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Emp_Palpatine

Need some advices from you, US guys

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Hi there!

 

Let's put it simply: I saw today, while eating and web-surfing during my lunch break THE job proposal I was looking for.

All is there: it fits perfectly with my studies, abilities and interests, it does not ask for much experience as I'm still quite young, asking for one foreign language (well I'm a native speaker of one foreign language... and can speak German too). Well, it looks awesome!

 

Of course, it's not in France, nor in a neighbouring country, as employement opportunities here are just non-existent (and I've been searching since March).

It's in the US, more precisely Washington D.C.

 

So, I thought some fellow at combatace could help with some questions:

 

- It might be silly, but how do you, Americans, do cover letters? I know resumes are different from the french model as I already got a British/US compatible resume. But what about cover letters: do you write them like us, that is basically first who you are and why you are here, then what you can offer the company (with detailled experiences and so) and finally some details on when you're open to the job and thanking people for reading and stuffs?

 

- In the job application thing, they as applicants to state their current salary and also propose the one we want. Well, that's quite uncommon here, as employers are in a "take the low salary offered or leave" mood, so I'm confused. Can someone tell me what is the standart salary for a post-graduate (master degree) young fellow in the US? How much can I ask for it to be coherent with D.C daily costs and with US usual wages?

 

- Will some volunteers be kind enough to read and correct my first all-english cover letter? :biggrin:

 

Thanks guys!

As soon as I'd have worked on my cover letter and sent it back, if the said company is interested, I'll have to convince the girl friend to come with me, and it won't be the easiest part. It will actually be a reckless battle, but you married guys know what I'm talking about...

Edited by Emp_Palpatine

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format for cover letters is pretty simple and not really standard. Just an informal letter, but on formal high-quality letter, that introduces you and states what you can do for the reader/company with your resume included.

 

one rule in job searching - NEVER NEVER EVER put your salary requirements forward. You always wait for the offer to come to you. On salary, say something like "commensurate with my qualifications for the position". If you provide a salary expectation, you've just ended the negotiations and most hiring managers will drop you from further consideration.

 

I'm a hiring manager on a technical task.

 

if this is an add in a paper - your odds are about 1 in ten thousand. More than likely they are collecting resumes against an anticipated contract if they win it. Don't get your hopes up too high.

 

yes, you can pm your cover letter. I have read a few (hundred).

Edited by Typhoid

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Most of your questions are covered at the various links, here: http://msn.careerbuilder.com/MSN/Category.aspx?categoryid=CL You can even research typical salaries for a position similar to the one you're applying for.

 

A word of advice, be aware that the Washington DC area is not exactly inexpensive. I know that a few of our members live around there, and are therefore much more familiar with "the lay of the land", than I am.

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Don't mention salary even being as vague as typhoid says. Before the financial chernobyl, a masters degree could probably earn you about $50k or more starting salaray depending on what its in, probably doesn't make much of a difference as far as pay goes now, but you'd have a slightly better chance of getting a job over someone without a masters. Don't expect any of the sweet deals they require in France, if you're used to labor standards over there, you'll be in for a shock. Maybe 1 week of vacation, during which they will call you every day about something and expect you to be on top of all the emails anyway, so its more like working out of the office than really being on vacation.

 

Also be aware that unemployment is very high here as well, it's also summer, so graduating classes from colleges all over the country have produced even more fresh job seekers. To really be able to find a job here, the old saying goes "It's not what you know, it's who you know"

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One thing my wife and I learned the hard way--just as much as asking for too much can get you dropped, asking for too little means you can get hired and underpaid! After all, why pay you more if you're willing to work for less?

Best to leave it unsaid!

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"Don't mention salary even being as vague as typhoid says."

 

permit me to be real clear. You only respond with that vague phrase if directly asked in an interview. You never never never ever give the interviewer or anyone else your salary expectations before he puts a firm, written offer on the table. If pressed by an interviewer who puts forth a range and the top of the range is within your consideration, respond with his top of the range as the basis for further discussion ONLY IF YOU WILL ACCEPT THAT SALARY. (and you better have a real firm grasp of prevailing wages and living costs in that specific locale when you go in!!!!!)

 

Never never ever put your expected salary on an application form unless its after a firm, written offer has been accepted by you in writing.

 

I have interviewed and hired people. Anyone coming in with a salary stated is dropped from any further consideration. Period. I won't even consider someone with a lower salary stated than my company was considering because I am immediately concerned about his real qualifications and capabilities, and I don't have time to research all ten or more applicants.

 

If someone sends you an application prior to a firm, written offer and insists on having it filled out with salary - don't waste your time. All they are doing is a resume bank operation sorted by price for future work. 90% of the adds that you see do not have an actual vacant position behind them. Its just resume banking by the HR department. Don't be detered about applying with a cover letter and resume. Just don't get your hopes up too high. You will be one of several hundred if this was an add, either on-line or dead-tree.

Edited by Typhoid

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Here's a simple rule on wages... He who brings money up first losses... as has been repetedly said never never ever ever bring the money up first

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First of all, thank kindly gentlemen, for all your advices!

 

format for cover letters is pretty simple and not really standard. Just an informal letter, but on formal high-quality letter, that introduces you and states what you can do for the reader/company with your resume included.

Roger, so just like we do here. No special "anglo-saxon" thing. For instance, here it's very widespread to state your age and marital status on your resume (even if it's illegal... but who cares?), and I've learned it's not the case in UK/US.

 

one rule in job searching - NEVER NEVER EVER put your salary requirements forward. You always wait for the offer to come to you. On salary, say something like "commensurate with my qualifications for the position". If you provide a salary expectation, you've just ended the negotiations and most hiring managers will drop you from further consideration.

Roger that. So the vacancy offer induced me in error, I'll avoid to mention any salary requirements and wait for the offer if they do contact me.

 

if this is an add in a paper - your odds are about 1 in ten thousand. More than likely they are collecting resumes against an anticipated contract if they win it. Don't get your hopes up too high.

 

yes, you can pm your cover letter. I have read a few (hundred).

It's a web based offer... As it's a very closed sector, I hope there is not too much competitors, but there will be of course domestic ones. And as I will need a sponsorship as a foreigner, it will not be easy. A friend on mine got a phone interview and was almost hired in some Seattle Company but they eventually ruled him out because they didn't want to pay for the sponsorship. Add to this that my written english, because I'm rustier and rustier, is far from perfect...

I'll send you my cover letter as soon as possible, thank you kindly!

 

 

Don't mention salary even being as vague as typhoid says. Before the financial chernobyl, a masters degree could probably earn you about $50k or more starting salaray depending on what its in, probably doesn't make much of a difference as far as pay goes now, but you'd have a slightly better chance of getting a job over someone without a masters. Don't expect any of the sweet deals they require in France, if you're used to labor standards over there, you'll be in for a shock. Maybe 1 week of vacation, during which they will call you every day about something and expect you to be on top of all the emails anyway, so its more like working out of the office than really being on vacation.

 

Also be aware that unemployment is very high here as well, it's also summer, so graduating classes from colleges all over the country have produced even more fresh job seekers. To really be able to find a job here, the old saying goes "It's not what you know, it's who you know"

Well, in €, it's quite the same then.

But I'm sure I would earn a lot more in the US. Here, you cost your employer 2 to 3 time your salary. Social taxes. So he does not want to pay you much. Then, a big part of your salary is directly paid to the state. Others social taxes. And whatever, you'll still have to pay other taxes on your gross income, not on the net! France is a fiscal hell.

Personnal example: I was in severe need of money in my last year as a student. I took a job, part time, in a call center and managed to earn something like 800 € in a month.

Well, those 800 became somewhat 550€ after the state directly took me the taxes and I got a few days later my city taxes, amounting 350€. I was left with 200€... The rest was in Social security and other things treasury.

Quite hard for a ressources-less student.

 

As for work condition, I'm sure they are less sweet than here. But we have two sorts of job: civil services (35h a week, you're sure you won't be fired whatever the crisis, whatever you did wrong; sort of worker paradise) and private sector (legally 35h a week, in reality closer to 40H+ without benefits). And don't forget all the crappy contracts here like internships, short term contracts and things like that. Underpaid, maximum workhours. That's what I'm currently doing. Those things were put forward to fight unemployement (gravitating around 10% since the 80's; More probably 15% unofficialy) and only serve to sc..w you.

 

Well, that's not the subject by the way.

So guys, thanks a lot for your advices and be sure I'll revert to you later. :good:

My hopes are not too high, as stated before. I've always been sceptical with web-based offers, even on the company website. I'll send my application because it perfectly fits with my studies and abilities. If I got it, then w00t, If I don't, it will be a training for more US/Canada jobs later.

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Good luck. The way things are anyone is probably better off trying to start their own business than relying on finding a position that's hiring.

 

It's not much different over here, a full time worker costs about 2-3 times their salary to a company. Makes it hard to start anything without significant backing.

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Hi there!

 

Sorry for necroposting, but as I'm back, I thought you guys had the right to know how it evolved.

 

Well, you won't be surprised: as planned, I was not the lucky one. All I got was the usual "be sure we will keep your resume in your records and whatever".

 

Thanks nevertheless to all of you for your help and advices, be sure that it has been usefull and will be in the very near future.

Next step: september! I let the two summer months live their lives, and after the summer holidays (office is quite empty here, we're at 50%), let's go back to applications!

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