Find a Job in New York City

How to look for work in New York City

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Job Market in New York City

The size of the city and scope of the industry available in NYC mean that the opportunities are nearly endless. Job growth is high, unemployment low, with a boom in start-ups adding to the already robust job market. The friendliest industries for expats are in IT companies and tourism.

Fields in which there is usually demand include: accounting, finance, sales, blockchain developers, data scientists, machine learning specialists and software developers. The jobs giant Amazon is also opening here which will lead to many new positions, as well as Google already being established in the city.

However, securing a work visa as a foreigner can be quite challenging (refer to below). Cost of living is also quite high and many people in NYC struggle to make ends meet.

Sponsorship for Work in the USA

Finding a job in the USA is becoming more and more difficult, especially for people without a work visa.

You cannot apply for a working visa as a foreigner until you have an employer willing to offer you a job in the USA. Unfortunately, finding a job when you don't have any right to work in the USA is a huge challenge since few companies are ready to recruit foreigners because the process takes a very long time (at least 6 months) and it is costly.

When looking at job offers, search for "Visa Sponsor" to find companies that are interested in aiding the Visa process. Some companies offer this service to help match companies that will aid in the visa sponsorship with visa-seekers. These usually involve an additional fee.

If your company is taking care of the visa process, it is still up to you to provide the necessary documents. The application process will be completed by the company's lawyer and relocation team.

Once submitted, the file must be validated by the US Labour Minister, then it will go through the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) process. This step takes at least 2 months, and the INS will indicate whether the demand has been approved by sending the appropriate forms. These documents will have to be completed and showed at the US consulate to accept your visa application.

The easiest way to find a high paying job as a foreign national is to attend university in the United States. This can act as a steppingstone to a great job in your field and your degree will be easily recognized. 

For more practical information, refer to our section on visas.

Resume / CV

The CV is more commonly known as the "resume" in the United States. The resume lays out work experience, education, and skills and should be accompanied a personal cover letter. Companies may also ask for professional references, which you can include here or upon request.
If you are applying for a research or academic job in the US that requests a CV, this means you also need to supply a lengthy document listing all of the researcher's achievements, including educational background, scientific papers and experiments, teaching experience and awards received.
Your CV should contain the following information about you:

  • Personal Information: At the top of the page include your name, birth date, and photo (the latter two are not mandatory but recommended). In the US, it is recommended that you do NOT list your gender, race, religion or marital status, unless it is appropriate and relevant for the job. In America, employers are under legal obligation to not discriminate.
  • Contact Information: Relevant personal contact information at the top of the page including: name, phone number, address, email address, and website (optional).
  • Purpose: The position that you are applying for as well as a summary of your professional experience.
  • Professional Experience: Usually this information is listed chronologically, starting with your most recent employment. List your work experience with: your title, the name of the company you worked for, the dates of your employment, and a brief description of your tasks and achievements in that job
  • Education: This section should come before work experience if you are in school or have been out of school for one to three years, depending on your level of work experience and how relevant your education is to your career. If relevant for the position you are applying for, you can expand on your degrees and/or specialization
  • Certificates & Diplomas: Courses, seminars, congresses, or conferences that are relevant in relation to the position. Note if you received any special honours and list the information in a chronologically inverse order (from the latest achievements to the oldest ones).
  • Languages: This is extremely relevant to an international job. List which languages you speak and your level: advanced, intermediate or beginner. Point out if you can read, speak, or write in each language and list any associated degrees. Punctuation and grammar are extremely important
  • Computer Skills: Programs, applications, word processing, database, Internet experience, etc.
  • References: If not asked for in the job advertisement, you may indicate that references are available upon request.

In the USA, it is advisable to make a follow-up phone call or send an email to make sure they have received your application if the company does not respond within two to four weeks.

General Tips before creating your CV

  • Your resume should be short - one or two pages.
  • Print original copies on high quality paper - don't send photocopies.
  • Be neat: take care with the presentation, design, spaces, and spelling of your resume. Don't use abbreviations. Emphasize sections and things that are important with underlines or bold type.
  • Make sure your resume is as organized as possible, so the information can be found easily.
  • Have a base resume that you can adjust to each job you are applying for.
  • Photos are not required and are discouraged for legal reasons. Photos indicate your race and gender, and employers do not need to know this information unless it is relevant to the job. Exceptions may be for jobs like model, actor, or hostess.
  • Write your resume in third person, singular form.
  • Do not attach diplomas or documents unless asked to.
  • Attach a cover letter with the resume.

If in need of some recommendations, here are a few sample resumes to help create your own:

Cover Letter for the USA

It is important to write a cover letter that gets the company attracted in your skills and makes them believe that you have a specific interest in their objectives. The cover letter makes your first impression and is your chance to let your personality shine while still maintaining a professional attitude.

Cover letters should be brief and efficient. You must set out your goal regarding the position you are candidate for. A cover letter usually accompanies a CV in a job application. In the format of a letter, it establishes your tone and intent. Format:

  • Header - Standard business letter style with the sender's address, the recipient's contact information and the date sent after either the sender's or the recipient's address. The final part of the header is a salutation, ideally, addressing the person who will be reading the letter (if unsure, check the company's webpage or LinkedIn page).
  • Introduction - The introduction briefly states the specific position desired, how you found out about it and a brief (one sentence) outline of why it interests you / why you are suited for it. The introduction paragraph should be designed to catch the employer's immediate interest.
  • Body - Highlights material in the resume or job application and explains why the job seeker is interested in the job and would be of value to the employer. Also, matters discussed typically include skills, qualifications, and past experience.
  • Closing - Sums up the letter and indicates the next step the applicant expects to take. It may indicate that the applicant intends to contact the employer; although many favour the more indirect approach of simply saying that the applicant will look forward to hearing from or speaking with the employer. After the closing you should add a valediction ("Sincerely") and a signature line.

Some tips for writing a cover letter

  • Address the letter the name of whoever is in charge of hiring. A letter starting with "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam" will catch less attention.
  • Be brief: Cover letters should not exceed 1 page in length.
  • Clarify the position that you are interested in and how you found about it. If you have a personal connection, note who that person is and their position within the company.
  • Describe your goals and objectives and how you would benefit this company. Be specific to the company. You may use a basic format for multiple cover letters, but each should be altered to the specifics of that position.

Interviews in the USA

Interviews are a chance for a company to get to know you before hiring you. Research the company before the interview to discover their missions and direction.

It is not uncommon for them to be a series of interviews, first a phone interview, then in-person with a hiring manager, and then longer interviews with the entire team. 

Tips for Interviewing in the USA:

  • Dress neatly and conservatively.
  • Arrive on time.
  • Bring your CV, business card, and copies of the certificates.
  • Prepare a list of questions/answers and use a mirror to train.
  • Re-read your résumé and cover letter so you are familiar with the phrases and skills that got the interviewer interested in you.
  • Be professional and formal while still being yourself!
  • Explain your skills by giving examples. The aim is to show what skills you can bring to the company and to test if your attitude and temperament would fit within the current work structure.
  • Ask questions. Demonstrate your knowledge and interest.
  • Before the end of the interview, do not forget to ask what next step will be. Will there be another interview? When should you know about the position?
  • Thank the interviewer for their time.
  • Follow-up with a thank you letter or e-mail (optional).

Wages in New York

As in all countries, wages depend on the sector in which you want to work. However, USA minimum wage rate increased to $13.50 at the end of 2018 and finally to $15.00 at the end of 2019.


There are 10 official federal holidays per year:

  1. New Year's Day (1st January)
  2. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Floating Monday from January 15–21)
  3. Presidents' Day (Floating Monday from January 15–21)
  4. Memorial Day (Last Monday of May)
  5. Independence Day (4th of July)
  6. Labor Day (First Monday in September, September 1–7)
  7. Columbus Day (Floating Monday, October 8–14)
  8. Veteran's Day (November 11)
  9. Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November, November 22–28)
  10. Christmas Day (25th December)

Notice that, when a holiday falls on a Saturday, it may be moved to the preceding Friday. When it falls on a Sunday, it is usually observed on the following Monday. Also of interest is that Easter is not an official holiday, although most people observe it.

Some employers in the U.S. also provide additional holidays to their employees, such as a floating holidays or bridge days when holidays fall midweek. In New York, Columbus Day is also a holiday and is observed on the second Monday of October.

Job Search in New York City

Those seeking a job, training offers, and other services can use these resources to look for positions that fit your studies and experience.

Search Engines

Search engines allow you to scan a great variety of jobs and narrow down your search to certain criteria. It is also a good idea to post your CV online so hiring managers can find you. For example, putting your profile up on Linkedin can help you attract employer's attention.

Search engines also allow you to sign-up for e-mail alerts when new jobs become available. To search for possible jobs, the largest national job search sites are:

Adverts and Agencies

Most agencies specialize in a particular field, such as engineering, nursing, accounting, construction, etc. There are also "Head hunting" agencies that are hired by large companies to recruit executives, managers or professionals.

Some of the top recruiting agencies include:

  • The upcoming global leader in technical recruiting and staffing solutions.
  • They are focused on pharmaceutical, biotechnology, generic and medical device companies.
  • Lucas Group has become the premier recruiting firm in North America with 15 locations nationwide and recruiting firms in Canada and Europe.
  • Betts Recruiting is the leading national recruitment firm for sales and marketing roles.
  • KAS brings over a dozen years of successful experience recruiting sales and marketing professionals in over 130 industries.

Mass Media

Several papers, radio or Tv programs have a helpful classified's section. There are job offers for executives and professionals, as well as sections dedicated to specific professions, like teaching, computers and media, etc. These include:

Career Fairs

Career fairs are an excellent way to find out about available jobs and opportunities. In one day, you can meet with hiring managers for many major companies

Entrance may be free but registering online is often encouraged. More elite job fairs may only be accessible by purchasing an entrance ticket.

Bring your resume and dress to impress, as there may be interviews on the spot.

You can find out about upcoming job-fairs here.


Networking is also very important in the USA, particularly in a competitive market like that of the NYC. A popular American phrase says it all, "It is not what you know, but who you know!"

Getting a job is often about knowing the right people. Talk to friends, family and business contacts to see if they have connections in the area you would like to work. The more people you tell you are looking for work, the greater the possibility of hearing about the perfect job.

Expat events can also be a great way to find out how other expats found work and see if their company has any openings. Use social media and expats forums to find out about your nearest networking events.

Work Visas & Permits

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country wishing to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a non-immigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant one for longer residence. If you plan to volunteer for 90 days or less, you might be entitled to come only with the tourist visa.

However, when planning to volunteer in the country for more than 90 days, you will need to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa. These non-immigrant visitor visas are required for persons who want to enter the US for business reasons (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).

Please refer to "Passport & Visa" section of the guide for full details.

Update 13/02/2020


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