Careers in the US

Advice and resources to help US students and graduates navigate recruitment processes and build their networks.

With over 1000 US students joining the LSE each year, our US graduates go on to work for a wide range of organisations and sectors across the US. 

Key sector and career interests include charities, international organisations and NGOs, politics, Government and policy, consulting, asset management, investment banking and trading and media, journalism and publishing and research and statistics.

The most popular sectors for our US graduates to go and work in include education and teaching, government and politics, consulting, information and digital technology and media, publishing and journalism.

To reflect these diverse interests and geographical spread across the US, we’ve put together a virtual programme including careers talks, sector panels, alumni meet-ups and employer presentations.

Careers in the US programme

The programme begins with a two-week series of virtual events focussing on supporting our US students and alumni and providing opportunities to connect you with employers in meaningful ways to share knowledge, skills and career opportunities.

Find out more about our Careers in the US programme. 

Job hunting in the US

Job-hunting in the US has some clear differences to the UK. For example, there are fewer graduate schemes and campus recruitment is more common. Some larger employers offering graduate schemes start accepting applications the September before graduation, even before you have started your degree! It’s important you understand the sector you are interested in and the way they recruit. If you have a key employer or sector in mind, then know your application dates. See our Resume guide. 

Recruitment timelines

Campus recruitment typically starts in early September in the US to coincide with the start of semester. While you can’t be on campus, do keep an eye on recruiter’s deadlines so you don’t miss out. Check out whether your graduate school is running any virtual careers fairs you might be able to access.

In the Fall, recruitment is mainly centered around the banking, finance and consultancy sectors.  Some public sector schemes like the PMF also have October application deadlines. Vault: Career Insider has useful sector information including key markets and recruitment deadlines.

Work experience and internships

As well as getting work experience during your studies, internships can also be a typical entry point after graduation and a speculative approach and networking is more common in order to identify roles that are not formally advertised. What this means for the US job hunter is that you need to be able to sell yourself effectively, highlight your strengths, and make the most of your network.

Making speculative applications

Making direct approaches to organisations you are keen to work for is very common in the US, particularly in certain sectors which don’t typically advertise or when looking for internship, virtual or other short-term opportunities. Read our guide to making speculative approaches here.

Networking

Networking is an essential tool for any US job hunter or career changer. You can find detailed advice and guidance on using LinkedIn and networking here. 

Networking and connecting with US-based alumni

With more than 18,000 LSE alumni living in the US and almost 1000 US students graduating each year adding to this number, our US alumni community is probably the most active in the world.  This active and engaged US alumni community can really support you in your search to find out more about career areas and opportunities.

“In a challenging job market, we as LSE alumni can talk to, guide, and support our LSE network. Our help is more important than ever! This network is and will continue to be a great way to stay connected.  I encourage fellow alums to support LSE Careers and the work they do helping students and recent graduates into the workplace, and students and graduates to engage with this network for support on their career journey.” Allie Bobak, MSc Economy, Risk and Society

The Alumni Friends of LSE (AFLSE) in the United States

The LSE alumni network in the US – the Alumni Friends of LSE (AFLSE) in the United States has a strong commitment to supporting students and graduates. They have an established network of chapters and sector groups you might find helpful in building your network and in your job search.

US Alumni Chapters

The AFLSE group has 18 official City based Alumni Chapters across the United States. These are an excellent source of information and advice and a great way to make local connections with alumni. Chapter representatives in each of these regions serve as local contacts and strengthen the AFLSE network for alumni and prospective students, organizing social and other events for alumni and friends in their areas. Representatives can be found in 11 additional locations to help you meet other LSE alumni in those areas. 

Special Interest Groups

There are currently 11 Special Interest Groups (SIGS) covering sector areas including financial services, law, IOs, NGOs, consulting and real estate.  Use the links below for further information and to access the unique webpages. 

Check out the AFLSE interactive map for information about the different chapters, special interest groups and AFLSE representatives.

Careers in the US LinkedIn Group

Our Careers in the US LinkedIn Group was created to support LSE students and alumni looking to, or currently, working in the US. It aims to provide a platform for careers networking, connecting with organizations looking to recruit LSE graduates, and for knowledge sharing.

“As well as a networking and job-hunting tool, it’s important to use LinkedIn to actively participate in interest groups on the platform. In these particularly challenging times, everyone is being invited to share ideas for moving forward. Students and recent alumni can really benefit from keeping up to date with developments and the opportunity to discuss what the future of work will look like and explore their respective interest areas. It’s also a great way to connect with organizations seeking out talent for the future.” Gabriel Torres, MSc Urbanisation and Development

Your Alma Matter

Many US universities have strong Alumni Associations offering a range of support including mentoring, networking and specific careers events. Connecting in with your school alumni association and registering with your university careers service may give you access to subscription only jobs boards such as Handshake as well as websites like Careershift which aggregates jobs from different sites.

General US-based careers resources

Here is a selection of websites and links that US students and alumni may find helpful when looking for information, advice and opportunities.

LSE subscriptions

LSE Careers subscribes to several web-based resources, jobs databases and information sources. Alumni (who completed their courses up to five years ago) can access many of our subscription websites.

  • Going Global - offers international career resources including detailed information about finding a job, hiring opportunities, resumes and interviews and professional and personal networking.  There’s also an employer directory and sector information relating to different US states.

  • Vault: Career Insider - unlimited, online access to comprehensive career information and management tools including career e-books, sector information, blogs and advice and company profiles.  There are useful internship and company listings and rankings by sector along with a job search tool using key words and location.

LinkedIn USA

With over 90% of US recruiters using LinkedIn, it’s an essential tool in your job search.  Use it to save search parameters and be notified when relevant jobs come up.

  • Using LinkedIn USA jobs you can search for both internships and graduate opportunities by location, type of work, experience level and a whole host of other filters.

Job portals and general job sites

There are a whole host of general jobs boards which aggregate jobs from a range of sites.  You may find that many roles are not at graduate level and some can be quite general rather than specialist. It’s important to think carefully about the search terms you use to ensure you get the most relevant roles sent. You can create searches by location/state. 

Recruitment agencies

With about 20,000 staffing and recruitment agencies it can be difficult to know where to start.  Some operate in general markets; others are more niche.  Salary level can be another factor with some only recruiting for positions over $100,000.  As a rule, agencies typically recruit for harder to fill positions requiring specific skills sets. It’s most helpful to contact a recruiter when your skills directly match the job requirements. 

  • Forbes have listed best 250 professional recruiting firms and can be a useful starting

General career research

Additional sources of information about the labour market and different career areas include the US Department of Labor sponsored Careersonestop which has career profiles and videos as well as insights into areas of career growth and decline and job updates from a range of sources including Indeed.

Professional bodies and membership associations

Too many to list here, professional associations and membership organisations can be a great way of connecting with others with similar interests working in specialist fields.  Careeronestop has a Professional Association Finder with a search function. JobStars has a detailed list of special interest groups and associations by sector.

Meet-ups and Young Professionals networks

A user-led initiative, meet-ups typically focus on a special interest, career or business area. Meet-ups are active across cities in the US, particularly in career areas including data, technology and AI, real estate, fintech and entrepreneurship. Young professional groups are also established by groups of individuals around a common interest, often career related, providing networking opportunities.

 

Sector specific US-based career resources

Think Tanks

There is a useful Nira World Directory of Think Tanks where you can search by country and which generates a list of organizations.

NGOs and international development

There are a number of resources you could look at depending on area of interest. Highlighted below are a few starting points, selected for their US focus:

  • US Agency for International Development is the ideal starting point if you’re looking to work in International Development within the US Government.

  • The Peace Corps is an American organisation that places volunteers for two-year commitments for a variety of projects all over the world.

  • DevEx is a leading global development jobs site listing US jobs.

  • Idealist.org has a large database of jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities with a strong US focus and the option to search by specific location.

  • The US Department of State has some useful links for those interested in humanitarian and development focused work in Government.

  • Human Rights Jobs has a strong focus on US-based opportunities. For full access to all the opportunities you will need a username and password. Details can be accessed here.

Working in academia

If the prospect of PhD study inspires you, an academic career in the US might be a possibility. Find out more from the following resources:

Resume writing

While many of the principles of CV/resume writing, like targeting and language, are similar in both the UK and the USA, there are several key differences. Here’s a reminder of a few top tips:

  • Make it just one page:  If you’re applying for jobs in the US, your resume typically should not be any more than one page long. This is the case even for candidates with several years’ experience applying for mid-level positions. For a recent graduate one page should suffice so keep it concise.

  • Resume style: these are slightly different in the US. There are some sample US resumes in the ‘Getting the Job’ section on Going Global.

  • Make the most of your international experience: highlight to prospective employers the benefits of living in the UK and studying at LSE in terms of both skills and attributes – for example independence, initiative, global mind-set and working with people of various cultures and backgrounds to name a few.

  • Follow US formatting: don’t forget to format the document as a US letter and to change your page set-up settings. It’s always a good idea to save as a PDF too so the format doesn’t change.

  • Use US spelling: if you are applying to a US-based company then remember to use American spelling for any correspondence.

  • Make it easy for a US recruiter to contact you: have an up-to-date professional email and LinkedIn profile and think about other ways of connecting such as Skype.

Resume resources

  • Vault: Careers Advice has a bank of example resumes that you can browse by industry and experience level for some more ideas around formatting and structure.  There’s also useful information about covering letters, networking and interviews too.

  • Going Global offers international career resources including detailed information about finding a job, hiring opportunities, resumes and interviews and professional and personal networking.  There’s also an employer directory and sector information relating to different US states.

  • You can find more advice on resumes in the LSE Careers application and CVs guide.  

The Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF)

Every year typically up to 15 LSE graduates join The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program. The PMF program is the US Government’s flagship leadership program to develop federal public service careers.

Applications for the PMF typically open in early October with a two-week application window. LSE Careers and the Harvard Kennedy School run an online webinar once applications open to share information about the fellowship and the recruitment process.  

The PMF website has detailed information about eligibility and the application process along with a detailed list of FAQs.

If selected, candidates have up to a year to apply to fellowships. It is important to connect with alumni for tips on applying for positions. There is further information about these PMF alumni networks on the PMF website.  LSE also has a large network of alum who have secured a place on the PMF program.

If you have questions about the PMF, please book an appointment on CareerHub with Careers Consultant, Maddie Smith, focusing on US careers.