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I am a skilled immigrant trying to rebuild my career in the U.S.; where do I start?

Video Description

Immigrants are an essential part of our labor force. Foreign-born workers bring new ideas, skills, and talent, but integrating into the American system can be challenging. Often, immigrants experience barriers in leveraging their education and experience to build their career in the U.S. and find themselves in jobs that underutilize their potential and skills.

Are you looking to develop your career goals or to find a career path in America that matches your skill and talent? Did you receive a college degree outside of the U.S.? Did you have professional experience before coming to the U.S.? Do you have a permit to work in the U.S.? Do you feel that you experienced a career downgrade after immigrating to the states? Have you faced a lot of obstacles in getting called into interviews or struggled with getting job offers?

Watch this video to learn about mentorship and career advising resources that will help you map out your career development plan, set short-term and long-term career goals, and set clear action steps to achieve these goals.

Read Video Transcript

In this video, I'm going to share with you tips on how to successfully build your career in U.S. as a skilled immigrant. I am Emmanuel Owusu, also the Executive Director of African Bridge Network, ABN, and I have been helping skilled immigrants build their career in the U.S. for the last seven years. I receive my college degree in Ghana before I move into the U.S. and just like any skilled immigrant, I experienced the initial downgrade. But I have learned to build my career and since then, I have helped many skilled immigrants to build their career here in the U.S.

So who is skilled immigrant? This is a person who received his or her college degree outside the United States, may or may not have professional experience before coming to U.S. and also have the permit to work and live in the United States. That qualifies you to be a skilled immigrant. So a skilled immigrant, you have applied to several job positions and even in the process of applying, you realize the application process doesn't fit your foreign resumes that well. And then you go ahead and apply anyway and then you don't hear back on any of this application and someone will say to you, "What you need is a U.S. made certificate." So you're trying to figure out, "Which school do I go to?"

There's several pathways you can go, that also confusing. And then even if you hear back on any of the jobs you've applied, after the first interview, you don't hear back from the interviewer or the company anymore. You repeat this cycle a couple of times and you are just at the point of giving up on building your career here in the U.S. This is the moment I want to recommend to you, you need help with your career. You really don't need to restart your career from scratch. Let me give you four steps to help you build your career here in U.S.

Step number one, explore careers that matches your foreign degree experience, skill set, and your interests as a person. You start by using occupational information from different job website to determine which of your foreign credentials and experience are transferable into the U.S. labor market. From there, you determine your professional level here in U.S. It's very important that you don't overestimate or underestimate your professional level.

Step number two, resume and cover letter writing. You then build your resume to match your professional level here in U.S. Remember, the U.S. resume format is different from that of your country, so you definitely need a new resume. You also need a cover letter to explain to your potential employer that your foreign credentials and experience are relevant to the work that you are applying to, and also to show them that you are the best candidate for the position.

Step number three, networking and informational interviews. In the U.S., most people find job opportunities through their friends and contact so it's very important that you build your network. Find and participate in a professional group in the industry you are interested in. Make some friends and talk to them as to how you build your career. Also, you may wanna consider volunteering for an organization. It's really a good way to learn new skills and meet new people who will help you get to where you need to get to.

Step number four, interview preparation. Congratulations, you got a call for an interview. This is a big deal. Very important step in building your career. This is where you get to meet with a potential employer to talk to the person about a job and about yourself. It's very important that you take time to prepare for your interviews. Especially question number one, "Tell us about yourself." You want to write this question down. Find a friend to rehearse it with. Trust me, the more preparation you put into it, the more confident you will sound in the interview.

African Bridge Network is a nonprofit organization that work with all skilled immigrants coming from different parts of the world to build their professional career here in the U.S. What makes us unique is the fact that we are made up of individuals who came from different parts of the world, we figured out how to build our career here in the U.S. and now we are here to support you build your career. In a year, we serve about 250 skilled immigrants to build their career here in the U.S. Our services include career advising services where we help you with your resume, cover letter, applying for job, interviewing. Then we have a professional mentoring program and a fellowship program as well. The good news is, all our services are free. They're available both in-person and online. If you are a skilled immigrant and you relate to the tips I've shared with you today, we would love to hear from you, reach out to us and we'll be happy to support you as you build your career here in the U.S

Contact this Expert

Emmanual Owusu head shot

Emmanuel Owusu

Executive Director
African Bridge Network
Emmanuel Owusu is the Founding Executive Director of African Bridge Network, and as an immigrant professional from Ghana, he is passionate about supporting other skilled immigrants build their careers. He believes skilled immigrants are gifts from other countries, and they have a lot to offer the United States. Emmanuel is a graduate of Tufts University and an adjunct lecturer at Boston University

African Bridge Network


258 Derby Street
West Newton, MA 02465
United States


Since 2015, ABN has helped college-educated immigrants advance their careers, without rebuilding their them from scratch, through specialized programming and assistance. These programs partner immigrants with experienced professionals, connect immigrants with a network to advance their professional lives, and provide immigrants with specialized development in their respective fields. 

Services & Products:

  • Orientation Workshop for Skilled Immigrants
  • Job Search and Career Advising Services
  • Professional Mentoring Program
  • Immigrant Professionals Fellowship

Locations: While ABN is located in Massachusetts, some services are provided virtually and others in person. 

Languages available:  English

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