Find a Job in New York City

Summer, seasonal and short term jobs in New York City

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Seasonal work is an excellent way for students to earn some cash in their time off school. These jobs are most frequently available in the summer, although some places hire extra help for the holidays (Christmas break, etc.). Shops in malls often hire unskilled labour, but the jobs tend to be low-pay and not very challenging. Jobs in tourism-related industries are another option and can be a good skill-builder.  To apply, go to whichever location you prefer and drop off résumés and/or fill out application at places that are hiring.

Note that to work in NYC, you need to have a valid work visa or right to work. Because of the time and expense it takes to complete this process, few companies are interested in pursuing this option for short-term or seasonal work.

Also note that the working language (as well as for practically anything else) is English in the USA. Though NYC is very diverse and there are niche markets where other languages will be in demand, fluent English is usually required. 

How to Find Short-Term Work in NYC

Listings for students are often placed on flyer boards on college campuses, in the school paper, and on the school website. Many short-term or seasonal employers offer jobs through the school which are mutually beneficial. Schools themselves are also occasionally in need of seasonal help so inquire at the elementary, high school, community college, or university near you.

Short-term jobs can also be found among other job listings so refer to traditional job resources:

Networking and Forums

Networking is also very important in the US. Sometimes getting a job is 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.

A popular American phrase says it all: "It is not what you know, but who you know!"

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.

Contact an Agency

If you are in need of a visa and would prefer an agency, there are several companies that can arrange these types of positions. Some provide you cheap accommodation and will give you leads to find a job or, very rarely, provide you with one.

  • The Taproot Foundation is a source for community conscious work. Responsible for many community-oriented programs, the organization is often in need of help from administrative to project leaders.
  • Camp America offers opportunities working with children in the United States. Jobs vary, but positions are along the lines of being a summer camp counsellor teaching, cooking, and cleaning etc. in a children's summer resort. For more information and to apply, check out their website.
  • BUNAC's Work America is another excellent option. The program is set-up for university students to spend up to four months living in America. BUNAC arranges for a variety of employment opportunities at their website. Check out the BUNAC's Job Directory for potential job leads.

Au Pair

Another way to settle in a country, it is by working as an "au pair". This person is in charge of taking care of the children and lives within the home of the family. The au pair is provided accommodation, meals and a stipend of spending money. The family gains a loving caretaker for their children and an addition to the family.

You will find more information on Au Pair in "Au Pair" section of the guide for full details.

Teaching a Foreign Language

It is also an option to become a language teacher. While English is the native language of many New Yorkers, English classes are still offered for people perfecting their language skills. Other languages like Spanish, Mandarin, and Arabic are also in demand and native speakers may find work teaching these skills.

Language schools usually require applicants to be native speakers and a have a college degree. You must have adequate visa clearance to work. Some schools will supply you the intent to employ so you can secure a visa, but this is not an easy path.

Language Schools in NYC

The easiest way to get started teaching a language is to find a school. Applicants usually submit their resume and application, and if the school approves, the applicant will be asked for an interview. The interview may consist of a sample lesson or a grammar test. Some schools will throw teachers right in for a 90-minute class to observe your skills.

It is common for new teachers to only receive a few classes at first. If they are able to prove themselves reliable and handle a class, they will gradually be given more classes. Some teachers work at two schools or also give private lessons.

Some of the most popular language schools in NYC:

Private Language Instruction

It is also an option to give private lessons. These are usually more profitable per hour, but require a lot more work finding customers.

The best way to get private students is to post advertisements in business newspapers, on bulletin boards or offer your resume on expat site's like Easy Expat's Job Listings.

Work Visas & Permits for Short-Term Work in the USA

If your company is taking care of the visa process, it is still up to you to provide the documents necessary for securing the visa. They will apply for you and walk you through the process. Once your application is accepted by the US Labour Minister, it will go through the INS process which takes at least 2 months. Then you can show this accepted application to the US consulate.

As mentioned before, this option is less likely for short-term work. Full information on visas and right to work can be found in our visa section, although there are some options for students below.

Student Employment Contract

F1 visa holder students can accept on-campus employment in their university without seeking prior permission from the USCIS. There are two conditions of on-campus employment:

  • During the school year, the student is not allowed to work more than 20 hours per week, although during extended holidays, breaks and summer sessions, he/she can work full time (up to 40 hours per week). The student can only work on-campus. This is, for a company that contracts with the school to provide services, such as a bookstore or cafeteria.
  • The job position MUST be "on-campus". While the USCIS regulations allow work at some off-campus locations, they have to be part of a scholarship, assistantship, fellowship, post-doctoral appointment, etc. This exception also covers situations in which the student is conducting an investigation with a professor who holds a research grant that does not come from the school.

Some schools are spread throughout the city. Therefore, it might be confusing to know at first sight what it is on-campus and off-campus employment. When in doubt, check with the employer and also the DSO or International Student Advisor.

F1 visa holders (academic studies visa) are not allowed to accept off-campus job placements during the first year of their studies. Under specific circumstances, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) may allow F1 visa holders to accept other employment after one year of study.

For more information, visit the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) or check all the practical information related to the USA Student Visa in  

Working Holiday Visa

In the USA, the Working Holiday Visa is called a J1 Visa. This visa allows non-nationals to enter the United States to work, teach, study, train, intern, au pair, etc… there's up to fifteen different categories!

To get this visa, you will not need a pre-arranged job. With the J1 visa, you will be able to change jobs or move to a different State anytime during your period in the USA.

J-1 Categories

Private Sector Programs:

  • Student, Secondary School
  • Au pair and EduCare
  • Camp Counsellor (summer camp)
  • Intern
  • Work/Travel
  • Teacher
  • Trainee
  • Flight Training (J-1 privileges terminated effective June 1, 2010)
  • Alien Physician

Government and academic programs:

  • Student, College/University
  • Government Visitor
  • International Visitor
  • Professor and Research Scholar
  • Short-Term Scholar
  • Specialist

Discount Card

A youth card or student card can offer you discounts abroad. These international cards will give you discounts abroad and are essential for those taking a gap year or going backpacking.

ISIC (International Student Identity Card) - Issued in over 130 countries, the ISIC card serves as an internationally recognized proof of student status and offers discounts in over 125,000 locations worldwide. It is issued for full-time students over the age of 12. The ISIC card can be purchased online or at a local ISIC issuer. You will need a proof of your student status, an ID document, and a passport sized photo. The card is valid up to 16 months; its start and expiration dates depend on the academic year of the country where you purchase the card.

IYTC (International Youth Travel Card): For those who are not a student, but under 26. IYTC has become internationally recognized as an identity card in 50 countries.

ITIC (International Teacher Identity Card): This card is available for fulltime teachers or professors
What the card offers:

  • Valuable discounts on air, travel, bus and ferry transport as well as accommodation (gap year backpacking discounts)
  • Access to over 33,000 discounts in over 100 countries
  • Reduced admission to museums, galleries and historic sites
  • Access to student travel organisations in over 90 countries
  • 24 hour emergency, legal and medical help line services
  • Basic sickness and accident travel insurance

ISE Card (International Student Exchange Card) - An internationally recognized identification card with thousands of discounts in over 80 countries. It is valid for one year from date of issue. Students of ANY age are eligible, as well as faculty members, children and young adults from 12-25. The price is 25 USD and you can purchase it online.

You will find more information on voluntary jobs or internship abroad in our other articles on the left column of this page.

Update 13/02/2020


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