How to Find a Job Abroad in 5 Steps

As the current economic climate shifts, now may be the perfect time to look into jobs abroad. Working overseas not only improves your salary but can also boost your career in the long term especially if you’re aspiring to senior positions. More and more organisations are looking for professionals with international experience and a global perspective on top of excellent skills to help them compete.

So how can you kick-start your international job search?

1) Find out where the jobs are:

The Manpower Employment Outlook Data Explorer shows local labour market forecasts for 42 countries worldwide. Every quarter, they publish hiring plans from various industries and employers. You can also access historical information for specific countries which might be useful if you want to anticipate demand in certain areas.

2) Compare countries:

HSBC’s Expat Explorer provides information from expats about finances, quality of life and even what it’s like to raise children abroad. You can compare two countries side-by-side and find otu how other people have experienced various facets of life such as: healthcare access, accommodation, transportation, local culture, social life, etc.

Apart from the league tables, the site also provides in-depth information and reports through the ‘Findings’ section as well as practical day-to-day tips from individuals living abroad.

3) Figure out tax and immigration rules:

Depending on your nationality and the country you are looking to work in, you may have to go through an extensive visa application process. Certain governments have tough immigration policies that make it expensive and unattractive for employers to hire foreigners unless their skills are highly sought after.

However there are countries which have bilateral agreements to allow free movement of labour with certain nations. The EU for example, allows workers to take up employment and live freely anywhere within the territories of the European Community.

Always check your eligibility for work permits or visas before applying for jobs. Otherwise it could be a frustrating process. Recruiters and HR departments will sometimes shy away from even interviewing individuals if it means they will have to go through a 6-8 month process of visa applications after the hiring process.

Taxation systems vary between countries as well as the tax rates. It’s important to get an idea of the taxes you are liable to pay locally as well as any double tax reliefs you would be entitled to during the course of your foreign employment. Some countries like the US will have tax treaties that allow an exemption from, or a reduction of the 30% tax depending on your nationality.

You can access a handy guide here from Ernst & Young which summarises the basic laws and regulations applicable for more than 150 countries.

4) Find local job boards/job aggregators and career sites:

Search Latte, a tool originally built for webmasters and SEOs, can help you in your job search by tricking Google into showing you the search results for a foreign location.

Normally, Google uses your location in order to serve you the most relevant web pages based in your country. However if you are conducting an international job search, e.g. living in the UK while looking for jobs in Switzerland, Google will not necessarily show you the same results that someone in Switzerland would see if they did the same search. This means you could be missing out on excellent jobs or career sites.

Searching for “java jobs in switzerland” using will show UK or international job boards that have a handful of jobs in Switzerland. However by using Search Latte to search for “java jobs” and selecting .ch which is the country’s top level domain, the location and the language applicable to your search, Google is tricked into showing you a different set of results. As seen in the image below, the results contain websites that are specific to Switzerland which have more jobs than the previous search and provide a truer reflection of the local jobs market.

5) Build your network or find hiring managers online:

Majority of jobs are not advertised and are often filled through referrals from employee networks. But if you’re living abroad, how can you network with professionals in your target country? LinkedIn offers a great opportunity to connect with people from around the world. You can use it to network with your colleagues in other countries who might help you with an internal transfer or by researching hiring managers for that job you want.

Apart from the steps highlighted above, you can also search the relevant website for Indeed in your target country as well as checking the career sites of countries with an international footprint.

Do you have your own tips when searching for jobs abroad? Share them in the comments.

By Maebellyne Ventura

Maebellyne Ventura is the Digital Marketing Manager at Experis Switzerland, an IT recruitment specialist. She is also one of the founders of Clever Biscuit, a technology start-up creating simple and innovative products. Follow Maebellyne on Twitter @Maebellyne.