Career Advancement Tips for Immigrants

Last Updated on February 8, 2019 by Estrella

Career advancement for immigrants
Career advancement tips for immigrants, photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

How do you advance your career in your native culture? Some of those ways probably apply in the U.S. as well. This article offers some career advancement tips for immigrants in the U.S.

Ways for immigrants to advance their career

Attend business workshops

One of the ways I grew in my career was taking workshops that address business skills. There used to be a company, Career Track, that put on very helpful day seminars for professionals. I think another company bought it. It doesn’t matter what field you are in, some skills apply to all of them. For example, after you attend a seminar paid for by your company, write a note to thank the person who sent you to the seminar. Summarize what you learned, highlighting the points that are most relevant to your job or your company.

Although this seems like common courtesy in our personal life, when it comes to work, many do not practice this. Maybe they consider it just part of the job. Nevertheless, this is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

Network with other attendees

And while you are at these workshops, make a point to connect with other attendees. Even if you come from different professions, sometimes those connections can lead to unexpected opportunities.

Listen to CD from business speakers

Besides attending seminars that would further your skills, get CD’s from the speakers you find most helpful. This turns your drive time into an education. And sitting in traffic won’t be so bad because you have something interesting to give your attention to. Libraries often have CD’s from popular speakers.

Work with a mentor

Another way to advance in your career is finding a mentor within your company or within your industry. Find someone whose personal and accomplishments you admire. It’s important that it be someone you respect as a person, for you are going to learn from them. It would be nice if you already know them. See if they are open to the idea of mentoring you.

The reason why mentors are valuable is that they can open doors for you. My mentor connected me with her business network relevant to my work. The introduction made the interaction so much easier. If you find one in your company, it might help you become more visible for potential opportunities. If you find one outside your company and in your field, you would also be more likely to learn of opportunities.

Perception of changing companies

In some cultures, it is not uncommon to work for the same company your entire career. Some people like this idea; some prefer explorations. Just know that changing companies is not perceived negatively in this culture. So feel free to explore if you feel it’s more beneficial to your career.

Go to networking groups

Still another way to advance your career is meeting others in your profession. Networking is a good idea throughout your career, not just when you are looking for opportunities. If you find people you like, stay in touch with them. You never know who will hear of an opportunity for you. Search for groups in LinkedIn that you want to connect with. Ask to join the online group. If it’s local, sometimes they may have networking events. is also a place to find groups. There are business groups in that network too. Ask around. Find out which professional groups are most relevant to what you want.

To summarize, to advance your career, some of the things you can do is to attend business workshops to enhance your skills. Sometimes these workshops focus on how to build relationships within your company. These are important skills. Another way to enhance your career is to find a mentor either in your company or in your industry. And continue to network throughout your career.

If you find this article helpful, here is another one on How to make friends in the workplace for immigrants.

Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a session with her, please email

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