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Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Old Sep 12th 2013, 1:03 pm
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Default Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Hi,

For those expats who have already managed to find work in the US that is decently paid, do you have any tips for creating a really good resume? Are there any American-style issues I need to watch out for, formatting and such-like?

Also, in terms of job interviews, what are the main differences (if any) over there ... do they value a more confident approach, or are they more interested in competency kind of thing? I know a lot of it is who-you-know, but in the situation I don't know anyone at that company, how did you manage to overcome that barrier?

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Old Sep 12th 2013, 2:20 pm
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

I found that interviews in the UK were almost like a test, asking things like how would you handle this, how about that. My interviews in the US have been more like a few mates at a pub chatting about the day.

Friend of mine who does interviews said "you won't get your foot in the door if you don't have competence and a track record, references, education, etc that indicates that. What the interview is more about is 'are you a good fit' for the kind of office they have. Will you be a pain in the ass or will you fit in nicely. Are you weird enough, or not too weird, etc." As such the interviews are more of a chance to chat and discuss life, the universe and everything in an attempt to get a view of what you'd be like to work with day in, day out.

Anyway, not sure how that squares with other experiences though.
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Old Sep 12th 2013, 2:32 pm
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
I found that interviews in the UK were almost like a test, asking things like how would you handle this, how about that. My interviews in the US have been more like a few mates at a pub chatting about the day.

Friend of mine who does interviews said "you won't get your foot in the door if you don't have competence and a track record, references, education, etc that indicates that. What the interview is more about is 'are you a good fit' for the kind of office they have. Will you be a pain in the ass or will you fit in nicely. Are you weird enough, or not too weird, etc." As such the interviews are more of a chance to chat and discuss life, the universe and everything in an attempt to get a view of what you'd be like to work with day in, day out.

Anyway, not sure how that squares with other experiences though.
Funnily enough, almost the mirror image of mine, UK v US.

Here in the US, and I should say I have given more interviews than I've attended, HR has approved standardized scenario based interviews, and even before that, when I interviewed for several positions with my current employer, they were mostly focused on skills, knowledge, and experience. Whereas in the UK, my CV was generally allowed to speak for itself, and the focus was on interpersonal skills and whether I'd fit in to the department.

FWIW Twenty minutes of one 30 minute interview I had in London was spent discussing "A Brief History of Time", which had absolutely nothing to do with the position I was interviewing for, though the manager who interviewed me was Canadian, if that makes any difference.

Honestly, I think it is more dependant on the industry, the firm's own culture, how involved HR is in managing the process, and the personality of the interviewer, than a grand "UK v US difference" in interview style.

Last edited by Pulaski; Sep 12th 2013 at 3:03 pm.
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Old Sep 12th 2013, 2:43 pm
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Originally Posted by hoffage123 View Post
For those expats who have already managed to find work in the US that is decently paid, do you have any tips for creating a really good resume? Are there any American-style issues I need to watch out for, formatting and such-like?
The usual basics apply.

Make sure you create in in a US paper size, not A4. Ensure all spelling is 'Americanized' and tweak the resume every time to reflect the job being applied for.

Originally Posted by hoffage123 View Post
Also, in terms of job interviews, what are the main differences (if any) over there ... do they value a more confident approach, or are they more interested in competency kind of thing? I know a lot of it is who-you-know, but in the situation I don't know anyone at that company, how did you manage to overcome that barrier?
Absolutely what Pulaski says. Depends entirely on the company.

There's a few websites out there (google is your friend) that let people report on the interview styles and techniques they faced at companies. Not 100% reliable maybe but every bit of information you can scrape together on a specific company will help.

Good luck.
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Old Sep 12th 2013, 3:11 pm
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Some companies, if they invite you for a job interview, will tell you what to expect and how to prepare for the interview. If they don't, ask.

Regards, JEff
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Old Sep 12th 2013, 3:35 pm
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Have a generic resume as a base with all your stuff, then tailor it to the companies you're looking at with all that buzzword bingo crap that they have in their requirements to get past HR bin dropping.

Better yet, use LinkedIn to try and bypass HR as they're manly there to drop you out of the pool.

Try and be vague about the locations of places, HR don't want to see companies/education that is blatantly foreign, it scares them and they don't want to think about whether you are work authorised or not, if in doubt, binned.

It's basically a sales pitch, to blag your way into an interview and depending on industry/person could become a popularity contest or a competency test of sorts.

Do expect never to hear back from most places, same goes for after initial contact from them and in some cases even after a couple rounds of interviews. Some places are very reluctant to give feedback or say no, possibly in fear of a lawsuit.
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Old Sep 12th 2013, 4:50 pm
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
I found that interviews in the UK were almost like a test, asking things like how would you handle this, how about that. My interviews in the US have been more like a few mates at a pub chatting about the day.

Friend of mine who does interviews said "you won't get your foot in the door if you don't have competence and a track record, references, education, etc that indicates that. What the interview is more about is 'are you a good fit' for the kind of office they have. Will you be a pain in the ass or will you fit in nicely. Are you weird enough, or not too weird, etc." As such the interviews are more of a chance to chat and discuss life, the universe and everything in an attempt to get a view of what you'd be like to work with day in, day out.

Anyway, not sure how that squares with other experiences though.
This is my experience too. No trick questions or anything. Usually I've spoken to the potential employer multiple times on the phone beforehand, and they will have probably heard good things about me from someone else in the industry (networking is what gets you jobs here) so know I can do the job. So the interview is usually a chat at a local restaurant or bar with a couple of other people from the office, just to see if I'm a fairly normal human being that would fit in. Of course, there was the "interview" that lasted about 7 hours in the bar across the street that seemed mostly to check on whether I was a good beer drinker and tamale eater. This is probably all based on the type of industry though, and if you're applying to a State or Federal employer, that will be a very standardized interview with the same questions for each candidate, same time allotment etc.
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Old Sep 12th 2013, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Originally Posted by Psyman View Post
.... if you're applying to a State or Federal employer, that will be a very standardized interview with the same questions for each candidate, same time allotment etc.
... and probably not involve any consumption of alcohol.
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Old Sep 12th 2013, 5:19 pm
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

I've just finished doing @ 3 interviews a week for the past five months.
I'm in high tech sales. 100K+ salary.

Many employers are looking for top quality employees at bargain basement prices. Basically they wanted my experience and skills for @ 60K which is laughable,especially for California.

Employers market. They're looking for the "perfect" fit.

Some employers wanted me to relocate. To an at-will State? No chance.

Lots of psychometric testing, much more than I've experienced in previous years. One company I had to do 12 tests in the space of four hours.

It definitely helps to take a 30/60/90 day business plan to the interview.

References from previous employers as well as customers.

Fortunately I've accepted a position after initial interviews four months ago. They initially wanted me to work out of an office but I told them I wouldn't do the commute in Los Angeles. They came back and offered home office which is the only way I've worked. I've noticed that West Coast companies are more amenable to this whereas East Coast companies are very much being based in the office.
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Old Sep 12th 2013, 9:28 pm
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

If it's clear you aren't a US citizen, make sure you write that you have a visa on your resume. I got so many more interviews once I did that. I had lots of phone interviews too, where they tended to go through technical stuff, before bringing me in for a face-to-face meeting.
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Old Sep 13th 2013, 12:21 am
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Originally Posted by Anian View Post
If it's clear you aren't a US citizen, make sure you write that you have a visa on your resume. I got so many more interviews once I did that. I had lots of phone interviews too, where they tended to go through technical stuff, before bringing me in for a face-to-face meeting.
Interestingly this is one of the questions that the interviewers aren't really allowed to ask (in California at least), but I agree if you look even remotely foreign it's probably best to let them know if are PR/citizen/etc and don't come with additional visa baggage.

On the interview itself, like others said it depends on the company and industry. My interview in the UK was about 45 minutes after which we headed to the local pub; here in the US I had a full working day of interviews with whiteboard coding and the whole nine yards. Of course I did know the people in the UK company a bit better beforehand.
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Old Sep 13th 2013, 1:02 am
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

They are allowed to ask if you have the legal right to work.
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Old Sep 13th 2013, 2:11 am
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Originally Posted by hotscot View Post
They are allowed to ask if you have the legal right to work.
And HR will generally just bin you if they think other wise anyway.
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Old Sep 13th 2013, 9:55 am
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Wow - thanks for all the responses guys I really appreciate it - all the hints and tips you have given me will help as I haven't had an interview for a few years and so am a little bit rusty in general. Just want to make sure that I make the most of my job hunt when I get over there
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Old Sep 13th 2013, 10:36 am
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Default Re: Resume and Interview Tips? Anyone?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Funnily enough, almost the mirror image of mine, UK v US.

Here in the US, and I should say I have given more interviews than I've attended, HR has approved standardized scenario based interviews, and even before that, when I interviewed for several positions with my current employer, they were mostly focused on skills, knowledge, and experience. Whereas in the UK, my CV was generally allowed to speak for itself, and the focus was on interpersonal skills and whether I'd fit in to the department.

FWIW Twenty minutes of one 30 minute interview I had in London was spent discussing "A Brief History of Time", which had absolutely nothing to do with the position I was interviewing for, though the manager who interviewed me was Canadian, if that makes any difference.

Honestly, I think it is more dependant on the industry, the firm's own culture, how involved HR is in managing the process, and the personality of the interviewer, than a grand "UK v US difference" in interview style.
I wonder if it might be because the schools, qualifications, and companies in each are more familiar to the interviewer in that country. For example, if I said I studied accounting at the University of Illinois, and American accountant would have an idea about the level of education whereas some in the UK might not have heard of them (UofI is one of the top accounting schools, btw). Same true in the converse, where most Americans know of "Ox-bridge" and really haven't much of a clue about Imperial or LSE or something. Maybe that brings out the "road test" a bit.
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