The Expat Woman

Three tips to finding your dream job in San Francisco


Finding a job in the San Francisco Bay Area is challenging, especially for foreign trained professionals who are new to the U.S. labor market. If you are looking to find a job in your field or if you are going through a career transition, look into these job search strategies to assist you to find the right job.


It is important to build the skills necessary to succeed in your chosen profession by showing your interest and experience in that field. For example, it may be challenging for a real estate agency to determine why a person with limited real estate experience would now want to work in this field.

You can develop your skills and show a commitment to a certain field by volunteering your services at nonprofit organizations. A wonderful resource that can help you connect to organizations that are in need of such services is  This website can help you locate opportunities in areas that you are interested in exploring while gaining more experience.  For example, there are opportunities in healthcare, human rights, education, and the arts.

Get Involved

In addition to volunteering, get involved with professional organizations. Professional organizations provide excellent opportunities for networking and professional development. For example, the San Francisco Chapter of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants organizes networking events, offers courses for emerging professionals, and provides volunteer opportunities to gain more experience in the field. Involvement with professional organizations can help you develop relationships with other professionals in your field, learn about career opportunities, and can give you more exposure and experience in your field through volunteering and attending seminars and presentations.

Be Flexible

At some point during the job search process, you may hit a brick wall. “Why won’t anyone hire me?” is a common question asked by job seekers.

You may need to do a series of self-assessments to determine what you want in a job and where you want to work. Is your priority to live in San Francisco or are you more geographically flexible? If it is the latter, then conduct your job search in geographic areas where there is less competition. You can always move back to the Bay Area after you have gained the skills that will make you more marketable. If your priority is to stay in San Francisco and you are having a challenging time finding a job in your field, you may consider expanding your search to positions that are similar to your “dream career” or the industry that you would like to enter.  By doing so, you can obtain the skills that can help you transition into your chosen profession.

For example, one of my clients wanted to work as an administrator at a particular college, but was unable to do so because these jobs rarely opened up.  Even though she was highly qualified, she took a clerical position at that college.  Once an administrator position opened up one year later, she applied and received an offer.  She stated that she was able to obtain the administrator position because she made an excellent impression on the faculty and staff at the college, became knowledgeable of the college’s policies and procedures, and gained the skills that could help her succeed in her “dream job.”    Being flexible will open up opportunities that you did not know existed.

Networking, patience, and hard work are all ingredients for successful job searches in this economy.


Thank you to our contributing expert :

Sara Ayazi is pursuing her graduate degree in counseling at San Francisco State University. She is currently interning at the Career Development Center at City College of San Francisco.  A former attorney, Sara specializes in counseling clients on career transitions and the career exploration process.

Model : Gitanjali Rawat




Nyna is the Founder and CEO of The Expat Woman, a global platform focused on connecting, supporting and empowering women who have moved abroad or plan to relocate. She is also a LinkedIn coach, consultant, trainer and speaker. LinkedIn played a huge role in my professional journey abroad, helping me build a network of powerful expat women and allies.

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