I know that the United States is a dream for many of us. We often have a vision of a country with a ton of professional opportunities. And that can represent a stepping stone for our careers. But we also dream of the USA through what we see in movies, TV shows, and music videos. The desire to settle there is so strong because we’ve been immersed in the American Dream since childhood. And we are often willing to do anything to make this dream come true.
Unfortunately, the competition to settle across the Atlantic is extremely high. And few people can actually « make it there ». We quickly realized it with Max when we started the process of leaving France to live and work in the USA. Finding a job is an obstacle course in itself. But then, you still have to solve the work visa issue!
With USponsor Me, I also discovered that most foreigners wanting to live and work in the USA don’t have any idea of what they have to achieve to do so. We are never really prepared for the complexity of expatriation in the United States. And we are so determined that we often prefer to ignore the signs that cry out that we are on the wrong track.
In this article, I wanted to discuss these signs more specifically, which I met myself or observed with the people I coached. These are not necessarily categorical signals that you have zero chance of living and working in the USA. But rather, they make you realize that you are doing things off course from how you should. They also help you see that you must change your strategy (and quickly) if you want to make your dream come true.
1. You spend hours creating your resume …
The first sign that should reveal that you are on the wrong track is the time you spend writing your resume before making your first move. It’s already a real headache when you have to apply for a position in your own country. So, when you have to adapt your resume to a completely different labor market, and to a new corporate culture, it’s even more complicated! And if you’re a perfectionist (like me), it’s even worse!
… but it’s never really suited to the American market.
If you spend hours and hours listening to all that is being said on the net and redoing your resume multiple times because what’s-his-name told you that, but whoever told you something else, you’re going to waste your time and energy. This does not mean that you should not adapt your application to the offer; you MUST adapt it. The most important thing is to have a good foundation.
And for that, you have to be inspired by the template recruiters are used to. Further, it has to be the one which they can find in a few seconds, filtering only the information they are looking for. Otherwise, even your diplomas and many years of experience in the sector will not be enough to get you an interview.
To be absolutely sure, it’s simple. Send four applications, and see how many responses you get. If you do not have at least three answers, you have a problem with the quality of your documents. So, even if you target the offers you’re applying for, or the employers that sponsor the visa, you still need a good resume and a good cover letter. Otherwise, your application will not even be read by a human being.
2. You apply for all the open jobs you can find on generalist websites.
A / You apply for all the job ads you can find.
This is the second most obvious sign that you do not have the right strategy to go live and work in the USA, at all. Many foreigners are willing to accept any job, only so they can move to the United States. They look at all the open jobs and apply for almost all of those located in U.S. cities or states they are interested in.
If this is your case … I have bad news for you. You have almost no chance of realizing your dream. This method is absolutely inefficient. The employer will not hire a non-passionate and desperate person. Would you do it if you were in their place?
B / You apply for job ads on generalist websites.
So, you spent several hours refining your resume and cover letter. And after applying for an ad that perfectly matches your skills, and located in the city and state that you are interested in, you finally receive the answer of a recruiter!
Full of hope, you open your email and … it’s the cold shower. He tells you that although your profile is very interesting, he cannot follow up on your application. Why? Simply because his company does not sponsor the visa for foreign workers.
Honestly, it is often the fatal blow for all of you who wish to live and work in the USA. After investing so much energy and placing so much hope in an offer for which you know that you have the right profile, you find yourself facing a closed door. And having absolutely no leverage to change things.
Less than 5% of American companies sponsor the visa.
As a reminder … You do not technically have the right to work in the USA. You do not hold U.S. citizenship or have a Green Card, which means that you need a visa to get a job. The problem is not just that not all companies sponsor visas, but that those who do are usually able to sponsor only certain types of work visas. Do you know that only 1 in 16 companies in the United States recruit and sponsor the visa?
On a generalist website, you will almost never have this information. Nor any indication on the type of visa for which you are eligible. The generalist job boards are very useful for finding a job if you are an American or a Green Card holder, but they are not made for foreigners who need a visa. The risk is to spend hours applying for jobs in companies that technically CANNOT hire you. Do you see how counterproductive it is?
3. You are applying … and you are waiting.
The main difficulty you often share with me about your job search in the U.S. is to simply not receive any response to your applications. I’ve already told you about it, but it’s also a situation I had to face. Although I sent dozens and dozens of resumes, I had virtually no feedback from recruiters. And that made me literally crazy. It’s extremely frustrating to feel like you’re working really hard for no results at all. But it’s even harder to not understand what you are doing wrong.
Well, I have some figures that should help you to see things more clearly. According to a study made by LinkedIn, one in three Americans is actively looking for a job. I don’t know if you realize what this represents, but more than 400 million people, already living in the United States, are looking for a new job. It’s a huge competition (not to mention foreign workers)! And 75% of them do this by applying online: exactly like you do!
It means that for each job ad to which you will apply, you must assume that the company will receive an average of 250 applications. It is impossible for the recruiter to read them all; thus, they will select between 5 and 10% of them with an ATS robot (Applicant Tracking System) for the biggest companies. And they won’t even bother to open the rest. This means that you have less than a 5% chance that the recruiter will read your resume. And you have a 95% chance that it will end up in the trash of their mailbox!
If you have no response to your applications, look for no further explanations. You are simply in this notorious 95%.
4. And you start again …
When your efforts don’t work, you think it’s probably because of your resume. So, you start all over again! You go back to step 1 and always do the same thing.
You’re going to rework your resume for the umpteenth time because you saw this on the net, or what’s-his-name online said that you should. And then you’ll send more applications to try to get answers, etc. You can spend a lot of time like this … All year long, maybe even a decade.
Am I wrong?
Stop wasting your time!
Understand that the above efforts are absolutely useless. You lose a lot of energy applying for positions that you don’t like or for which your profile doesn’t match, with a resume reviewed thousands of times, for a 5% chance of being contacted by a recruiter.
The lesson you need to draw here is that you have to use the time you invest in your research in a smarter way. This is because, even if you are one of the five resumes that will finally land an interview for the job, you must understand that you leave with a serious handicap compared to other candidates. Even if your profile is interesting, you do not technically have the permission to work in the United States. And you are not even there to do the interview. Do you still think it’s the right way to find a job in the United States?
When you start with such a handicap, you have to be smarter than the others. And you have to go get the job openings for which you are not likely to be competing with so many American candidates.
The solution to sign number 1: make your resume once and for all, and stick to it!
Invest in a good training and stick to it. At the very least, you will have a good resume. If you want to be ultra-safe, have it read by a professional. Or if you don’t want to take a minimum amount of time to do it yourself, have it redone by an expert, and that’s it! Then don’t touch it anymore!!!
When you adapt your resume to the job for which you are applying, you will only have to change a few words / phrases / titles to match the offer. Nothing more! To download resume and cover letter templates that fit the American market and are ATS-friendly: click here.
The solution to sign number 2. A: apply only for the jobs that you like that are also open to foreigners.
We are talking about your career. You must have a solid project. Why go to the United States if it’s not to build your career? You must know what you want to do, and push in that direction.
Also, consider why a company would need to hire you as a foreigner. Why would a recruiter want to hire you, rather than an American? If you have no experience in the U.S. labor market, there is no reason a recruiter should focus on your resume rather than a U.S. worker’s resume. Except for certain criteria. You must consider this reality so that you can target the job ads for which you have a strategic advantage.
Most often, this can be related to your skills and experience for the position you are applying for. But that’s not always enough. The best way to stand out is to target the needs that an American cannot meet. Like the fact that you are a master in your mother tongue and / or another culture’s.
To find out what type of businesses recruit foreigners in the United States, do research here on your business and industry.
The solution to sign number 2. B: focus only on companies that recruit foreigners.
I know it may sound unfair, but you have to accept the situation as it is. Less than 5% of U.S. companies sponsor work visas. If you do not immediately target them in your research, you will quickly lose all your strength and motivation.
It is precisely for this reason that I decided to create USponsor Me. When I was looking to live and work in the USA, and starting to coach foreigners who had the same desire to settle in the United States, I realized that there was no job board on which this search filter was offered.
In our search engine, you will only find companies that have already recruited foreign workers and offered non-immigrant work visas, with open jobs flagged with guaranteed visa sponsorship, or jobs with a good visa score. So you will be able to target the job ads for which you have a real chance of being recruited, and save a lot of time!
The solution to sign number 3: do not wait. Act!
You built a strong resume that you trust. You know what you want, and you found the job openings that match your profile with an employer that sponsors the visa. Then what?
There are four different job search strategies:
- applying to open jobs
- sending unsolicited applications
- using the direct approach strategy
- using your network
The strategy that works best in the U.S., and especially when you’re foreign, is the direct approach. The direct approach can be used when there is an open job, as well as when there’s not, without having any network. And if you do not find open jobs in your field, I have good news for you! According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly 80% of job vacancies are never published online. For all these opportunities, companies will recruit internally, or use their network. But above all, they will not be buried under thousands of applications. The question is: where can you find them!?
On USponsor Me, you will have very easy access to companies that recruit foreigners. Target (with our search filters) the industry and location you are interested in. Then, select the decision makers on the inside, and contact them directly with the direct approach strategy! I plan to write an article to explain what exactly this technique is. If you are interested in the subject, let me know in the comment section below!! I will know that this topic is very urgent for you, and I will review my priorities so that I can write and publish it very quickly. 😉
The solution to sign number 4 …
If you follow all of the 1 to 3 solutions, you will not even have to worry about sign number 4. This is because the method you will now use will be more effective than the vicious cycle in which you were trapped before…
Did you recognize yourself in one of these four signs that you will not live and work in the USA? What was your strategy to overcome them? Share your experience in the comments; we are interested! 🙂