Ask the Expert: How To Ace In Finding Jobs In the U.S. (Part 2)


Question 1:

This is about the working permit needed to work in the U.S. Should we seek the permit before we apply or will it be handled by the employer once we are hired? Would you mind telling us, especially non-U.S. students and who are currently working outside the U.S., about how to obtain this permit?

Answer 1:

If you’re currently studying in the U.S. and about to graduate, you will need to apply for an OPT (Optional Practical Training) permit to be allowed to work for 12 months after you graduate. For STEM majors, this permit extends with a 24 months extension. Click here for more information and be sure to consult your school’s International Student Advisor.

If you’re currently studying outside of the U.S., you would need to establish an employee-employer relationship  and your U.S. employer have to sponsor you prior to entering into the U.S. Click here for more information about H-1B visa.

For other visas or permits, Click here for more information. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website has an extensive information on what kind of permit you would need to work, travel, or live in the U.S. Be sure to do your research and seek legal counsel on this matter.


Question 2:

When should I start applying for an internship?

Answer 2:

You should start applying around January-February for Summer internships. Make connections early on with your prospective employers by joining a professional association in your field. For example, if you’re majoring in civil engineering, you should join the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Joining a professional association will give you the advantage to connect with subject matter experts in your field and getting involved with programs and initiatives that would provide you with doors to more opportunities.


Question 3:

Is there any chance for an ex-con to get a job in U.S. companies?

Answer 3:

I am sorry, it is a question better asked to the subject-matter expert.


Question 4:

There will be time in the interview when the interviewer let the potential employee to ask questions. Are there questions that you do NOT want to hear from the potential employee? For example, do you mind to hear “brave” questions such as:

  • ‘Have there been any lay-offs recently?’
  • ‘Is there a “glass ceiling” within the company?’
  • ‘What is the organization’s financial situation?’

(These three questions are quoted from “Ask the Right Questions; Get the Right Job”. According to the book, these are good questions to be asked by the potential employer).

Answer 4:

Upon interviewing, you should have done your research about the company and prepare two-three questions for them. These questions should give a positive impression about you and your thoughtfulness in preparing for your interview.

The above questions are not considered “brave.” By asking these questions, it means you have not done your research and you lack the ability to look for facts and think critically. These questions can easily be answered by independently searching for the right data online:

  • Lay-offs – Any layoff, especially big ones, are usually announced on the news. And, it often occurs within the industry. For example, if a bank had some layoffs, it could signal that other banks may follow suit because the industry as a whole is not doing well. The only way to know this trend is to keep up with the business news such as Wall Street Journal.
  • “Glass-ceiling” – Asking this question is like asking, “Is there any gender discriminations that occur in your company?” You would not get the answer you want and your interviewer will not think of you as a viable candidate.
  • Financial – This question can easily be answered by searching into the company website. Most companies post their annual report.

Rather than asking the above questions, my suggestion is to ask these three questions instead:

  • “What do you expect a person in this role to perform?” – This question shows that you want to learn about the role beyond the job description. You want to know why this position is opened and what kind of expectations this role will have to fill.
  • “I just saw on the press release that you’ve just launched a new product. Can you tell me more about this?” – Check the press release web page. This is where you’d learn about the latest update about the company, such as a new product or a new partnership. This question will create a good conversation and it shows that you did your research.
  • “Can you tell me more about the organizational structure of the team?” – Understanding the org. structure will give you more information about the position. Having a flat organization means you will have more access to the leadership team and learn a lot from them. Having a more hierarchical organization means you’d need to work your way up.


Thank you for all Indonesia Mengglobal’s readers who sent their question to be answered by Reno Rafly. Hopefully they help!


Image Courtesy: author’s collections

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Reno Rafly is the CEO & Founder of Catalyst Global Consulting, a NY-based strategic human capital consulting firm specializing in organizational development, training, coaching, and HR technology management. Reno has 10 years of experience in global HR and is currently serving as an adjunct faculty at York College, City University of New York. She is also pursuing a PhD in Business Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. You can follow her on Twitter @hrnotepad.


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