Helping others enhance their careers has long been a passion of mine. I am especially dedicated to assisting professional immigrants with restarting their careers in the US. Being an immigrant myself, I deeply associate with this cause and having had hiring manager responsibilities prior to getting my MBA, I am also deeply aware of the difficulties one is facing when trying to hire highly qualified employees.
I first experienced difficulties professional legal immigrants face in 1999 when I moved to California with my family. My mother was a 20-year tenured medical doctor, but for her to restart her career in the US, she would have to go through years of recertification and residency. She decided to obtain a certificate in engineering and to pursue a career in medical device companies. Of course I am biased, but my mother is a very smart individual and an accomplished professional. Despite that, she had difficulty finding a job because we were unaware of the “American way” of securing employment, starting with how to write resume and CL and continuing to completely lacking a professional network. Luckily, my mother’s intelligence and luck, combined with my resume writing efforts allowed her to restart her career as a Verification and Validation Engineer at a med device company only a year after we immigrated!
Memories of helping my mom find a job never faded. I was waiting for an opportunity to give back to the immigrant community. Once my own career was on track, I started looking into starting an NGO that would support legal immigrants in their career search in the US. In my research, I came across Upwardly Global (www.upwardlyglobal.com), a San Francisco based social entrepreneurial volunteer organization that assists foreign-born professionals with restarting their careers in America; I knew that was a match made in heaven.
At Upwardly Global, I took on all available volunteer positions, including providing jobseekers individual mentoring and group training. My greatest joy was seeing how my work greatly impacted immigrants’ lives. As a hiring manager, I saw the benefits of hiring immigrants first-hand. After a 6-month search for an Accounts Payable specialist with expertise in accounting, I hired one of the Upwardly Global job seekers, Tatiana from Byelorussia, to work on my team at my last pre-MBA employer Tumbleweed Communications. Tatiana confessed that regaining employment boosted her self-esteem, positively impacted her family dynamics, and provided funds for extracurricular activities for her daughter.
Please consider giving a highly qualified immigrant a chance when making your next hiring decision! When you look through the pile of resumes, do not throw away those that have foreign education – just because they got their degree at the best University in Bolivia, does not mean they won’t be your superstar hire! This will both benefit your company and give a highly qualified professional a chance to continue their career in a new country.
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