Job Hunt: The Daunting Task of Where to Begin

Maybe you’ve moved countries, states, or even just from one neighborhood to the next, and you’re starting to feel a little more settled in. Maybe after a long wait, your work visa or permanent resident card has finally arrived and you’re starting to think about getting back to work. But, regardless of your motivation to start looking for a job, we understand how daunting it can be!

Many of us here at Life in the Bay have experienced the job hunting process firsthand and know that it can be murky territory – especially if you’re from abroad, or haven’t worked in a while. I got my green card at the end of last year and started my job hunt at the beginning of 2016. It didn’t take long for me to get extremely frustrated! But what I did learn is that there’s no harm in asking friends for referrals. It wasn’t something I felt very comfortable doing – what if I was putting my friends in awkward situations with their employers? However, I did manage to get a few interviews this way, and every interview is good experience.

Job Hunt - The Expat Woman can help you get back to work! (Photo Credit: Expat Woman)

The Expat Woman can help you get back to work! (Photo Credit: Expat Woman)

I also dealt with a few recruiters, but I didn’t find them very helpful. It was very difficult to get updates about positions that seemed promising to me, and after several rounds of phone interviews and ignored emails, I stopped following up with them.

Because I hadn’t worked in quite some time, I started to consider the option of easing back into it with some part-time work. I interviewed with a company who had been advertising a full-time role, but their more immediate need was for someone to fill a contract position for a few months. It has ended up working out well – I was happy to take on some work for the short term, and the company was glad to get someone to help them out right away. It’s great to be back at work!


Here is a compilation of some local Bay Area resources which can be helpful in your search.


The Expat Woman Facebook page is a fantastic resource for interesting events and a great way to meet like-minded people. But their addition of a job search network is the cherry on top. They host monthly Job Club events in the Bay Area and also offer panel discussions with recruiters at top companies all over the peninsula. These events are excellent networking opportunities and often feature a chance to speak directly to recruiters and specialist career professionals. (And don’t panic, the events are for men and women!) 

  • Yvonne Lefort, Career Counselor/Coach

    Yvonne Lefort has over 20 years’ experience supporting people through career transitions and is an authority on understanding the difficulty of finding a job in a new country. She offers several classes and workshops including “How to create a fulfilling life in America” and has also designed courses specifically for moms transitioning back to the workplace. You can find her community group on Facebook, or meet her in person at one of her regular Friday Coffee Mornings.

    Job Hunt - Yvonne leads the way on Creating a Fulfilling Life in America

    Yvonne leads the way on Creating a Fulfilling Life in America (Photo Credit: Yvonne Lefort)

  • Nova Job Center

This is a federally-funded job development agency, with branches in San Mateo and Sunnyvale/Santa Clara county. They work specifically with job seekers who are transitioning back into the workplace and provide training and education to meet the skills and needs of Silicon Valley. They offer workshops and online resources designed to help get you back to work. However, take note that Nova only offers these services to those who are 18 years and over, are authorized to work in the USA, and meet certain program eligibility criteria. You’ll need to register with them first to get the process started.


Located in Palo Alto, Deborah’s Palm is a fantastic resource for job-seekers and anyone transitioning back to work or thinking of a career change. They offer several different classes (see the schedule and options here) and a warm, supportive environment. They’re open Monday to Friday, from 10am to 5pm, and on Saturdays when they are hosting events. (Deborah’s Palm is a women’s only community center.)


Still need some more help? 

Here are some tips for creating an American Resume.

Localwise: a great online job board, where you can search for jobs directly within your community or neighborhood.

Indeed: a useful job posting site, where you can add filters for location, companies, salary and set-up job alert emails.

SimplyHired: works in a similar way to Indeed, and also allows you to tailor your job search.


If you’ve been job searching, how have you found the process so far? Any success stories to share? We’d love to hear them.

About Lesley Cloran

: I come from beautiful, sunny South Africa and have been living in the Bay Area for four years now. My husband and I moved for a job opportunity, and it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. I’m an editor and writer, with a passion for reading. I’ve worked in magazine publishing and online educational content editing, and currently volunteer as an adult literacy tutor. I also enjoy listening to podcasts, taking long walks and catching up with friends over coffee! I love the international culture of Silicon Valley and the wonderful melting pot of languages, food and interesting people. The opportunities for travel have also been truly eye-opening, and we’ve been lucky enough to visit cities and places we’d only ever dreamed of seeing.

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