Getting a job and improving the lives of loved ones back home is a lingering thought of most African immigrants once they embark to America. I will say it was definitely an experience of mine and that of a lot of immigrants I met and shared with. Yet, once you get to America having a concrete plan on how to provide that help could become overwhelming as the reality of your new environment could get you confused on where to start. One thing that remains certain for most immigrant is getting job as soon as they get in the States. This post will therefore provide you with the top three things that will better position you for a job opportunity. To be clear, I am not in any way saying without these three things you can’t get a job. I am saying, having these three things will make you a better candidate for a job offer you may qualify for.
1. Having Your Driver’s License
The first thing you need to work on as soon as you enter the United States of America is getting a driver’s license. Depending where you arrive in it might be less needed compared to States. If you land in New York, for instance, a driver’s license won’t be too necessary because they have a reliable public transportation like the subway stations. In addition, car parking in big cities can be strenuous. In such an area what you need most is getting acquainted with train, bus, and subway rides. If you find yourself in a state with reduced public transportation such as Texas, Delaware, and some parts of Massachusetts, it is very important for you to have a driver’s license as commuting may reduce your chances of getting jobs that are miles away from your home (or town). Whatever the case may be, having a license remains imminent as your job may sometimes need you to run errands with the company car. Ultimately, not knowing how to drive may affect your candidacy for such jobs. If you were already driving back home, make sure you come along with your country’s driver’s license as it will help reduce your car insurance monthly cost.
2. Opening a Bank Account
As soon as you get to the U.S., open a bank account. Having a personal bank account will prevent you from using your host account for your financial transactions which might end up creating unnecessary tension in your personal and professional relationship. If you have one in your community, I suggest you open your first account in a credit union as it will cost you as little as $5 to open a personal saving and checking account. You can use your social security letter for verification of address and your social security card, permanent resident card, work permit, or passport for two forms of identification requirement when opening an account. Opening an account at a credit union will also save you from paying a monthly account maintenance fee. And in the future you will be able to apply for a credit card at a low-interest rate at the same credit union.
3. Get Familiar with Tax Forms
I am not sure a lot of people are familiar with filing taxes in Africa, but this was my case as it wasn’t common for people around me file taxes every year in my country. When I had my first job interview in America, the business called me for a second interview, and I was hired on the spot. Before I left that day my boss asked me to fill up the new employee documents which contained two documents every employee needed to fill out once hired. I had to fill out those documents on the spot before going home and was a little confused as it was my first time to be exposed to such documents. Your employer might not know you that your are new to the American system and will expect you to fill out these documents out in order for you to officially start your new job. Required to filled mine on the spot that day, I felt the need to call my aunt so she could help me over the phone, but I was too embarrassed to show my employer who was sitting right in front of me that I didn’t know what I was doing. I don’t expect you to know how to effectively fill out a w2 form or form-I-9 form. I am saying it will be great if you can start looking online and become familiar with how these tax documents look like as well as how to enter required information if you ever find yourself in the confusing position I once found myself in.