Millions are dreaming of moving to the United States for work. However, relocation may be hard; it is a lengthy and costly process.
Today we will talk about the top five mistakes, that prevent professionals from over the world from making their American dream come true, and find out how to avoid them.
Mistake #1. Hoping to get transferred from the local office of a US company
When you start thinking of relocation to the United States, one of the first thoughts is to find an American company in your home country. If you work hard, they will relocate you eventually, right? Actually, no.
If you weren't hired for a position that requires international activity, it is highly unlikely that you will be transferred any time in the future. The truth is that the employer will not necessarily refuse your request, but tell you that this is to be discussed later. And this "later" might not come.
This is especially relevant for those working on junior positions. Much more realistic plan is to work where you work now, or find a better place in your home country, try to get connected with good mentors, self-educate, develop a skill set for your chosen field, and search opportunities by yourself.
Mistake #2. Too much relying on a potential employer
Even when you feel you are ready for relocation, don't rely on a potential employer too much. Many people are in the hunt for companies that sponsor visas. However, while things will go smoothly once you find such an organization, this approach has its downsides.
First, hiring and relocating foreigners to the US is hard and costly for American companies. Paperwork and fees associated with a relocation of one employee amount to more than $10k.
Second, when you go via the standard employment-based immigration process (a.k.a. H1-B visa), there is no guarantee that you will come to the US even if you find an employer who agrees to sponsor you.
There is a limited number of Hi1B visas issued each year: for 2019 only 65 thousand of them were issued while USCIS received 199 thousand applications. Those who will obtain a visa are chosen via the lottery. Thus, more than 130 thousand people who've found an employer still were not able to relocate.
It is much better to try to help yourself, and do not wait for courtesy of an American company and rely on your luck in H1-B lottery. One of the ways is getting an O-1 visa. If you are an experienced specialist, you will likely have a chance to get approved, and then you will be able to come to the US and be eligible to work. Compare yourself with your competitors who want the employer to pay for their visa and play the lottery – your chances are skyrocketing!
Read more on O-1 visa in our whitepaper and use our eligibility checklist to understand your chances without paying $200 to an immigration lawyer for an initial consultation.
Mistake #3. Not polishing language skills
Do not forget, you want to work abroad, and your job will likely require English language skills. Without proper language knowledge, you significantly decrease your chances of being hired. Sure, if you are a super unique programmer, there always be a startup from Silicon Valley to offer you a job, but if you are a marketer or system administrator, you will struggle even to get interviewed.
According to stats, hiring managers and HR spend no more than 7 seconds screening CVs. If your resume is not good and even worse, has grammar mistakes, your chances to land an interview significantly decrease: almost 60% of resumes are rejected due to poor grammar and typos.
So, spend a lot of time learning the language using online courses, tools (here is a great list of Chrome extensions for English learners), and do not forget to run your written communication via a grammar checking software (I use Textly.AI - either web version or a browser extension).
Mistake #4. Not networking the right way
I know, this sounds terrible for introverts, but if you want to relocate and build a career in the US successfully, you need to network.
First, good connections in your industry may come out handy when you will be collecting papers for your visa application–sometimes you will need to add recommendation letters.
Second, if you will get some connections in the US before coming here, it can save you a lot of money. Locals will give you free advice on everything from rent to shopping, teach you lifehacks, and show how to find the best deals, etc.
Third, an active LinkedIn network will quickly bring you leads for employment. Message your old and new colleagues who are working in companies you are interested in, and ask if they can refer you to their employer. Big companies go through CVs of people their current employees have referred, so you will get some advantage over applicants who send cold emails.
Mistake #5. Not having a lot of money
If you are building a global career, you need to understand risks. Moving abroad involves lots of situations that might cost you a lot of money, including legal expenses, visa processing fees, rent, buying a car, finding a kindergarten for kids, etc.
The more cash you have in the bank, the less stressed you would be while setting your feet on the ground at a new country. Moreover, immigration is not for all, and you might decide to say "f*ck all," buy airplane tickets and fly to your home country. If you have family, kids, and pets, even one-way travel from the US will easily cost you several thousand dollars.