How to find a job in New York

Working in New York
Updated 2023-10-04 08:47

New York's sheer size and the scope of the city's economy mean that the opportunities available here are practically endless. If you play your cards right, you can build an amazing career — but it will definitely take work, and it probably won't be easy. In the words of the great Frank Sinatra, “If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere”. So, get ready to give your job search everything you've got

Popular industries in New York

New York is a city of opportunities, and you will find many job offers in different fields here. However, as an expat in New York, you may have a better chance of landing a position in a number of key industries. These include finance, tourism, real estate, media, creative industries, green technologies, and more. To learn more about the best industries for expats in New York, refer to the labor market in New York.

Where to start your job search in New York as an expat?

There are several ways you can go about your New York job search.

Firstly, you can look for a company where you live that has branches in New York City. Being transferred is usually much easier than starting fresh. However, this is not a feasible choice for most people, and for most workers, you will be applying without that advantage. Remember that you cannot apply for a US working visa until you have a valid job offer from the United States. Unfortunately, obtaining a work visa from outside the United States is quite complicated: there are only a limited number of companies willing to hire foreigners and act as visa sponsors (as this can take up to six months and become quite costly). If you are looking for a job offer in New York online, focus on companies that mention being a “visa sponsor” for a better chance of landing a position.

You could also take the longer route and travel to the United States to study first. Having a degree from an American university (graduate or undergraduate) can significantly increase your chances of landing a job. Student visas often allow you to work for a year after graduating or participate in internships while studying. What's more, while studying in the US, you can also network and, perhaps, get acquainted with your future employer. Learn more about studying in New York.

Job hunting resources in New York

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

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 New York 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. There are agencies that specialize in specific fields (engineering, IT, media, etc.), and you may find one that has a good track record of finding employment for people in your line of work.

Career fairs

If you are already in New York and are looking for new job opportunities, consider attending a career fair. These are excellent ways to get a foot in the door with some big employers, talk to recruiters face to face, and make an impression. To find out about upcoming career fairs in New York, 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 in which you are interested, find the contacts for the recruiting manager and reach out via email, Linkedin, or another professional network.

The American CV

As an expat looking to secure employment in New York City, one of your first steps should be to create a compelling curriculum vitae (CV). Your CV serves as a crucial tool in your job search journey, directly influencing your chances of success. In this guide, we'll delve into the intricacies of crafting an American-style CV tailored to the specific demands of the New York City job market.

Before delving into the intricacies of CV composition, it's important to understand the core elements that make up a well-structured CV for the US job market. Here's a breakdown of what you should consider including:

  • Format: Choose a suitable format for your CV. The reverse chronological order is widely favored, with your most recent work experience taking precedence. Alternatively, you can opt for a functional or skill-based format, emphasizing your expertise in a particular domain. A combination format is also viable, merging elements of both chronological and skill-focused approaches.
  • Personal information: Begin your CV with your basic personal details, including your name. Optionally, you can include your date of birth and a recent photo. It's essential to avoid mentioning gender, marital status, religion, race, etc., unless directly relevant to the job you're pursuing due to anti-discrimination laws.
  • Contact information: Place your contact details prominently at the top of the CV. Include your phone number, email address, and physical address. You may also include links to your professional website and relevant social media profiles, ensuring they present an up-to-date and professional image.
  • Statement of intent: Craft a concise statement outlining your reasons for applying for the specific position. Highlight your enthusiasm for the company, your relevant expertise, and your professional aspirations.
  • Work experience: List your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job. Include the employer's name, your position, and key responsibilities or accomplishments. Tailor this section to demonstrate how your past experiences align with the requirements of your target job.
  • Education: Detail your main degree and any relevant courses, certificates, seminars, or conferences that have contributed to your expertise. If you're a recent graduate, you might consider placing your education section before your work experience and providing more comprehensive details about your academic achievements.
  • Language skills: Given the international nature of New York City's job market, highlighting your language proficiency is crucial. Clearly list the languages you speak and indicate your level of proficiency (basic, conversational, intermediate, fluent, bilingual, etc.). If you possess relevant language certifications such as TOEFL, IELTS, or TOEIC, be sure to include them.
  • Computer skills: In today's tech-driven world, proficiency with various programs, applications, word-processing tools, and social media platforms can be a significant asset. Highlight your computer skills to showcase your adaptability in a digital work environment.
  • References: Optionally, include references from previous employers if the job posting indicates their importance. Alternatively, state that references are available upon request. Ensure you have obtained permission from your references to share their contact information.

To ensure your CV makes a lasting impression on potential employers, consider these additional tips:

  • Proofreading: Thoroughly proofread your CV to eliminate spelling and punctuation errors. A flawless CV demonstrates your attention to detail and professionalism.
  • Clarity and conciseness: Present information in a clear and concise manner. Opt for an easy-to-read design template that highlights key sections of your CV.
  • Attachments: When reaching out to potential employers, avoid sending attachments unless explicitly requested. Instead, mention that you have relevant documents ready and can provide them upon request.
  • Cover letter: Attaching a well-crafted cover letter and your CV can provide further insight into your qualifications and motivations. Personalize each cover letter to align with the specific job you're applying for.

One excellent resource is the New York State Department of Labor. They offer free professional assistance, including guidance on job market navigation and adapting your CV to the American style. The department also provides valuable monthly statistics about unemployment rates and the job market, aiding your job hunt.

How to write a cover letter?

In the dog-eat-dog landscape of the New York City job market, crafting a well-written cover letter can be your ticket to capturing the attention of prospective employers and setting yourself apart from the competition. A cover letter is not just a formal introduction; it's an opportunity to showcase your personality, passion, and suitability for the role beyond what's stated in your resume. Here's how to construct a compelling cover letter that resonates with employers:

  • Conciseness is key: Keep your cover letter concise and focused. In a few paragraphs, convey your interest in the job and why you're the ideal candidate. Avoid the temptation to rehash your entire resume — instead, focus on key qualifications and experiences that directly align with the position.
  • Personalization matters: Each cover letter should be tailored to the specific job you're applying for. Avoid sending generic letters. Research the company, understand the role's requirements, and highlight how your skills and experiences uniquely match their needs.

When crafting your cover letter, adhere to this format for a structured and effective approach:

  • Header: Include your contact information and the date of writing.
  • Greetings: If possible, address the letter to the hiring manager by name. If you're unsure, use a generic salutation like "Dear Hiring Manager" or "Dear [Company Name] Recruiter."
  • Introduction: Begin with a strong opening that states the position you're applying for and how you learned about the opening. Briefly explain why you're excited about the role and what makes you a great fit.
  • Body: In a concise manner, touch on your key skills, qualifications, and relevant experiences. Avoid duplicating information from your resume. Instead, focus on a few standout qualities demonstrating your fit for the position.
  • Closing: Summarize your interest in the role and express your anticipation of the employer's response. Keep this section positive and forward-looking.
  • Signature: Close the letter with a courteous sign-off (e.g., "Sincerely") followed by your name.

Additional tips for crafting an outstanding cover letter

  • Personalize whenever possible: Research and find out the name of the hiring manager. Addressing them directly adds a personal touch to make your letter stand out.
  • Keep it concise: Aim for a cover letter that's around 300 words. Focus on key points and avoid overwhelming the reader with details.
  • Inject personality: Your cover letter is a platform to let your personality shine through. Be genuine and authentic in your writing — after all, employers value candidates who are not only qualified but also a good cultural fit.
  • Proofread and edit: Just like your CV, your cover letter should be free of grammatical and spelling errors. A well-polished letter reflects your attention to detail and professionalism.

Interviewing for a job in New York

Securing a job interview is a significant step on your journey to landing a position in the bustling New York City job market. As an expat, understanding the nuances of job interviews and preparing effectively can greatly enhance your chances of success.

An interview is your chance to showcase your personality, qualifications, and cultural fit to a potential employer. If your CV has piqued their interest, you'll likely receive an invitation for an interview. Be aware that in New York City, you might need to navigate multiple rounds of interviews before a job offer is extended.

Before stepping into your first interview, thorough preparation is essential. Research your potential employer's mission, values, and recent accomplishments. Consider how your skills and experiences align with their needs and objectives. Whether your interview is conducted in person or remotely, these recommendations will help you shine:

  • Documents ready: Have your CV, degrees, and any relevant documents readily accessible. Organized documentation reflects your professionalism.
  • Remote interview readiness: If you're being interviewed remotely, ensure a stable internet connection and that all necessary equipment, such as your webcam and microphone, is functioning correctly.
  • Revisit your application: Refresh your memory by re-reading your CV and cover letter. This will help you recall the skills and qualifications that intrigued the employer.
  • Prepare thoughtful questions: Prepare a list of questions demonstrating your genuine interest in the company and the position. Thoughtful inquiries showcase your eagerness to contribute.
  • Showcase with examples: Illustrate your skills with specific examples from your experiences. Highlight how your skill set directly translates into valuable contributions to the job role.
  • Express genuine interest: Share what specifically drew you to the job opportunity. Convey your enthusiasm for advancing your career within their organization.
  • Visa clarification: If you're an expat, clarify your current visa status. Inquire about the process of obtaining a work visa if it applies to your situation.
  • Inquire about next steps: Towards the end of the interview, inquire about the expected timeline and next steps. Understand whether to anticipate follow-up calls, additional interviews, or requests for more documentation.
  • Send a follow-up email: While optional, emailing the interviewer thanking them for their time can leave a positive impression.

What visa do I need to work in New York?

As we've mentioned earlier, in order 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 false 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.

Useful links:

Career Builder
New York Times - Job adverts
New York Department of Labor
USCIS: working in the USA

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.