How to Get a Job in America

Four Parts:Applying for a Job in AmericaGetting a Work Visa (or a Green Card)Researching Cities and Jobs in AmericaMoving to America

Finding a job in America is a doable challenge. You need to balance availability of jobs, places to live, weather, community and more! Here is a general guide to help you figure out where you want to live, how to get a job, and how to get a visa and move to America.

Part 1
Applying for a Job in America

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    Apply for jobs in the cities you have selected. (See below for how to select.) Jobs will be available online at company websites and also on job search websites.
    • Write a resume and cover letter template which can be personalized for specific positions.
    • If the application is handwritten, fill out the entire application in neat block letters. Do not use script, because Americans can have problems reading writing from other countries.
    • Provide references in the United States if possible.
    • Offer an interview via Skype or other web conference. Many companies will ask for many interviews with different people.
    • Send a thank you letter 3 to 4 days after your interview. In traditional companies, a paper letter is appropriate. For high tech jobs, you can follow up via email.
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    Know that getting a work visa to the USA will always take several months minimum.
    • You can offer to do consulting work (paid by the hour) in your home country with the company in the USA for several months, so they can better get to know you.
    • You can offer to visit the company in the USA to get to know them before you get the job.
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    Try moving to America as a student first. Many have found success to moving to America as a student on a student visa, and then finding employment after you are in school.
    • This only works if you can be admitted and pay for a school of course.
    • It is best to choose a school and/or degree that makes it easy for you to get a job. Technical majors will find it easier to be sponsored for a visa by an American company.

Part 2
Getting a Work Visa (or a Green Card)

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    Apply for an appropriate work visa. A green card gives you permanent residence in America while a Visa is temporary. However, most people will get the work visa first, move to America, and then apply for a Green Card after some time.
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    Be careful of immigration scams.
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    Know that there are many kinds of Visas for people who immigrate to work for a company. You may want to hire a lawyer to help you navigate the different visas, or trust in your company HR department.
    • The Specialty Workers, or H1B Visa is designed for immigrants who wish to work in a specialized field. Ask the company you are applying to if they will "sponsor you for an H1B." Many companies will. They will need to pay about $25,000 in lawyer costs, but if you are in demand, it may be worth it to them. If you are unsure, you can ask them "if they will sponsor you after 6 months if things are working out well."
    • The Temporary Skilled or Unskilled Workers, or H2B, Visa is provided for immigrants who want positions that are non-agricultural but are temporary in nature.
    • The Intracompany Transferees, or L1, Visa is for immigrants who will be working for a company that has operations in America. The employee must also be part of management or provide a specialized skill. If you are working for a large company with offices in the USA, ask people in the USA office about this.
    • Employment-based Preference Visas are for those immigrants who are already employed, as this visa must be requested by the employer.
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    Know that there are special visa for people from certain countries. Countries that are very friendly with the USA typically have better arrangements.
    • The E3 Visa is designed for citizens of Australia who are employed in America in a specialized capacity.
    • Canadian and Mexican citizens can apply for a TN Visa. Special instructions for Canadians can be found here.
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    Know that the process is different if you are coming to set up your own business. Entrepreneurs should examine the Choose Between L1 or E Visa to Set Up a New Business in the U.S L1 and E Visas. E2 Visas are well known because they allow you to get a Visa by simply investing money in a USA business, but note it does not have a path to a green card.

Part 3
Researching Cities and Jobs in America

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    Research American cities. Choose several cities that you find appealing. You can probably find somewhere jobs for you are plentiful, and that you'd like to live in as well.
    • Look for cities that have affordable housing and living costs, a wide selection of jobs, available housing, good healthcare facilities, and schools and places of worship adequate to your needs. You also should consider if you have friends of friends or others from your country in that area.
    • Weather in the United States is quite varied; research the seasonal averages to ensure you are comfortable with the local extremes or natural hazards, such as earthquakes or hurricanes.
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    Look for positions in your career field in your selected cities before you immigrate to America.
    • Look at pay for your profession. Examine the Bureau of Labor statistics regarding wages by section of the country and job category to get an idea of the salary you may be able to negotiate in various regions of the country. You can also look on job search websites such as,, or others.
    • The Occupational Outlook Handbook provides in depth information about job prospects in most major fields. The information is updated annually and includes information about education or experience needed for the type of job as well as an outlook and a general description of job duties.
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    Balance job availability with the kind of lifestyle you want in the USA. Some cities are better than others, depending on what you do.
    • The coasts, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles are very expensive. You may find those places attractive if you have a very highly paid profession, such as Engineer, Programmer, Mathematician and so on.
    • If you have a profession that "can go anywhere" such as nurse, school teacher, doctor, you may want to look for a smaller town that is cheaper to live in and may have not enough professionals.
    • If you are an entrepreneur, you may find smaller towns cheaper, yet less welcoming to foreigners.

Part 4
Moving to America

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    Find a place to stay. Rent an apartment or house near your new job when you go to America. Know that many landlords consider a foreign tenant to be risky, and you may need to put up a larger deposit or provide more references.
    • If you sign up for a longer term apartment rental, you will need to put a deposit on the apartment you wish to rent, usually at least 1 month's rent plus a damage deposit.
    • You may need to provide references and information about your credit rating to potential property owners.
    • Most utility companies also require deposits before services may begin.
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    Consider a short term rental of an apartment or house.
    • A good option is to rent an apartment for just one month while you figure out where you want to be. AirBnB is a good website for this. Craigslist is also good but is a bit more risky. Search for 'short term' and you will see many owners who want to let out their place on short term basis. #*If you know people in the city where you will move, you can ask them directly to stay with them for a short period of time.
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    Know that Health Insurance can be a challenge in America. Not everyone gets insurance.
    • Check with your employer on their health insurance policies. If they do not provide, you will probably want to find health insurance on the open market.
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    Look into schools if you have or are considering children. Public schools in America are free until Grade 12, but they have very different quality. Some can even be dangerous.
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    Apply for a Green Card. After some time in your job, you can look into applying for a Green Card.
    • You can also get a green card if you have family members who are US Citizens or by applying to be a refugee.

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Categories: Job Search | Living Overseas