Employment in the US

Read our following advice on employment in the US.

The employment situation

  • Contrary to popular belief, America does not welcome the poor of the world but is interested in people with money, education and professional training
  • You must obtain a visa which often proves difficult
  • They favour English over any other language
  • As of October, 2012 the unemployment rate was 7.9%
  • Currently a high unemployment rate and difficult economic conditions mean that it is not easy for a foreigner to get a job in America
  • If you do have the fortune to get in, be prepared to work hard for what you get. For an American company, you’re just another production factor which is rated by its rate of productivity
  • Job security is now regarded as a thing of the past and most corporations regard their employees as disposable resources to be exploited and discarded at will
  • Unlike European companies, US companies aren’t liable for any redundancy payment and can lay off workers quickly when business is bad.

Finding a job

  • As usual, target national newspapers such as The New York Times for highly qualified jobs and local newspapers for things like work in restuarants etc.
  • The internet is always a valuable resource with the following search engines:
  •   www.careerbuilder.com , www.careers.org ,www.hotjobs.com , www.jobcenter.com,
  • www.jobweb.com ,www.jobtrak.com , www.craigslist.org
  • State employment service centers: There are some 2,000 local Employment Service Centers spread across the US. These centers are operated by the US Employment Service and provide extensive databases of job offers, free counseling, training and other types of support (usually for semi skilled or unskilled workers)
  • Private recruiting agencies and headhunters: Private job agencies play an important role in the American labor market, especially for highly qualified jobs and senior positions. If you are asked to pay for this service make sure you do your reseach about what you are paying for as good recruitment agencies will usually be paid by the employer.
  • Networking, using personal contacts
  • Career fairs
  • Chambers of Commerce often want to fill positions with specific nationalities, it may be worthwile to research this.
  • Be confident! Approaching the employer personally can be seen as a sign of good initative
CV, cover letter and interview advice
  •  work experience tends to be emphasised first
  • the CV shouldn't be longer than a page, it should be a brief overview- time is money in the US
  • you don't need to include a photo
  • You should keep the cover letter brief, clear and direct. Feel free to express your expectations regarding the job you apply for.
  • Never use the word ‘I’ or directly refer to yourself in any way. For example, instead of writing "I was responsible for sales" put "Responsible for sales". Also mention personal achievements (i.e. “increased sales from $1m to $3m”) as US employers are very achievement-oriented.
  • Be proactive and follow your CV up with phone calls.
  • Being on time is absolutely essential
  • Dress conservatively
  • American interviews are typically formal and efficient. Expect introductions, handshakes and an exchange of business cards.
  •  If you are offered a position, you might have to pass a drug test before getting your contract, which in European countries would be considered an infringement of your private life.

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