One thing I want to do more of this year is ask.
Might it be being curious, asking for help, asking the right question…
Here an awesome testimonial of what can happen when you dare to ask:
You can follow Amanda Palme on Twitter @amandapalmer
** For Australians citizens mostly **
I have already written a blog titled “How to make it in America”, this post is about the preparation you need before buying a one way ticket to the US.
I have been in New York for about 3 months, and apart from still not having any credit history (which is pretty much the key to unlock any type of service in America) everything is going pretty smoothly.
So here are some observations for Australians who want to relocate to the US.
They are based on my experience from contemplating the idea of moving to the US to living like a New Yorker.
1- Know what you want:
Knowing exactly what you want to do is a must before you start engaging with contacts in the States.
Until you clear what position you are looking for, what type of company you want to work for and why, you will get asked to figure it out before going any further.
2- Activate your contacts:
Once you have a plan, it is time to get in touch with your network: friends, ex colleagues, recruiters, inspiring people that can link you with opportunities and knowledge about the American market.
Don’t forget that they are likely to get people asking them for such tips all the time, so be creative in the way you approach them.
I once attended a presentation by Tim Ferriss (author of the four hour work week) one of his tips is to “trade” information.
This is how he managed to become an early investor in start-ups such as Linkedin and Evernote.
Before we decided to move, my husband went to Miami for a conference.
He made some great contacts there, and took one of the executives out for dinner.
A few months later, that same executive referred him for a role at Google. The next day, he got a call from Google’s recruiter.
3- Are you eligible to work in the US?
Sooner or later during this journey, you will get asked if are you eligible to work in the US.
That is when you need to pull secret card: The E-3 visa.
It is a unique status for Australian citizens part of a trade agreement between Australian and the US established in 2009.
All the details can be found here on the Australian US embassy site.
This status makes it very easy for companies to sponsor Australians on a 2-year working visa.
The main difficulty is that very few recruiters and HR departments know about it.
To be successful at lifting the “are you eligible to work in the US” barrier, you must be able to demonstrate how a company can sponsor you on an E3 in 3 weeks for less than $2,000 fees.
If you can’t do that, your other options are L1, H1, etc. visas. They are extremely complicated, costly and lengthy to obtain.
When I started talking to my employer about transferring to New York, the E3 was one of the first things I mentioned. I repeated it in every single communication, only to find out that when my position was approved, HR was about to start the immigration process for a H1 visa (intra company transfer), which was not guaranteed.
I had to patiently go over the E3 status again, prepare a detailed summary of the requirements for the employer and employee.
That information allowed HR to get sponsorship approval from the immigration consultant working on my case.
3 weeks later, I landed in New York with my work permit in hand.
4- Make the trip:
You can do all the prep you want, it is not until you get yourself there that things will accelerate.
Organize your trip by lining up as many meetings and interviews as you can.
When you are there, don’t be lazy. As hard as it is to fight the jet lag and go from meeting to meeting, just do it.
If someone throws you a contact: call them and meet with them.
Adapt your schedule to make the most of it!
4 months before moving, I spent one week in New York.
I tried to book a quick meeting with my now boss before I arrived.
On my first day there I tweeted this:
He noticed it and made time to catch up with me on my day before last.
When I left, I was in a position to follow up on a job offer.
5- Follow up:
After your trip, you will need to close on the opportunity that you want.
Follow up on the visa, contract, benefits, and relocation.
It is a very important phase. Once you leave, the excitement fades, people go back to their daily routine and your opportunity becomes another task.
Don’t let that task fall at the bottom of their to do list because you are far away.
This is a difficult exercise of applying pressure without become that annoying person.
Patience and positivity help a lot.
I listened to more reggae than usual during that time. What will be your way to stay on top if?
6- Get ready:
Once you have a job lined up or a moving date, you start a marathon of things to do. What you will need is just pure simple organization mastery!
When you review your financials, over estimate the savings that you will need.
As mentioned above, until you get credit history (6 months of having your Social Security Number) you will need cash!
When I think about life in the US, that quote attributed to Steve Jobs “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” comes to mind. I will also ad be vocal, move fast.
Here my Tweets that summarize a year @TwitterAU
Day one felt just like going back to school.
At the time, I had no idea that Twitter was going to come up with @dronie, the ultimate selfie machine
We kicked off with a week of intense training (anyone in my group at NHO would agree), followed by the Twitter global sales conference.
Although, I would have staid in San Francisco fro ever, we head back to Australia and set ourselves up in the first hone of @TwitterAU.
Apparently, the Australian team was the only team globally to not complain about being in corporate center… must have been the view…
Later, we had to trade the view over Sydney harbor for some awesome new team members
Plus, we do work from anywhere, so the view always changes
@Dannykeens probably remembers me doing IOs in his car between meetings.
With that in mind, I decided to take WFH one step further
Working through time zones, we had a few late nights throughout the year
And there was even some stressful times (private joke for those in the sales team)
Thankfully, the team (and the cat) was always been there!
Of course, all this we lead to some great work
And even some swooning with our clients
We felt the success,
Then @Maria started and life got a lot sweeter, with cupcakes and double birthdays !
Later that year, the opportunity of a trip to New York came up and one tweet changed everything…
Thanks for an epic year
Looking back at the Twitter recruitment process, I have put together 10 simple steps I can share with anyone on the market. I am positive this will help you show the best of you to your potential employers.
You can start with watching the video and then read the transcript and use the resources linked!
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1- Constantly build your personal brand:
Just after I announced my resignation from my current position a colleague commented “Ah, it makes sense now why you connected with me on Linkedin recently”. I explained that I nurture my network on Linkedin all the time and not just when job hunting. I regularly connect with people I meet through work and whom I find interesting. I update my status with valuable information and react on content I discover (via Linkedin or other social networks). Not only it keeps my profile visible and fresh it is also a great way to enrich my knowledge and keep tight relationships with people I don’t/ can’t see often (these type of people might be the ones you will ask for a reference in the shortlist of your negotiation…). It is also true for Twitter, blogs, Facebook, G+. This activity is your digital footprint. Keep it vibrant and personal at all times, don’t binge two weeks before an interview… Even better if can top it with participating in industry events, reunions, conferences…
2- Define what you don’t want:
Before you know exactly what job you want to hunt for, it might be easier to start by defining what you don’t want. This will also help you turn down roles that look good but don’t match what you need.
I my case, I knew I didn’t want to go back agency side (unless it was to enter a new market) and that I didn’t want to be in a declining media environment. With that I mind, I moved to step 3…
2- Decide what you want:
Dream your ideal life and define what job(s) will take you there. Then, think back to define what your next role (the one that will get on track to achieving the dream life) should be.
This will help you target the right companies & positions but also make the best decision might you be in the position of multiple offers, rather than jump for the money, or the lifestyle!
My focus here went onto global and growing tech companies… might they be start ups or mature business.
Of course there will also be an element of gut feel when you make your decision, but at least steps 1 & 2 will validate the gut feel…
4- Avoid the Head-hunter’s rush:
Although they might be a good sounding board to know what is going on the market and prepare for interviews, head-hunters are like sugar! I am not saying to avoid them, but definitely advising to use with moderation….
When you meet recruiters you come out pumped because they have all these great connexions and always promise amazing opportunities… unfortunately that feeling doesn’t last and you often fall flat, when you realize that nothing comes through. Just like a sugar rush.
Apologies if I am breaking some illusions here but recruiters are going to try and push you for the roles they have in their portfolio at the time. Very rarely have I seen a recruiter able to create a role for a candidate.
So, use recruiters’ resources wisely. Only talk to the ones you trust and who know you well. There might only be a couple but the ones who really understand your personality, skills and ambition will offer opportunities that will match what you are looking for, other ones will waste your time and mess up your efforts to stay focus.
5- Prepare for “I day” (Interview day):
Nailing an interview is a great feeling… but trust me, it doesn’t happen by chance. You must prepare for it. Of course you need to leave some room for spontaneity with your interviewers but having your basics covered is essential.
Introduce yourself with impact:
How do you define yourself? I have started using: Marie Sornin= Digital strategist + surfer + artist. I even put it on my resume… It’s short, to the point, easy to understand, well rounded and opens up conversation easily.
Can you explain what you do in a sentence? I define my digital ad strategy director role at Fairfax with “providing expertise to the business to increase revenue, maximise yield and future the commercial strategy”.
Once again, short, well rounded and opening up conversation…
Tell your story: Find the flow to your career evolution. Highlight elements that correspond to the requirements for the job. I find that starting with your latest experience helps from over spending precious time on experiences that might not be the most relevant for the present role.
Prepare to answer the obvious:
About your career moves. An obvious one for me is, why I moved to Australia?
Why are looking to change role?
You might get asked if you use the products yourself, how and why. What do you find great, what can be improved. What is the opportunity for such a product/ challenge…
Prepare for case interviews (click on the linkk for McKinsey interview tips)
Illustrate what you mean with examples from your past positions that reflect the responsibilities and requirement for the role you are after. It shows your knowledge, can break the ice and supports theory.
Do your homework on the company, its milestones, its market, its products, its management, and its competitors, culture and about their interview process of course (Life at Google is a good example)
You would have heard that before but I will say it anyway: Be authentic, be yourself, be honest and open even about your mistakes. Remember this: at the end of the day you will only enjoy and be successful in a role that is made for you. Don’t try to convince yourself & the interviewer…
You might get asked what mistakes you have made, what your main weaknesses are… avoid preformatted answers like I am a perfectionist. Look for meaningful situations where you screw up, fixed them and learnt….
If you have multiple interviews, and if you can, align them so that you go for your most wanted last. The first ones will be an excellent practice run. Remember the questions you get asked and improved your answers. Sharpen your presentation!
I had a week lined up with interviews and during the first one, I got asked what would my first 3 months in the job look like. I gave an average answer. After the interview I thought about this particular question again and refined my answer with building a plan to focus my efforts on what would bring the most outputs and how. Guess what? This same question came up during the interview for the job I really wanted. I nailed it!
Ask questions. The interviewer will ask you if you have any question about the role or the company: ask your burning questions but also prepare questions that will give you insights about the culture, the strategy so that you know what you are in for, should you take the job!
Also, before you leave the room, make sure you are clear on what happens next. This will help you a lot for step 6…
6- Stay positive:
After you do interview, whether you think you did well or not. The wait until they come back to you is going to be very stressful. That is why it is very important that you clarify the selection process and time frame before leaving the interview.
Follow up and chase politely if you don’t hear anything with the timeframe provided.
Then, during the waiting period, remember a few things:
There is nothing you can do about it, so step back: Are you predicting the worst outcome? How much likely is it to happen? What will you do it happens?
Remind yourself of the best-case scenario. Mine was: I want to be able to choose the job I want. There were weeks when I thought it was all going wrong, however at the end of the selection process, my most positive outcome came true and decided to go for the opportunity that matched best what I wanted!
7- Negotiate but don’t be greedy
Once you have your first offer, don’t rush. Take your time to negotiate the best package! You must have done your maths before applying, now is the time to subtlety push for what you want. My advice would be that even if your really want the job and the salary doesn’t stack up. Express the minimum you need, be flexible about the package structure but don’t go for less. On the other hand don’t exaggerate your salary expectation. Your remuneration must reflect your ability to achieve the KPIs for the job!
When you the final offer, don’t agree to it on the spot. Take a day to make sure you are fully happy with it, then give your answer!
Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg has some great tips on negotiation.
10 – Enjoy the new job!