28 Oct

US Job Search

Job Interview_Global_AccountantYou should be well prepared to welcome “good fortune”. I finished my last AICPA exam on 12 August 2013, had an interview 14 August, received a job offer the same day, and began to work on 22 August.

I would like to share some tips with you.

Use LinkedIn more often

There are two main functions of LinkedIn. The first is for employers. Employers use LinkedIn to search for candidates like you, view your profile and your connection and make sure you keep your profile up to date. Yes, not only your profile, but also your connections. Use attractive buzz words in your profile. Such as accomplished, solved, contributed, made possible, initiated, motivated etc.

Many people neglect other function of LinkedIn. Build your network with professionals. You can send an invitations and ask for advice. You can learn from their profiles and improve on how to write your own job description. You can join in groups which are useful for collaboration and exchanging ideas and links. What’s more, you can introduce yourself to firms, partners or HR managers of which you may consider your ideal workplace in Big 4 or Fortune 500!

Visit and subscribe to other job search websites

Choose your preference, and set alerts to be sent to your email account. Once new jobs become available and those which suit your search criteria, these websites will send you an email.  Below are some websites I used:

www.Indeed.com

www.Bright.com

www.GetAccountantJob.com

www.CareerAlerter.com

www.myvisajobs.com

Make each bullet point specific in your resume

I know it is hard to do resume critique. There is a vast amount of available resources at your university (which most students or recent graduates fail to utilise), use networking sites more effectively rather than for social reasons. Remember, once your CV has passed the elimination stage it will be reviewed swiftly. So keep it short but precise.

For example, use lines in your CV such as, you interned in a company as a staff accountant. You have no idea how to describe what you’ve done; or the luxury to write about your whole experience. What will you do? Go ahead and use search engines, find people who have similar experience to yours, and then figure out how they described their experiences.

Many employers use specific keywords when searching for recruits. Make your resume unique and specific, then you the odds may be on your side in getting noticed.

For instance, if an employer carries out a search on “accounts payable” and you include those two words, you will be found!

Moreover, employers prefer candidates with initiative, leadership, teamwork and analytical skills. Let your resume speak loud for you. You need to remember, your resume is your key to an interview.

Regard your interview as a SHOW

Find potential interview questions and think of as many situations and examples as you can. Then be prepared for those questions. Be familiar and make sure you are able to explain each word in your resume. Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse again! Eventually, you will be a star in your interview show!

Follow up after career fairs and interviews

It is always a good idea to send a letter of thanks to each recruiter you talked to right after career or interview. Briefly introduce yourself and thank them for their time and efforts. I did exactly that. After one particular career fair last semester in spring 2013, I sent out “Thank-you” letters that evening. One reply really surprised me. The recruiter said I was the only one to follow up with him that evening! He was impressed and strongly recommended me to do this after each interview.

Accept the honour of Beta Gamma Sigma

Beta Gamma Sigma honours the top 10% junior and senior undergraduates students and top 20% graduate students. It’s the highest academic honour at the College of Business at UIUC. It also provides a lot of professional resources and all kinds of member benefits, such as free shipping from the Apple store. Members will even get a chance to be honoured in the commencement!

Don’t overlook those employers who do not provide sponsorship (This is for non US nationals)

You probably are looking for a company which can sponsor your H1B visa. If you can, that’s great. Otherwise, why not give other companies a shot? With one more year in the US, you will meet new people, build your network, keep on looking for new opportunities and roles, or even persuade your current employer to provide sponsorship.

The above describes my recent past. If you have difficulty in understanding what your standing is in respect of your visa requirements, consult a lawyer. I consulted several lawyers. Their replies were really motivating. In a nutshell; as long as your employer agrees to sponsor you for a H1B application, even though they many have never provided sponsorship before, it is doable!

Work hard!

Jun (Coco) Qiu is US correspondent for Global Accountant and  Staff Accountant at Regency Consolidated Residential LLC which is a real estate company awarded “The Best in the Industry” for the last six years.