Seeking U.S. Employment? Tips for International Candidates

  • Suzanne Taylor
  • March 9, 2020
Moving to US

As one of the world’s largest economies, there are many job opportunities in the United States. The country is also a “melting pot” of many nationalities – from Armenian to Mexican and Korean to Nigerian. However, getting employed in the U.S. takes lots of planning and preparation. Here are some important tips if you are a non-resident seeking employment in the U.S.

1) Sponsorship, Sponsorship, Sponsorship

Your first step when applying to U.S. jobs is to identify an employer willing to sponsor a visa for a non-resident. There are a wide range of permanent and temporary visas depending on the type of work you want to do. For example, there are many temporary visas for those wanting to work in agricultural or hospitality industries.

H-1B visas are one of the most common types for permanent, full-time visas for employees. It is very important to check if an employer will sponsor non-residents when searching and applying for jobs. There are websites out there that specifically list employers who sponsor H-1B visas, and some job search sites will let you filter by employers who sponsor and those who don’t. Alternatively, you can check the company’s human resources webpage for more information or contact the company directly.

2) Curriculum Vitae, CVs, and Resumes: What’s the Difference?

There’s a good chance that, when you apply for a job in your home country, you must submit a Curriculum Vitae or CV. When applying for jobs in the U.S., the employer is most likely going to ask that you submit a resume. A resume is a one- to two-page document outlining your education, work experience, and skills, and it is probably similar to what you might call a “CV” in your home country. However, in the U.S., a CV refers specifically to a much longer document used in academia and other niche areas. So, make sure to check out our resume samples and guides to make sure you’ve got the right document ready to go.

3) Your Education vs. U.S. Education

Before searching and applying for jobs, make sure you know how your education “translates” to U.S. standards. Job postings almost always list minimum education requirements, such as high school diploma, Bachelor’s degree, or Master’s preferred. So, you need to know how your degree, diploma, or certificate compares to these U.S. benchmarks, and you will likely need to justify why your degree is equivalent in the job application process. Many employers use screening software, and you don’t want your application getting automatically rejected because the software doesn’t recognize that you meet minimum education requirements.

If you find that you don’t have the minimum education for jobs you’re interested in, you may want to consider getting a degree from a U.S. institution. This is an attractive option for many international candidates because it not only gives you the qualifications you need, but there are special employment sponsorship opportunities for graduates of U.S. colleges and universities.

4) Cultural Differences: Interviewing and Beyond

Once you’ve made the commitment to apply for U.S. jobs, make sure you research expectations for interviewing, attire, salary negotiation, and more. Most U.S. employers really want you to “sell yourself” in your application and interview, which may mean you need to boast about your skills and accomplishments more than is normal in your culture.

Many employers interview candidates over video first. Make sure that you are comfortable communicating in English through a streaming platform.

Ultimately, many of the job search strategies are the same for both U.S. residents and non-residents, so we hope you utilize our many resources on job applications, resumes, cover letters, and interviewing. Good luck on your job search!