A job application that you fill out, is actually more like a business card that you give out to people and a lot of perception is made based on it. Therefore, it is very important to understand how the process of job applications work in United States.
Like most countries, landing a job in US also requires you to have a well-structured and formatted CV (Resume). However, the format of a Resume in the US may differ from the one that you were using in India. For example, here in the United States, Work Experience comes right at the top of the Resume.
Applying for a job here in the US? Consider it as an elevator pitch or think of it as having only a minute in front of an audience to introduce yourself and highlight your strengths. That’s how your Resumes should be – short and concise.
Below are a few Do’s and Don’ts that you should follow while drafting that winning Job Application:
· Send a complete application (Resume, Application, Cover Letter, Copies of certificates)
· Check that the messaging is clear. Keep your sentences short and precise.
· Provide facts and figures, certificates – to prove your achievements.
· Mention your soft skills
· Include projects that show your skills
· Define your goals
· Include your Personal Information such as Marital status, Picture, DOB etc.
· Try to include everything that you’ve ever done in life
· Create a Resume that is longer than 1 page
· Excessively use “I” in your application
· Include irrelevant hobbies
1. Personal details – Name etc.
2. Summary statement: one or two phrases with your skills/experience.
3. Employment history: start with your most recent job and go in a descending order.
4. Education: Start with the latest and go in Descending order. If possible, try to convert your percentage system to a CGPA system.
5. Language proficiency: be specific about your language level.
6. Special skills: don’t state the obvious like Word, Google etc.
7. Relevant hobbies: sports or communities that require social interaction are good options.
Consider your cover letter as something that introduces you to your potential employer. It is your first impression. The cover letter helps you to announce your intentions, your education as well as your experience to a potential employer. Your cover letter should be brief, clear and to the point.
Now, why do we write cover letters?
The idea behind writing a cover letter is to show that you are the best person for the job that was posted. Whatever, you write, it should be convincing, show genuine motivation and make the person want to know more about you. Add a bit of a personal touch if you want to make your application stand out.
You should always express what you expect from the job you are applying. Try to cover your strengths applicable to this job and may be explain why you want to change jobs. Do not write more than one page and make sure you check your grammar.
Once your Resume is ready and you start applying for jobs, don’t sit back and wait for the companies to reach out to you. Try to be proactive and follow up by sending them e-mails or calling them up. If they’ve told you that they will respond on a particular day and if they don’t then either call them up or drop an e-mail politely enquiring about the status of your application. The idea is to be persistent but reasonably.
The next step is usually an Interview. The interview can be multiple rounds. It usually starts with a customary telephonic interview where the HR calls your to gauge your skills and your background and verifies if you are eligible for the next round.
If you proceed to the next round/s, that is when things get serious.
If English is not your mother tongue, practice, practice, practice.
Please be on time for your interviews. Try to dress formally unless specifically mentioned. Research the company beforehand and be prepared to discuss your relevant skills. Corporate cultures have their own individual values and mission. You want to show you understand and share them.
An American interview is typically formal and efficient. It begins with introductions & handshakes After the introduction, there may be some casual conversation. However, after that it is down to serious business.
As Indians, we are quite modest about our achievements when it comes to speaking about them in front of someone we are in awe of. However, in the US you are expected to sell yourself. Modesty is a virtue in real life but not when you are looking for a job. Try to be open and clear, talk freely about your achievements. If your previous companies are not well known here, explain what you company used to do and what was your role.