Whether your current job is growing dull, your lust for adventure is bubbling, or you’re simply spellbound by the possibilities North America presents, you’re certainly not alone. For countless reasons, people from all over the world consider relocating to the United States of America.
For British expats in the United States in particular, finding employment in the USA can be an awfully appealing proposition, but making the dream come true is an arduous task nonetheless. It takes great patience and meticulous preparation.
Acquiring Your Visa
Truth be told, your best chance of landing a job in the United States is through an intra-company transfer or relocation. Granted, it’s not your only option, but if your current employer has US-based subsidiaries or branches, it wouldn’t hurt to inquire about the possibility of being assigned there. You’d still need a visa, but already having a job in the US goes a long, long way.
Of course, this may not be the case for you. If not, your biggest obstacle will undoubtedly be the fact that visas require your prospective US employer to sponsor your entry into the country. Assuming you actually do find a job (more on that below) with a company willing to act as a sponsor, the type of visa you need wholly depends on your occupation. The list of visas is long, but one of the more typical ones is the E-1 for treaty traders. The USA maintains treaties of commerce with 25 countries, including the United Kingdom, which should at least make things a little less complicated for you.
If you have an idea for starting your own company in the States, there are visas accommodating entrepreneurs as well. Although, however brilliant your idea seems, keep in mind that it’ll take much more than an idea to carry out your dream. So be prepared to face hurdle after demanding hurdle. As they say: where there is a will, there is a way. Hang in there.
Settling on a City
Countless considerations go into choosing where to settle down. Everyone has an opinion on where’s best; the internet is full of these rankings. But, really, there’s no clear-cut “best” city in which to live. It’s an enormous country, and no two places are alike. Sure, the glamour of New York and the vigor of New Orleans are hard to miss, but it all comes down to personal preference and, of course, your line of work.
Perhaps you have friends or colleagues with knowledge of or experience in certain cities. Ask around and see what you find out. You never know; maybe an acquaintance knows someone with a connection somewhere.
In the end, though, few expats get to just pick and choose among the country’s many cities. For most, it entirely depends on the job they find.
The Job Search
As we mentioned above, getting transferred is your best bet of finding employment in the USA. If your current employer does not operate in the USA, however – or, if you’re not employed at all – you will have to do most of the heavy lifting yourself.
Of course, landing a job on your own is not downright impossible. Still, finding vacancies is not entirely straight-forward in the USA, as many job openings are not openly advertised. Rather, attractive positions tend to be snatched up by employees already employed by a company or by their business contacts. For this very reason, a business network is a valuable asset for anyone looking for a job in the US.
As for business culture, Americans have a reputation for being direct and to-the-point. Generally there’s no beating around the bush, but you shouldn’t mistake this straightforwardness for bad manners. It is simply a product of wanting to get things done. With a positive attitude and the courage to ask questions when in doubt, you’ll be just fine.
In fact, many companies cherish an opportunity to bring some European blood on board. And, as a native English speaker, you may be just what they are looking for.
Naturally, linguistic speed bumps are inevitable, as you and your colleagues are bound to discover the many differences between British and American English. There’s no need to despair, however. In all likelihood, the confusion is mutual, and any misunderstandings can be laughed off as soon as you explain that by “biscuit,” you meant “cookie.” Really, if anything, it provides a spark in everyone’s day and makes for a more interesting work environment.
Your cultural background is an asset; don’t be afraid to show it.
About the Author
This post has been written by Thomas L. Sandbjerg from InterNations