Working in the United States

If you don’t have other means of accessing money, you will need to work. We study in school and acquire skills through out our lives. But for what? One day we want to make more money than we do presently. If you are already working, you probably will be familiar with most of the information presented in this page. If you are a new worker or need a second job, you may find this post helpful in understanding the whole process of working in the states.

Before you start working, you will need a job. Your search for a job should start with you, specifically with what you want to do and where. When you seek a job, you will be asked to fill out an application or submit your resume. An application is a form with questions about your address, education, and past work experience. Once you have completed your employment application, your potential employer reviews it to make a decision whether or not to hire you.

If you have not done it already, you should consider creating a resume. A résumé tells a potential employer about your education or training, your job skills, and your past jobs. Make sure your resume:

  • Has your name, address, phone number, and email address.
  • Lists your past jobs and includes dates you worked.
  • Shows your level of education.
  • Shows any special skills you have.
  • Is easy to read and has no mistakes.
  • Follows instructions that were provided the potential employer
  • Make resume specific to a job. This means include information in your resume that grabs attention of the hiring manager.

If you need help with a resume, seek help from a local employment community service office. Private businesses can also help you write a resume but you may be charged a fee.

Searching for a job

When you have your resume ready, start looking for work. There are many ways to look for a job in the United States. To increase your chances of finding a job, you can:

  • Check online classified websites
  • Don’t forget to go to websites of the industries that you want to work for. Remember to check competitors’ employment opportunities.
  • Ask friends, neighbors, family, or others in your community about job openings or good places to work.
  • Look in the newspaper Classifieds section under employment.
  • Look for Help Wanted signs in the windows of local businesses.
  • Check bulletin boards in local libraries, grocery stores, and community centers for notices of job openings.
  • Visit community agencies that help people find jobs or job training programs.
  • Go to the Employment or Human Resources offices of businesses in your area to ask about job openings.

When you find a job that you like to apply to, inquire or read carefully any instructions on how to apply for it. If the enployer asks for a resume, send in your resume. If the employer needs an employment application, use your resume as a guide. Because the resume will aid you in filling out employment applications (in addition to that you can use the resume to express interest in jobs), I suggest that you have your resume ready as quaickly as possible.

Job interview

If the employer or hiring manger decides that your skills and education matches the criteria of the job, you may be asked to come to for a job interview. In the job interview, one or more individuals from your potential employer will ask you questions to determine your qualification for the job. They may ask you about your past work and your skills. Make sure to practice answering questions about your past work and your skills with a friend or family member so you are ready for the interview. You can also ask questions of the employer. This is a good chance to find out about the job and working environment.

Important note

Federal laws protect employees. During your interview, an employer can ask many questions but the employer should not ask you for your race, color, religion, country of origin, and sex (Civil Rights Act), age (Age Discrimination in Employment Act), Disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act), and sex (Equal Pay Act). Contact Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for more information about these protections.

Accepting a job

If your hiring manager is convinced that you are the right candidate for the job, you are likely to be offered the job. In addition to the salary, consider other benefits in your decision to whether or not to accept the job offer. The benefits may include:

  • medical care,
  • dental care,
  • eye care,
  • life insurance,
  • retirement plan,
  • annual vacation time, sick leave days, and holidays,
  • free parking,
  • education assistance, and
  • more

Employers may pay some or all of the costs of these benefits. Ask about the benefits your employer will provide. Consider negotiating should it be necessary.

For some jobs, you may be required to take a drug test and you may be required to be open for background checks. The employer should let you know about these requirements before you are hired. If you are not open to such testing requirements, the employer won’t offer you the job.

What to expect after you start a job

On your first day at work, you will be asked to fill out number of forms including:

  • Form W-4 to instruct the employer how much taxes to withhold from your paycheck
  • Forms to fill out for withholding taxes for your state
  • Forms to enroll in employer-based benefits

Depending on how employer pays its employees, you may be paid each week, every two weeks, or once a month. Your paycheck will show the amount taken out for federal and state taxes, Social Security taxes, and any employment benefits you pay. Some employers will send your paycheck money directly to your bank; this process is known as a "direct deposit." If you have the direct deposit option, you may still receive a paper pay stub that will indicate all the same information as a regular pay-stub, except it will indicate the money is deposited to your bank account(s).

Posted on 11/25/2006
by Raj Singh