Despite earning top grades while enrolled at US colleges and universities, many of my international coaching students are unprepared for the challenges of getting a job in the US market. For the majority, the interview process will be their first exposure to a US-managed corporation, and they’re unsure of what to expect.
In this post, I’ll identify and debunk 6 myths about the experience of finding a job in the US — the answers may surprise you!
Truth or Myth #1: The top companies in the US hire business school interns and full-timers based largely on academic performance and hire from only a select number of business schools.
Myth: The reality is that academics are not everything. Employers will in fact consider the best students from any school, but they are much more likely to take other factors into consideration, including relevant previous work experience and personal experiences that demonstrate your ability to lead, adapt to new situations and overcome challenges.
Truth or Myth #2: In a job interview, you should talk about your personal interests and life experiences in addition to talking about your knowledge of the industry and your technical competency.
Truth: American employers are interested in knowing more about “the whole you” as demonstrated not only by your academic experience but also by your professional experience (if any), your personal interests, and your personal history. You’ll want to communicate about yourself as the sum of your interesting and unique parts, someone who can uniquely contribute to the organization.
Truth or Myth #3: American job interview questions are 60% technical and 40% behavioral.
Myth: In actuality, nearly 60% of American interview questions are behavioral. These include open-ended questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” and “Tell me about an accomplishment of which you are most proud.” This approach is designed to see how well you can think on your feet.
Truth or Myth #4: The majority of professional job placements in the US occur through networking versus recruiters or job advertisements.
Truth: Over 75% of new jobs are found through networking, which means that international students need to work especially hard to make and maintain relationships with potential employers and referrers. These include professors, associations, alumni, family and friends.
Truth or Myth #5: You should focus your job search efforts on the companies that come to campus because these provide the best probability of landing a job in the US.
Myth: While on-campus recruiting is a strong option, you actually have a number of channels open to you when looking for a job. Consider job fairs, ads, and networking. The more effort you put into each of these options, the greater your chance of landing multiple interviews. Be sure to tap into all possible channels and geographies to find the best opportunities for you.
Truth or Myth #6: You have significant external pressure to find a job in the US , so if you are unsuccessful in securing such a job, your reputation and career success will be jeopardized.
Depending on you and your unique point of view, this could be truth or myth. The real myth here is that your long-term career or reputation would be jeopardized without a job in the US. You need to do what is right for you, even if it isn’t what you think others may expect, especially if an opportunity allows you to gain the experience you need to deepen your professional capabilities.
Most importantly, don’t let myths get in the way of realizing you dream.
What do you think about these myths? Are there other myths that you’re struggling with? I’d love to hear from you.