non American post doc looking for a position

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non American post doc looking for a position

Postby Shehan9762 » Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:56 pm

Dear All,

I am currently on the 2nd year of my post doc in a small department of organic chemistry. I am not an American citizen and dont have a green card. I am actively seeking a position as a synthetic organic chemist. I keep sending out applications and I dont get any response at all. My friend who's working in the same lab as me but doesnt have as much experience as me gets interviews right away and phone calls from recruiters.

Any recruiters or anybody can comment on that?
I guess that my resume isnt so bad and my experience should match with most of the ads out there. Is it because of my visa status? Anybody who went through this sort of situation can help me out?
Thx all

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non American post doc looking for a position

Postby Paul » Thu Nov 18, 2004 3:02 pm

Good point Hubert.

I think this is an important issue that people are failing to address. I am in a similar situation: H1B visa, hoping to stay here in the US and struggling to even get past the first round of selection.

Last week the AAAI and Genome Canada held a very informative panel discussion in Boston on Interview Skills for Postdocs. There was some excellent advice from the four panelist, one of whom was a career adviser for Harvard. During the reception afterwards I asked her for advice on how to deal with being non-american and, therefore, currently viewed as "temporary". She told me that it wasn't her area and to contact the international office.

Career advice for non-americans is a neglected area and yet, quoting a statistic from a quick Google search, 75% of foreign students obtaining their PhD from an American institution were still present in the US 5 years later.

It seems there are two ways to resolve the problem. The first is to apply for a green card through the exceptional researcher route. This involves providing letters and evidence that identifies you as exceptional in your field. It currently is taking about 2 years. The other route is to marry an American. This takes about a year to get the greencard and it helps if you are in love!

My approach right now is to exclude the information regarding my visa status from my resume and let them judge me on my merits because, if I can get to interview I can at least have a chance.


non American post doc looking for a position

Postby Bill L. » Thu Nov 18, 2004 3:28 pm

Hubert and Paul,

You are both correct that it is difficult to find information regarding international students/postdocs seeking employment in biotech/pharma industries. That said, perhaps some forum community members will share their own stories(or those of colleagues) about how they did it and other resources.

An article that I remember Dave wrote for Science Next Wave strongly suggested using your network to connect with fellow U.S.-based scientists from your own country, and suggested organizations like American Association of Indian Pharmaceutical Scientists (a unit of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists).

Also, it seems like many companies already have policies in place in terms of whether or not they look favorably on international candidates. One of the benefits of speaking with fellow scientists in your situation is that they can tell you the organizations that have a history of hiring international scientists and how they did it.

Anyone in the community want to comment on this point or share their own story?

Bill L. & Naledi S.
Bill L.
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non American post doc looking for a position

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:49 pm


I'm a recruiter, and we can't call those without Green Cards or citizenship unless the employer is open for that. This is one or two companies out of ten. This doesn't mean that your job search is impossible, it just means that it is going to be more difficult. Companies seeking to hire you wouldn't generally go through a recruiter, anyway. They have enough costs in hiring you, with attornies and such, and they don't need to add another big recruiting fee to it. So get off the recruiter worry . . . You need to do this job search yourself, via networking.

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”- Alain de Botton
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