Want a Job?
Spoiler alert: I am not offering a job here and am not hiring.
I am a member of quite a few interest groups on Linked In, Facebook, and several other platforms.
I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend, especially in the Facebook technical groups. Someone posts a job, and hundreds of people post a response in the comments that looks like this:
Its difficult to tell in these responses whether people are really looking for work or just casually throwing their name out there, but some of these advertisements get hundreds of answers. As you can see, people even put their phone numbers and e-mails in the response, which is a risky thing in its own right.
With the world economy suffering due to the pandemic, it is even more important that people maximize their chances to land an interview. For every job posting, there can be hundreds or even thousands of applicants. The forums and groups I am members of are pretty much all technical sites, so at least many of the applicants are skilled.
I also receive a LOT of approaches on Linked In by people from other countries looking for work in the US. Perhaps they think my company is bigger than it actually is, or that I have some good connections. While I do have a pretty large connection base on Linked In, I could never recommend someone I hadn’t actually worked with.
I decided to write this post today primarily as advice to people from other countries looking for jobs in the US, Canada or Europe. Some of the tips I list here may be common sense to people in the the US, but from some of the responses I have seen and the approaches people have made to me, I think some of this bears repeating.
- Your resume needs to stand out from the rest. There are already lots of resources online that describe how to format a resume, so I am not going to list them here. Most of them will advise you to limit it to one or two pages, leave out information or dates that could make a company reject to solely because of age, and of course use good grammar and spell everything correctly! My favorite employment related radio program is the Ken Coleman show. His resume template can be found at https://www.kencoleman.com/resume-guide.
- Network. You need to make your resume rise to the top of the pile of Human Resources’ stack. Having awesome qualifications is not enough, the best way by far is knowing someone at your target company and getting them to champion your cause. Making connections at a particular company can be difficult and take time, but networking is the number one best shot you have at landing your dream job.
- These next few items are particular to people from non-North American and European countries. I teach classes to a lot of engineers from India, Pakistan and the Middle East. First, an applicant from outside of the country will need a Masters degree to compete with the Bachelors degree citizen. Fair or not, that’s the way it is. Also your English skills will need to be excellent and you should have a perfectly formatted resume.
- You need to already be in the US or Europe legally. Most engineers I have met here got their engineering Masters degree in the US and then applied while here. Keep in mind that the hiring company needs to sponsor you, which costs money and involves a lot of paperwork. I receive so many connection requests from people hoping to emigrate to the US and Europe for work; your chance of landing a job when not here is essentially zero. Also immigration policies in the US have tightened up considerably over the past few years.
- Be Tenacious. Don’t just blindly send your resume out to hundreds of companies hoping that one will stick. Follow up with the company or the people who interviewed you.
- Be the best you can be where you are. If you aren’t the best programmer/designer/technician in your own area, how can you hope to compete with a worldwide pool of applicants?
I really do feel for people who are looking for work in these times. Especially if you are from a country that has high unemployment and poverty. One of the things I am working on is a low-cost membership site that will have a bunch of good technical training resources. I had already planned to put various PLC programs and many of my unpublished videos there, but I have decided to also put some employment search resources there also, as well as some advice for people who plan on freelancing/contracting/starting their own business.
My new site will be up sometime in September, but let me know if you need information or resource help before then. These are tough times for everyone.