Looking for a job in the USA

There are many ways to look for a job in the United States.

To increase your chances of finding a job, you can:

  • 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.
  • Go to the Employment or Human Resources offices of businesses in your area to ask about job openings.
  • Visit community agencies that help immigrants find jobs or job training programs.
  • Check bulletin boards in local libraries, grocery stores, and community centers for notices of job openings.
  • Check with the department of employment services for your state.
  • Search for jobs on the Internet. If you are using a computer at your library, the library staff can help you get started.

Applying for a job

Most employers will ask you to fill out a job application.This is a form with questions about your address, education, and past work experience. It may also ask for information about people you have worked with in the past.These are called “references,” and the employer may want to call them to ask questions about you.

You may need to create a “resumé” with a list of your work experience. A resumé tells your employer about your past jobs, your education or training, and your job skills.Take your resumé when you apply for work.

A good resumé:

  • Has your name, address, and phone number.
  • 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.

Check with local community service agencies to see if they can help you write a resumé. Private businesses can help with this, too, but they charge a fee.

The job interview

Most employers will ask you to fill out a job application.This is a form with questions about your address, education, and past work experience. It may also ask for information about people you have worked with in the past.These are called “references,” and the employer may want to call them to ask questions about you.

You may need to create a “resumé” with a list of your work experience. A resumé tells your employer about your past jobs, your education or training, and your job skills.Take your resumé when you apply for work.

A good resumé:

  • Has your name, address, and phone number.
  • 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.

Check with local community service agencies to see if they can help you write a resumé. Private businesses can help with this, too, but they charge a fee.

Employers may want to meet with you to talk about the job. They will ask about your past work and your skills. You can practice answering questions about your past work and your skills with a friend or family member so you will be ready. You can also ask questions of the employer. This is a good chance to find out about the job.

You may want to ask:

  • What are the hours of work?
  • How much does the job pay? (U.S. law requires most employers to pay a “minimum wage,” which is the lowest wage permitted.)
  • How many vacation days are there?
  • How many sick days are there?
  • What benefits come with the job?

During the interview, an employer can ask you many questions. But employers are not allowed to ask some questions. No one should ask you about your race, color, sex, marriage, religion, country of origin, age, or any disability you may have.

What to Expect When You Are Hired

When you go to your new job for the first time, you will be asked to fill out some forms. These include:

• Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification Form. By law, your employer must check to see that all newly hired workers are eligible to work in the U.S. On your first day of work, you will need to fill in the I-9 form. Within three business days, you must show your employer your identity documents and work authorization documents.You can choose what documents to show as proof of your right to work in the U.S., as long as the document is listed on the I-9 form.The list of acceptable documents is on the back of the I-9 form. Examples of acceptable documents are your Permanent Resident Card or an unrestricted Social Security number card in combination with a state-issued driver’s license.

• Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate.Your employer should take federal taxes from your paycheck to send to the government.This is called “withholding tax.” Form W-4 tells your employer to withhold taxes and helps you figure out the right amount to withhold.

• Other Forms.You may also need to fill out a tax withholding form for the state you live in and forms so that you can get benefits.

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 pay directly to your bank; this is called “direct deposit.”

Speaking English at Work

If you do not speak English, try to learn it as soon as possible.You can find free or low-cost English language classes in your community, often through the local public schools or community college. Knowing English will help you in your job, your community, and your daily life. See page 60 for more information on learning English.

If your employer says you must speak English at work, he or she must show that speaking English is required for you to do your job correctly. Your employer must also tell you that English is required before you are hired. If your employer cannot show that speaking English is required for your job, he or she may be breaking a federal law. If you need assistance or more information, you can contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Call 1-800-669-4000 or 1-800-669- 6820 (hearing impaired) or go to http://www.eeoc.gov.

Drug Tests and Background Checks

For some jobs, you may be required to take a test to make sure you are not using illegal drugs. Some jobs require that you have a background check, an investigation into your past activities and present circumstances.

WHAT ARE BENEFITS?

In addition to your pay, some employers provide extra employment “benefits.” Benefits may include:

  • Medical care.
  • Dental care.
  • Eye care.
  • Life insurance.
  • Retirement plan.

Employers may pay some or all of the costs of these benefits. Ask about the benefits your employer will provide.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: FEDERAL LAWS PROTECT EMPLOYEES

Several federal laws forbid employers from discriminating against people looking for a job. The United States has laws forbidding discrimination because of:

  • Race, color, religion, country of origin, and sex (Civil Rights Act).
  • Age (Age Discrimination in Employment Act).
  • Disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act).
  • Sex (Equal Pay Act).

For more information about these protections, visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website at http://www.eeoc.gov or call 1-800-669-4000 and 1-800-669-6820 (for hearing impaired).

Other laws help keep work places safe, provide for leave in cases of family or medical emergencies, and provide temporary funds for unemployed workers. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor website at http://www.dol.gov for more information about workers’ rights.

FEDERAL PROTECTION FOR IMMIGRANT WORKERS

Federal law says that employers cannot discriminate against you because of your immigration status. Employers cannot:

  • Refuse to hire you, or fire you, because of your immigration status or because you are not a U.S. citizen.
  • Require you to show a Permanent Resident Card, or reject your lawful work papers.
  • Prefer hiring undocumented workers.
  • Discriminate against you because of your national origin (or country of origin).
  • Retaliate against any employee who complains of the above treatment.

For more information about your rights, or to file a complaint, call the Office of Special Counsel at 1-800-255-7688 or 1-800-237-2515 (for hearing impaired). If you do not speak English, interpreters are available to help you. You also can visit http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/osc for more information.

 

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