I decided to write this article because I am presently conducting an IT-related search. Because of my LinkedIn presence (28,500 first degree contacts and growing), when I announce a search I receive applications from around the world. That delights me. But every so often unqualified candidates can’t take “no” for an answer. They want to move here with a passion. I appreciate that. As an American, I thank them for their support. But that is not how the game is played. The purpose of this article is, therefore, to explain the rules.
Rightly or wrongly, President Obama is criticized for denying American exceptionalism. In his book, On China, Henry Kissinger writes, “American exceptionalism is missionary. It holds that the United States has an obligation to spread its values to every part of the world.” Apparently, that “missionary” zeal is working. After all, hundreds of thousands of individuals believe in American exceptionalism. They want to move here. They want to live here. They want to build their future here. And kudos to them!
I am a big believer in immigration. If I had my way anyone guaranteeing to employ half the number of people them bring into the country should get a visa. A family of four arrives, starts a business, hires two people, what’s not to love?
Of course, I am talking about legal immigration. I hate the term “illegal immigrant.” There is no such thing as an “illegal immigrant.” If you enter the United States lawfully, with a visa, you have a legal status. If you enter as an immigrant, you are an immigrant. If you enter as a tourist and stay beyond the term of your visa, you are not an immigrant, you are a criminal.
No doubt many people will want to comment on this. You are welcome to do so. But don’t claim that these individuals “only” broke immigration laws and have been law-abiding residents ever since, paying taxes, benefiting their communities. It would be like saying, “Well, he only robbed one bank and then was law-abiding.” If you are in this country illegally, you are a criminal. Period. Nothing to discuss.
Of course, we have a great many of these criminals in this country. And to those of you who are expecting the next sentence to be, “Deport them all,” I’m sorry, you are going to be disappointed.
These criminals are in this country because administrations, Democratic and Republican, made it convenient for them to do so. We, the citizens of these United States, are partly to blame for this criminality and, therefore, while demanding that it end, we should be realistic about how to deal with resident-criminals. For what it’s worth, I would stop playing games, offer all of them amnesty, as long as they have violated no additional laws during their stay in the country and have paid all necessary taxes. You can’t deport 12 million (?) people and it would not be American to deport parents of American-born children who have every right to live in the country. We reunify families, we don’t separate them.
This country was founded by immigrants and owes its execeptionalism to immigrants. We need to welcome immigrants but they must understand the rules:
First and foremost, there is no law that says an American employer has to hire someone from abroad who wants to immigrate to the States. If there are persons in this country who meet all of the qualifications for a specific job, they come first. That’s life. We owe you nothing. If the United States Government decides to grant you a visa and permit to work here, you are entitled to do so and you should be given an equal chance. But if you need a sponsor, no company is obligated to sponsor you.
Understand, a rejection today does not mean that you are going to be rejected tomorrow. But don’t throw an e-mail tantrum if you are rejected. One individual, when I told him that the search I was conducting was a local search, meaning metro-New York, sent me half a dozen e-mails telling me why my client was wrong not to consider him. Bad move. The only acceptable response is, “Thank you very much. While I am disappointed, I hope you will keep me in mind for future positions.” And, guess what, I will.
Second, knowledge of English. If your command of the English language is not good enough for the position, deal with it. If you are in Europe, there are plenty of intensive English programs in England. If you are in the Americas, there are plenty in Canada and the States. Apply for a student visa. Or, and you would have to check this out, you might be able to enter the country as a tourist.
This brings me to my third point, it is easier to get a job in the States if you are here. So come as a student or a tourist and network. There is nothing wrong with that. It is not illegal. But be honest. Make certain employers know that you will need a sponsorship. What could be better then studying English in the morning and networking at night?
Fourth, learn how we do things in this country. This is especially true for formatting a resume. Do not include your photo, date of birth, marital status and other personal information. We don’t do that here. Personal information does not appear on a resume.
And fifth, if you are applying for a specific job read the job description. (Many Americans also make this mistake!) If you are not qualified, don’t apply. That does not mean that you should not send the employer or recruiter your resume. Do so! Just don’t say you are applying for that specific job. If you do that, the employer or recruiter will immediately assume you do not understand English. After all, if you are applying for a job for which you are not qualified, what other conclusion can he draw?
Finally, you may not actually have to look too far to find a job in the States. Seek out companies where you live that either have operations in the United States or want to. Work for them. Prove yourself. And maybe one day they will make you their US representative.