How to Deal

Coming to America: Bring Your Culture With You

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By Lily Garcia
Special to washingtonpost.com
Wednesday, December 13, 2006; 5:27 PM

I am a professional in a narrow field and a new immigrant from a country with very different customs. How can I secure a professional job in the United States?

Much has been written about making a smooth transition from one country's professional business culture to another.

I recommend the "Put Your Best Foot Forward" series, by Mary Murray Bosrock -- specifically, her book "Put Your Best Foot Forward, USA: A Fearless Guide to Understanding the United States of America," (International Education Systems, 1999).

You should also seek a cross-cultural mentor who has the insight to educate you on the ways in which U.S. business culture differs from that to which you are accustomed.

Finally, at the risk of sounding maudlin, I want to remind you that while you should certainly strive to understand business customs in the United States, you should not altogether eschew your background.

One of the pleasures of working in the United States is the degree to which cultural differences in the workplace are respected and valued. You may find that your difference of perspective is actually an asset, not a hindrance, in the job search process.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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