By Iliana Rivera-Dogan, May 2012

I was born and raised in Mexico. I got my degree as a Dental Surgeon and worked a few years before I moved to this country. Finding a job hasn’t been easy, no matter what you do, no matter where you are. Just looking something that matches is just hard. So I had to come to terms with the idea of being patient (overall), super-proactive, and also realistic.

First things first: I needed American recommendations, no matter how many great jobs I had in my country, here I had to start from zero. The best way to do it: VOLUNTEER, yes. Trust me, it is not hard, actually it is kind of fun. So I started volunteering in a Library, returning books to their shelves, covering books, fixing damaged cases from audio books…

After that, I became a little more ambitious so I got involved with a big Charity Foundation as a volunteer translator English/Spanish. How did I find out about them? On TV, yes watching local news, I wrote down the website, and applied.

This was just the beginning; being a dentist I just wanted to find a job that was related.

Now I had references. So I went on several job websites and applied to every single dental assistant job posted, included my CV with my Mexican work background and my new references. And I got a job as a dental assistant.

Even though I am now working, I have applied to volunteer in another local hospital. Why? Because the more you network the more you hear about other person’s experience, this gives you ideas, you find out about new things to do, local job fairs…

The key is being patient, humble; don’t be afraid to discover your new skills… Being a volunteer is as much respected as having any other job. People and institutions appreciate your time and willingness to help.


Getting a job in New York can be challenging. You should give yourself time to get acquainted with the US job market and try to do first networking, extra studies and volunteering. If you have a story to tell, please send it to