On moving to the USA

Hi, friends!

To clarify one thing first: I’m more than happy at my current job! The Volkswagen Digital:Lab is an amazing place for passionate software developers, who want to build and own great products. Lean and agile like a start up, but with the resources and relevance of europes numbe one car manufacturer – nothing more to ask for!

That being said, let me reveal to you my intention to find a job in the USA for 2020. This has nothing to do with my current position; my familie’s dream to spend some years overseas is just bigger than that. As part of by blog I want to document the steps I take to either fullfill or abandon that plan.

Volkswagen Group of America

Of course I’m first looking for a job opportunity within Volkswagen. Since I’m happy here and I also want to come back after a while, why would I want to leave.
Therefore I’m currently collecting information about all the branches of the Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) that have software engineering there. One source of information will be my colleagues and their network within the company; but I’ll also use the publicly available information on the internet.

Now, keep in mind that Volkswagen is not one company: Beside the core brand Volkswagen, the group owns well-known car brands like Audi, Porsche, Bentley and others. And like most of the car manufacturers, Volkswagen is also in the business of offering loans for buying their cars; so they have themselfes a bank, too. Long story short: Don’t be surprised if I end up at a branch that is not called Volkswagen but something else, let’s see.

My search for publicly available information lead me to the VWGoA career portal. First reaction: Disappointed about the low number of job openings in software.
At least the listings provide a start to research the locations of Volkswagen in the US:

  • Auburn Hills (near Detroit, Michigan) is the headquarters of VWGoA
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the location of Volkswagen’s only plant in the US, where they build actual cars. No software jobs here.
  • Belmont, California: Not interested right now. My family and me should be able to travel to Germany sometimes and also welcome friends and family at our place. West coast ist just too far from Europe, if I can avoid it…
  • Most intersting hit so far: Herndon, Virginia, near Washington D.C.; the VW Credit Inc. has something called innovation lab there, and they seem to be looking for high profile software engineers there. I need to learn more on that!

I’ll keep you updated on the group internal job search… but this is not my only option.

Job portals

In case there is no fit within the Volkswagen Group, I would also consider to join a new company. In Germany us software engineers are spammed with dozends of job offers on LinkedIn each week, so it’s pretty easy to look out for opportunities without putting a lot effort in it. But the recruiters on LinkedIn cannot know that I’m looking for a job in a totally different timezone – so LinkedIn doesn’t help.

In order to receive job offers for the US without much effort, I created my profile on two platforms: hired.com and therecruiternetwork.com. Both are pretty standard, you put your CV in a bunch of form fields to make your skills and experience machine recognizable. therecruiternetwork requires a CV as a .pdf additionally, so you have to do more work there in case you don’t have a regular up-to-date CV prepared. (There are also differences in American-style CV’s to German-style CV’s, take care.)
On the other hand, that second platform offers you a professional review of your CV for free, which might be interesting – more about that later.

I don’t want to rush the search for external jobs, though. That’s why I decided to make me available to be found by recruiters, but I will not actively search until I know more about the opportunities at Volkswagen.

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