My name is Rodolfo Delgado. I am 33 years old and a Mexican immigrant living in the United States. I’ve lived here for over six years, and my experience has taken me from being a student to being the owner of a startup in Manhattan.
I wrote this article to tell you about how I first came to the U.S. and how I later found ways to do well in the beautiful city of New York.
Acquire valuable skillsets: –
I started my journey in the U.S. as a student. I’ve always been passionate about technology and real estate, so I decided to get a master’s degree in technology. When selecting which master’s or program best fits my needs, I learned that some universities offer the option to sponsor a work visa called Optional Practical Training (OPT), which is temporary employment directly related to an F-1 student’s primary area of study.
I made sure that the program I chose had an OPT option so that I could give myself opportunities in the future. I wasn’t sure if I needed it, but I wanted to have the opportunity.
Think about it from the U.S. government’s perspective. If the government allows foreigners to live in the U.S., it wants to ensure that they contribute to society, creating jobs and helping the American economy thrive. In my opinion, having a higher education degree from a reputable American university dramatically helps.
Reach out shamelessly.
Finding work opportunities in the U.S. as an immigrant is far from easy — especially for people like myself who had no connections, no friends in the city, and a very uncommon name. I had to start from the bottom.
I applied to over 70 job postings via LinkedIn and other recruiting sites. My very Spanish name at the top of my resume hurt my chances of getting noticed. Every job application asked me if I would need visa sponsorship now or anytime in the future. I firmly believe that answering “yes” to that question made my application weak and ineffective.
Hoping to get a job out of a posting on such recruiting sites is, in my experience, as effective as throwing your resume out of the window and hoping that the right person picks it up. It may happen, but it isn’t very likely.
You’ll have to contact me shamelessly. Contact anyone and everyone you believe may know someone who could benefit from your skillset and inform them that you are actively seeking new opportunities. That’s what I did.
I called the real estate broker who helped me find my apartment in the city and let her know my intentions. I pitched her the idea that my tech skills combined with her real estate expertise might work wonders — and they did.
She put me on the company’s real estate team as the technology manager, and I made sure we had the best tools. Find a way to add value and make money; the world is yours. In the following years, we won multiple prestigious awards, earned respect, and made invaluable connections within the industry. We were being noticed.
Don’t stop moving.
Momentum is real. You have to take advantage of it and recognize that the visa has an expiration date, which means that if you like the quality of life and adventure you’ve pursued, you have to keep looking at what’s ahead. Ask yourself, “What’s the next step?” Define how you’d like your career to look in one year, five years, or ten years, and figure out your next moves — design a career path.
I’ve always loved being an entrepreneur and creating things of value. I knew I wanted to create something, so I began looking for opportunities while still having a job. After seeking and evaluating potential pain points for our existing clients, I finally found a way to contribute to our industry by bringing more transparency and honesty into real estate — I created the first company focused on advertising properties through unedited videos. What you see is what you get.
Focus on what matters:
Your objective should be clear and go beyond just living in the United States. Why is this important to you? What are you ultimately trying to accomplish? Thousands of visa applications are submitted yearly, and you must be impeccable in describing your motives and intentions.
After that, I used the new connections, friends, and contacts I had made to keep growing. What will happen next is yet to be seen. Still, I can share that my experience has taught me invaluable survival skills that are transferable among different industries and even countries. Navigate life, create value for yourself and others, and enjoy the journey—that’s what truly matters.