Documentation for Employment, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Making a Living


Basic Identification. When you apply for a regular job on-the-books, unless the situation is very informal, you will be required to show certain identification documents. The most basic of these is the social security card, which any legal resident can obtain from the local social security office. Even if you are not asked to show documents to prove who you are, your employer will need to know your social security number. If you are a legal immigrant, you will often need to give proof by showing a green card or work permit.

Credentials. If you apply for a job that requires a particular educational background, experience or skills, you might have to present documents to prove you are qualified. More and more companies are carefully checking the information given to them by job applicants. If you are truly qualified for a position, resist the temptation to add anything untrue just because it “looks good on your resume.” You might cheat yourself out of a good opportunity that way.

Foreign Credentials. If your credentials are from another country, you might need to have translations made. The consulate from your original country may already have had to deal with interpreting skills and educational backgrounds like yours, so consult them if appropriate. In many cases, of course, no matter how qualified you were in your home country, your qualifications may not be useful or marketable in the American system. If you do have to make an adjustment in your job or profession, however, America is the most dynamic place in which to do it.

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