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moving to US, when should I start applying for jobs in a special situation

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moving to US, when should I start applying for jobs in a special situation

Postby Saranneman » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:09 am

Hello everybody,

end of July we are moving to the US, DC region. My husband got offered a postdoc for 2-3 years. Important to know is that we already have housing and a lot of stuff (kitchen set/linen etc.) will be provided to us upon arrival, so that's one worry less upon our arrival. He will go on a J1 visa, me on a J2. This J2 means that, upon arrival, I still need to apply for a work permit, which I have read should not pose a problem (I hope), which consists of getting documentation ready, paying an amount of money and wait 3 months to get the approval. So if everything goes well, I'll have the work permit beginning of November. However, when we move, I will be 6 months pregnant. I'm due beginning of November.

So my question now is: is it useful to already start applying for jobs the moment we arrive in the US, when I don't have the work permit yet and interviewers will obviously see an undeniable belly in front of them? I'm already looking around on the internet for the industries and companies in the region and I know which type of jobs I would like to do. It's important to know that I would like to stay at home until the baby is 3 months old. So that means I could only start working beginning of February, so does it make sense to already apply for jobs so early? I know that, once the baby is there, I will probably not be in a 'job applying' mood.

And, if it would be useful to already apply, is it important to put this information (J2 waiting for work permit and 6m pregnant) in the application? I'm afraid this will blow away all my chances (if I will already have any).

Also, will I, as a European with a PhD in biomedical sciences and 8 months of CRO industry experience, have a hard time to convince recruiters in the pharma/biotech world (apart from the belly)? I know this is a difficult question to answer, but every feedback is appreciated.

Best regards
Saranneman
Last edited by Saranneman on Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: moving to US, when should I start applying for jobs in a special situation

Postby John D. D, » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:39 am

One possibility would be to arrange for a trip over to visit for a week or so with your husband, to find a place, etc. If you work it right, you could even coordinate with a professional meeting in the same area. Use this time, to meet people and talk about projects both formally and socially (this may be a little more successful together with your husband, but you could try 1/2 with, and 1/2 without).
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Re: moving to US, when should I start applying for jobs in a special situation

Postby Saranneman » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:24 am

Hi John, thanks for your reply.

Sorry I forgot to mention this in my original post:
We already have housing and everything (kitchen set/ linen etc.) will be provided upon arrival. Unfortunately, we don't have time to go for another week before our departure, since it's so close.
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Re: moving to US, when should I start applying for jobs in a special situation

Postby John D. D, » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:59 am

Since your arrival is so close, the same strategy would apply after you got here.
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Re: moving to US, when should I start applying for jobs in a special situation

Postby Dave Walker » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:50 am

Saranneman wrote:So my question now is: is it useful to already start applying for jobs the moment we arrive in the US, when I don't have the work permit yet and interviewers will obviously see an undeniable belly in front of them? I'm already looking around on the internet for the industries and companies in the region and I know which type of jobs I would like to do. It's important to know that I would like to stay at home until the baby is 3 months old. So that means I could only start working beginning of February, so does it make sense to already apply for jobs so early? I know that, once the baby is there, I will probably not be in a 'job applying' mood.

And, if it would be useful to already apply, is it important to put this information (J2 waiting for work permit and 6m pregnant) in the application? I'm afraid this will blow away all my chances (if I will already have any).

Also, will I, as a European with a PhD in biomedical sciences and 8 months of CRO industry experience, have a hard time to convince recruiters in the pharma/biotech world (apart from the belly)? I know this is a difficult question to answer, but every feedback is appreciated.


Some more information would be useful: in what field are you working? Are you opened to a range of options, or is it one field only?

Yours is a tough question for me, I have no experience with any colleague applying for jobs while pregnant, let alone pregnant and on a work visa.

I would defer to what the more senior people suggest, but my initial thoughts are that almost no company is looking to hire someone starting in February 2016 anytime soon. If you were looking for a postdoc or academic lab opportunity they can be more understanding (in my experience).

Absent of others' advice, I would suggest to spend all your spare time networking, particularly with people sympathetic to your cause. Women in Bio and other life science researchers from your home country are the first that spring to mind.
"The single factor that differentiates Nobel laureates from other scientists is training with another Nobel laureate." -- Sol Snyder
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Re: moving to US, when should I start applying for jobs in a special situation

Postby John D. D, » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:30 pm

This situation actually brings to focus an interesting dilemma in the workplace: the distinction between informal paths and the formal application process.

Barbara Ehrenreich, a woman who started out as a theoretical physicist, wrote a book called "Nickled and Dimed". It was followed by another book called "Bait and Switch".

The second book, for me, highlights the difficulties of being forced to go through the second, technically more fair, but highly over-regulated, path.
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Re: moving to US, when should I start applying for jobs in a special situation

Postby John D. D, » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:50 pm

The same thing that allows an "old boys network" to survive, allows for people to form their own networks and systems with different values.

The philosopher: is pyramid geometry really inflexible?
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Re: moving to US, when should I start applying for jobs in a special situation

Postby John D. D, » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:55 am

When you do start to apply, you might want to be cautious about it. Start with one application (after networking), and follow the process all the way through, forming your best guess as to what the reasons for the response might be if there is a problem. Try not to get discouraged. It is best to stay as connected as you can with scientists throughout the pregnancy.
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Re: moving to US, when should I start applying for jobs in a special situation

Postby Lydia » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:35 am

I would not apply for jobs, but would work on networking, letting people know that you will be looking for a job in February.

I think AWIS has a reasonably strong group in the DC area, at least that is where the national office is. It would be a good place to start building your network. Volunteering is a great way to meet people.
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