Job-Search Advice to Non-Native English Speakers

Fair or not, it’s going to be tougher for you to get a job than your American counterparts. There are several reasons why, including the tighter restrictions on H1-B visas, and the fact that American recruiters may not feel entirely confident in your English skills, your ability to adjust to American culture, and so on. This doesn’t mean that finding a job is impossible for you (or easy for your American peers), but just be prepared for a few extra hills in that marathon of yours.

Your Solution: Know More Than They Do

What is the best thing you can do to fight back in a tough job search world? Become an expert! Despite the incredible effort and energy international students and professionals have devoted to getting into business school and coming to the United States to study or work, some know little to nothing about what is involved in obtaining an H1-B visa, which is what a company will need to obtain if you’re going to become their full-time, long-term employee in the United States.

Instead, students expect or assume that their schools and future employers will deal with the paperwork, lawyers, and other immigration issues that typically come up when an American company wants to hire a non-U.S. citizen. This is a no-no, mon ami.

Many employers are under the impression that it’s really difficult to “sponsor” an employee. This is really tragic, because it is one of the primary reasons why companies won’t even consider interviewing international students, and consequently, you will get overlooked for jobs that you’d otherwise be qualified for. The truth is that it is far less difficult and less expensive to hire an international student than they think. The very large, global employers are educated about this process – but many of the medium-sized or smaller companies may not understand what is involved in hiring a non-U.S. citizen. (By the way, these are the companies I recommend you go after – because there is less competition and greater flexibility inside the organization. In particular, seek out employers who have hired other people from your country of origin so there is already a process in place.)

The lesson? You’ve got to know more than they do when it comes to hiring you as a foreign national because potential employers may not know much about the process.

The good news? By becoming an expert in everything H1-B, you will be smooth as silk when the whole ‘sponsorship’ issue comes us. Rather than avoid the question, “Are you authorized to work in the United States?” you’ll answer confidently knowing that you’ve got plenty of information and solutions to help any potential employer deal with the paperwork and perceive obstacle of hiring you.