Finding roles in the USA
Job-hunting in the US has some clear differences to the UK. For example, there are fewer graduate schemes, campus recruitment is more common, internships can 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. Some larger employers offering graduate schemes start accepting applications the September before graduation, even before you have started your degree! If you have a key employer or sector in mind, then know your application dates. 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.
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 your 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.
Vault also 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 in the Vault: Careers Advice section.
You can find more advice on resumes and applications in our applications guide.
Networking and connecting with US based alumni
With almost 1000 US students coming to LSE to study each year and a commitment to supporting LSE alumni, here are some specific US focused resources you might find helpful in building your network and in your job search.
This 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 organisations looking to recruit LSE graduates, and for knowledge sharing.
Connect with LSE alum based in the US via the AFLSE. The group has active chapters across the country. These are listed under the CHAPTERS link on their website. 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.
US-based career resources
In addition to the open access resources listed below, LSE Careers also subscribes to several web-based resources, jobs databases and information sources. Here is a selection that US students and alumni may find helpful when looking for information, advice and opportunities. Alumni (who completed their courses up to five years ago) are able to access any of our subscription websites.
There are a whole host of general jobs boards including Indeed, Monster and Careerboard and Glassdoor. TargetJobs – working in the US - has a useful section listing several recruitment agencies and newspapers with job vacancies.
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.
LinkedIn USA jobs
Using LinkedIn, you can search for both internships and graduate opportunities by location, type of work, experience level and a whole host of other filters.
Vault: Career Insider
Vault: Career Insider gives 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.
Think Tanks, Policy, Government and related resources
LSE Careers subscribe to several specialist jobsites with a focus on politics, policy and human rights. Each site lists job vacancies internationally, but all have a strong focus on USA based opportunities. To access any of these sites, click on the following links:
For full access to all the opportunities you will need a username and password. Details can be accessed here.
Nira World Directory of Think Tanks
There is a useful world directory of think tanks on the Nira website where you can search by country and which generates a list of organisations.
The Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF)
The PMF program is the USA's flagship leadership development programme matching graduate students with federal opportunities across the country. The two-year paid fellowship enables successful candidates to develop skills they can take forward onto future careers in government or alternative sectors.
Applications for the PMF open in October and we hold a WebEx presentation once application open to share information about the fellowship and the recruitment process. Once the application period opens, it will also appear on USAJOBS.
LSE has a large network of alum who have secured a place on the PMF programme. If you have questions about this, please book an appointment on CareerHub with Careers Consultant, Maddie Smith, focusing on US careers.
NGO and International Development resources
If you are looking to work in 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.
For students and alumni looking for more experienced hire positions, recruitment consultants and head-hunters can be a useful source of opportunities. We have a subscription to eGold Recruitment which has a strong US focus and which allows you to search a specialist recruitment consultant database by recruiter type, areas and services, salary, location and more.
If you are an LSE alumnus* and don’t have access to the webpage, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for login details.
*Access to the webpage can only be provided to alumni who completed their course within the last five years.
Further study in the USA
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:
If you are at the stage of applying for a Master’s or PhD then we recommend the resources and talks provided by the Fulbright Commission.