How to look for work in San Francisco


Job Hunting in USA

To find a job in the USA is becoming more and more difficult, especially for people without a work Visa. Few companies are ready to recruit foreigners because administrative forms take a very long time to process (about 6 months) and are very costly (from $3,000 to $5,000 including legal fees). When looking at job offers, search for "Visa Sponsor" to find companies that are interested in aiding in the Visa process. Perhaps the easiest way to find a high paying job as a foreign national is to attend some university in the United States as a stepping stone to a great job.

To search for possible jobs, some of the largest national job search sites are:,, and These include tips on résumé writing, interviewing, and all arenas of searching for work. For an employment guide specific to San Francisco city,

Networking is also very important in the US. 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!".

The Résumé / 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. If you are applying for a research or academic job in the US that requests a CV, this means you need to supply a lengthy document listing all of the researcher's achievements, including his or her educational background, scientific papers and experiments, teaching experience and awards received.

A sample resume should resemble something of this format:

Heading: Do not include a heading; start your resume with your contact information.

Contact Information:Relevant personal contact information at the top of the page including:

  1. name
  2. phone number
  3. fax number
  4. address
  5. email address
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.

Objective: Some career experts recommend describing your objective in the process of your job search just below the contact information. There is no hard and fast rule about whether or not to use it. Generally, the point made in the 'objective' will be made in the cover letter, so it is fine to omit it.

Professional Experience: Usually this information is listed chronologically. List your work experience with:

  1. your title
  2. the name of the company you worked for
  3. the dates of your employment
  4. a brief description of your 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 you have a high Grade Point Average (3.5 or above, equivalent to an A- or A), include it on your resume. If you attended college, list the name of the college and what you got your degree in. If you recently graduated or have taken courses highly relevant to the job for which you are applying, list those.

Certificates & Diplomas Courses, seminars, congresses or conferences that are relevant in relation to the position. Long or prestigious courses are also interesting. Point out a course's duration in hours. List these in a chronologically inverse order.

Languages: Since this may be relevant to an international job, you should list which languages you speak and your level: advanced, intermediate or beginner. Point out if you can translate, speak, or write in each language and list any associated degrees.

Computer Skills: Programs, applications, etc. Word processing, database, Internet, etc.

Personal Information: At the end of the resume you should include a brief section where you can list personal information such as hobbies or interests. This can be called something like "Other Interests," or "Skills or Interests." Here you should, very succinctly, list some of your hobbies, each in no more than three words. It's great if these are relevant to your job, but if they aren't these hobbies can simply reveal something about your personality. Interviewers commonly use this section as an icebreaker and as a source for starting a more relaxed, less formal conversation.

General Tips:

  • Your resume must be short - one or two pages at the most.
  • 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.
  • You do not need to date or sign your resume.
  • 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 of the singular form.
  • Do not attach diplomas or documents unless asked to.
  • Attach a cover letter with the resume.
  • If you are still having trouble, here are a few sample resumes to help create your own

    The Cover Letter

    It is important to write a cover letter that gets the company interested 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. 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 very explicit to the job you are applying for.

    For examples of cover letters and more tips, go to or

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

    How to manage your interview?

    After a company decides they are interested in you, they will usually call and decide a time for an interview. Some companies first employ a phone interview, and preparation for this is similar to a face-to-face interview.

    • 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 without being too stuffy. Be 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.
    • Before the end of the interview, do not forget to ask what will be next step. Will there be another interview? When should you know about the position?
    • An old fashioned touch can be an important extra to getting hired. Send a "Thank you note" to your contact, in order to thank him for the interest he had in your résumé, and the time he took for the phone conversation. While nothing says you must do this, it is something that sticks out above your competitors.

    The Visa process

    If your company is taking care of the Visa process, it is up to you to provide the documents necessary for securing the Visa. Most of the time, this dossier will be completed by lawyers working in partnership with the company. The file must be validated by the US Labor Minister, then it will go through the 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. Those documents will have to be filled and showed at the US consulate to accept your Visa application.

    For practical information go to

    Update 2/01/2009


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