In March I received my permit to work in the US and my Green Card is imminent so I swung into job-searching mode in April.
There are a plethora of jobs in the thriving San Francisco Bay Area in my line of work - content editor/manager positions, chief storyteller, editor, and sometimes a journalist job, might come up with the San Francisco Chronicle or the San Jose Mercury.
Most of the writing jobs are for technical writers and require a science or tech background. That's not me. I am applying for writing jobs for start-ups or companies that work with start-ups.
In New Zealand, I would keep an eye on the Herald and Seek websites for jobs - my favourite go-tos in the US are Craigslist and LinkedIn for more highbrow positions, Monster.com and PassportCareer.com, a good one for internationals.
The difference I find with advertised jobs in the US is employers are incredibly ambitious about the skills they want. They want it all. My chief skills is writing experience, and they are happy for me to have just a few years under my belt, but they also want me to be extremely social-media savvy, with proof of my social media prowess. Ideally, I should also have marketing and communication skills, search-engine optimisation knowledge and so on.
Are they really finding these multi-talented people, I asked an experienced HR person at a well-known tech company.
"Not really, these are dream people who don't exist," she said. Usually, in a job description, the first three skills mentioned are the most important, she said. The rest most people can probably pick up.
For media types, salaries are low in the US. I had an informal interview early on with a news publisher in San Francisco before I received my work permit. The meeting went reasonably well but when they asked what I was paid in New Zealand, they visibly blanched and couldn't get rid of me fast enough. Now when they advertise for positions, it is usually for an internship.
There was one intriguing story-telling job for a fund that works with start-ups, but when I looked closely, they weren't offering a salary. A gym membership, health insurance, dry cleaning, dental insurance, even a maid service, just no actual monthly salary.
Mike Lynch, senior client partner at executive search firm, Korn Ferry in San Francisco, advised against applying for jobs from careers websites. "A job ad application will go to an internal recruitment person who will have 40 job assignments and nothing [about you] is going to spring out at them," he said.
His advice was: "Do your homework: figure out which industry you want to be in and target companies most interesting to you. Then try to get a courtesy interview with someone there to learn more about the business."
Finding a job in the Bay Area can take six to nine months, he said. Do the legwork. Use your networks and if you don't have any, go to someone in executive search or private equity who might be able to help you. The good thing is, people are pretty accessible and most will be happy to have a coffee and a chat, especially if that person has good ideas for their business, said Lynch.
I don't mean to paint a bleak picture about the US job market. It's tough and highly competitive but there is that feeling of possibility that if you just have the right conversation with the right person, your luck may change.
Fed up with the job-hunting process, I was working on a news website idea. I met with an internet publisher who had built a number of news companies in his field. He said to me: "Do you really want to do this website or would you rather have a job?"
"A job please," I said. He said he really liked my background, and I've since met his editor who was impressive and is interested in me too. It is your typical new-look media enterprise - the editor is in Colorado, with staff based in New York, Carolina, LA and Emeryville, close to where I live. Watch this space.