In the USA using contacts to find out about and get referred for job opportunities is a good strategy as a foreigner, as you would need to persuade an employer to sponsor your visa as a foreign national. Going to the USA for summer work is a popular option for students as they can gain experience working for companies like Disney. Yummy Jobs provide these internships and training experiences.
According to the Manpower 2013 survey, the hiring prospects are best in leisure and leisure and hospitality, mining and wholesale and retail trade. Finance, education and health and non-durable goods manufacturing are still under some strain, with low levels of hiring.
If you want to find an internship in the USA whilst you are still a student you could apply to a firm directly, or use the Council for International Educational Exchange who facilitate internships and various other voluntary and work opportunities in the USA: www.ciee.org
Work culture and salaries
Every country has a different work culture, so be prepared to adjust. In the States there is a much more dominant ‘hard-work’ culture than in the UK: most employees will get 10-20 days of annual leave and many will take less than their allocation. Nonetheless, in comparison with many Asian countries there is still much more of an emphasis on work-life balance.
In job interviews you are expected to explicitly ‘sell’ your abilities, far more than in any European or Asian country. In the private sector you would often be expected to negotiate your starting salary, based on what other comparable jobs are paying and the skills and experience you bring.
Networking for job success
LinkedIn is the primary social networking site used for job search. In the States whilst you can get a job through applying for a job advert you are 75% more likely to get an interview through a referral than a ‘cold’ application. Given this, expanding your network via LinkedIn and personal contacts is highly advantageous.
The US Embassy, provides comprehensive information on immigration. There are a few exchange and internship visas available for short term work in the USA, but for a permanent post you would need to get your visa sponsored by a particular company, and your visa is tied to working for that company. Getting a green card is notoriously difficult. However, every year there is a green card lottery for those working or volunteering in the States – so you can always try your chances!
Resources Big job and internship search engines for the States are www.indeed.com and www.simplyhired.com. For non-profit jobs see www.idealist.org The Bureau of Labour Statistics has a useful set of career guides: www.bls.gov/ooh
Search our online database www.careerstagged.co.uk, entering ‘USA’ into the search term box for a full list of job vacancy websites.