I can relate to what you are posting through a friend who was trying to find work in the USA with heavy experience in the same industry from another country.
Double the adventure… He ended up working odd jobs for years before being able to understand how to pitch himself and find something in his field.
Understanding the culture which you want to be part of is essential and I am not saying it should be skipped. But I believe that it will involve changing (or possibly killing) parts of who you are to fit the shape. Maybe this is a good thing, if all change is good.
However I am wary of who dictates the shape, and wonder if most of the companies out there have holes that are more or less the same shape.
(sorry for dragging this shape-hole metaphor too long!)