How to Find a Job Abroad

airplane model on white computer keyboard

Searching global jobs on computer | Source: iStock

Perhaps you have been pondering a career or job change: Maybe you’re bored, maybe your job isn’t good for your health, or possibly you just want to try something new. While it can be difficult to find a job in America, finding a job in a different country can be difficult in other ways. You have to compete with people who already live in your desired area, and often, there are different job requirements or application directions.

Simply finding a job abroad can be difficult. However, if you are experiencing a time in your life when you can easily (or even with some effort) get up and move to another country, applying for a job abroad might be a fun change for you. You won’t always be able to take a job in a different country, and you might find that doing so helps boost your career. Here are some ways to find a job overseas.

1. Do an initial search

Completing an initial search can help you determine what jobs are available, and where the jobs are. OverseasJobs.com or Idealist are great sites to use to start your job search, if you have a specific country in mind. You can also search by your profession. Consider that in order to work in some countries, you may need to know the language (which could narrow your search). Also, although the idea of working in a different country is exciting, you will want to consider all the variables such as cost of living, proximity to stores, availability of the comforts you are used to, cost to travel, and so on. Don’t get caught romanticizing a particular country that won’t meet your needs.

2. Check with your company

Many companies have international offices, so your company might have opportunities available in different countries. Although a job abroad is desirable to many, it isn’t doable for everyone. If your family is willing to move, or you live by yourself, you may have an advantage over other simarly qualified individuals who can’t pack up and move right now. Because you already work for your specific company, it also might be easier for you to get a job abroad without changing employers. The advantages of working abroad include building your skills, learning to work with people from different cultural backgrounds, and getting to experience a new culture.

3. Get the word out

If your company doesn’t have any international offices, or there are currently no openings, then you might need some extra help. Although there are jobs available in other countries, you may have a difficult time competing with locals unless you have a very desirable skill set or training. In order to help you in your search, start telling people that you want to work abroad. Post on social media, share with friends and contacts, and let other people help you in your search. You never know when you might connect with a friend of a friend who can help you find the right job for you in a different country.

Social media can be very useful, but to make your specific network the most effective, be sure to contact people individually instead of en masse, be clear about what you are looking for, and send your resume to the people you think might be able to help.

4. Gain the skills you need

If you have been searching and applying for jobs and you are not having any luck, you may need to beef up your resume. You can start taking language classes if you want to work in a specific country where speaking the language might help you. You also can look at specific jobs that you might want, and take classes or get certifications that will help make your resume more appealing to the people reviewing your resume.

If you studied abroad in college, you may be able to use that experience to your advantage as well; this is especially true if you are applying to a job in the general geographical area that you studied in. Make sure you include information about your study abroad experience on your resume and in your cover letter. If you didn’t study abroad, and you can afford the time away from work (and the trip itself) you also might want to visit your ideal location for your future job abroad. Then you can include the fact that you will be visiting soon in your cover letter. Doing so may make hiring managers more comfortable since they can meet with you in person.

5. Consider the details

Be sure to consider the different tax rules, the necessity of a work visa, and other important logistics as you attempt to find a job abroad. It’s important that you individualize your resume and cover letter for the specific job you are applying for, as well as the country the job is in; doing so will make you appear more genuine, and will show that you actually looked into the country and the position.

If you make it past the initial cut and you get a phone interview, be sure to do your research and be prepared; also be energetic, be confident, and be sure to give yourself time to think of a good answer. If you have a Skype or video interview, be sure to dress the part.

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