- About The United States of America
- Working conditions
- Sectors and companies that are recruiting
- Applying for a job
- Major recruitment pointers
- Recruitment Resources and networks
1. About The United States of America
The US has the largest and one of the most technologically powerful economy in the world. In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to enter their rivals’ home markets than foreign firms face entering US markets. US firms are at or near the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers and in medical, aerospace, and military equipment; their advantage has narrowed since the end of World War II. The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a “two-tier labor market” in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. The war in March-April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq, and the subsequent occupation of Iraq, required major shifts in national resources to the military. Soaring oil prices between 2005 and the first half of 2008 threatened inflation and unemployment, as higher gasoline prices ate into consumers’ budgets. Imported oil accounts for about 60% of US consumption. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in deteriorating infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of wages in lower-income families. The merchandise trade deficit reached a record $840 billion in 2008 before shrinking to $507 billion in 2009, and ramping back up to $647 billion in 2010. The global economic downturn, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, investment bank failures, falling home prices, and tight credit pushed the United States into a recession by mid-2008. GDP contracted until the third quarter of 2009, making this the deepest and longest downturn since the Great Depression. To help stabilize financial markets, the US Congress established a $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in October 2008. The government used some of these funds to purchase equity in US banks and other industrial corporations, much of which had been returned to the government by early 2011. In January 2009 the US Congress passed and President Barack OBAMA signed a bill providing an additional $787 billion fiscal stimulus to be used over 10 years – two-thirds on additional spending and one-third on tax cuts – to create jobs and to help the economy recover. Approximately two-thirds of these funds were injected into the economy by the end of 2010. In 2010, the US budget deficit reached nearly 9% of GDP; total government revenues from taxes and other sources remained lower, as a percentage of GDP, than that of any other developed country. In March 2010, President OBAMA signed a health insurance reform bill into law that will extend coverage to an additional 32 million American citizens by 2016, through private health insurance for the general population and Medicaid for the impoverished. In July 2010, the president signed the DODD-FRANK Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a bill designed to promote financial stability by protecting consumers from financial abuses, ending taxpayer bailouts of financial firms, dealing with troubled banks that are “too big to fail,” and improving accountability and transparency in the financial system – in particular, by requiring certain financial derivatives to be traded in markets that are subject to government regulation and oversight.
Population: 313.2 million
GDP per inhabitant (2010): USD 47,200,-
Unemployment rate (09/10): 9.6%
2. Working conditions
Average working hours: approximately 8 hours a day (although overtime, without pay, adds to the number of hours worked each week). Business dress is mostly with smart suits for men and a conservative and professional look for women. Punctuality is considered very important for business meetings/job interviews. Business etiquette may differ slightly from state to state but politeness is always rated as very important. Handshakes are commonly used in greetings and business meetings are taken seriously.
Holidays: Two weeks’ annual leave is standard. Paid leave also includes national holidays such as 4 July, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Annual leave entitlement may increase with long service.
Average graduate starting salary: $48,288 (National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)).
Tax rates: if you become a ‘resident alien’ via a green card, you may be subject to the same tax rates as US citizens. You can contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or check their page on the US Embassy’s website.
Legal working hours : 40.0 hours per week.
Length of trial / notice period: 1 – 3 months. / Two week notice typical and expected.
Employment formalities: Entering the US for non-study purposes, such as employment or permanent residence, is very difficult due to the tight restrictions on immigration. To gain the all-important ‘green card’ (known officially as lawful permanent residence), you would need to be sponsored by either a close relative, who is a lawful permanent resident, or an employer. BAckground checks are becoing the norm (e.g. criminal and credit). You might also find it helpful to contact your ministry of foreign affairs (or your own embassy if you are not living in your home country) to ask whether there are any issues to be taken into account when considering working in the USA.
3. Sectors that are recruiting
Technology, education, healthcare and professional services.
Companies that are recruiting: Kaiser Permanente, UPS, Johnson & Johnson, United Health Group, Coca Cola Enterprises, Farmers Insurance, HealthMarkets, ITT Corporation, PWC, URS Corporation, State Farm.
4. Applying for a job
You may be required to fill out an application form for some positions, using the employer’s standard form. What is classed as a CV in Europe is known as a résumé in the US, and they are often used for job applications. Résumés are usually one page long and give a summary of your experience and qualifications. A CV in the US is usually a longer document (three pages or more) and is commonly used for jobs in academia. Résumés should always be accompanied by a cover letter.
Advice regarding the CV: A standard résumé is short and concise, typically one page in length, two pages maximum. It is a focused summary of your skills, knowledge and experiences, which sell you to an employer for a particular role. All résumés should have a section where applicants include a few lines on their career aim/objective and give the employer an idea of what skills and experience you can offer them.
Your résumé should include:
Your name and contact details – include a postal address, telephone number and email address. Make sure the email address doesn’t sound unprofessional.
Education/training – list the institutions attended, qualifications achieved and the dates you achieved them, starting with the most recent. It is not necessary to include your GCSE and A Levels (or equivalent qualifications) if you have a degree.
Work experience – include details of previous and current employment, starting with the most recent. Ensure you list the main responsibilities for each role and any skills developed.
Skills – add any job-relevant skills, as well as any awards, publications, licences, language skills, relevant affiliations, membership of any professional associations and any IT skills.
It is important to be aware that to include details of age, date of birth, sex and family status or to enclose a photograph may contravene state laws on equal employment rights and render your application invalid. Referees and a national insurance number are not usually included. There are two different résumé formats: chronological and functional. A chronological résumé features lists of experiences in reverse chronological order. It is better suited to those with a steady career progression and relevant experience. A functional résumé is organised according to skills with accomplishments listed under skill headings. The choice of skills listed will be determined by the person specification for the job in question.
5. Major recruitment pointers
Business Etiquette/knowing how to behave during interviews:
Learn about the organization.
Review your qualifications for the job.
Be ready to briefly describe your experience, showing how it relates it the job.
Be well groomed.
Do not chew gum or smoke.
Learn the name of your interviewer and greet him or her with a firm handshake.
Use good manners with everyone you meet.
Relax and answer each question concisely.
Use proper English—avoid slang.
Be cooperative and enthusiastic.
Use body language to show interest—use eye contact and don’t slouch.
Ask questions about the position and the organization, but avoid questions whose answers can easily be found on the company Web site.
Also avoid asking questions about salary and benefits unless a job offer is made.
Thank the interviewer when you leave and shake hands.
Information to bring to an interview:
Social Security card.
Government-issued identification (driver’s license).
Resume or application. Although not all employers require a resume, you should be able to furnish the interviewer information about your education, training, and previous employment.
References. Employers typically require three references. Get permission before using anyone as a reference. Make sure that they will give you a good reference. Try to avoid using relatives as references.
Transcripts. Employers may require an official copy of transcripts to verify grades, coursework, dates of attendance, and highest grade completed or degree awarded.
Some companies may do a couple of rounds of interviews before deciding who to hire. Others may also require a psychological/psychometric test to be taken as part of the selection process. You might want to send a short letter after your interview to thank the employer for their time and to show how interested you are in the job.
Languages you must be able to speak: English, Spanish.
Business: Universities of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA; Camdridge, MA; Berkley, CA; Ann Arbor, MI.
Best Graduate School for Business: Universities of Harvard, Stanford, PA; Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Engineering: Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stanford; California, Berkley; California Institute of Technology; Cambridge, MA; Stanford, Berkley, CA; Georgia Institute of Technology – Atlanta, GA
Best Law Schools: Universities of Yale, Harvard; Stanford; Columbia.
Best Medical Schools: Universities of Harvard; John Hopkins; Washington; Pennsylvania.
Compensation&Benefits / Taxes:
For Director Level Hires and above: fixed salary (tied to candidate´s experience level and the position); mobile; lap top; stock options.
For Senior Manager Level Hires: fixed salary; eligible for bonuses; (based on individual and company performances). Other Possible beneefits include: company funds; pensions; life insurances, healthcare benefits; taxes- all paid employed individuals pay federal and state taxes. The tax rates vary state by state. Vacation time varies depending on the company but most new hires typically get 10 vacation days per year.