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How To Source Your Own J1 Job

How do I sort my own J1 job?


If you've chosen to source your own J1 job, rather than getting one through our Job Placement Program's InterExchange database, here are some useful tips and advice for getting started:

A Note on San Diego

Every year, many students hope to do their J1 in California- and more specifically San Diego. While there is plenty of seasonal work in San Diego, there are not as many options as we would like, even if you are booked on our Job Placement program. Positions fill up quickly and not everyone in your group may get a job in that location. This leaves a student hoping to travel there only one option- to source their own job. Please note: there are plenty of jobs available in San Francisco on the InterExchange database, so if you’re willing to head a few hours up the coast to the Bay area, work will be more readily available.

Another great option and one of the original J1 destinations, way back when, is Myrtle Beach! We have a wide range of seasonal jobs available there and it is much easier to get accommodation. And yes, the weather and beaches are just as good as San Diego! 

To browse all J1 destinations, click here and use the location map to get more information.

For proven tips and advice on sourcing your own job, please have a read through these five simple steps:

  1. Resume & Cover Letter
  • Essentially the most important part of getting seasonal work in the states. Please try and keep the American-style resume to ONE page.
  • Employers for most seasonal J1 jobs will only briefly look over your resume, scanning for relevant experience, references and an outgoing personality.
  • There’s no need to put in your hobbies and interests unless they’re relevant to the work you’re applying for. If you enjoy making cocktails for friends and family in your spare time and you’re applying for a job in a bar, then, by all means, put that down. However, if it’s not relevant to the job, leave it out and fill that space with something else that may help you stand out from the crowd.
  • As for your cover letter, the first and most important thing to do is to explain that you’ll have a 4-month work and travel visa during the summer months given to you by InterExchange.
  • We highly recommend you write a different cover letter for every single employer. When you’re going to be competing with hundreds of other students for a job, the last thing you want is for your letter to be too generic.
  1. Introduction Video

Before you start slating this idea, hear us out. It’s very challenging to get seasonal work in a country you haven't even arrived in yet. We all know the best way to impress an employer is by meeting them in person. This isn’t possible for you guys, so why not record a 2-minute video talking a little about yourself? 

You'll be able to convey that wonderful personality and state exactly why you’re the best person for a certain job. Another good reason for doing this is the fact that most J1 seasonal work involves dealing with the general public. There’s no better way to show your verbal communication skills, bubbly personality and how you present yourself to others than in a short video clip.

  1. Contact Employers Through Different Streams

Inevitably, thousands of students (not just from Ireland) are going to be applying for the same jobs as you are, all through the same stream. That being either through e-mail, online application form or website contact form. Stand out from the crowd and contact employers through other streams.

You could @ them on Twitter/ X, send a Facebook message, via LinkedIn, or even go old-fashioned and give them a ring. Of course, they may direct you back to the standard application process but you never know- that person looking after the Facebook page could go directly to HR for you. Give it a shot!

  1. Useful Websites

The two most popular websites to look for seasonal work in the USA are www.indeed.com and www.monster.com – these sites are a great way to get the work search underway. 

  1. Irish Immigration Centres

Throughout many cities in the USA, there are Irish Outreach and Immigration Centres. While you’re on a J1, they’ll be happy to assist you with anything you need. However, very few students make use of them before departure. There’s no harm in contacting them now to see if they have any advice, contacts or leads on seasonal work in that destination. Please see the list below:

Finally, please click here and have a look at the J1 prohibited jobs and areas to ensure you won’t be disappointed.

If you have more specific questions about jobs, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 0214279190 or email j1visa@sayit.ie

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