5 Tips to Find a Job Abroad by Sydney Frazer
For many students, college is an early introduction to international students and traveling abroad. Whether you’ve had a chance to break out the passport recently, or simply seen another country through the eyes of a classmate, you may be considering the possibility of moving to another country after graduation. Whether you want to teach yoga in Thailand or English in Venezuela, consider these 5 tips for finding work abroad:
1. Use Your Network
You’ve been told about the importance of building relationships, but perhaps only thought about it in the context of your local opportunities. Take a step back though, and think about people you know who work at multinationals - they might have connections that could help you get a foot in the door at one of their sister offices in another country. Find out about the broader network of your family, friends, neighbors, and professors. They might know someone with experience working abroad, or happen to have a friend in your country of interest.
You should also reach out to your college’s study abroad organizers. They can put you in touch with contacts who can send job openings your way or answer any country-specific questions you might have. Remember a couple simple tips when reaching out to people you don’t know very well or have yet to meet: keep it short, include appropriate details, use a professional tone, and express your gratitude for any help they might send your way.
2. Do Your Research
Unsure of where to go? Global financial services company HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer Survey can help narrow your choices. The survey asks over 25 thousand expats in over 100 different countries a variety of questions. They use this information to determine the best countries for expats based on three categories: Economics, Experience, and Family. Topping the list in 2016 in all three categories were:
- New Zealand
It’s also a good idea to filter countries to reflect your personal preferences. For instance, are healthcare and work/life balance your top two considerations for working abroad? Norway ranks first when you zero in on those two factors. While you may think you know where you want to go, doing research can open you up to new possibilities, and prevent any unexpected deal-breakers.
Many factors will come into play when working abroad and it is vital to get a handle on them early on in your search process. Invest some time into researching your target countries. Take a look at laws and procedures that affect expats in those countries. While you may be dreaming of weekend beach trips or local food, the details of tax law, immigration, and visas will have a much larger effect on your decision. Do you need a work visa? What does the application process look like? How long does it last? What home country considerations do you need to make before leaving? You should also consider living conditions such as housing costs, medical insurance, and transportation options. Narrow down your list of target countries based on your findings.
3. Look at Specific Jobs and Industries
If you are finding your first job out of school, you may want to consider one of the below career paths for working abroad. These tend to be more readily available to entry-level candidates:
• Teach English. English teachers are needed in many different countries, giving you a variety of places from which to choose. You will be able to gain experience in a short period of time and usually just need a bachelor’s degree.
• Marketing associate. Put your business degree to work by finding a marketing role. You will want to look primarily in metropolitan areas. Skills associated with marketing are highly transferable across countries and industries. Whether you decide to remain abroad or come back to the US, you’ll find that your experience is relevant and desirable.
• Internships. Don’t write off internship opportunities. Large global companies often have robust internship programs. Expect to gain resume-building skills in an environment that fosters learning. You will probably also get more hand-holding when it comes to figuring out laws as they relate to working abroad.
• Traveling Nurse. These opportunities can last a few months to a year or more and are widely available in most regions of the world. Requirements vary based on your focus and the facility. Regardless, you can expect to become good at adapting to different fast-paced, high stress environments.
4. Leverage Your Skills
Certain skills will make you a more attractive candidate for jobs abroad than others. Be sure to highlight those when drafting your resume and interviewing. Desirable skills include:
• Language skills. Are you fluent in more than one language? Make sure this is obvious to hiring managers who might otherwise be skeptical of hiring from outside the country.
• Ability to adapt. Think about times when you have been challenged to adapt. The ability to adapt to a new environment makes your likelihood for success abroad much higher, and reassures potential managers that you can handle transition and thrive in a new environment.
• Experience with other cultures. Stress any past experiences you have had traveling abroad or working with people from different cultures. Even if you don’t expect the cultural change to be significant, employers are looking for people who will fit in well with the company culture.
5. Use Local Job Search Resources
Not all the positions available to you will be posted in the US. It’s important to look for jobs using the same resources locals do. You can start with country job boards, such as Workopolis in Canada, or Seek in Australia. You might also consider using a site with coverage across many countries. For instance, Glassdoor lets you research companies and salaries, as well as find job openings in 12 different countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium (French or Dutch language), Canada (English or French language), France, Germany, India, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland (French or German language), and the UK. The more information you can get on the local job market and the company you’ll be working for, the better prepared you will be for your next adventure.
Choosing to work abroad is a huge decision. Be sure to use all of the resources at your fingertips to make an informed decision. Ciao!