Many times we’ve helped foreign national candidates secure sponsorship when time is running out and the stakes are high. These individuals have essentially moved their entire lives, and sometimes families, to the US for better opportunities and a better life. One very big hurdle stands in the way of realizing that: securing Visa sponsor. It’s a high stress situation for everyone involved and unfortunately things don’t always work out the way we want them to.
When you’re looking to gain sponsorship, it can feel like you have no control, but the good news is there are proven ways to help yourself standout as that perfect candidate for an employer. In fact, it’s not as complicated as you might think. Like so many things, we find the best offence is a great defense. There are strategic ways to market yourself as a great candidate for the positions you’re going after. If you’re a foreign national, here are the top things to present about yourself during your next conversation with a recruiter or a consultant to better position yourself in the job market to get that sponsorship you need to make it all worth it.
1. Do your compensation homework.
Make sure to educate yourself about the pay rates for your position, region, and the industry you’re looking for employment in. Coming in too high or too low can hurt your chances as a viable candidate so make sure you’re prepared to have a realistic and informed conversation about compensation if and when you’re asked.
Some great resources for compensation research are PayScale, Salary.com, GlassDoor, Indeed and The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2. Align your job search to your degrees and certifications.
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how much the job market has changed for foreign nationals and American workers alike in the last 10-15 years. At one time, having a degree, any degree, helped get your foot in the door. Today that is not the case. Ensuring your job search his aligned with your educational background is crucially important and will help you be competitive in your job search. In tandem with that, any additional certifications or credentials you can add to your resume are extremely helpful. The more qualified you are for a role, the more likely you are to secure a sponsor.
3. Be extremely responsive.
One of the ways you can help yourself be the perfect candidate for a sponsorship is a willingness to move quickly, put in notices quickly and start quickly. Many specialty roles are created around demands for specific project, which often means tight timelines. If you can respond, move and start right away, you can edge out the competition who can’t. Use this as a selling point when you connect with a consultant or a recruiter. It can mean the difference between a sponsorship and continuing to search and search.
4. Work with an expert.
The approval process for Visa sponsorship can take six months. But once you obtain employment and file for your Visa, can legally start your assignment the day after your case is filed, even without approval. Since starting immediately is a major edge to get the job, you want to do that. Making sure you’re working with a partner or consultant who can give you good advice about sponsorship is crucial because they can advise on if you’re likely to ultimately be approved, or if you should avoid an opportunity because approval is highly unlikely.
5. Keep your documentation at the ready.
The proper documentation is invaluable. We periodically encounter situations where people have secured their documentation in lock boxes in other parts of the city they live in, even other parts of state or region. Sometimes cases of sponsorship for specialty roles move so quickly that any delays to qualify and approve a candidate could eliminate them from the running.
6. Be flexible with location.
If you’re able, being flexible with the location you’re placed is huge advantage. The recruiter or consultant you’re working with can then expose you to multiple different markets, expanding your reach and increasing your chances of securing a role.
7. Suspend unnecessary travel.
This is another case of removing and delays or doubts from the equation. Even traveling outside of the region you’re looking for employment in can be risky, particularly if the employer wants you to come in an interview at a moment’s notice. And with the Trump Administration’s travel ban, international travel can be very risky. We recommend staying local if you’re looking to secure sponsorship.
Obtaining an H-1B Visa is no cake-walk. The process is tricky and finding a sponsor is key. But the good news is, if you’re a foreign national, there are things you can do to market yourself as a great candidate for the positions you’re going after. If you employ these tips, you will find it much easier to get a sponsor who can help you secure a position that you’ve worked so hard to qualify for.