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Topic: Getting a job with American qualifications  (Read 3784 times)

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Getting a job with American qualifications
« on: July 29, 2003, 06:20:17 AM »
So how easy has it been for people on here to get a job in your field in the UK with just an American college degree?? Or am I a thickie for even thinking you can do that?  [smiley=confused.gif] Just curious! :D

-Sarah


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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2003, 01:20:21 PM »
Um - I've been offered about half the jobs I've interviewed for so far over the past 2 months...

But I know my experience is rather unique.  And only a few have been in my actual "field."  Partly because I was looking for a change - but have finally given in to the fact that I do what I do well and I should probably just keep on doing it!   ;)

So - even though I've technically accepted two jobs (which are STILL doing security checks on me - one is for the police and the other is for a borough council), I'm also still looking.
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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2003, 01:35:21 PM »
[smiley=disappointed.gif]  I hate to post this, because I don't want to discourage anyone, or spread my bad karma.

I've not had any luck.  My degree is Business Management with a focus on International Business  (int'l business was to be my major, but they dropped it from the curriculum my last year at college!!!!)

Regardless:  I've had two interviews thus far.  I did not get either job, but was offered an alternative position at one of them.  The job was front-line customer service and paid about half of what I wanted to make though.  *sigh* (Needless to say, I didn't take the position.)

I've TOTALLY lowered my standards and I am now applying for things like Admin Assistant (which I have an interview for on Thursday.... first interview in 3 months.)

I don't think it's my "American degree" that's causing the problem though.  I've also doctored my CV to be brit-friendly...  like changing the word college to university. But I've met other Brits who are also having just as much trouble finding work, so I don't think it's just me.  

Oh well.  Today is a new day and anything can happen!!  ;D

-Lisa- the perpetually unemployed
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. ~Carl Sagan


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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2003, 07:15:22 PM »
My DH didn't have a problem with his American University B.A., but that's probably because he got a job with the UK branch of his company, in a position where his past 8 years of work experience were more important than his degree.  Do you have work experience in your field?  I think sometimes companies give more credence to that than any specific degree.  Also, any contacts with a UK branch or another company through your current work?  

Good luck - I know some people seem to find jobs pretty easily, and others have to look for a long time.  Kind of like the US right now, from what I hear - a lot depends on the field you are in.

Stephanie


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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2003, 04:22:44 PM »
I'm having a similar problem. I dont think British companies care to recognize the fact that I have a degree. Over here, not many people go to university, many leave school at 16 or 18 and get jobs from there doing anything basically.
I am really frustrated at the moment as I have fixed up my CV so now I am at the point that I am getting called for interviews but I get the impression that they dont want to hire me because of my American accent. Maybe I am just feeling down because I had 3 interviews in the last week, one for an internal job that I really really wanted and no joy from any of them. I started temping where I am and they asked me if I wanted to go permanent and I accepted as its better to be permanent. This job is not at all what I want to do, its very basic and mundane, scanning documents with some data entry. I am getting so down because I want to use my degree, I did international marketing, and it seems that no one will give me a chance to do anything except boring admin work. My previous experience has been admin related and I dont mind doing it again but I want my next role to be a stepping stone to a career. Maybe its that I went to the City University of New York and no one recongizes it here? I should be grateful because at least I have a job but I feel so unfulfilled and frustrated that its a stuggle to come in to work every day.
Thanks for reading this. I am going to keep looking at the job listings but besides that, anyone have any ideas?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2003, 04:24:02 PM by mrs_kev »
Good things come to those who wait...a really long time.


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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2003, 08:40:19 PM »
:'(
There are lots of issues with just a degree.  You have to spend time figuring out how your degree translates into UK wide appeal.  Many people looking at your CV don't have any imagination and can't figure out how you can help your organization.

I have over 10 years of professional experience in financial services, have worked in the UK sub of the company I formerly worked for, have massive amounts of volunteer experience, and once I moved to Scotland it meant nothing.  I have even failed to get a job in a gift shop at £4.40 an hour.  

Most jobs here go to someone who is very young, someone who is known (preferably, brother, sister-in-law, wife, etc) or someone who is not a threat in any way.  

Because we are almost certainly in a recession here now, unless you are sleeping with the boss it will be a long and very discouraging path to a job - any job.

I can't wait to go home.


Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2003, 09:11:51 PM »
Buzzoffbee...looks like this was your first post.  So welcome.  :)

I didn't have much trouble at all finding work, and I don't have a degree, but have 5 years of college under my belt.  (Only the very talented can attend 5 years of university classes and not get a degree but I managed it!)

I'm sure it's true that people in smaller communities, especially 'up north' hire people they know of...that's true of small communities in the US as well.  When I moved to a small town in Tennessee, I was actually asked 'Who do you know in Robertson County?' during my interview at one place.  That seems like a small town thing to me.

I have the benefit of living in London where that maybe isn't so much of an issue.  However, I did find that UK experience is the key thing here.  Until you have some experience and a UK reference, people aren't terribly keen on hiring or even interviewing you.  (Unless you're Peedal and have skills and personality that people try to snap up as quickly as possible of course!)  :)

The best advice I got when I moved here was to start temping for a little while....even at an admin job that was below my previous level of employment.  People here generally *do* want to hire Americans...we have a great reputation for work ethics and knowledge.  If you're willing to do a bit of contract work or temp work for a bit, people seem more open to hiring you once they see you have a good record and references from a UK employer.  

People in the Uk are generally more 'world-minded' than your average American (especially where I come from!)....but there is still a sense that anything you did in another place is mysterious and they can't really understand it.  There is a dramatic difference in attitudes between people who have and haven't spent a fair amount of time outside this country.  

My current boss went to university in Boston....which I am convinced had something to do with the fact that he had absolutely no hesitation about my American-ness and qualifications.  Plus, I brought pictures to the interview.  :)  I'd prepared a 'portfolio' of work I'd done before so that they could actally *see* what I'd done.  It was much more persuasive
that a couple of lines on a CV.

I was hired at a very, very basic level at the company I'm with now six weeks after I arrived in the UK.  But when I interviewed with them, I did my homework and knew that this was a company that valued it's employees and would encourage my development.  Two years on, I'm at management level.  There's a certain amount of 'dues' and hard work required to establish yourself here, I'm convinced of it.

But then again, maybe I was just lucky!


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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2003, 09:35:22 PM »
Quote
Until you have some experience and a UK reference, people aren't terribly keen on hiring or even interviewing you.  (Unless you're Peedal and have skills and personality that people try to snap up as quickly as possible of course!)  :)


Aw gee, Wishstar!  You're too sweet!   [smiley=blush.gif]

Quote
People here generally *do* want to hire Americans...we have a great reputation for work ethics and knowledge.  If you're willing to do a bit of contract work or temp work for a bit, people seem more open to hiring you once they see you have a good record and references from a UK employer. /quote]

They like us Americans because we're used to working 40+ hour weeks and getting a pittance of a holiday *benefit*!  If they didn't have to, I'm sure most employers wouldn't tell an American employee that they get (an average of) 20+ days off plus the Bank Holidays!!  
;)

The true test for me, though, is going to be an interview I have in London on Friday.  Up until now, I've only interviewed in my own darling little area.  Big fish in small pond syndrome, you know.  So this little fishy is going into the big pond of London to see if she can cut it there.

"You're gonna make it after all..."  (Cue tossing hat into air...)   [smiley=hat.gif]

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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2003, 07:25:03 PM »
I had some moderate difficulties finding a job.  It took about 2 months.  My current job pretty much fell into my lap.  Came here as a temp and was hired 2 weeks later.  Up until about a week ago though I wasn't very happy with my pay so I had been looking about.  Unfortunately, despite there being tons of ads for legal secretaries, there have been very few interviews for me.  Last agency actually told me that I didn't have enough experience (apparently not taking into account my US experience) and that London firms were looking for someone who had at least 2 years experience and had been at a place long term.  Ha! and double HA HA.  I thought that was a bit of an oxy moron.

ANYway...I think it just depends on what you want to do, what your experience is and where you live.  It seems some areas are better than others.  Best of luck!


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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2003, 08:18:55 PM »
yeah, I get the impression that I am going to have to start lower than where I expect to be but since I never really rose above admin assistant in my previous roles, I have to start way at the bottom. In all my interviews they basically glaze over my uni details and dont really ask about it. I think I got asked about it once but I didnt get the job. I just feel like I am never going to get anywhere as I am 27 (dont hit me!  ::) ) and havent really begun my 'career'. I was speaking to hubby about it and I think I want to go back to school and get some sort of UK recognized qualification so that employers wont think I am just some dumb Yank.  ::)
Good things come to those who wait...a really long time.


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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2003, 09:44:02 PM »
Mrs Kev..
Just so you know. You are not alone  ;) I'm 29, had the best job ever working as a contracts and systems auditor in America and before that I was a ward manager. I know or could probably learn pretty much any software system handed to me, but, needless to say I'm a cruddy ole temp in a legal department. It makes me hurl. All the hard work and years I put in. And the funny thing is that the people where I work with all the decent jobs seem to where short mini skirts and mounds of lip stick. I guess I just don't have the right "figure" (oops)  ::) to find something that I know I worthy of cause the qualifications seem meaningless. I know how you feel anyway but hang in there as hard as it is. I sometimes think that the british people do care more about how much ass you kiss in an interview where as americans are dead focused on your skills and experience. Maybe I am wrong. Yeah and it sure seems like they talk more about their holidays rather than doing a job well done. Again, I'm sure I am wrong, but at this stage it's hard not to wonder.. Anyhoo, I'm just babbling now I think  :o .. Take care anyway, and If you ever want to chat about it, feel free to drop a line  ;D


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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2003, 03:24:15 PM »
thanks sticky_frog! I know its hard and some days I get so frustrated that I want to hit someone. It is really insulting that we have to take crappy temp jobs but at least its money coming in and we keep telling ourselves that someday, the right job will come along but right now we need to keep busy and pay the bills, right?
Anyway, my luck may have changed. I went for a European buying role for a major electrical retailer ages ago and got close to a job offer but the role was never filled due to budget cuts. I went for another job with this company in another department, which I didnt get. HR rang me yesterday to tell me I didnt get the job but they were really impressed with me and they were willing to shop my CV around. I asked if this Euopean role that I had gone for was still under consideration and she said she wasnt sure. Long story short, they rang last night and said that they had had a word with the director that interviewed me and he asked was I still available and told them to send me an offer letter immediately! I could not believe it! Its an admin role but I had made it very clear that I was interested in international marketing so who knows, this could lead to something.
Who knows, someday we'll all be earning packets  ;D
Good things come to those who wait...a really long time.


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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2003, 09:45:51 PM »
Congrats!! Mrs_Kev  ;D thats awesome. It's so good to talk to people who are sharing the same experiences. At this point I have decided to just stay in my temp job up to when I go back to the states to visit my family as I want to stay for about 4 or 5 weeks before xmas, unless of course I get lucky (god willing) and find something that will let me start when I get back. So the search is on hold for now anyway.  :)

Someday we'll be earning packets AGAIN!!! heheheehe. Cause I sure aint on what I used to earn back in America. Makes me wish my husband and I would have stayed there. It stinks when you have to wish you had your old job back. oh well

CONGRATS Again girl  ;) you deserve it.  8)


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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2003, 03:28:48 PM »
hee, thanks for your kind words. Still no offer letter has turned up but will keep looking for it.
I was earning a bit at my last job but I dont ever wish I was still there. I had to take a bus and a train and a long walk to get there plus my bosses were miserable mean cows.
Well, as long as you have a plan and you know you wont be temping forever, then thats a good thing. I cant stand feeling worthless and insignificant  :(
Is your husband English? I have actually been to Warrington, a few years ago. Had a friend that lived over there. I dont remember much about it except there are 2 train stations and an Asda.  ;D
I think its extremely hard to earn a packet here. When I tell people back home how much people earn here, they were stunned. Then they always ask how much that is in dollars but somehow the amounts dont really equate here. Also the cost of living seems so much more expensive here so I dont understand it at all.
Good things come to those who wait...a really long time.


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Re: Getting a job with American qualifications
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2003, 09:03:30 PM »
Actually I think there are 2 or 3 asdas here. I always shop at the one in Birchwood, I think its open 24 hours a day except sundays, hehehe. Yep and there are two train stations. New Quay I think is one and Central I think is the other one. Its a pretty big town compared to where my husband and I were living before. Yes he is British, but orginally from the South East of England.
Your so right about the feeling worthless thing though. I suppose it would be different if you were just coming into the working world but when you had a job where you had a significant amount of importance then its definetely more difficult to cope isn't it?  :( oh well...
Considering that I come from Southern California the cost of living here is quite low,, hahahahahah.....Even on a good salary its not an easy place to live that's for sure, but I sure miss the money, and my old co-workers, Ive always been lucky to work with good peoples  ;D
That letter will come soon for you, keep a look out  ;) :D
We'll make it somehow  8) ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D


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