How to work in a creative industry in the United States: the practical realities

How to work in a creative industry in the United States

Travel can open your eyes to the world, particularly in terms of culture. However, sometimes, it can inspire us to also base ourselves in a country permanently. Working in the creative industry isn’t restricted to the country you live in, and so moving abroad to the US is certainly a viable option for many people. With knowledge of creative hotspots in Hollywood and Manhattan, it’s no wonder that many want to journey to the US to find work and regular employment. The United States is so often referred to as The Land of the Free that many see it as a place of wealth and opportunity. Like any country, before you move the US, it’s important to make sure you are fully prepared to start your life over again.

Location vs. Jobs

You may have fallen in love with the US as a result of basing yourself in a particular state. Whether you were transfixed by Yellowstone National Park or overwhelmed by the hubbub of New York City, a particular part of the US might be your reason for immigrating. However, if you are after a specific job, then you will need to check the availability in that state. For example, if you wanted to work for one of America’s largest motorcycle brands, Harley-Davidson, you would want to check in Milwaukee first. You will find it a lot easier to find a job in the creative industry if there are plenty of different opportunities available to you.


If there’s anything that will make you feel like a fish out of water, it’s working abroad. You’ll find like-minded people in the US, particularly in creative hubs like New York, LA, and San Francisco. However, when you work in a creative industry, whether it’s tech or design-focused, it’s not just a matter of making friends. Networking in cities with huge creative networks, such as New York is vital for progressing your career and making these connections will help you to burst out of that bubble.

One of the easiest ways to network, before you start getting invited to exclusive business parties, is to go to industry trade fairs. Finding the biggest corporate event for digital graphic design, for example, would help you to make connections. Attending events where you learn skills such as conducting presentations and promoting a company will also benefit your resume.


If you are coming from a country that has a healthcare system which is partially state-funded, then you will need to readjust your thinking for the US. The US’s healthcare system is privatized, which means you will need to take out insurance. Or if you are moving over with a company, you will need to double-check that they will provide your insurance for you. The Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) can be useful for those on a lower income, however, as an immigrant to the US, you will have to wait for five years to gain the full list of benefits.

Legal documentation

One of the most important aspects of moving to the United States is ensuring that you have the correct legal documentation. For many people, the ultimate goal is to obtain a green card, which allows you to work in the US permanently. On top of this, you will need to make sure you have all the correct legal documentation to work in the United States, particularly if you have a family. Finding a US Immigration Lawyer to double-check your paperwork can help to ensure that you are legally entitled to work there.

Many people who are planning to immigrate to the US find the paperwork the most challenging aspect. If you are planning on making a permanent move out there, it’s wise to get some assistance on your paperwork in general. Being caught unawares while you’re out there could make your moving process far more stressful than it needs to be.

A buffer period

Creatives are often criticized for having their heads in the clouds. You may have very practical, logical reasons for wanting to move to the United States, but creating a buffer period before a permanent move out there could be very useful. Whether you ask your company for a temporary contract, or set yourself a limited work period, giving yourself a set time frame can help you make a firm decision. Starting over in a new country is certainly romanticized, but it can also be incredibly challenging. Moving to a country where you have a limited circle of friends can be very isolating, to begin with, and so you will want to make sure that this is a step you are ready to commit to.

Be a tourist

When you first move to the US, there can be a temptation to put up a façade of pre-existing knowledge. Reassuring your colleagues and peers that you know where all the best places to go out for fun are and where to get the best coffee can be a way of plumping up your confidence for the first few months. However, there is no shame in admitting that you don’t know the area particularly well. On your days off and weekends, spend time being a tourist for the first time. Go to local galleries, hunt down new coffee shops, and spend time getting to know the area. It might even be worth swallowing your pride and asking one of your colleagues to show you about town.

Travel can often inspire us to make very important life decisions. Moving out to the United States certainly isn’t an easy or simple decision, but it could open new and exciting career paths for you. One of the essential aspects of immigrating to sort out first, however, is the paperwork. Ensuring that you have the right legal documentation and that you can access healthcare while you’re out there will make the move less of a gamble. It’s also important to socialize and make friends – the world is a less scary place when you have someone by your side.