Finding a job in Los Angeles

Los Angeles
Updated 2023-10-04 07:27

California has long been known as a hub for innovation and creativity in the US, and the state's major cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, are popular destinations for new graduates and experienced professionals wanting to make their mark or advance their careers. If you already have a job waiting for you before departing for Los Angeles, then you know exactly what your next steps will be. However, if you are still in the process of looking for job opportunities in the city, this article aims to provide some helpful information about the specifics of job hunting in Los Angeles.

Popular industries in Los Angeles

As you will already know, many people come to LA for stardom. Home to Hollywood and the birthplace of the modern movie industry, Los Angeles is indeed the Mecca of the entertainment industry. However, there is way more to this city than Hollywood – some of the most significant contributors to the city's economy are business services, trade, financial services, tech, and more. For more detailed information on popular industries in LA, refer to our Los Angeles labor market article.

Where to start your job search in Los Angeles as an expat?

When it comes to finding a job in Los Angeles, there are a few different approaches you can consider. The easiest route is to begin your job search in your current country and explore companies with branches or offices in Los Angeles. If you secure a position with such a company, you can later request a transfer to Los Angeles.

Alternatively, you can directly search for job opportunities within Los Angeles, although this can be a bit more challenging. It's crucial to remember that you can only apply for a US work visa once you have a valid job offer from a US employer. Unfortunately, obtaining a work visa from outside the United States can be a complex and time-consuming process. Only a few companies are willing to hire foreign workers and act as visa sponsors. Therefore, you should be prepared for a potentially lengthy job search that requires dedication and effort.

If you're looking for jobs online, focus on companies that explicitly state they are willing to sponsor visas, as this can increase your chances of landing a position.

Another path you can take is to study in the United States first. Attending an American university, either for a graduate or undergraduate degree, can significantly improve your job prospects. While studying in the US, you can also network and connect with future employers. Additionally, an option called OPT (Optional Practical Training) allows F1-visa graduates to work in the US after completing their studies. For more information on studying in Los Angeles, refer to our articles about universities in the area. This approach can offer a comprehensive pathway to building a career in Los Angeles.

Job hunting resources in Los Angeles

There are lots of online and offline resources that can be helpful in your job search strategies.

Online resources

The most obvious place to start your job hunt is by running a simple web search. Look for job offers in your field in LA and include “visa sponsorship” if you are abroad and will require a work visa.

You can also register and upload your CV to popular international career websites like or You can set up alerts for when new job offers appear in your field or look for opportunities manually.

Headhunting agencies

If you are an experienced professional looking for a senior position, it may be best to go through a headhunting agency. Some agencies specialize in specific fields (engineering, IT, media, etc.), and you may find one with a good track record of finding employment for people in your line of work.

Career fairs

If you are already in Los Angeles and are considering new job opportunities, attending a career fair may be a good idea. Career fairs provide an excellent platform for getting a foot in the door with some big employers. Plus, it is a great opportunity to talk to recruiters face-to-face and make an impression.

To find out about upcoming career fairs in Los Angeles, check out the National Career Fairs website.

Contact employers directly

You can also contact employers directly with your CV and cover letter and inquire whether there are job opportunities available. Research companies that interest you, find the contacts for the recruiting manager, and reach out via email, LinkedIn, or another professional network.

Temp agencies and staffing companies

You can get your foot in the door of your industry by taking up temporary roles, which you can easily find through temp agencies. Most of these temporary jobs often lead to full-time positions, and those that don't still give you opportunities to build up your experiences and network to increase your chances of landing a permanent job.

Online ads, job websites, and job boards

Sites like Indeed and LinkedIn are great places to search for job listings. Also, browse the web to see if your industry has a specific job listing site. For instance, the Starwood Jobs site is dedicated to offers in the hospitality industry. Be cautious of sites like Craigslist, as some posters there like to take advantage of unsuspecting expats. You will find many offers on job websites like ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, Indeed, job-specific Facebook Groups, Monster, WayUp, and Simply Hired.

How to compose a US-style CV?

Start with a good CV: Before beginning your job search, it's essential to create an effective CV. Your resume plays a crucial role in the success of your job hunt.

Key CV components

  • Format: In the US, the reverse chronological order is a common format, highlighting your recent work experience first. You can also consider a functional or skill-based format or a combination of both.
  • Personal information: Include your name at the top of the page. You can also add relevant details like your date of birth, but avoid mentioning gender, marital status, religion, or community unless it's essential for the job.
  • Contact information: Include your phone number, email, address, and links to your professional website and relevant social media profiles.
  • Reasons for applying: Consider adding a brief statement explaining your interest in the specific position and company.
  • Work experience: Start with your most recent employer, mentioning the company's name, your job title, responsibilities, and notable achievements.
  • Education: Highlight your main degree and relevant courses, certificates, seminars, and conferences that enhance your expertise.
  • Languages: Emphasize languages you speak, indicating proficiency levels and associated degrees or certificates.
  • Computer skills: List your knowledge of programs, applications, word processing, databases, and social media experience.
  • References: Include references from previous employers if the job advertisement suggests it. Offer to provide references upon request if not explicitly requested.

CV tips

  • Check for errors: Run a spell checker to eliminate spelling mistakes and typos, which can create a negative impression.
  • Clarity: Ensure your CV is easy to read with a clear and concise design template.
  • Attachments: Unless requested, send a clean email with just your CV. Mention that additional information is available upon request.
  • Include a cover letter: Along with your CV, include a well-written cover letter tailored to the specific job you are applying for.

How to write a good cover letter in Los Angeles?

A cover letter serves to pique the interest of your prospective employer in your candidacy and resume. It also offers a glimpse of your personality, going beyond the formalities of the CV.

A cover letter should strike a balance between consciousness and personality. It's an opportunity to convey why you're interested in the job and why you're the best fit. Try to avoid using the same cover letter for different companies. Instead, customize it for the specific position you're applying for.

Basic cover letter format:

  • Header: Include your address, contact information, and the date.
  • Greetings: Address the letter to the specific person whenever possible. If unsure, use a general salutation like "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Dear (company name) Recruiter".
  • Introduction: State the position you're applying for, why you're a strong candidate, and your enthusiasm for the role. Make this section engaging to capture the recruiter's attention.
  • Body: Elaborate on your skills, qualifications, and experience, focusing on the most crucial aspects. Remember that the CV provides detailed information.
  • Closing: Summarize the letter and include a subtle call to action, expressing your anticipation of a response from the recruiting manager.
  • Signature: Sign off with "Sincerely yours" followed by your name.

Additional tips:

  • Personalize: Whenever possible, find the recipient's name by checking the company's website, LinkedIn or contacting the company directly. Personalization sets your cover letter apart.
  • Conciseness: Keep the cover letter around 300 words, focusing on critical points while saving details for your CV.
  • Show personality: Don't shy away from expressing your personality in your cover letter. It's your chance to make a memorable first impression, and your social aspect can be a valuable asset.

Interviewing for a job in Los Angeles

An interview is a chance for your employer to learn more about you. If your CV has been well received, you will be invited for an interview — either face-to-face or remotely.

Note that, depending on the company, you may need to go through several rounds of interviews before receiving an offer.

To prepare for your first interview, make sure to do some research on your potential employer. Check what the company's mission and values are, and think about what you can bring to the team.

Whether you are interviewing in person or remotely, here are a few tips:

  • Have your CV, degree, and other relevant papers ready if the employee wants to go over these again.
  • If you are being interviewed remotely, check that you have a stable internet connection and all the equipment needed for the call is working correctly (webcam, microphone, etc.).
  • Re-read your CV and cover letter before the interview to keep it fresh in your head in case of any related questions.
  • Illustrate your skills with examples. Explain to the interviewer how your skillset translates into specific job responsibilities.
  • Mention what got you interested in the job and show the interviewer that you are interested in developing your career in their company.
  • Make sure to clarify your current visa status and ask the interviewer about the process of obtaining a work visa.
  • Prepare some questions. Most interviews end with your potential employer asking if you have any questions for them. This is an excellent time to express some interest in the company, position, future responsibilities, etc. As it may be a bit difficult to come up with good questions on the spot, you may prepare a few in advance to get more information about the job.
  • Finally, inquire what the next step would be: should you expect a call, prepare for another interview, provide additional documentation, etc.
  • This is optional, but it may be a good idea to email the interviewer to thank them for their time.

How to get a work visa to work in Los Angeles

As we've mentioned earlier, to work in the United States legally, you will need to apply for a work visa beforehand. Note that coming to the US on a tourist, family, or other type of visa and then searching for work is against immigration laws as it means that you have entered the country under pretenses.

The process for obtaining a work visa in the US may be lengthy and costly — but it is doable.

To learn about work visa options in the United States, check out this article: Work visas in the USA: Finding work as a foreign national.

If you've got the right skills and the drive to find work, there will be opportunities for you in LA, and it is even easier to find jobs in certain industries through specific resources such as professional bodies, recruiting agencies, and your network. These resources can help you find offers that are not announced publicly.

Tips for landing a good job in Los Angeles

The most important thing to do when applying for a job in LA is to research the company to find out how best you can fit in with it. This will also help you determine what to expect from the interview. The interview process differs based on each company's culture; some can be laid-back and informal, while others are formal and dead-set.

Researching a company also helps you identify the appropriate dress code for the interview. In LA, the predominant dress codes for work are business casual attire and casual, given the city's year-round warm weather. Whatever the dress code is, make sure you appear neat, fresh, and well-organized.

Before the interview, ensure you are equipped with well-articulated answers to the anticipated questions. Visit the location before the interview date to familiarize yourself with the route, and plan to arrive 10 to 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Also, come with a copy of your CV and previous work information, if needed.

Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, and ask questions about the company when you are given the chance to demonstrate proactiveness. After the interview, give the interviewer another handshake, ask for his/her business card/contact info, and then follow up later on with a message thanking them for their time. During this follow-up, you could clarify the timeline for a hiring decision, if appropriate.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.