Jobs in the USA

Moving to the United States is a big decision to make. There are many more obstacles and pitfalls in pursuing a life in the States than in a European country. Gaining a Visa and finding work are major difficulties if you don’t know where to look. Like many other countries unemployment in the US is at a high level and jobs for migrants are viciously fought over.

The difficulties

The first thing you need to know about finding work in the US is that it is very difficult. A plethora of legal issues and strict immigration laws stand between you and your new life in the land of the free.

The first thing you need, before looking for work is a US visa. These come in 3 categories.

Non-immigrant: There is no option to convert it into a permanent resident status. You must leave the US when the reason for your stay no longer exists. The majority of these visas require you to have a home or property outside of the United States.

Immigrant: You are a permanent resident of the United States (Green card). You may under a set of conditions be eligible to apply for full US citizenship.

Dual-intent: A special form of non-immigrant status which is compatible with making an application for a green card. There is no requirement town a residence or property outside the United States.

Currently the unemployment rate in the U.S stands at 8.2%. This makes getting a job as a immigrant a lot harder as under US law a business can only hire a migrant if the job cannot be done by a US citizen. You may be looked at more favourably if you have your own business. Generally the only chances you will have of being considered for a job is if you are highly skilled e.g. have a degree, and have at least 12 years experience. There is a good chance that a US employer will not have heard of your qualification so it might be worth gaining an American equivalent. A good strategy is to look at the possibility of doing an internship or finding out if your current employer has offices in the US. If they do then you could ask for a transfer stateside and then be sponsored by your employer.

Pay and conditions

Compared to working conditions in the UK and other European industrialized nations the US comes off as slightly worse.  Americans tend to work longer hours for lesser rates of pay and have less holidays. US workers have lower taxes to pay and the cost of living in many states is a lot lower than that found in most European countries. In 2001 a minimum wage was introduced in America at a rate of $5.15 per hour, however many states offer slightly higher rates. The standard work week is 40hours depending on your job.

Top tips for finding work

Here are some tips to help you find a job in the USA

To be in with the best chance of finding work, you should already be in the country. Many recruiters won’t take you seriously if you aren’t.

Apply for internships; by doing this you will gain much needed experience in the US jobs market.

Be prepared to wait. The US job market is extremely competitive and it may take time to find work. Use your time to learn about the country and make connections.

Make sure you have savings. This cannot be stressed enough. There’s a good chance that you will be spending several weeks, if not months looking for work and you will need funds to survive off of.

Research your chosen destination. You will save a lot of time and money if you learn as much as you can about the place you wish to call home. Find out what the job market is like, cheap places to live etc…

Valuable resources

There are lots of places and ways to look for jobs in the USA and many can be contacted before you arrive. To get you started, we have gathered some of the more effective resources.

The internet

The internet has changed the way the world works and the jobs market is no different. Now you can search for jobs from thousands of miles away and online applications have become the most popular method when it comes to looking for work. Many online recruitment website allow you to make customised searches and enable you to upload your CV to enable companies to find you and your skills.

The list of job portals seems endless but some of the most important ones include , , , ,  and

Head-hunters and recruitment agencies

Private recruiting agencies play a big role in the US labour market and are especially useful when looking for highly skilled jobs and senior positions. Approximately 70% of top level executives are hired via head-hunters.  Some agencies request a fee from job applicants – however, these can be rather dubious firms that offer very little value for money. Before paying any fee to an employment agency, make sure you understand exactly what you get for your cash and whether the agency is licensed by a state or local government.


Job offers are posed in the classifieds of most US newspapers making them an invaluable tool in the quest for work. The Saturday editions of the national papers such as the Washington post, advertise skilled and academic jobs.


Networking remains the Number One method of finding a job. Our advice is to take advantage of every possible contact that you have, from friends, colleagues, classmates or even your landlord. Even the most casual acquaintances can sometimes point you towards a potential job lead. Persistence and confidence are vital ingredients to a successful job search.