105 Proven Tips & Strategies for International Job Seekers
...who need visa sponsorship to work in America
to Improve & Optimize Your Search,
to Increase & Maximize Your Opportunity
- for Success from the Start, Achieve the Best Results
With all the most effective strategies, a truly dedicated effort, and some hard work - you can successfully achieve the opportunity to work and live in the USA (thousands do every year).
Plan ahead and start well in advance of your target dates. The more time you give yourself, the better chance you have to successfully complete the visa sponsorship search process, within your planned timescales.
2. Prepare by learning the correct processes, procedures and rules relating to the H1B visa immigration program. Try to keep up to date with new proposed or implemented rules to make sure you avoid potential risks, delays and pitfalls along the way.
3.Try to be as flexible as you can in your search parameters and your location preferences. The wider and bigger the potential opportunity pool, the greater your personal opportunity for success.
4. Learn when and how to correctly address and overcome any questions and issues that US employers will ask; relating to requiring H1B visa sponsorship and work authorization.
5. Treat your H1B Job Search Process Like a Job itself: Schedule your day, set goals and objectives, and make a focused effort every weekday. Remember that the most persistent and proactive create the best opportunity and achieve the best results.
6. Combine and utilize multiple job search methods and strategies in your plan of action. There are many methods and some are proven to be consistently more effective and work better than others.
Companies that Provide Sponsorship Opportunities
7. Research and target companies that can and are allowed to sponsor International workers and file for H1B work visas, and that have a solid track record of going through the sponsorship process.
8. Create a list of companies that you will systematically contact and follow up with. Prioritize companies that sponsor and file visas for positions that are a close match to your experience and skills.
9. Do extra homework by researching. Knowing some of the companys successes and accolades, shows initiative and that youve gone an extra step, and can be used to your advantage during the process.
10. Many companies don't know what H1B visas are or what the sponsorship regulations and processes are. To save time, focus on Companies that have good track records of filing H1B visas, and, that have had visa applications approved and issued.
Utilize all the Best Ways and Tactics to Find Jobs
11. There are many methods and ways to try to find a job and some work better, some faster, and some are more effective. Many research reports now claim that 8 out of 10 people now secure employment by using proactive and strategic networking techniques.
Job boards can be a good resource, but dont rely on them solely. They are overcrowded with the mass-market and US citizens, and have the highest level of job seeker competition for each job opening.
13. If you use job boards always try searching multiple variations of a job title. Companies in the USA often use slightly different job titles for the exact same type of job position.
14. Focus more of your efforts on Proactive Networking and Proactive Application strategies. In the USA its become the best way to get employed.
15. There are many continually evolving platforms and ways to network, but getting results comes down to finding and communicating with the 'right' people that can help you get an advantageous 'in-road' with a Company.
16. Proactive Networking can be done by individuals themselves or by utilizing the services of companies that already have pre-established relationships or vendor agreements with employers.
17. Proactive applications to HR, Recruiters and Hiring Managers. If applying to a person or job by email, it's better to embed (copy and paste) your resume inside your email which makes it easier for an employer to view, and eliminates the associated attachment-risks, and gives a better opportunity of being considered by employers the instant they see it.
18. Some people won't open email 'attachments', or they might not have the same version of the software program your resume attachment is in, which means they won't (or can't) see your resume.
19. Proactive applications to companies directly through their website. When applying on an employers website through their own online application system, consider that 9 times out of 10 your resume is going into the companies central A.T.S. system (Applicant Tracking System).
20. If you upload your resume into a companies application system (A.T.S.) make sure it is in 'plain text' with no html formatting so that is easily scannable and searchable when hiring managers in the company use the A.T.S. system to find potential candidates for their job openings.
21. The most advantageous time to apply is during US office hours on workdays, when employers are there to consider your application at the time it's sent, rather than sending an application at the weekend or evening which means yours then joins a long list of applications an employer has to wade through when they get into work.
22. Check your email regularly each day. Many employers will email first to arrange interviews and its important to respond back quickly. Also check you spam/trash folders just incase any emails get accidentally auto-filed in there.
23. Make sure your voicemail is set up, activated, and never full. You never want to miss an opportunity by an employer not being able to leave a message anytime you may be busy and not able to answer your phone.
24. Professional Email: always use an email address that presents a professional image.
25. Learn the US differences and use them to your advantage. The way things work in your own Country does not mean its the same in the US.
26. There are many differences in resumes, spelling, grammar, methods of finding jobs, applying to jobs, job titles, methods and ways that US employers recruit, interview techniques, salary and benefits packages, employment laws, and business culture in general (especially for work visa sponsorship)
27. Always be prepared and willing to go a few extra steps and work proactively. Be creative and think outside the box to stand out above the crowd, or get your foot in the backdoor.
Jobs to Focus on, and Jobs to Avoid
For success, it's critical to focus on the jobs that qualify and meet all the H1B visa programs requirements. The H1B sponsorship employment requirements are Governed by Immigration Law and Must be met or exceeded to get a visa approved and issued.
29. Any and all visa applications that do not meet or exceed the visa sponsorship employment requirements will get denied and rejected.
30. Because a Foreign national qualifies for the H1B visa program does not mean they can get 'any' type of job available in 'any' profession.
31. The profession category, and the job type also have to qualify and meet ALL the requirements of the H1B visa program in order to get the visa approved and issued.
32. When an H1B visa application is filed and processed; the Profession, Job Title, Job Requirements, Job Duties, Job Salary are all evaluated during the visa processing stage by the USCIS. They ALL have to meet or exceed the H1B visa programs qualifying requirements.
33. What this means is: you need to hunt down the jobs that qualify at the required level that get an H1B visa approved and issued.
34. Try to imagine it in a way similar to the rules for an individual to qualify for the H1B visa program; they only qualify if they have a degree, or, a high level of skilled work experience. For a job to qualify to get an H1B visa approved / issued it also has to meet or exceed the same rules and requirements.
35. The salary Must also meet or exceed the required H1B visa Prevailing wage. This is the pre-set salary level that must be paid for that specific type and level of job, in the geographic work location.
36. First, make a checklist of the H1B sponsorship employment requirements. Then when searching for jobs, look at the details of the job description and advertisement to make sure it meets ALL the H1B employment requirements on the checklist. If it does not, move on.
37. Finding and getting the 'right' job with the right company gets you issued an H1B visa. The 'wrong' job, or the wrong Company only ends up in frustration and disappointment because when the visa is processed the application will get denied.
38. For recent graduates and just starting out on your career path focus just on entry level positions that require the degree level you have. As an example: even if a company advertises a job that requires your degree plus 1-2 years work experience, the high probability is that they will find applicants with the exact level they want.
39. If you dont have what an employer is requiring, move on and spend time more effectively finding the right level of jobs for you to apply for.
40. For recent graduates in broad Degrees fields like MBA's that cover many business related subjects, just the same as you focused primarily on your 'major', some employers will also interpret this is the primary career path you chose and want. However, there are many ways to re-focus and highlight that you are capable of performing different types of jobs in many areas of your studies, which will broaden the scope of job opportunities for you.
41. For seasoned professionals who are already settled in their desired career path, you know what types of jobs you are capable of and what you want, and you know your own primary and secondary skill sets.
42. If you've worked in a profession for many years, US employers will focus primarily on what you've done and achieved in the last 3 years (in the IT industry this is even more significant because technologies change at a rapid pace). Work experience past 5 years is valuable for many reasons, but it generally receives secondary consideration.
43. For managers and executives, one thing to consider is that in the hierarchy of any Company there are more 'hands-on' workers than managers, which converts to more positions available for hands-on workers than managers.
44. It can often help to tone-down your resume relating to the focus of your job title and experience to more of a 'senior lead hands-on worker', to create the benefit of being considered for more job opportunities.
45. For those who have had worked in multiple types of jobs in different occupations and have a mixed and cris-crossed career path, and maybe even want to change again, this can be a bit tougher to target the types of jobs that will get you seriously considered by an employer.
46. A mixed career path can send mixed signals to employers and can raise concerns about how long you will stay in the position they hire you for. Naturally there are many different levels of how mixed or multi-changed someone's career path has been, but again, employers place primary focus on what you've done and achieved in the last 3 years (so this is your best opportunity). There are also many ways to focus, highlight and make certain aspects of your resume stand out and make some fade into the background. Those with mixed career paths typically require a high level of professional assistance with improving their resumes.
47. Focus, Target and Match. Don't waste time applying for jobs that you do not have the primary skills set for, or the minimum required degree, or the minimum level of work experience that employers state they want in their job advertisement. Your time and effort can be more productively spent searching and targeting the 'right' jobs for you that you have the highest chance of being considered for and securing.
Companies to Target, and Companies to Avoid
Avoid companies that the US Government has barred from getting visa applications approved. These are typically companies that have in some way broken the US Immigration Laws and/or H1B visa Regulations.
49. Try to avoid companies that have extra immigration and visa filing "red tape" because of the recent H1B Employer-Employee Relationship Rule that was implemented back in 2010. This rule primarily affects agencies and what some people term as "body shops": that employ H1B workers themselves but then subcontract them out to work at end client work sites. These types of Companies can now have a very hard time getting visa applications approved.
50. Try to avoid the companies with high levels of visa denials or withdrawals (visas that are rejected or withdrawn during processing).
51. Try to avoid companies that ask you to pay for the visa costs. A legal obligation of a US sponsor company is that they pay the USCIS visa filing and processing fees.
52. If a company asks you to pay for visa filing costs, think carefully about the level of commitment and security your getting (or not getting!), and if there could be any legal immigration related problems further down the road.
53. Try to avoid companies that use pre-filtering methods when they accept applications online such as obstacle questions about your US work authorization status, but they don't provide a section or option for your situation. Sometimes you can make it through the extra obstacles but they often use these systems to deliberately filter applications from overseas candidates.
54. Focus on end-employers; those that employ you and you work on-site at their own offices.
55. Focus on companies that consistently have the highest levels of providing visa sponsorship
56. Focus on companies with high rates of 'certified' (approved) H1B visa applications.
57. Focus on companies that have solid track records of recruiting overseas from the global talent pool.
58. Sometimes focusing on companies that were founded by immigrants, or that have higher numbers of Foreign national employees, can often be more accepting of applications for H1B sponsorship.
59. The right job with the 'right' company; provides increased opportunity to get a visa approved and issued, increased immigration safety for you while you're in the USA, and a better and more secure career path.
Resume - U.S. Standardized 'Resumes' Generate Better Results
60. Applying to jobs and companies in the USA, requires transforming your CV into a US standardized and presented Resume.
61. Consider that a US style Resume is what US employers want, and expect to see.
62. US resume standards, formatting, content and presentation are very different to those used in other Countries for CV's.
63. Some information that is typically included in a CV can get the application instantly disqualified.
64. Never include your age, sex, religion, marriage status etc, as US employment/hiring laws prohibit this type of information being included.
65. Customize Your Resume: Take the extra steps to optimize, improve and customize your resume. Basic, generic resumes fail to catch the eye of hiring managers, and your resume has to stand out and get noticed.
66. Proofread 3x: Make sure that you do not have any spelling or grammatical errors on your resume (US spelling for many common, every day words can be different).
67. Streamline Your List of Pertinent Experience: streamline your resume and focus attention on your best and most recent experience first.
68. Make your resume is the right length that clearly shows all your most valuable skills, experience and attributes, and then remove anything that does not add a value proposition. The standard length for a US resume is 1 2 pages (make it short, sharp and straight to the point).
69. Use Active Verbs: Strong active verb usage adds extra strength to your resume.
70. Be Careful with Acronyms and Jargon: Make sure that any acronyms are spelled out to avoid confusion. Try to eliminate industry jargon unless you are 100% sure your interviewer will understand the reference.
71. Use hot keywords and keyword density techniques when applying through an employers online application system. Most of these systems are technologically advanced and automatically scan for the keywords relating to a job position, and, the density count of certain keywords. If your resume does not include the right balance of keywords / density count then it could get missed.
72. Send Your Resume in the Right File Format: Pay attention to the guidelines for sending in your resume. Failing to comply with file format standards can hurt your chances for an interview.
73. Make Your Resume More Reader-Friendly: Research shows that employers initially only take from 5-10 seconds to scan over resumes. If they dont see what theyre looking for, they move on to the next resume.
74. Use bullet-points and bolded titles to make it easy for employers to easily see and focus on the highlights of your resume.
75. Cut out Weak Responsibilities Words from Your Resume: Delete phrases like duties included, responsibilities included, or responsible for from your resume. Your resume should clearly communicate accomplishments and abilities, not just a standard text-book job description.
76. Consider adding a slight infusion of color for added stand-out value.
77. Make Your Resume Shareable: Online resumes are a great way to make your resume easy to share.
78. Do Not make it difficult for employers to contact you. Make it easy. If youre overseas always include the full International Country code before your telephone number, and try to include 2 contact telephone numbers if possible.
Interviews - Job Interviewing for Sponsorship Success
79. Be prepared to conduct a US style employment interview (most likely where the employer uses the Behavioral style interviewing technique). Just the same as a US resume is different from a CV, and US recruitment and interview processes can also be different from other Countries.
80. After all the time you've spent and all the hard work youve done to get to the interview stage, you dont want to take any risks. Learn, prepare and practice to make sure your efforts result in a successfull job / visa sponsorship offer.
81. Learn the key questions that US employers ask, and the different styles and techniques that US employers use when interviewing, and, make sure youre ready to answer H1B visa sponsorship related questions.
82. Practice Makes Perfect: Ask someone you know to play the role of an interviewer. Its better to practice, learn and improve in-front of a friend than to make mistakes in-front of an employer (mistakes do not make a very good first impression, and you might not get a second chance).
83. If you have the opportunity, a great way to practice is to set-up a video to record how you answer questions. Review the video for ways to improve your body language and style.
84. If youre interviewing by telephone, always use a landline. A dropped cell phone connection or unclear skype connection makes the interview process awkward and difficult, and its very frustrating and off-putting for busy managers.
85. Always Take Notes: This also shows preparation, organization, and respect for the interviewer. It also gives you quick, easy reference information you can use at a later stage.
86. Always Ask Questions: Dont be afraid to ask and always prepare a list of at least 5-10 key questions.
87. Dont be late. Be ready and prepared at least 10 Minutes Before the Interview: it gives you time to compose yourself and relax.
88. Be Decisive: Know what you want and explain your expectations to your prospective employer. The reason your there is to get a job offer so dont be shy.
89. Listen: Interview nerves and interviewer silence can often make us keep talking too much. Make sure you listen as much as you talk.
90. Youll often be surprised by what youll learn by asking great questions and listening attentively, and how you can use the information to your advantage during the interview and follow up process.
91. Confront Your Weaknesses: Employers usually ask what your weaknesses are. Dont be afraid to admit them and describe how you are working to improve. Keep this subject short, sharp and professional and try to move on to discuss your strengths.
92. Understand Why the Position Is Vacant: this question demonstrates your thorough preparation and may uncover any red flags you should follow-up on.
93. Make sure youve already learned and your fully prepared to address the situation about requiring work visa sponsorship, and how to overcome and answer any questions the employer may have.
94. Ask For the Job: Take the initiative. Remember that fortune favors the bold. If you feel that the interview went especially well, make it clear that you want to work there. You never know, you might get a job offer on the spot!
95. Personality Helps: Always try to inject a certain balance of professional humor into your job interview. Your personality and soft skills are equally important in an employers decision making process.
96. Sell Yourself: Dont be shy about your accomplishments and achievements. Be proud of them and let an employer clearly know how you can help them. At the same time, do not make any up or tell white lies (the truth always comes out).
97. Think Win/Win: Remember that you must solve a need for the employer, to get the position. Know how your unique experience and skills benefits the employer, and use it to your advantage.
- Use Online Social Media to Your Advantage
98. Employers are increasingly searching and reviewing online Social Media profiles of potential candidates.
99. What will potential employers see when they look at your 'social' profile ?. What first impression will they get of you ?
100. Make sure an employer sees what they want to see: a professional and responsible candidate, and great future employeeIts now a common part of their selection and decision making process.
101. Clean up Your Social Media Profiles: If you have a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other online social profile, review your profile to make sure it's professional and ready for an employer viewing and scrutiny.
102. Use social networks to your benefit and in a professional capacity to generate leads, follow a target list of potential employers, and to network yourself into a job by presenting the right image.
103. Stay Positive, Ambitious and Motivated: obtaining visa sponsorship is a process and it can take time. Focus on the most effective methods and strategies that are proven to consistently work the most successfully (not just the standard ones that every other job seeker is using in the mass-market).
104. Never lose sight of what's waiting for you at the finish line. A new career and life in the USA is very achievable. Implement all the proven best-practices into your search, use them all to your best advantage and you can succeed. If you want assistance click here
105. If you have questions or want further advice, please contact one of qualified and experienced visa sponsorship counselors or career advisors who can help and assist you
Additional Tips and Guides to help improve:
* the following guides are PDF's
Cover Letter Writing Skills
Resume Writing Skills
Salary Negotiation Skills
Career Planning and Advancement
H1 Base has specialized in helping International professionals and students find and obtain H1B jobs and visa sponsorship in the USA, for over 12 years.
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