Alumni spotlight - Monther Ababneh
Our recent graduate from Jordan has been successful in getting a managerial position at a Silicon Valley-based health care company, Care Indeed. He reveals some tips and tricks along with some guidelines one should follow, especially when you’re an international student and you have global experience that you are trying to make count here in the US.
What was the first step you took after completing your studies?
I immediately started the process of applying for jobs because I knew it would take a while. First, I tried learning the process of finding a job, how the interview process works in the US, because every country has different requirements, different needs. I started learning about the American job market so that I understood exactly what I needed, for example American resume standards are pretty different. When I felt I was ready, I started applying.
Tip #1: I created a different email account only for the job search process. When you have a separate inbox, it gives you clarity instead of having one inbox with all emails.
Did someone help you through the process?
Professionally no one, but I got support and encouragement from my amazing family and friends.
Did you use any applications or tools?
I used Google. In other words, I used anything and everything that helped me at the moment.
It took three months for you to get a job, right? But in the meantime, you were also working on your own e-commerce website?
Yes, it was part of understanding the American market. You can call it a side business or a startup.
But what was your main goal when you started your website? Was it a step to enhance your portfolio?
I basically had to make a business plan for my final MBA project. I made a business plan for a retail store but I applied it on a smaller scale than the original plan I created.
Are you planning to continue your website on the side?
No, not really. I’m switching from retail to customer service because I believe I can give more that way.
But I saw your e-commerce website. It was very clean and crisp, very user friendly. I would definitely use it as a consumer. Why did you decide to stop it?
An e-commerce website, from my understanding, requires a lot of attention in the first year and it is definitely not a part-time job. You need to work hard on it every day, at least six to seven hours,until you have a stable customer base and a well-renowned name. Also, you need to spend a fortune on marketing if you want to sell your products.
How did you find this job? Through LinkedIn?
Yes, through Linkedin. But I used Indeed too, and I got many interviews through those two platforms.
What was your strategy?
Tip #2: I gave myself a daily target. I applied to 25-50 companies every day. Some days when I had time, I applied to even more. But I applied to a minimum of 25 companies every day.
Did you have more than one resume that you used?
No, just one resume.
What about the cover letter?
Apart from the minor changes like the position and name of the company, everything was pretty much the same. I applied for only IT-based profiles so I didn’t really have to make different resumes, but I know people who apply for different profiles use different resumes and cover letters.
Let’s talk about your new job. How is it going?
It’s going good.
Are you happy there?
Yes. It’s a new experience.
What is your new company like? The work culture?
My company has a very good culture based on kindness. They believe in being kind to one another. The management believes in investing time in each employee to make sure that they are happy which will eventually lead to more productivity.
That’s nice. What advice do you have for students at Lincoln?
My advice would be to dream big. And make sure if you want to convert that dream into reality, you need to set up goals and do whatever it takes to accomplish those goals by working hard with a lot of discipline and most importantly, with consistency. Because if you don’t, your dreams will stay just dreams in your imagination, which will end up fueling your disappointment and taking you down a bad road where anything and everything will feel negative. And, take wisdom from this quote: “ If you say you can, or you can’t, you are right.”
You worked in Jordan, right? How is it different here?
There are some differences in the environment but mostly work everywhere you go is work. Every company that I have worked for has a similar bunch of people. You know, the good and the bad, the person who tries to take credit for everybody’s accomplishments. *laughs*. It is the same everywhere, part of human nature. But in general, working in the US is good.
Talk about your interview process with Care Indeed.
Tip #3: I had realistic interview expectations. I was prepared.
I had three rounds of interviews with them. The first round was with the recruiter/HR which had primarily a lot of generic questions, mainly about my career, about my legal status, why I had a gap in my career, which I explained was because I was pursuing my education.
The second round was with my supervisor and questions got more technical, my weaknesses and strengths. The third round was with my supervisor along with the CEO of the company. This round was more about understanding both parties. To see if I was a good fit for the company and explaining to me more about them.
They say that the interview process is longer than in other places. Is that true?
Depends on the company and the needs of the company. Like the first companies that I applied to three months ago have finally started responding now. Some companies take three months, six months, but nothing less than one month. Especially big companies like Google and Microsoft definitely take more than three months and some take more than six interviews. Back home, it’s definitely faster. The whole process may take a month or two.
How was their whole attitude towards the fact that you need sponsorship?
Again, it’s different from company to company. Some companies from the start make their plans clear. Some companies make it clear that they can’t sponsor, but there are some who sponsor and they have a quota so they hire accordingly. Some have specific positions that they sponsor. But the bottom line is that there are companies that sponsor international students. I know that there is an assumption that our students have made, a rather negative one, that there are no companies that sponsor today. Some do care if you have experience inside the US, but most of them don’t really prioritize that. Every company has at least 5-10% employees that have experience from other countries. Every year about 200,000 applicants enter the lottery for the 85,000 spots for H1B status, so the odds aren’t that bad.
What is that one important thing that you learned in your time at Lincoln University?
Working with people from different cultures. This is the third country that I have worked in. First was Jordan, then Saudi Arabia. All this helped me understand and adapt to people from all around the world. Lincoln University enhanced my knowledge of people from other cultures. I learned how to connect with people from different ideologies, cultures, and religions. And most importantly, I have met some amazing personalities who have become very good friends and have supported me throughout.