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Ask HN: Job application from abroad (Europe – US)
6 points by Mazzen 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments
Hey guys! Short: How can I increase my chances in applying for a position in CA from Europe/Germany?

Long: I'm currently living in Germany and am looking for some abroad experience in the US (while I'm young and free). I'm a software and embedded systems engineer with a few years of work experience. Today I received a refusal for a position I felt perfectly matched my profile. I did not expect to immediately succeed :) I believe one of the most irritating facts about my profile is my current location.

Do you have any hints or ideas how I can increase the attractiveness of my profile? Thanks!




What is your visa status? H1B is oversubscribed and companies who sponsor candidates need to wait over a year until the person can start. You'd be more attractive if you're either an internal transfer within a larger company (L1B visa), hold a patent (can't remember the visa type, basically high achiever) or already have a greencard (e.g. via yearly greencard lottery).


Thanks, that was quite helpful, especially the "oversubscribed" detail. I do not hold a patent or greencard.

I should add however, that I am enrolled as a student and am currently in the final phase of my PhD. I should be eligible for the J-1 Visa, correct? An internship would be at least something and who knows what develops out of it. Wdyt?


Internship should definitely be doable. I don't know how long they can be, I presume 90 days (US business travel visa is 90 days). Certainly a good way to get contacts.


Start spending time in the US. It's not clear whether you desire to stay in Germany while working remotely or whether you want to work onsite in the US. Disregard the rest of this if you desire the remote option.

Some companies will be far more likely to sponsor you if you're able to interview in person. Given that tourist visas require you to state on the record that you're not here to work (or perhaps even seek work) that might become complicated.

Consider using Canada as a go-between, as they have less bureaucratic red tape, and establishing residency while German is easier.


The idea was indeed to relocate to the US. Thanks for the additional hints!


location. location. location[¹]. It's the first filter a hiring manager applies. Most of what is written there also applies in the other direction.

[¹] https://blog.valbonne-consulting.com/2013/10/29/landing-a-jo...


A friend got permanent resident status in Miami some time ago. Drop me an email and I'll tell you what he did.


You have until April 1st this year to land an offer. At least 2-3 weeks prior to April 1st (deadline for H1B applications). The whole world wants to work in California, not only you need to be the best at what you do, you need to get rid of all the basic red flags such as: not a local candidate, not a US citizen not a green card holder, can’t speak english, etc.

How do you get an offer in California?

1. Go to California and apply locally. You’ll need to go through onsite interviews so forget about what you’re doing remotely from Germany.

2. you need an address in California, easy access to fast internet as well as a US phone number. [I do not recommend the following, it is not legal] but that’s the only “way” to get attention from recruiters when you apply. Don’t mention you need a visa or anything, just make it seem like you’re a local. You will come with a tourist visa so you’ll have 3 months max here to apply [that is the illegal part of the process, you’re not suppose to look for a job with a tourist visa, I do not recommend that, people still do it though]. Find a roommate for 1-2 months, the website craigslist is your friend. pay your rent cash right away so you’ll be able to use that mailing address. Get a pre-paid cellphone like T-mobile or skype and load it up cause you’re gonna spend a lot of hours on the phone.

3. Prepare your Resume, one page max, use one line to describe each of your past experiences. Update your linkedin profil and put the link in your Resume as well as a github link on your side projects (I hope you have side projects).

4. Make sure your English is fluent. People are used to foreign accents here in California, so don’t worry about sounding like a FOB from Germany. But you need to be able to hold a conversation over the phone for an hour.

5. Before you come here, google H1B visa application and collect all the required documents ahead of time. If you need special photos, certified copy of anything, make sure you create a folder with everything you need to apply for an H1B visa.

6. Let’s get this one out of the way, you need to send at least 500 applications. If you handpick each job making sure it’s a perfect fit, you will fail. If you want to get 1-10 interviews, aim for at least 500 applications. You will figure it out by yourself. If you start getting 100 phone calls from recruiters, first off congrats! But that means your profile is hot so you can start filtering. It ain’t gonna happen so make sure you spam the whole California with your Resume.

7. Prepare for your technical interviews ahead of time. Forget about embedded software because that is what you know. They will receive 1000 Resumes from embedded software engineers, most of them are locals by the way, so in order to select the bests, they’ll ask academic CS questions. From medium level to hard. Expect all the other candidates to be as good as you if not better. So make sure you google on how to prepare for CS interview questions and practice ever day starting... yesterday

You are now ready to roll. Cross your fingers and keep at it. If you get an offer after all that, you will still have one chance out of 2 to get selected for the H1B visa. Life’s tough here...

Good luck my friend.


Wow that's much to process. I'll think about my next steps.

Many thanks man!




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