Moving to the United States can be overwhelming. Knowing that you still have to navigate the job market after your move? Even worse.
If you’re looking for work in the U.S., you can find hundreds of different articles with advice on how to find and apply for a job. However, most of those articles are geared towards U.S. citizens who don’t have to worry about eligibility.
How do you find full-time work if you’re an immigrant?
It is possible not only to find a job, but also find a job in your field. You don’t have to be underemployed if you’ve got relevant skills. You just need to know how to navigate the immigration system.
Read on for some key tips on how to find a job in the United States as an immigrant.
Getting The Paperwork
Every employer is required to make sure that their employees, no matter what country they’re from, are eligible to work in the U.S. That means that before you start scanning the job market, you need to make sure you’ve got all your papers in place.
Here’s how to know what you need.
What Type Of Worker Are You?
Are you planning on staying in the United States for a long time, or are you just passing through? You can be classified as a temporary or permanent worker, so make sure you know which one applies to you.
If you’re serious about getting a full-time job, odds are you’re a permanent worker. For permanent workers who haven’t entered the U.S. yet, there are even more visa categories that you can fall under — anywhere from EB1 to EB5.
Your visa category is determined by things like your current profession and your level of education. The U.S. gives preference to people with special abilities or education.
Once you’re here, you’ll still need documentation to work legally. (We know, it’s confusing.) Here are the two different types of paperwork that you can use to work in the United States as an immigrant.
If there’s already a U.S.-based company that wants to employ you, you’re in luck! It’ll be much easier for you to get a job in the States, but you’ll still need to get some papers in order before you can work.
Your potential employer will have to petition for you, which takes some of the responsibility off of your plate. They’ll go through a process that proves you’re the best person for the job, instead of someone who already resides in the U.S. or is an American citizen.
If that goes through, you’re good to go.
Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
Most people don’t have an employer lined up, though. They’re just planning on searching the job market once they set foot on American soil.
If that’s the case for you, you’ll need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document, or EAD. This proves that you’re legally allowed to work in the U.S., so that your potential employers won’t have any doubts about hiring you.
After you successfully apply, you’ll get a card that you can take around with you to prove your legal status. It’s good for around one year, but you can renew it.
Still confused? Don’t worry. Places like the Center for U.S. Immigration Services can help you translate the legalese.
Navigating The Job Market
So now you’ve made it to the United States, you’ve got all the proper paperwork in place, and you’re ready to start working. How do you find a job?
There are a lot of customs and norms in place that might not be obvious for people who aren’t from the U.S. Depending on your home culture, deciphering the American job market could be super difficult.
Use some of these tips to land a job in no time.
Build An Online Presence
These days, one of the first things recruiters do is Google potential candidates. What comes up when people search for you?
Not only do you want to be found, but you want your web presence to help enhance your personal brand. Social media and personal websites are both great ways to do this.
Make sure that any public social media accounts are appropriate — don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a potential boss to read. If you can, post things related to your field so that people can see what you’re capable of.
Personal websites are also great places to showcase your portfolio.
Write A Cover Letter
Depending on what industry you want to join, you might not think that a cover letter is necessary. Those are annoying and outdated, right?
Don’t be so quick to skip the cover letter. You never know if that will be the difference between your application being tossed or pulled for further consideration.
Your cover letter is a chance for you to prove yourself. If you’re worried about your immigration status hurting your chances, use the letter to prove why they should hire you. It can even help fill in any gaps in your resume.
The job market is competitive, but don’t let that stop you from setting big goals. Often, people don’t apply for jobs they’d love because they don’t think they’re qualified.
If you don’t apply for the job, you’re never going to get it. Why not at least try?
Recruiters know they might not get someone who meets one hundred percent of their requirements or preferred qualifications. If you meet most, but not all of what they ask for, take a chance and apply. You might end up with your dream job.
Keep Learning With Us
Getting a job in the American job market isn’t easy. You might even have a lot of people telling you not to bother.
Don’t listen to them. With the right knowledge, you can get the job of your dreams in the United States.
Want to learn more while you’re here? With ULearning, school is in session whenever you want. Our goal is to help you maximize your potential.