How To Land A Job In The US As a Foreigner: 5 Practical Tips

Image credit:  Unsplash

Image credit: Unsplash

Want to move your career to the United States? We have five practical tips that will help your dream come true. Enjoy!

Try to get a work visa by yourself

The main reason why American companies do not hire more foreigners is that this is hard and expensive. The company needs to sponsor your visa, work on paperwork, wait until your petition is approved, and sometimes, there is still no guarantee you will come and work.

If you're applying for an H1-B visa, you should know there is a limited number of such visas issued each year. For example, for 2019 fiscal year the H1-B Cap was 65 thousand visas, and an overall number of applications has reached 199 thousand which means 134 thousand of foreign workers who've got an offer from a US company still could not come and start working. You can lose such a lottery for years.

No surprise that American companies prefer to hire someone who is authorized to work in the US right away and is already in the country. This is why you should try getting a work visa by yourself.

If you are an experienced specialist, there are several options to consider. One of the best is an O-1 visa. The good thing is if you can prove you are "an extraordinary" individual using several eligibility requirements, you will be able to come and work in the US. This will make you much more desired applicant for any company.

Read more on O-1 visa in our whitepaper and use our eligibility checklist to understand your chances without paying $200 to an immigration lawyer for an initial consultation.

Polish your resume

According to stats, you have aroun 7 seconds to catch an eye of a recruiter or a hiring manager, no more. This means your resume should to somehow stand out and highlight the value you can bring to the company.

Here are some tips that will make your resume look competitive:

  • The file should not be longer than one page.

  • The default file type should be a PDF.

  • Do not export your CV from LinkedIn – invest time in crafting a unique file.

  • Mention some interesting facts about you and your experience ("Top 5 Reasons To Hire Me" or smth else demonstrating your value + sense of humor).

  • Describe your job projects and results you've achieved.

  • Don't forget about personal projects - demonstrate a passion for something.

Also, almost 60% of resumes are rejected due to poor grammar and typos. So, double check everything is OK with it. You can use writing enhancement software and grammar checkers like Textly.AI. The tool has a Chrome and Firefox extensions, so you can get fixes on the fly right on the website where you are typing.

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Don't forget a cover letter

A cover letter is another chance to get noticed. It is an excellent style to compose a new cover letter for every new position and company you are applying to. The main idea is to convince people who might read it, that you are a perfect fit for the specific job they need to fill.

To achieve this goal you should write your cover letter with the job description in mind. Try to answer questions HR or hiring manager should have. Each company and position are unique, so there are little chances you will be able to re-use your cover letter changing only business names and job titles. Deal with it.

Pitch potential colleagues for references

You might be surprised, but references really work, especially in the US. It will be much easier to get hired by a company like Google or Dropbox if you will manage to gather some references from people who already work there. Remember, that such companies usually have an intranet with HR portals where employees can publish CVs of people they think might be a good fit for positions currently open.

So activate your LinkedIn network to find old friends, ex-colleagues, and connections working in companies you are interested in and pitch them. Contact these people and ask if they can refer you to their employer. Mention that you might be a good fit for the company's open positions (Google relevant ones first). You'll be surprised how often people will say 'yes.'

Search a clever way

There are a lot of specialized job boards and platforms where companies search for international employees. There are resources like for example – good for IT people.

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Also, you can use websites like MyVisaJobs – it is a directory of companies that are the most active in hiring abroad and visa sponsorship. Compose a list of the top hiring companies, browse their websites, try to find a connection to get a referral, and you will significantly grow your chances.