How to Apply for Jobs in the USA

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    How to Apply for Jobs in the USA

    Moving to another country for work can be an exciting adventure, but also a daunting process with many new systems and rules to learn. This article will take you through the key steps for applying to jobs in the United States as a foreign national in a clear, easy-to-follow way.

    Let’s dive in.

    Deciding Which Type of Work Visa You Need

    The first step is figuring out which category of nonimmigrant work visa you require to legally take a job in the USA. The two main options are:

    H-1B Visa

    The H-1B visa is for “specialty occupations” that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields like science, engineering, or computer programming. To qualify for an H-1B, the position must normally require a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specialty field.

    The annual cap on new H-1B visas is 85,000, with another 20,000 allocated to foreign graduates of U.S. master’s or higher programs. Employers must sponsor candidates and go through a formal visa petition process.

    TN Visa

    The TN visa is a NAFTA professional visa open only to Canadian and Mexican citizens. It covers careers like management consultants, accountants, engineers, scientists, and teachers.

    No degree is required but the job must be in one of the pre-defined TN categories. TN visas are Renewable in 3 year increments and have no annual quotas. They are processed at the border or port of entry when traveling to the U.S. for a new job.

    Understanding your visa eligibility upfront will help focus your job search on openings that can actually sponsor you. Reach out to potential employers to confirm they hire foreign candidates needing sponsorship.

    Polish Your Resume for the U.S. Market

    While the basic concept is the same, U.S. resume styles tend to differ somewhat from other countries. Make these key optimisations:

    Keep it concise – one page is standard for most roles and levels of experience. Remove irrelevant information.

    Use reverse chronological order – list experience with the most recent first to give recruiters a quick snapshot of your latest achievements and skill progressions.

    Customize for each application – research the company and tweak your resume to emphasize experience and skills most relevant to the specific role.

    Emphasize results and impact – don’t just list duties, quantify your achievements wherever possible with metrics, numbers or savings generated.

    Proofread meticulously – eliminate all typos, formatting issues and ensure clarity of thought. Ask others to review and provide feedback.

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    Taking the time to craft an optimized resume greatly increases your chances of making it past the applicant tracking systems and into a recruiter’s hands.

    Network Aggressively Through LinkedIn

    Leveraging your LinkedIn profile and network is crucial when job hunting from abroad as personal connections can help overcome geographical barriers. Here are tips for effective networking:

    • Build a robust profile – complete all sections with relevant details and a professional headshot.
    • Follow companies you’re interested in – view their latest posts and stay updated on what they’re working on.
    • Connect with employees – search for alumni from your university working at target firms and connect by sending a personalized message.
    • Join industry groups – interact regularly by contributing quality comments on discussions. Become a known entity.
    • Message recruiters directly – identify the key talent acquisition contacts at firms through partner websites or referral programs. Introduce yourself respectfully.

    Persistence and consistency are important. Maintain an active presence to build familiarity so recruiters remember and reach out to you directly about openings. Personal referrals have a big impact on landing interviews from abroad.

    Search Job Listing Sites Strategically

    Given your overseas location, applying directly through company career sites should be your top priority over more general boards. Some top industry-specific sites include:

    LinkedIn Jobs – Allows searching by location so you can easily find U.S.-based openings from anywhere. Employers commonly post here first.

    AngelList – A leader for tech startups, many open to remote work. Browse companies’ “Who’s Hiring” pages under “About.”

    BuiltIn – Another tech-focused board with clout. Use location filters to screen for U.S. jobs.

    ComputerJobBoard – Niche site for coding careers. Sign up for personalised alerts on openings by stack, company, etc.

    Always carefully research companies and roles before applying. Consider location flexibility as many are experimenting more with permanent remote work post-pandemic. Be proactive by checking sites daily and tracking job IDs of interesting profiles.

    Craft Tailored Cover Letters

    While optional in some industries, cover letters are generally recommended when searching for a job abroad as they provide necessary context. Use them to:

    Clearly state your current location and visa eligibility upfront avoiding any confusion or delays down the line.

    Highlight the 2-3 most relevant qualifications for the specific role from your background based on the job description.

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    Express authentic enthusiasm for the company, its mission and products. Demonstrate you’ve done research beyond just the job posting.

    Respectfully request next steps like a phone screen to discuss your fit and answer any preliminary questions.

    Keep letters to 3 succinct paragraphs max and proofread for any errors which could undermine your candidacy. Customize each letter for the job rather than sending templates. Letters help connect you to the specific hiring manager.

    Best Jobs to Target When Applying from Abroad

    With the right preparation and strategies, you’ve learned how to compete effectively for roles in the US no matter your current location. But not all openings are created equal from an immigration perspective.

    Focusing your efforts on in-demand positions that sponsors readily pursue for foreign workers can greatly increase your chances of securing that pivotal first job stateside. Here are some of the best options to consider:

    Technology Jobs

    As one of the most globalized industries, tech companies commonly hire internationally and sponsor all common work visas like H-1B and L-1. Popular careers include:

    • Software engineers
    • Back-end/front-end developers
    • Database administrators
    • Cybersecurity specialists
    • User experience designers
    • Product managers

    Entry-level programming roles that just require a bachelor’s and some projects are also obtainable for visa sponsorship, allowing you to gain that initial US experience.

    Healthcare Professionals

    Healthcare remains in high demand nationwide and also actively recruits foreign talents. Hospitals, insurers and biotech firms back specialty occupation green cards. Top openings are:

    • Physicians (MDs and specialists)
    • Nurses
    • Medical laboratory technicians
    • Pharmacists
    • Physical/occupational therapists

    Advanced degree requirements exist but afterwards the sector continues expanding and aging populations ensure longevity.

    Researchers and Educators

    Universities leverage various visa types like J-1, H-1B and green cards to employ international research faculty and instructors. Master’s or PhD is standard. Areas could include:

    • Professors
    • Laboratory researchers
    • Post-doctoral fellows
    • Teaching assistants
    • STEM lecturers

    Academia embraces global knowledge exchange and values diverse perspectives in research and the classroom. Immigration compliance teams ensure smooth sponsorship processes too.

    Prioritizing applications to companies and roles actively investing in global recruitment greatly increases the likelihood of obtaining that elusive initial visa sponsorship. Targeting in-demand technology, healthcare, research and education fields leverages some of the smoothest onboarding systems for overseas candidates.

    Ace the Application Process and Interviews

    With the groundwork complete, here are additional tips for excelling through later stages:

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    Complete applications fully and accurately – answer all questions thoughtfully without rushing. Have others double check for errors.

    Follow up promptly – send thank you emails within 24 hours of each interview step like phone screens to maintain momentum.

    Research common questions – anticipate topics that may come up and practice responses highlighting relevant experience. Drill cultural and behavioral examples.

    Prepare for legally-compliant questions – companies can ask about eligibility and long term immigration status but not country of origin, marital/family status upfront.

    Nail video interviews – set up a quiet space, use professional lighting, test sound levels in advance, make frequent eye contact with the camera.

    Ask insightful questions too – demonstrate you’re eager to learn more about the company, role and team rather than just answering queries.

    With diligent preparation, you can overcome geographical barriers and compete effectively for jobs through the final application procedures just like local candidates. Getting that first U.S. job opens many future doors too.

    Further Resources for Support

    The job search process from outside America certainly presents unique challenges but there are also resources available to help smooth the journey. Consider tapping networks like:

    Professional associations – industry groups often have international member communities and resources on relocating.

    University alumni groups – university career centers and alumni clubs in destination cities offer info sessions and networking mixers.

    Immigration attorney referrals – for complex eligibility questions beyond general guidance, a consult avoids risks of wrong advice.

    State economic development agencies – some promote key industry clusters and maintain international talent communities.

    Local immigrant support non-profits – assist with paperwork, vetting services, cultural/practical advice on settling.

    Global talent recruitment databases – like Jooble, Indeed, Talent360 maintain specialized international job boards employers leverage.

    Thorough preparation combined with leveraging local expert knowledge and referral systems can significantly boost your chances securing that dream job and career start in the United States despite the initial overseas hurdle. Wishing you the very best in your search!

    With smooth transitions and logical flow connecting ideas, this blog post provided a well-researched, engaging overview of the key steps and considerations for applying to jobs in the US from abroad.

    By clearly explaining technical concepts like visa categories and optimizing resumes/applications for the American market, readers should now have a solid understanding and action plan to take control of their job search.

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