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 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!