Take the 2-minute tour ×
The Workplace Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for members of the workforce navigating the professional setting. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am a Bosnian student living (and being born) in German, yet I didn't want to get the German citizenship. Currently I am studying computer science and mathematics nearing my Bachelor's degree. In my opinion, every student who is in contact with IT should at least participate in one or more internships, so the time has come to decide where I want to gather my first real life experiences. Luckily I am working on a project related to Microsoft and even established friendships with some of our Microsoft Student Partners. In the end I have applied here in Germany for the Student Partner program which could be my way to Microsoft themselves. Therefore I decided to apply for an internship in Redmond, WA, and looking for many hints and tips what to take care of.

First of all, German cover letters and resumes are completely different than American ones, not only considering that the paper format (dimensions, etc.) is different, but the content has to be completely different. So my first question considering my situation would be the following: Are there any important things I should keep in mind considering the general contents of such a letter? Which format does it have to be, even if I am going to send it via mail?

Furthermore I am thinking about the bureaucracy that will be necessary - are there any general rules what I have to do, once they actually think about chosing me, e.g. visa, employment permit, taxes and salary?

And one last question about an issues which makes me uncomfortably: Though I understand English perfectly - no matter whether text or speech - my pronounciation is weird and my vocabulary is limited when it comes to composing texts or general smalltalk. I do not speak English every day and in school we didn't learn much, therefore I want to know whether there are any suggestions how to handle this issue without losing the chance to get the job. Should I be honest and tell this right away or should I just ignore this?

In the end, I am so sorry that this is more a casual collection of vague questions yet I would like to thank everyone for useful contributions.

share|improve this question
1  
Those are 3 good questions that should probably be asked in seperate questions. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Jan 17 '13 at 5:05

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In general, some American companies will support international interns and some simply won't. There are a lot more hoops to jump through for HR and it can be more work (this applies even more with full-time hires). Companies without a pre-defined process are unlikely to do so at all.

Are there any important things I should keep in mind considering the general contents of such a letter? Which format does it have to be, even if I am going to send it via mail?

First, an American resumé is considerably different than a German CV. Most are 1-page or less. As a student it's really unlikely you will have enough experience to warrant a multi-page resumé. Keep this in mind.

Second, regarding specific content for both, I suggest searching google for examples (for both American CVs as well as resumés). This is a really broad topic.

Third, you want both to be nearly perfect - you don't want any typos or anything. You are already applying from a disadvantage of some sorts and the last thing you want is a blatant typo. Have people proof read, etc. As a student I'm sure you know native English speakers. Have them read things, etc.

are there any general rules what I have to do, once they actually think about chosing me, e.g. visa, employment permit, taxes and salary?

Most often, organizations will take care of this if they support international interns. You will likely have to work with HR and payroll people to determine how taxes work as this can get really complicated.

Should I be honest and tell this right away or should I just ignore this?

Honestly? This is probably a very small factor in the whole process unless you simply cannot speak English well enough to even interview. The English you typed for this question is definitely fine.


Some thoughts

I hate to say this, but I suspect your main problem will be actually getting someone at Microsoft (or other popular American based companies) to read and seriously consider your application. Large, well known companies such as Microsoft get many, many applications from international applicants. I also know many of their hires are a result of career/job fairs or more personal recommendations, etc.

What I would suggest is to do some or all of the following:

  1. Look for internships in Europe or Germany. It will almost assuredly be considerably easier to have an internship overseas if you've already convinced the company you are worth their time.
  2. Network, network, network - you have friendships with Microsoft Student Partners and are working on a Microsoft project. Try to get in contact and establish professional relationships with actual Microsoft employees. Find out if they do networking events. Express your interest in a professional manner. It's a lot easier to get a job when you have someone inside trying to help!
  3. Find out if there is an "international internship" program. If you've done #2, you can ask your new connections about this too (and it might be a perfect opportunity to get to know them better). You don't want to accidentally apply to a "USA Applications" opening and not realize there was an "International Applications" opening.
  4. Find out whether they participate in any sort of job/career fair in the area. Research, research, research - if you talk with people there you want to make it clear you are NOT the normal "oh hey cool popular tech company... yeah I'll apply!"
share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.