The Step-by-Step Process of the Immigrant Job Search

When we migrate to a new country, we restart. It is a new life, a unique opportunity to rethink career, dreams, goals, and general life purpose. Where do you want to get to by the end of your professional career? A range of new possibilities opens up for you with new opportunities and new challenges, too. One moving from a country to another has the endeavor of overcoming linguistic barriers, creating a network from scratch, and proving their worth in a wholly new market with protocols and expectations different from those in their home country. Is it easy? No! But it is a profoundly enriching experience that can bring a lot of satisfaction, happiness, and prosperity in the end.

But, before you get there; there is a long way of cultural adaptation and job searching. There is a lot of learning and unfamiliar information to process. It is normal to get a little bit lost initially, not knowing where to start and which way to follow. We created a mapping of steps the professional needs to take to find a job in a new country. We hope this serves as a base for your planning and eases the feeling of confusion and unawareness, giving you clarity and direction, based on the experience of someone who has already walked this path and helped others to walk it as well. Each journey is unique; some people do not need to go through all those steps, but here goes a general set of phases and processes involved for most of the population.

1.   First Step – Master the language

If you already mastered the language, you can go straight to the second step. After settling down in the United States – you made friends, built a support network, enrolled your kids in school, discovered where the supermarkets are, got health insurance, chose doctors for your family, bought your car, and got a driver’s license, then you are ready to begin your job search process. The first step is to speak English fluently; this is the primary condition for the market. It is paramount to invest heavily in English fluency! No fluency in English means minimal professional opportunities!

At Altitude, we help you through this process! We have several resources for English learning to share with you, online and free resources. We can help you find a TESOL course close to you; and for the ones who want to invest in more customized and private learning, we recommend an excellent teacher and consultant in English who teaches the ones interested via Skype. So, please, if you are looking for orientation about English and want to improve it, count on Altitude. We have all the information you need and will help you find the most appropriate one in your case.

2.   Second Step: Make a sworn translation of diplomas and educational background and get a degree equivalence

If you already have your translated documents and equivalence, you can skip to the third step. It is necessary to get a sworn translation of your diplomas and educational background if you had not done it before arriving here. The translation has to be made by a sworn translator with authorization from the American government to translate official documents. We can recommend some sworn translators, in case you need one.

After that, you need to go through the process of equivalence – the sworn translation of those documents is used for evaluation and identification of the diploma compatibility with the American expectations concerning a graduation course. In most cases, if you have a diploma recognized by the Department of Education of your country, your qualification will be validated here. You do not need to start from zero! Do you know how to go through that process? Do you know which organizations are entitled to those equivalence procedures? We do! And we do want to give you all this information. We are here to provide you with all the support in that process and tell you which way to follow. We want to recommend some organizations, advise you on what will be required, and explain to you how to meet those requirements. At Altitude, we can help you through the whole process of translation and diploma equivalence.

3.   Third Step: Check the education level required for the profession you want and if it demands certification

Most jobs here in the United States require professional certification. We help you find orientation concerning yours. In some cases, it is necessary to take extra classes to get the certificate needed. The certification process includes an exam you take after finishing all the additional courses (if additional classes are required). If you are a good professional and know how to study effectively, you will likely be successful in that exam.

In a lot of situations, it is mandatory to hold a Master’s Degree after graduation to be able to work in some professions. That is the case of areas such as Psychology and Social Service, for instance. You can get jobs as an assistant in your practice area, but you need to hold a Master’s Degree to work as a therapist or social worker. We help you identify the steps to work in your profession and discover which other jobs you could immediately get in your desired area.

4. Fourth Step: Situational analysis, the definition of your professional profile and career planning

The next step is to define your purpose, your dreams, your professional profile, and your goals in the short, medium, and long term. It is possible to go straight to your final goal, but in some cases, you may have to go through intermediate goals that will, in the long term, help you get to your ultimate goal. You may have to start in a position below the one you had in your home country and work hard to develop from there. If the language is still a barrier, maybe you will have to work for a period in positions that do not require much English to survive, until your language fluency is adequate to your professional needs.

One way or another, you will need a thorough and sequential plan of the steps you will have to take towards your goal. We are here to create it side-by-side with you. Do you have a purpose defined for your life? Where do you want to get by the end of your career? Surviving is the priority on the scale of needs, but we should not limit ourselves to that level; we have to attempt to grow, it brings satisfaction to life. At Altitude, we help you find a job, but we also help you draw a life plan to achieve your dream job and professional happiness. Some immigrants settle down at the survival level and have this limiting belief that it is impossible to fly higher. Studying, working hard with enthusiasm and determination, you can progressively fly higher, regardless of your status as an immigrant.

5.  Fifth Step: Research the job market and the requirements for the intended position and professional development to meet the market expectations

The job searching process at Altitude always has a professional development element. The focus is not only on getting a job but becoming the ideal applicant, raising your recruitment chances, and succeeding in the position after employment. When we make the market research to write the résumé, we usually identify some market expectations that might require a specific professional development from you. It could be a course, a necessary skill, a weak point you need to improve to have more chances in the recruitment process; we will work on whatever it takes; every case is different. At Altitude, we work so that you become the ideal applicant if you are not one yet. As we identify the requirements for the targeted vacancy, we compare your profile, educational background, psychological characteristics, and competencies with the vacancy demands. We help you search for the development you need to become an ideal applicant for the job if we identify any lack of skill. In general, that process happens simultaneously, along with other procedures, from the very moment we start the market research for the résumé creation. Do you realize that you need to know the market expectations to promote yourself accordingly? If you do not have the qualifications for the desired vacancy at the moment, what will you do? Give up? Never! Search for orientation at Altitude, and we will help you identify the development processes you need. If necessary, we can help you find a university, financial aid, scholarship opportunities, and help you in the process of being admitted to a university.

The only area in which you cannot take advantage of your original course is Law, because the laws are different here, and they vary from state to state. However, it is possible to get credit for classes you have already taken to shorten the length of time required to get the Juris Doctor degree to work as a lawyer in the The United States. Another option in the Law area is to take a technical course and work as a paralegal, a legal assistant. The certification in Medicine also requires specific steps, but your graduation will be validated here in general.

6.   Sixth Step: Work on the standard American résumé and cover letter in English

Once you have gone through the first steps mentioned above and defined what will be the first job you will target, we will write the Résumé in American style based on your accomplishments and competencies, describing you in a spectacular way! It is an in-depth process involving: market research, acknowledgment of what you have to offer, knowing your professional successes, and articulating all that knowledge in the market language. In 3-6 sessions, you will discuss questions relevant to the collection of all the data necessary to write the résumé. We need to know your professional story to be able to write about it. We also write, in cooperation with you, a cover letter that will be attached to your Résumé. That is not so common in some countries, but it is part of the job search ritual here. Recommendation and endorsement letters are another essential part of the job search process. At Altitude, we guide you regarding all the procedures to get those letters. We teach how to write a recommendation or endorsement letter, to whom you should ask a recommendation letter and, besides that, what needs to be written in the message. We also help to translate them. Do you have a résumé that is trendy, modern, impacting, and in the market language yet? Do you know all the processes involved in the job search? It is not just sending the résumé! Talk to us, and we will be glad to help you with all those actions. That is one of my favorite steps in the process: when we help you see yourself with different eyes and learn how to tell the success stories in your life. Our clients, in general, are surprised by the end of this step. And that reaction is priceless to us! We love to see our clients happy with themselves and with our work!

7.   Seventh Step: Create or improve the LinkedIn profile in English and learn how to use the platform resources

After writing the résumé, we help you create an attractive and engaging LinkedIn profile. We are trained to do it, and we keep ourselves up-to-date to the main trends and innovations in that platform that is ever-changing. We help you create your profile and orient you on how to leverage LinkedIn in your job search. Yes, it is not enough to create your profile; it is necessary to know how to use all the features on LinkedIn and network!

Some of our clients have no idea of how to create their LinkedIn profile, but even those who already have one on LinkedIn benefit from the orientations, getting new insights into aspects they didn’t know before. It is not enough to have a LinkedIn account; it is fundamental to understand how to use it! Do you have a profile yet? Do you know how to manage all the features? If not, you know what to do! Get in touch with Altitude! We will take your profile to a higher altitude.

8.   Eighth Step: Develop a job search strategic plan

You need several strategies to maximize your chances of getting a job. Taking your profile as a basis, we help you identify the target companies that are compatible with you and explore the most varied strategies according to your case, choosing the ones more suitable to your situation.

Great emphasis is given to Networking strategies, responsible for 80-95% of the hiring. Consider also that 80% of jobs are filled by networking without even being publicly advertised, and that is why we focus so much on that.

9.   Ninth Step: Understand how interviews and recruitment processes work in the United States and get ready for them

The next step is preparing for the interviews that will follow as the result of the job search strategies and the phenomenal résumé we wrote. We help you understand the recruitment processes and how they work: to know the most common questions asked on interviews; to structure your answers; to establish an excellent non-verbal communication, facial expressions, and gestures; to research the company and your recruiter; to deal with different recruiter profiles, to negotiate your salary, to behave adequately, to get ready for online interviews and other issues related. At the end of the process, we help you to practice everything you learned, leading up to one or two simulations so that you can test your performance.

10. Tenth Step: Put the plan into practice and reassess it continuously until you hear: HIRED!

After understanding each strategy, in each session, we define some practical tasks to be executed each week. In each following session, we evaluate what you did, the difficulties you had, the successes you achieved, and adjust the strategic plan accordingly. We keep revising everything you learned in the process, and we help you with the questions you might have when you put the plan into action.

The journey is long, but with persistence and courage, you will get there, one step at a time! Your career will fill a significant part of your life and will be responsible for a great deal of happiness and contentment that you will experience in the future. A proper job search means life quality for you and your family, not only from the financial and security perspective but also from the accomplishment and personal satisfaction perspectives. Many times, we start taking short flights, but it is possible to fly higher and further. And this is the motto of Altitude: We help you fly higher towards new destinations and new Altitudes! Dear immigrant, you can!

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