Helpful Tips for your Job Search in the US

Applying for a job seems to be different in every country, at least to me with my limited experience in Germany, Spain and the US. It is not only the language, but also the information on an application and how the whole recruiting process is handled. During my first month in California my aim was to find out where to look for jobs, how to write an application and how the recruitment process works.

For all this I can highly recommend the Stanford Career Development Center, which is a great source. They offer a very helpful career-planning handbook for your job search, writing applications and interviewing. There is a library with literature and employer research. Moreover the Career Development Center offers excellent workshops and do not forget to check out the calendar for career fairs to meet potential employers.

If you are planning to visit a workshop, let your partner, who is enrolled at Stanford, create a cardinal careers account in his/her name. Through this account you can easily sign up for workshops in his/her name. Services from the Stanford Career Development Center are mainly offered to Stanford students. However it is available for spouses too.

A very important fact of job search is networking. Let people know what you are looking for. Prepare for a so called “elevator pitch”: Imagine you meet a hiring manager of a company you want to work in an elevator. Within a few minutes you have to make a unique impression in letting the hiring manager know what you are looking for and what skills and experience you have to offer.

Possibilities for networking, start at the Friday morning coffee at Bechtel International Center and by looking for possibilities to volunteer, such as the Stanford Hospital, the German American Business Association (GABA) and many more. You can get a list of volunteering options at Bechtel International Center. Just ask for it at the Friday morning coffee.

Least but not last, let me give you a quick overview about the recruiting process as I experienced it:

  1. Networking, research potential employers and look for job offers.
  2. Find out more about the market/ your field through an informal interview. Ask   people, who work in the field for information, not for a job (see Stanford University career-planning handbook, page 11)
  3. 3.Evaluate job offers and do research about the company/ organization.
  4. Write your application. Focus on the benefits you are able to bring to the company, supported by examples of your experience instead of listing your experience and ticking of required skills.
  5. Send your application. My recommendation is to always send it to your own email to double check before sending it to the potential employer. Have your resume below your cover letter in the email, plus attach it as a .doc (see Stanford University career-planning handbook, page 30)
  6. You will than receive a confirmation by email. Most companies and organizations only get back to you, if the skills match with their needs, which is than followed by
  7. An email or a call to schedule a telephone interview. Let the caller know if the time is not convenient for you. Let them know, which is a better time for you and offer to call back. Have the job description, your cover letter and resume in front of you to look at it. Prepare for possible interview questions (see page 47, Stanford University career-planning handbook). To give a positive impression, try to stand up and smile, when talking on the phone.
  8. Send a thank you letter or email to the caller. Confirm your interest in the job, if true. It is a good possibility to add anything you forgot to say in the interview.
  9. Next step is a personal interview. Prepare and do your homework. Get your outfit ready the day before and be on time.
  10. Send a thank you letter (see 7.)
  11. Sum up the interview and learn from your mistakes.
  12. Last step ideally would be an offer for the job, evaluating and negotiating a job  offer.

Think positive, if this job wasn’t it, there is something better awaiting you! Good luck!

Linda from Germany Blogging from Menlo Park

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