful for you.
Let's look at the most common 6 mistakes that you should avoid as an immigrant jobseeker:
1. Waiting until EAD arrives so that you can get back in the job search game
We all are aware of long delays in getting work permits in the U.S. Does that mean one should just wait until EAD arrives? As a Career Coach, my straight answer will be NO!!! In fact, in my opinion, this might be the best time for you to research job opportunities around you, understand the hiring trends and find people in your dream role(s)/ companies. Once you have gained some clarity, take a step back and evaluate what skills you might lack and how you can work on them until you receive your EAD/work authorization. Look for opportunities to brush up your skill-set through online courses and volunteering work.
2. Networking only when you need something
“ Attached is my resume. Please let me know if you have any openings for me in your company”
If you are sending cold messages like this to strangers asking for a referral or guidance during your job search then it’s time to re-think. Networking is at it’s best WHEN YOU DO NOT NEED ANYTHING. Please don’t reach out to people ONLY when you need something. Instead, be curious about how others got into your dream role. Somebody has already paved the path and all you need to do is be curious to learn about their journey. You will be surprised to see how many strangers come forward to help you out if you are genuinely interested in getting to know them. Here is how to network without seeming desperate
3. Applying without any strategy
Applying to hundreds of job openings with the same resume is NOT effective.It will not help you stand out in this competitive job market.Employers do not have time or patience to read your entire professional history on your resume and connect the dots with what they are looking for. Focus on QUALITY of your applications instead of QUANTITY of your applications. Update your resume to clearly communicate relevant skills needed for EACH job. Demonstrate how you can be an asset for their organization using your prior experience examples in your resume and cover letter.Trust me, nothing goes to waste. It is just the way you communicate your past experiences to allow the employers realize your worth.
Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
4. Switching careers out of desperation. IT consultancy is the answer for all
This specific one upsets me the most. Fear of not getting a job leads us to wrong
career /life choices. “Providing you technical training with 100% placement guarantee” sounds too good to be true! If tech roles do not excite you then you should not settle for it. According to research, an average person spends somewhere around 90,000 hours at work over her/his lifetime. Just imagine, spending those countless hours feeling like an imposter. Don’t underestimate your education and past experience. . There are multiple opportunities available in every professional field, you just need to have the right strategy in place to find it.If you struggle on your way, never hesitate to ask for help, which brings us to the next point…
5. Not seeking professional help
Let’s be real, most of us don't want to seek professional guidance for whatever reason and hence, we settle for anything we find first or we give up. Working with a career coach or career counselor will not only help you gain clarity about your career options, but also elevate your job search journey. They have been in your shoes or have helped people like you before. They can help you create a job search roadmap, introduce you to their network and empower you to put your best foot forward. Some of you may be concerned about the cost associated with seeking professional guidance, but just think about the return on investment. My clients usually get their investment back with their first paycheck. Here is an example of how seeking professional help can positively impact your job search and life Here is an example of how seeking professional help can positively impact your job search and life Here is an example of how seeking professional help can positively impact your job search and life
6. Short selling yourself in salary discussion
“This is my first job in the U.S/Canada, I will take whatever you give me. I just need one chance.” If you are willing to accept whatever your future employer offers you then STOP. It took me three (3) years to match the market standard because I jumped on my first job offer without knowing my market value. There are many websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed Salaries where you can assess the compensation range based on your expertise and experience. Here is the step by step guide to help you negotiate salary in your next interview.
Next time when you get automated rejection for your job application, remind yourself that the companies are not rejecting YOU. It is just that you may not be marketing yourself well. We all have been there and I have personally made most of the mistakes listed in this guide. You have the power to change your story and it starts from TODAY!
I am rooting for you!
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Your Job Search Bestie,