Working in NYC
For internationals who just moved or are moving to New York, work can be an exciting prospect. New York City has a unique and exciting atmosphere, and the working world can be unusually fast paced and creative..
Finding a job in New York can either be a relatively easy transition from your current position abroad, or a convoluted and frustrating experience if you have to start from scratch - and don't do your homework.
On top of this, jobs can be quite hard to find in the United States since the financial crash of 2008, and finding a job in New York City is no different.
Finding Work in New York
For comprehensive information about getting a job in NYC, see our guide to Finding a Job in NYC.
The easiest way to work in New York may be by an inter-company transfer. If you’re moving because your company has transferred you here, then your company should make the transition quite simple. Be sure to negotiate moving costs, and consider asking them to either pay for temporary housing or a hotel while you find an apartment.
If you’re moving here without work, then be sure to remember this: It may take a while to find the job you really want, especially in the current job climate. Budget for the possibility of being out of work for quite some time, and make sure you have enough savings to survive in what is one of the most expensive cities on Earth.
Above all, remember that your work possibilities are dependent on your visa. If you don’t have work permission (either through company sponsorship, a work card, or a resident green card) you cannot work. If you don’t have a visa and you work anyway, it’s a violation of U.S. law and you risk deportation. As a foreign national, it just isn’t worth it to flout the laws of the country you plan to call home.
Recruiting Centers and Personnel Agencies
When it comes to employment agencies, NYC has no shortage. Recruitment centers and personnel agencies match suitable candidates with companies who are hiring, and they can be a good source of work if you send them your resume. These services work on a commission basis — never pay a fee to a recruiter.
Temporary Placement Agencies
Temp agencies send you on various temporary job assignments, often to fill in for staff members who are away. You’ll need to fill out a number of forms in order to apply, and some agencies may test you to see where your natural talents lie before they put you on an assignment.
In this case, “executive” means a professional working for two or more years in their field (although, as with all things New York, you can try your luck and see how flexible the rules are). Good matches are sometimes accepted and given placements regardless of experience.
Networking is the number one way that people find jobs in the U.S., and NYC jobs are no exception. Many job openings aren’t ever listed in classifieds, online job databases, or even on companies’ own websites. Thus, the only way you’ll find out about them is through word of mouth or personal recommendations.
LinkedIn.com is a professional social networking site, similar to Facebook, but for the career-oriented. If you’re a member of the site (basic access is free), you can connect with colleagues and search their job database. The site also has a search engine for businesses in particular fields, so you can target specific companies.
For a more comprehensive guide to connecting with other professionals, see our article - Networking in New York City.
These can be an easy way to get a feel for a variety of jobs and sort out applications and interviews all on one day. With hundreds of applicants and employers all mingling together, it’s a great opportunity to send out feelers and learn about the latest jobs and industry trends.
You can also look in newspapers, online job darabases, and even use Internet searches.
New York International’s Visa and Work Permits guide has more information on obtaining visas, should you need it.
Once You Land the Job
Congratulations! Either after a long, possibly tedious search — or a relatively easy work transfer — you finally landed the job. But your work isn’t done yet. There are a number of things you should be aware of before starting work in the United States, including your basic rights and responsibilities and the singular, cultural quirks that are part of the American working experience.
U.S. Employment Law
There are a number of employment laws that protect you in the workplace and that detail your employee rights. Generally, your basic rights as a worker include the right to privacy, fair compensation and working hours, and freedom from discrimination.
- Right to privacy. For the most part, your boss and co-workers aren’t allowed to look into your personal possessions, such as your handbag or briefcase. In addition, your phone calls and voicemail messages may be off-limits (but not your e-mails or your Internet use on work computers).
- Fair compensation and working hours. There are a number of regulations in place to make sure you aren’t overworked and that you get fair pay for the time you do work. According to New York Labor Law, most workers in New York should earn at least the minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. The main exception is for people who earn tips, who may have a lower hourly pay. In addition, most workplaces are required to provide overtime pay. That means that you should earn your pay and a half for any hours you work above the standard 40 hours a week.
- Freedom from discrimination. With few exceptions, your boss can’t fire you because of your race, religion, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability.
For more information about New York labor laws, visit the New York Department of Labor website.
It is also important to make sure you know proper business etiquette. See our comprehensive coverage of the topic, in our article on American Business Etiquette.
- Best Jobs USA Job bank search, career links, resume service and much more.
- Career Mag Job search bank and relevant articles for job searching.
- Career Path A good Help Wanted section with over 15,000 listings, including many in New York.
- Federal Jobs Digest More than 2,500 Federal Government jobs around the country (postal, clerical, management, legal, policing, sciences, medical, etc.)
- Government Jobs Focusing on New York City government jobs, with job bank.
- USAJobs Official U.S. government website with listings of current job openings.
- Adam Personnel, Inc. A good agency for office work in most industries, both temp and permanent.
- Diversity Services Group Staffing and consulting firm with temporary and permanent positions.
- Lloyd Staffing Specialist in bilingual / global services placements, and temporary and contingent staff across a variety of fields.
- Advice Personnel Placement for "the best talent" in New York.
- The Alfus Group Executive placements in the hospitality industry,