Workplace Tips For Immigrants

Workplace success tips for immigrants
Workplace tips for immigrants. Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst.

If you are an immigrant new to an American workplace, there are some things you can do to help yourself feel more at home. In fact, they may even help you advance in your career faster. This blog offers some workplace tips for immigrants. I hope you experiment with them and see which one fits your situation. Then apply them, and benefit from this job even more.

Tips that help immigrants at work

Understand your benefits package completely

Not long ago, a gas station I went to frequently had to close to make space for the light rail transit construction in the area. Some employees relocated; others looked for new employment. This one employee from another country decided to explore self-employment. While we were chatting, she told me that it wasn’t until recently that she knew what her benefits were. And she had been working there for 10 years. She could have added to her financial well-being had she known about all her benefits at the beginning of her career with the company. And since the human resources department is not located near her branch, she did not take the time to fully understand her benefits package. If she had, that would have been a nice sum of money she could use toward her new business.

Sharing your feedback

Another tip if this is your first job in this country is that of letting another know how you feel. Let me explain. While I was teaching ESL in a company, some of the immigrants were unhappy with a situation. They all told me what the problem was, but no one told the person who could do something about it. They didn’t want to get in trouble if they spoke up.

That person who could have done something about the problem actually wanted to improve himself. But no one told him what was bothering them. And so the problem continued. Everyone was stressed for a long time. And unnecessarily. He could have learned from the feedback. And the stress would be gone for everyone else.

If you are asked for your feedback in the workplace (and if you feel it is safe to do so without jeopardizing your job) do share your opinion in a tactful way so the other can hear it and improve. You will know if the person asking is genuine about asking for your opinion. You could be helping someone improve. The article Tips for your first job goes into detail on this topic.

Being visible can help your career

Another tip if this is your first job as an immigrant is that of visibility. Being seen, being heard can be an advantage to your career. When you share ideas that can benefit the company, that’s a wonderful contribution. You help the company, and the company appreciates you. Those in certain positions that observe the way you think and behave have the influence to help you advance faster in your career.

Here is an example. I worked with an immigrant who speaks what she thinks tactfully. She understands the work culture. Soon she was promoted to the role of supervisor. And she was better able to help the other immigrants in the company because she understood what they need.

Even before her interview, the director saw her leadership ability

Another example. A young woman was applying for a job in a hotel as housekeeper. There was a number of people waiting to be interviewed as the hotel needed more housekeepers. When the interviewer came out of her office and started speaking, some of the people in the back of the line did not know and kept talking among themselves. This woman quickly got their attention so the interviewer could speak. This interviewer happens to be the director of the department. She saw this leadership quality and started mentoring the young woman, who later replaced the director when she retired.

To summarize, know your benefits package thoroughly so you can make the most out of it. When you feel it is appropriate, share your ideas and feedback. The company can improve from your thoughts. In fact, letting others know your good ideas can actually help you advance in your career faster.

If you find this blog helpful, here is one on How to advance your career ESL speakers.

Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    You can schedule a session with her at

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