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BAIA receives often requests from Italian and International professionals who are looking for work or for an internship in Silicon Valley.

Many of the members of this network have gone through the experience of establishing an international career and looking for work in the US. I would like to ask the BAIA Link community to share Tips and Tricks from your personal experience. I'll start...

TIP #1: Know what you can do and say it. One of the most important skills in business in Silicon Valley is the ability to grasp your key value proposition and to communicate it succinctly and in an inpactful way. If you can express in 100-words or less what you are good at and what kind of work is best suited to you, then, by any means, put that paragraph in every email communication you have with a potential career contact! Don't let people guess what you can do.

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TIP #2: risk is opportunity, show that you are willing to take the risk of starting over your career abroad . You leave your country, your friends, your family...NEVER appear weak on this point: no regrets... don't event think about them during the interview, this because an experienced recruiter will "sense" that... and this does not help, obviously.

TIP #3: if you want... you CAN . There is no perfect match between the job description and the candidate, so it is critical to show the recruiter that you are eager to learn new things and become a perfect match with "training on the job" and hard work: after all if you are not a good candidate for the job the recruiter will not bother calling you. CLEARLY this means that if you get a chance to be interviewed you are a possible candidate: go and rock them ! .

[these two tips helped me to get job opportunities in Madrid, California and Scotland]

TIP #4: Resume . Italian CV and american Resume are quite different in the style and layout: search on the internet examples of typical resume accepted in the country where you want to work and try to match the style.

Hope it helps,
Tip #2: Get out there. Whether you're a founder or a member of the team, it's critical that you get immersed in your space and get to know other folks in it. You always learn something and you build the relationships you need both to learn more and to become a familiar face. That builds trust and continuity. Ways to find gatherings: your friends on Facebook and MySpace, Upcoming, Twitter -- to name just three.
another TIP: Sell Yourself(!), this is not the place for understatement... courteous shyness, false modesty don't sell. Lay down your strong and clear value proposition and back it up.
If you don't think you ARE their best possible choice, and you don't show it, why would they think it and stop looking?
TIP #7: Know who you are talking to (Prepare, Prepare, Prepare): Your interviewers read your resume before meeting you. You should do the same and read the company profile on their website. Know exactly what they are working on, what is their portfolio, who are their partners and competitors, and what are the projects and markets they are interested on.
If you can, try to find out the background of the person you are interviewing with (sometimes you just need to ask the recruiter in charge of setting up your interview with, for example, a senior engineer or manager), their experience and what they work on: this can give you clues on what the interview will be conducted on.
All this information will allow to lead the interview.
Very interesting TIPS, but mostly useful if you are looking for a job.

If you are doing some interview for an internship the approach should be different. May be we should open a different thread with different tips.
I agree that these are great tips. Many can be applied when looking for a job (having been a former IT recruiter), yet there are some nuanced differences when finding the right internship. Let me think about some helpful, I hope, tips and begin a new discussion tomorrow, unless someone else beats me to it, ;-).
At the cost of sounding harsh, I want to share not a tip, but rather a reality check... Silicon Valley is full of opportunity, which means that a LOT of people want to live and work here. That means that there is a lot of competition for careers at every level. Here's a few key things you should ask yourself and be able to answer if you are looking for a job:

- Is my (American) English fluent or at least very, very good? If you cannot explain in English how good you are and do that with verve and impact, you have a serious handicap.

- Do I have a work VISA? Fair or not, this is a big deal for most employers, bar only the largest ones. If you do not have a work visa, do your homework, know EXACTLY what visa options you have and know exactly what your employer would have to do to hire you. It is your responsibility to make this hurdle as easy to leap as possible. Others have done that and with determination and patience have succeeded.

- Are my skills and qualifications unique? I mean unique for a very specific employer. Let say you speak Mandarin. Big deal, right? You should expect hundreds s of people in your industry in Silicon Valley to speak Mandarin. Now, if you speak Mandarin and have managed supply chains in Guangzhou. Now we are talking.

- Has any hiring manager worked with you or one of your close colleagues/friends before? If not, you are an unknown entity. If yes, use that connection!

Am I being to harsh? Oh, the above generally does not apply to entrepreneurs, cause they tend to employ themselves.
As "harsh" Matteo said, the language can be an issue. Can you think of ways to improve your language skills (spoken and written, in particular)? I'm thinking about somebody whose English is good enough but would like to be more comfortable in a professional environment.
Full immersion in everything is English if you are outside UK, Australia, New Zealand or US: music, TV, Web, books will help, but will not do miracles.
On the other hand...If you are already in one of these countries the best thing you
can do is to stay away form your italian contacts and concentrate on the new experience trying to network with local people.

Unless you are gifted in languages learning skills there is no shortcut to improve your English.

My grandmother Bonicelli came from Schilpario, in the province of Bergamo. She was self-taught. I remember she always had newspapers and THE READER'S DIGEST. I think, though, a great deal had to do with the fact that she committed to being American. She anglicized her first name, from Lucia to Lucy, and always identified herself as an American. Remained proud of her Italian heritage, though -- would write letters for other Italian immigrants who could not read and write. I like to think I learned about authenticity from her. There was no conflict for her between being Italian and being American.
Tip #13 : Open your mind. Remember that the most important part of your internship is turning your mind into a Silicon Valley one! Before thinking to anything else you have to understand how globe trots in Silicon Valley. The rhythm of your life should be different, you should be yielding to take in your life what of good and new you will be put in contact with. Things go very fast, business opportunities come up and go away in a little while, and you should be ready to catch them when they appear: a working lunch or a networking party can deeply change your situation!



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