Let’s start with comparing Swimming with Job Search (The Wrong Way).
Assumption: You don’t know how to swim.
Yet, you are standing at the edge of a swimming pool that’s 20 ft deep. You feel the rush to dive. But, if you jump, it’s possible that you could drown. But, you want to jump into the pool and you want to feel the adrenaline rush. Just when you are contemplating what to do, a 3 year old comes running and dives into the same 20 ft deep water. How does it feel, what can you do and what would you do here?
Well, I think you have two options:
- Hire a coach and learn to swim.
- Jump into the pool and fight for your life.
Now, let’s dive into the Job Search Methods. This article is Part 2 of Job Search experiences from International students on F1 Visa or on OPT.
When I was editing the above article, I was thinking to myself,
- Why did he apply to so 968 jobs?
- Did he build his professional network?
- Did he ask or find referrals?
If you are applying for 10 to 100 jobs a day, I think you are doing the following:
- Find few jobs titles that you are interested
- Search for those job titles in job boards
- Apply for the jobs using the a single resume
- By going to individual company sites (or)
- Submitting the resume via mass job application sites
That’s what I call “Brute Force” method for Job Applications and it tends to produce less than 20% response rate as the one of best job search guides out there – What Color is Your Parachute.
Now, let me take you back to swimming analogy.
Brute Force applications like fight for your life after you jumped into 20 foot deep water without a life vest. Believe it or not, that’s what most students are doing. And, it works for some and for the most, it doesn’t work. Others just give-up and go to a consultant. So, what can you do as if you are approaching the job search with a swim coach?
Let’s look at another student on F1 Visa and his approach towards job search. This F-1 student did not apply for 100’s of job a day, but found a full-time job.
My Full-Time Job Search Experience
My views might sound controversial, but I also experienced the job scenarios over here in the U.S.A. on F1 Visa and OPT. And I would like to share my perspective.
Briefly, I come from a non-CS background, with work experience in non-technical and non-consulting stream. I went for a Masters degree which was business oriented, completely non-technical.
Financial Engineering does have a lot of Math and programming/modeling involved. I empathize with the author with his scenario, but being on the East Coast, with NJ being the hub of most of the jobs and it’s proximity to NYC, Philadelphia and Boston, makes it a risk free first choice for a lot of students. If you have ever been to NJ, a trip to Piscataway, Edison, Somerville and you will see the population of decent job first generation immigrants is extremely high and most of the immigrants here are on H1B (Straight from India) or on F1 OPT, implying high concentration of jobs.
I question the Author’s approach of applying to jobs. The American job scenario and approach to it is very different from the job application scenario in India. Indian jobs prefer work experience, more the experience, the better applicant you are.
[x_pullquote type=”left”]American jobs are more about the right ‘fit’.[/x_pullquote] American/Indian-American companies look for the applicant who would fit into the company with the least friction and hassle. Also, resume, education and visa eligibility come into the picture with these companies. When the author says he applied to 968 jobs, I question the quality of these submissions.
- Did he research the company if they are in a field related to his course of study/his interests?
- Did he update his resume according to the company? Was it concise and presentable?
- Did the author check if the company even hires OPTs or is it H1B/Green Card.
- Did he connect with employees with tools such as LinkedIn?
- If he was just applying to jobs throughout this time, was he able to even focus on studies?
- Is the author’s communication skills better than average?
- Did he get his resume verified by career services team?
- Did he network at the career fairs?
When it comes to job searches, the perspective that either you have what it takes or not overly simplifies the scenario and puts tremendous pressure on potential future applicants.
I think mass applications is a highly demotivating and inefficient way of job search. I would apply for three jobs a day. Before we even begin applying, we should ask ourselves some of the questions which I mentioned above.
It’s not about increasing the sample space of companies which you apply to, it’s about having the right mix in your applications.
I have seen this perspective with some of my fellow batchmates. This approach is harmful in many ways (as mentioned below.)
- You live in constant denial.
- It creates an atmosphere of utmost fear and uncertainty.
- The more you get rejected, the more demotivated you are.
- You are not able to concentrate and focus on your studies, the thing which actually matters! I saw my friends not contributing to anything in the class, just because their motivations were very different. This is counterproductive to everyone.
- It affects your GPA.
- You are not able to enjoy the awesome American education system.
The flooding-the-market with a resume is an approach which works, but seldom you get decent jobs. Also, I think the author did not research really well before he joined the course.
Why New Jersey? It’s Expensive
Saving $2 in NJ’s cold? This state is the most expensive state I have lived in the US. The area around Hoboken is extremely expensive. If cost was such an issue, it would have been better to apply to other universities which were not expensive, thus avoiding author walking in adverse weather condition and harming his/her own health. It does not make you a survivor, it just makes you take unnecessary risk and play with your health! Seriously? That much for the American Dream?
All the colleges put up their career numbers on the website. You can look at those numbers and pivot your application strategy along those lines. Also, a general knowledge here is that most of the jobs are located in the consulting/core technical fields.
At the end of the discussion, I want to share my job search experience.
[x_pullquote type=”left”]I applied to maybe 50 jobs and attended only 2 career fairs (out of the potential 5).[/x_pullquote] These 2 career fairs were the ones where my skill sets (non-technical) would match the most.
Most of the students went for all 5, but they got jobs (if they did) from the main two non-technical career fairs. Their thought was that experiences in the IT sector would get them into core technical sectors (LOL!), with them dropping their CVs at Google, Apple!
I mean my university had the best Computer Science program in the U.S. and you are competing with them. Until and unless you are a genius in Algorithms, they won’t hire you. I got an awesome internship with a fortune 50 company in the career fair. I think whatever I learnt in my course helped me get it. From one of those 50 companies which I applied, I got placed in a really good firm with great pay and learning growth, again based on the extensive learnings from my focus on education. [x_pullquote type=”right”]please don’t get into this vicious job hunt approach. It’s highly demoralizing and demotivating.[/x_pullquote]
To all who have read all the way till here: please don’t get into this vicious job hunt approach. It’s highly demoralizing and demotivating.
My honest suggestion is to set the expectation right even before you visit here.
Do your research. Speak to your seniors. Avoid groups (and friends circle) which create a negative scenario in your head.
Focus on your education. I am sure things will fall into place. There are jobs in the US. Worst comes to worst, you can join one of those consulting firms. Only 1 out of 18 South Asians in my batch returned back to India, to give a perspective.
If you are applying or planning to approach towards job search is based on “Brute Force” then you have to completely rethink your job search strategy. Eventhough with previous experience, the student ended up with a full-time job, there are ways to accomplish the same without having to feel stressed and following a pattern of randomness.
That’s exactly what you will learn in the Dream Jobs Club course here in Happy Schools. Before you can join the Dream Jobs Club, you should join the Free 7 Days Job Search Boot Camp course and get a head start with your job or internship.
Want to Share Your Experience?
Please share your job search experience. I would love to hear from you. Don’t worry if your writing is not upto par. Even mine is not that great. We can make it work.