In the past, looking for a job in the United States meant scouring through newspapers or visiting different businesses in person to fill out applications. However, with the advent of the internet
, things have become much more accessible. Nowadays, many websites focus on helping people find jobs, and most businesses post open positions online.
Applying for a job in the United States is typically done online. Most businesses will have an online application form that you can fill out. Once you have submitted your application, it is common to hear back within a few weeks. If offered a job, you will usually get asked to come in for an interview. The interview is your chance to demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the position.
Finding a job in the United States can be a challenge, but it is possible to land the perfect role. By following these tips, you will increase your chances of success.
The first step in finding a job in the United States is to ensure you have all of the necessary documents. These include a resume, cover letter, and sometimes even letters of recommendation. Your resume should be clear and concise, highlighting your skills and experience. You should address your cover letter to the specific business you are applying to and explain why you would be a good fit for the position. Letters of recommendation are not always required, but they can help demonstrate your qualifications.
Resume / CV
For most jobs, you will need a complete and polished resume. Your resume should be one to two pages long and include your education, work experience, and applicable skills. If you have a lot of work experience (10+ years), be concise and highlight the relevant experiences for the specific job you are applying for. In some instances, extensive experience and education may require additional pages. While additional pages may seem like a good idea, you want a resume that is easily digestible and focuses on main points instead of your entire breadth of experience.
Here is the information you should include in your resume:
- Your full name and contact information (email, phone number)
- Education: level completed, area of study, institution and year completed
- Previous Experience: company, job title, years of activity, and a brief description of job duties
- Three to five professional skills
- Highlight any professional awards, achievements, or accolades
If your resume has any gaps, you do not have to include them in your resume but make sure that you can speak to them should the question arise.
The second document you will need is a cover letter. While a cover letter is not always required when applying for a position, you should consider submitting it with your resume. Your cover letter will frequently change, but your resume should stay the same. To have a cover letter ready, prepare a template that you can easily edit to align with the company and specific position you are applying for, and update it as you apply to other companies.
Here is the information to include in your cover letter:
- Your full name and contact information (email, phone number)
- A personalized salutation
- An introduction about you
- Information about your work experience and specific qualifications for the job
- A closing statement that summarizes who you are and why you believe you would be a good fit.
- A complimentary close (e.g., Sincerely, Regards, Best)
- Your signature
Your cover letter allows you to address the hiring manager directly and to share the vital information you want them to know straight away.
It is essential to know who your references will be if a company asks for them. Requesting to speak to your references is usually one of the final steps of the job application process.
It is essential to contact your references ahead of time to ensure you:
- Have their consent to be contacted.
- Have updated and accurate contact information.
- Let them know what the position is so that they can speak to your skills and attributes.
Typically, your references should include three to five personal acquaintances and one to two previous direct managers with whom you had a positive relationship.
If you are unable to or wish not to include a previous manager (for whatever reason), make sure you can answer why you do not want to have them included if the question arises.
Copies of Diplomas, Degrees, and Certificates
While skills and experience are critical in performing your duties, some companies require specific educational milestones. Make sure you have copies of your high school diploma or GED, completed college degrees and transcripts, and any licenses or certifications you have completed. You may need to show proof before being hired, and you won’t want to hold up the processes trying to track these items down.
Not every job will require a portfolio, but if you are seeking a job in a creative field, you need to be able to show examples of previous work. Most portfolios are submitted digitally, so you will need to build a website to showcase your work or create a zip file to share with hiring managers.
Some great portfolio building websites include:
Job Board Websites
Applying for a job in the United States is typically done online. Most businesses will have an online application form that you can fill out. Once you have submitted your application, it is common to hear back within a few weeks. If offered a job, you will usually be asked to interview with someone at the company. The interview is your chance to demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the position.
Some of the best websites for finding a job are:
You will most likely find a job posting online since you can search and research all in one place. However, sometimes the best way to find a job is by networking or connecting with friends who have jobs you think you’d do well. Get connected with people online who work at the company you are applying for through LinkedIn or local networking events. Also, don’t hesitate to ask around when you are looking for a new job. You never know, the perfect job might be sitting next to someone you already know.
There are seemingly a lot of steps to finding a job in the United States, but once you go through the process, you’ll quickly get the hang of how it all works. Try your best to stay patient and wait for the right opportunity to come along. Finding a great job can lead to years or even a lifetime of fulfillment.