Advice by Lindsay McMahon, Founder of Speakative

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5 Tips for a Successful Job Search in the United States

Are you planning to look for a job sometime in the next few months? If so, don’t assume that the same strategies that work in your home country will also work in the United States. In this article I will give you 5 tips for a successful interview in the United States.

1. Stand out and be memorable to the interviewer

In your culture, is it a good thing to stand out or is it better to fit in with the group? In a job interview in the US, you need to be sure that you stand out in the interviewer’s mind. This is extremely important! Yes, you do have to “sell yourself” a bit.  While in some cultures it’s better to fit in and emphasize your role as a part of a team or to de-emphasize your contribution to a project and show humility, in the US, you should be very clear about the results that you created on projects throughout your career at different organizations.

2. Pay attention to nonverbal communication

Watch out for the weak handshake! This is a great way to be seen as lacking in confidence. It might seem like a small issue, but so much is communicated nonverbally. Make sure that you make direct eye contact with your interviewer and that you offer a firm handshake to show that you are sure of yourself, well-prepared, and glad to be at the interview.

3. Use action verbs on your resume and in the interview

Don’t be vague when you submit your resume. Show exactly what you did at your previous jobs by using action verbs such as “organized”, “led,” “directed,” and “managed.” Your goal is to help the interviewer see exactly how your skills could be of use in the organization. If you don’t directly communicate exactly what you did, how can the interviewer understand your skill set?

4. Get to know the company before the interview

Be sure to do your research on the company before you enter the interview. Understand their goals, their strategy and figure out how you will communicate the ways in which you could fit in with the organization.

If you have a specific set of skills that could help them with something that they are currently struggling with, be very direct in communicating that fact and perhaps go even further by offering them a few strategy suggestions on that problem during the interview if it seems appropriate.

5. If you are an English learner, practice your response to the most common questions

In the United States, there are some very common interview questions that you can practice. It is important to get a conversation partner who can help you practice your answers to these questions ahead of time. Have a clear idea about how you will answer the following questions:

• Why should we hire you?
• Tell me about yourself.
• Give me an example of a time when you took on a leadership role at work. Please explain the project and your challenges.
• Why did you leave your last job?
• Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer. What happened? How did you resolve the situation?
• If I spoke with your previous employer, what areas would he or she say that you need improvement?
•What are the first four things that you would do if you got this position?

Lindsay McMahon 

Lindsay

Lindsay McMohan is the Founder of Speakative, an English conversation program that helps you gain confidence through regular practice with native English speakers by Skype.
Sign up for your free trial session here and prepare for your next job interview with a native speaker!

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Help Anna study the situation of people going through transition

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Going through a transition

How does it feel going through a transition? What thoughts, dreams and fears do people have at different stages? How do people benefit from transitions?

A Harvard spouse, Anna, has designed this questionnaire to find out more about the situation of people at different stages of the transition: before they come to the U.S., while they are here and after they go back.

The results will increase the understanding of the needs people have at different stages of the transition process and how they benefit from it.

If you have gone through the transition of moving from your home country to U.S., please take some time to fill out the questionnaire. All information is treated confidentially. It will take you some time to fill it but it is going to help people in similar situation in which you are. The findings will be shared with the readers.

If you arrived in the U.S. within the last six months: Please use the following link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1njgqj45hTEiQ03ZhuWi0Dt0iTK_UsYzgKcDaUoghmfo/viewform

If your arrival lies more than six months in the past: Please use the following link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dhkX7JIUDj1zvBxWI7qVC39XilQ0O3eXqaBf8vCtHds/viewform

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Anna at: anna.beissner@gmail.com.

Thank you very much! Your help is highly appreciated!

LinkedIn, an Opportunity for Career success

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If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you are missing something important. Learn here why LinkedIn is important for your career these days. Let’s first understand the basic definition of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social networking site used for professional networking. LinkedIn have huge database of professional and its members use it for professional networking, online connection and job search. Users can send invite to other professionals to connect with them.

As per Forbes “LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today”. LinkedIn has more than 200 million users in over 200 countries and territories around the world.  United States alone has the largest member base with over 74 million users. That’s why it is important to have a LinkedIn profile.

It not only helps in job search but helps you to get referrals through your professional networks. You will be surprised to know that 77% of all job openings are actually posted on LinkedIn and 48% of all job openings posted on LinkedIn are not posted anywhere else. Most of the HR professionals and recruiters use LinkedIn. Now you probably know how important it is to have a LinkedIn profile so that employers can easily find you.

Creating an account in LinkedIn is easy and user friendly. It is imperative to have a profile photo to expand your connection as people will find you genuine. When you become familiar with using LinkedIn, join some of the groups on areas of your interest. You can grow your connection through this, as well as can share ideas and comments with members of the group.

It is also important to be active on LinkedIn through regular status updates showcasing your skills and knowledge about your field as it will give a positive impression to the employers. Try not to post an update which relates to your personal life or anything unprofessional as status updates will be visible on the home pages of your connection. Your updates should be general, positive and professional.

If you have a blog site, you can connect the link of your blog on your professional LinkedIn home page. It is a good way to promote your blog among your connections and build your personal brand. With a well written blog, you can demonstrate your expertise and it will also enhance your LinkedIn profile.

Nowadays prospective employers always look up online for candidate profile and LinkedIn profile rank high in search results. So, you can ensure that people looking for you will find all the information that you want them to see.  Make sure to complete your profile with complete information about your skills, awards, training, education and other relevant information.

If you need any help in building your LinkedIn profile, you can contact us at career.transit@gmail.com.

I have an accent when I speak English

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One of our Prof at Harvard University said in his first class to the students from different countries,  “If you have an accent, that tells me that you know more than one language”.  It is his way to motivate the students from other countries to not feel shy while asking questions in class.

Through this blog we want to advice our immigrant readers to not hesitate while communicating in English even if you know little English. The barrier between you and English will widen if you will hold back from communicating in English. In fact it is applicable for any language. If you happen to be in a different country and know a bit of the language spoken there then don’t feel shy to converse in their language. You will be amazed to find out that people will be happy to help you and they will understand that you are in the learning phase and will appreciate your effort.

If you will try to talk in English, it will certainly improve your English. Also, when you will go out in public, you will realize that there are many people in US who ride in the same boat as you. You will find lot of people struggle with English but they do not hesitate to converse and very well manage in making the other person understand what they want to convey. Remember language is the basis of any conversation. You cannot socialize, do your business or even  make friends if you do not know the language. So, it is important to learn the language.

There are various available options through which you can improve your English. If you will search on the internet with “English as a Second Language” and your city name, you will get many available options in your city.

In many US cities there are Centers for Adult Education. Most of them have classes to learn English. You can search on the net for the center nearest to you. YMCA also runs English classes.

ELS has 33 centers in US.  The website link is: http://www.els.edu/en/DiscoverELS

We came across a site which we find very useful in learning English from very basic. It is easy to use even for those who are not very tech savvy. Here is the link: http://www.usalearns.org

If none of these options work for you, then look for a study buddy near you. A study buddy will be another person who wants to improve English and you both can study together. This will not only make you focused but you both can also practice speaking English together.

Amitabh Bachhan, a very famous bollywood superstar, in a super hit movie once said that “English is a very funny language”. So go..Have fun!