How a Foreigner Can Get a Job in Chicago

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Situated in Illinois and officially one of the largest cities in the United States, Chicago is a welcoming place for everyone. As a bustling urban hub without the cost or stress of a bigger city, it has one of the country’s most diversified economies and business climate. It is one of the financial contributors to the United States and the world.

There are several advantages to living in Chicago, such as the ease of renting or owning a home, and lower housing costs that help salaries go further. The various beach scenes of Lake Michigan and the great food options are also excellent perks to living in the city. Finally, there are also plenty of choices for commuting from one corner of the city to another like:

  • the elevated trains (the L),
  • the pedestrian walkway that is also known as Pedway,
  • biking,
  • Chicago taxis, and options with a Smartphone app like Uber and Lyft.

Image: Skytrain

The job market is quite robust, and Chicago’s location as a distribution and transportation hub makes for profitable job growth in various sectors.

Opportunities in Chicago

Chicago is a location for different industries like:

  • Transportation and commerce
  • Business and financial services
  • Pharmaceuticals/Healthcare
  • Biotechnology
  • Consumer goods
  • Food processing
  • Chemicals
  • Telecommunications
  • Electronics
  • Entertainment and the media

The city is probably the best place to seek a job, especially if you have no felony arrest record and you are available to work any hours. There are lots of opportunities for graduate and non-graduate employment in Chicago. If you have skills that are in demand, such as a degree in computer science or engineering, along with reasonable people skills, you can get a job quickly in Chicago. However, non-citizens of the US may find it tough to secure graduate jobs. This is because the employment market is competitive, and obtaining a visa can be very complicated.

As a foreigner searching for an excellent job, you will need to sell your qualifications and experience to employers. Also, having in-demand skills could make it easier for you to find a job. There is a growing demand for graduates in the electronics and software industries, as well as in healthcare and finance. Demand for accountants, software developers, retail workers, customer services representatives, office clerks, market research analysts, and marketing specialists is also increasing.

Where to find jobs

Once you know which job industry you would like to work in and what skills you can offer, finding a vacancy is a next step. You could target companies you want to work for or apply to the various temp agencies that service the Chicago areas.

The best way to find a job in Chicago is to use the classified sections in all the city’s papers especially the major newspapers, such as the Chicago Tribune, the Sun, Times, the Daily Herald, and USA Today. You can find jobs by networking with friends, relatives, colleagues, and other industry contacts who may know work opportunities. Also, you can visit various online job websites such as

  • CareerBoard
  • Chicago Jobs
  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor
  • Craigslist
  • SCF jobs
  • Monster

Application Procedures

Once you have found a vacancy, you can apply for Chicago jobs by submitting a resume. Note that it is prevalent for an applicant to send unsolicited job applications with a cover letter that states what skills and experience he/she can bring to the table. The resume should be one to two pages long and should be accompanied by a cover letter.

If you don’t know how to make your resume stand out or you want to polish what you have already written, consider hiring a professional writer from a custom writing reviews site like Writing Judge. With their help, you will be able to present yourself as a reliable and experienced specialist in your field which will help you get a job faster.

Some employment vacancies may require you to fill in a standardized application form. When filled correctly, chances are that you will be invited for an interview. Interviews may include some form of psychometric testing, and there may be multiple rounds of interviews depending on the employer and job.

Before Looking for a Job in Chicago

English Proficiency

Since English is the US’s official language where Chicago is situated, you may need to sit for an English language proficiency test before you can start looking for a job. The most popular ones are TOEFL and IELTS. You should also confirm that your degree from your country of education is acceptable.

Work Visa

If you are a foreigner who wants to relocate and live in Chicago, you will need to apply for jobs before preparing to enter the country. However, you are expected to have already the right to work in the US before applying for any advertised jobs you see. So, first, you need to begin your job preparations by obtaining a work permit. If you have highly specialized skills and knowledge, you can try applying to US companies beforehand and request that they sponsor your visa.

To persuade companies to sponsor your visa, you will need to present arguments for why you are the person they are looking for and why it makes sense to sponsor you. You can work with a professional writer from the writing services reviews site Best Writers Online to craft the perfect motivation letter. This way, you can be sure that you will truly stand out and that companies will consider you as an applicant seriously.

Employers should ask you to provide one document showing your identity and authority to work, such as a permanent resident card. They could also request a combination of one document showing your identity and another indicating your authorization to work in the US. These could be a driver’s license and unrestricted Social Security Card. There are two significant types of work visas, each with several categories.

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

●        Non-immigrant visa

This work visa is for those looking for a temporary or seasonal stay in the USA. There are several visa types for specific categories of work for non-immigrants, so it is crucial to choose the right one. In most cases, these temporary work visas depend on a request by the employer. Most temporary work visas have a one- to three-year maximum length, and you can renew some for an additional term. The permit covers business, internships, summer work, holidays, and education. Its categories include:

  1. TN NAFTA visas for Canadian or Mexican citizens who wish to be engaged in activities professionally.
  2. Q visas are for cultural
  3. L-1A/B visas for intra-company transfers.
  4. J-1/2 visas for exchange visitors
  5. I visa is for foreign media
  6. P-1A/1B/2/3 visas for performers in a cultural exchange program, entertainers, and athletes
  7. E-1/2/3 visas for traders and investors from Australia
  8. H-1C visas are for nurses
  9. H-1B visas are for IT employees and specialty occupations. The permit allows foreign nationals working in a specialized field such as technology and scientific fields to work in the US for up to 3years
  10. H-2A/B visas are for agricultural and non-agricultural workers
  11. R visas are for religious workers

Some of these categories have annual caps or limits that vary from year to year. In many cases, both the foreign employee and the US employer will have to complete immigration and visa applications for the visa.

●        Immigrant visa

Also known as the permanent worker visa, this is for those who wish to live and work permanently in the USA. These visa holders are required to obtain a Green Card (permanent resident status) when entering the country. To get permanent resident status, you need to be sponsored by an employer or a close family member who is a lawful permanent resident.

The employer then files a petition for Alien Worker while the employee applies for an immigrant visa number with the USCIS. However, unless you work for a multinational company or transfer to a US branch of that company, it is unlikely that an employer will sponsor you. Immigrant visa categories are:

  1. EB-1 is a first preference visa for people in the arts, sciences, education, business, and athletics
  2. EB-2 is a second preference visa for people with exceptional abilities or advanced degrees in the arts, sciences, and business.
  3. EB-3 is a third-preference visa for professionals and skilled workers with a minimum of two years of training in their field.
  4. EB-4 is a fourth-preference visa for special immigrants which includes religious workers, physicians, and international organization employees.
  5. EB-5 is a fifth-preference visa for foreign entrepreneurs who have invested at least $500,000 in a US company or have created at least ten US full-time jobs in two years.

Employers hiring EB-2 and EB-3 applicants must prove that the action will not negatively affect the working conditions of US workers in similar or the same positions.

It is best to contact the American embassy where you are currently residing about obtaining visas and work permits. Once you have lived and been a Green Card holder in the USA for five years and fulfilled certain other requirements, you might be able to pursue US citizenship, at which point you are no longer a foreigner.


While internships, work experiences, and volunteering opportunities are plentiful in Chicago, foreign workers may find it challenging to secure a graduate job. Also, they need to be on the right visa. Finding an appointment with an organization in your home country, which has offices in Chicago, and opportunities to transfer may be the simplest way for foreign workers to gain employment in the city and the US.

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