Working in the USA - Resources to help you succeed

Congratulations and welcome to the USA. As a professional, you are have to learn the culture of the workplace and apply yourself in way that will help you succeed. A lot of possibilities await you. “Our workforce and our entire economy are strongest when we embrace diversity to its fullest, and that means opening doors of opportunity to everyone and recognizing that the American Dream excludes no one.” — Tom Perez

Get assimilated and integrated

Getting assimilated in the US is a process whereby minorities adapt to the dominant culture. Remember that US is a very diverse nation but at the same time there are some real challenges with getting assimilated. It is very easy to feel intimidated once you migrate to the US and have some discomfort with how you are perceived and treated. As an immigrant you may be treated unfairly and/or discriminated against just based on the prejudices and bias of others. Sometimes, new immigrants might feel pressure to go along with the rest of the group, even if they have different ideas. Just to “fit it” or will may just shy away from being authentic because they have an accent, etc.

One work comes to mind as we look at assimilation. Integration. You don’t want to simply assimilate but also integrate into the workplace. This is a process where different perspectives can effectively combine. Immigrants can shape the culture, values, and future of any organization they go in because there is more value in diversity and a truly integrated workplace is harder to achieve, but it’s more successful in the long run.

Here are some tips to help you in your assimilation and integration process:

  1. Keep in mind that America is a skills-based economy. Adding value is the way to become valuable so find out what you can do become or continue to be a valuable asset to your company. For example, can you better your skills in Excel from an intermediate to expert?
  2. Access your current job skills and seek out ways to continue to develop yourself. Continuing education is a critical skill for every worker.
  3. Learn how to market yourself. Immigrants normally tend to be modest about exhibiting their achievements but for you to be successful in America, you need to be intentional in showcasing what you’ve done and what you have. Employers typically take less than 20 seconds to review your application for employment. So, take time to make sure that your resume is showcasing everything you want it to say.
  4. Harness your credential evaluation and overseas training and experience. Don’t discount the education and skills you acquire overseas. Those can help you negotiate a better salary.
  5. Volunteering is a great way to make connections in your community, expand your professional network, and gain access to free training and development opportunities.
  6. Networking, in general, is a sure way to promote your skills, build your confidence, and grow your resources. Don’t feel intimidated by the people you meet. Start with a quick introduction and keep working on it till you develop the art of networking.

Cultural Tid-bits

Did you know that you don’t have to call you boss by “Mr. ” or “Mrs” in America? Some of the nuances of the American culture may differ sharply from what you have knew in your culture. Be ready to learn.

It is important that you familiarize yourself with some common characteristics of American culture such as:
• Being on time. Punctuality is so important that it can be a challenge to people from other cultures who may not pay much attention to time.
• Americans like privacy and personal space.
• Americans can be very direct and honest, even though it may seem rude to people from another culture.
• Americans may ask about how your day is going or how you are without expecting an answer.
• Americans wait their turn in lines.
• Americans value independent thinking.
• Americans like to joke, smile, and talk.
• Americans are concerned with personal hygiene and cleanliness. It is not unusual for them to bathe more than once a day.

Congratulations again!