As a career coach for immigrant professionals in the US, I love my job and who I get to work with every day.
Despite what you may see in the media about how immigrants are portrayed, we are a hardworking bunch who have staked our entire lives on the belief that we will make our American dream happen.
I work with many skilled immigrant professionals and international students who have great credentials: Master’s degrees, MBA’s, PhDs, as well as professional degrees, but the one obstacle that they all face is when it comes to the job search.
With immigration reform up in the air, it can be difficult to forecast what will come next for skilled immigrants in the US, however, there are 3 steps that any skilled immigrant can take to ensure they’ll get their next $100,000+ a year job:
Go for Jobs That are in High Demand by the USCIS
As Michelle Obama has said, “our greatness has always depended on contributions from people who were born elsewhere but sought out this country and made it their home.”
This is especially evident in the STEM fields, and as of the time of this writing, STEM majors have the advantage of being able to extend their OPT by 3 years.
If you have not yet chosen your field of study, it would be extremely beneficial for you to look at what fields are easiest to get H-1Bs in if your goal is to stay and work in the US with a work visa.
Unfortunately job titles do matter when it comes time for the H-1B: a web developer is less likely to get an H-1B than if you say software engineer because there is such a high demand for STEM professionals in the US.
However, if you are simply not inclined to study in the STEM fields, that is also completely fine, just understand to hire an experienced immigration lawyer who can help you get a better chance of matching your degree with the job you are looking for.
Because the demand for good software engineers is so huge, my clients who were able to get $115,000+ base salaries are typically in the IT field, so one of the easiest ways to reverse engineer that success is to go for already high paying jobs, so all you have to do is to get the offer
Network Relentlessly to Find Your Next Opportunity
One of the disadvantages that immigrants have in the US is that we come to the US, and our network is all in our home country.
The great news is that once you know the process of building a network, things become simple.
As a Chinese woman I understand that much of my culture is focused on passing a test to get great cushy jobs as a civil servant, but things don’t work out this way in American corporations.
Like or not, the stupider classmate who knows how to network is the one who is able to get the great job at the Big 5, great tech companies, and more, because if they don’t know you―they can’t hire you.
Most of what I teach my clients is how to break past feeling embarrassed about their accent, lack of knowledge in American culture, and own fears to network with bosses who can hire them and potential co-workers who can refer.
Sell Yourself on Job Interviews
I really love coaching my clients on interviews because within a few hours, I can LITERALLY see them go from not sure how to introduce themselves to becoming impressed with their OWN stories, just transformed in a different package.
While many Asian countries don’t even HAVE behavioral interviews, it’s important to note that how you respond to behavioral questions in US companies can make or break you.
Thankfully, learning how to tell your story on job interviews is not something that you’re either born with or not. You can definitely develop it with the right methods and practice, and I’ve seen my clients go from being rejected by as many as 15 companies in a row, and completely transform on interviews and getting a job within 3 weeks.
So there you have it, if you are a skilled immigrant in the US, understand the 3 steps to get you further in your dream job: 1. Find jobs that are in high demand, that can sponsor your work visa 2. Network relentlessly, and 3. Sell yourself on interviews.
If you’re interested in learning more about my complete system for helping you land your next 6 figure dream job in the US, here is a link to grab my newest book: The Employed Immigrant: How to Land Your Next 6 Figure Dream Job in the US