Finding a job in New York

Working in New York
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Updated 2021-07-30 13:07

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 here — but it will definitely take work and it probably won't be easy. Putting it 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 lots of job offers in different fields here. However, as an expat, 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 this article: New York Labor Market.

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.

First, you can look for a company in the country of your current residence that has branches in New York city. This way, you can start your job hunting at home and get transferred to New York once you are hired.

Another way to go about it is to search for work directly in New York. Note that doing so from abroad can be quite a complicated process. Keep in mind 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 is only a limited number of companies willing to hire foreigners and act as visa sponsors (as this can take up to six months and end up being 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. What's more, while studying in the US you can also engage in some networking 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

Careerbuilder.com or Monster.com. 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 the 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 an excellent way to get a foot in the door with some big employers as well as 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 that you are interested in, find the contacts for the recruiting manager and reach out via email, Linkedin or another professional network.

The American style CV

Before you start your job search, you will need to compose a good CV. This is essential for effective job hunting and your resume can directly affect the success of your search.

Depending on the position you are applying for, you may need to include different information in your CV. However, in most cases, here are the key things to consider:

Format. First, pick the most suitable format for your CV. One of the most popular formats in the US is listing your work experience in reverse chronological order: that is, you will be putting your most recent workplace first and then listing your previous employers. Another frequently used format is the so-called functional or skill-based resume. In this case, you will be focusing on your skillset and expertise in a particular area rather than work experience. You could also use a combination resume format bringing the elements of a chronological and skill-based resume together.

Personal information. At the head of the page, you should include your basic personal information. This can just be your name. Or, you may also include your date of birth and a recent photo. Note that it's not recommended to mention your gender, marital status, religion, race, etc. (unless it is essential information for the type of work you are applying for) — as all employers in the United States are under a legal obligation to not discriminate.

Contacts. Right here at the top, you should also include your contact information. This will generally include your phone number, email and address. You can also add links to your professional website (if you have one) and social media that are relevant to your job application. In this case, make sure to keep your social media profile and activity up-to-date.

Reasons for applying. You can also include a statement on why you are applying for this specific position. It may be related to what you like about the company, your expertise in the area, professional aspirations and more.

Work experience. Next, go on to list your work experience. In most cases, it's better to start with your most recent employer. The information you should include is the name of the employer, your position, key responsibilities or achievements.

Education. In this section, mention your main degree as well as all relevant courses, certificates, seminars, conferences, etc. that have added to your expertise. Note that if you are a recent graduate, you may want to mention your education information before work experience and go into more detail about your educational achievements.

Languages: this section is very important when it comes to applying for international jobs. Here, you should include the languages you speak and your level of language proficiency (basic, conversational, intermediate, fluent, bilingual, etc. ). If you have any associated degrees or certificates (TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC, etc.), you should mention them here too.

Computer Skills. Mention your knowledge of different programs and applications, word processing, database skills, social media experience, etc.

References. Include references from previous employers — especially if the job ad mentions that it would be beneficial. If you are not yet asked for job references, you can offer to provide them upon request.

Here are some other things to keep in mind when composing your CV:

Run the final copy through a spell checker. Spelling and punctuation mistakes in a CV can turn off a potential employer before they even get to your qualifications and expertise. Thus, it is very important to make sure your CV is error-free.

Use an easy-to-read format. Make sure that you present all information in a clear and concise fashion. Take the time to choose a good design template for your CV and check if the page looks neat and all key sections of your resume are highlighted.

Do not send attachments. When contacting a potential employer for the first time, do not send over copies of your diploma or other documents — unless instructed to do so. You may mention that you have these ready and would be happy to send them upon request.

It is a generally good idea to attach a cover letter to your CV.

Good to know:

The New York State Department of Labour website offers free professional assistance, notably advice about the search on the job market and adaptation of the CV to the American style. The organisation also publishes monthly statistics about the unemployment rate and the job market, which can be useful in your job hunt.

How to write a cover letter?

The main purpose of a cover letter is to get your prospective employer interested in your candidacy and resume. It is also a chance to show your more personal side rather than the bare facts listed in the resume.

So, how do you write a good cover letter?

A cover letter should be concise and to the point. It should explain why you are interested in the job and what makes you the best candidate for it. It is not recommended to recycle the same cover letter when applying for different positions. Instead, try to make the letter as specific as possible to the position you are applying for.

Here is a base format to keep to when composing your cover letter:

Header. Here, include the sender's address, your contact information and date.

Greetings. Ideally, here you would write the name of the person who will be reading the letter. If you are not sure who that may be, use a general salutation — like, Dear Hiring Manager or Dear (company name) Recruiter.

Introduction. State what position you are applying for, how you found out about the opening and briefly mention why you are suitable for the job and why you are interested in it. Try to make this section lively and interesting — the goal is to catch the recruiter's attention and get them excited about your CV.

Body. Here, you can briefly touch on your skills, qualifications and experience. Don't go into too much detail as this information is fully covered in your CV. Pick out and mention your most relevant qualities and work experience related to the position you are applying for.

Closing. Sum up your letter and indicate that you are looking forward to the recruiting manager's reply.

Signature. Conclude the letter with a signature like (like “Sincerely”) and your name.

Here are a few extra recommendations for writing a cover letter:

Do your best to find out the name of the person your letter is intended for. Check the company's website, their LinkedIn profile or maybe even call the reception to ask for the make of the hiring manager. This will make your cover letter more personal and is likely to get more attention than a letter addressed “To Whom It May Concern ''.

Keep it short. The most optimal size of a cover letter is about 300 words. Focus on the most important points and leave the details in your CV.

Show personality. A cover letter is your one chance to make a memorable first impression. Don't be afraid to show a bit of personality and be yourself. After all, the social aspect is an important element of the hiring process.

Interviewing for a job in New York

An interview is a chance for your prospective employer to get to know you better. If your CV has made a good impression, you will be invited for an interview. 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 recommendations:

Have your CV, degree and other documentation handy.

If you are being interviewed remotely, make sure you have a stable internet connection and all the equipment needed for the call is working properly (web cam, microphone, etc.).

Make sure to re-read your CV and cover letter before the interview so that you know what skills and qualifications got the employer interested in you.

Prepare a list of questions in advance so that you can show your interest in the company and the position.

Illustrate your skills with examples. Try to demonstrate to the interviewer how your skill set 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.

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 send an email to the interviewer to thank them for their time.

Obtaining a work visa 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 types of visa and then searching for work is against the immigration laws as it means that you have entered the country under false pretences.

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.