5 Steps to Getting a Job Abroad

Considering the current economic climate and expanding globalization, working abroad can be a great opportunity to spice up your resume, gain new valuable experiences and explore your target country. Never assume that local market lacks talent – finding a job abroad is often more difficult than at home.

Still, the experience is rewarding and definitely worth the trouble. Here are top five tips to finding employment in foreign countries:

1) Understand the context:

Before you start your job search proper, have a close look at the countries of your choice. Research is the most important part of your endeavor – without a thorough knowledge of the cultural, political and economic situation, you won’t be able to assess whether the country of your choice offers a stable and safe working environment.

Depending on your job, the first thing you should do is determine whether your profession isn’t part of a protected industry. Many countries have protected jobs and sectors that no foreigners can work at. This and other employment laws are crucial knowledge before you make the decision to move.

And that’s just the beginning. What follows are visas, work permits, culture-specific professional nuances (did you know that in some countries free days don’t fall on Saturday and Sunday?), as well as language requirements.

If you don’t speak the local language, make sure that the market is open for professionals of your language zone. English, French and Spanish are the most popular and, therefore, safest choices. So can be Russian, Chinese or Japanese. Everything here depends on the region and industry, so make sure to have a good idea about the place where you intend to live and work. 

2) Research local employers in your industry: 

Take some time to research the nature of your industry in a particular country. In order to succeed, you’ll need solid knowledge of the marketplace – its biggest players, history, pioneers, as well as the most significant industry trends and traditions.

Do your homework and learn about your competition. See what kind of education, certifications and professional association memberships are chosen by professionals in your sector. Don’t immediately head for the big guns. Remember that smaller companies often find it hard to source talent.

3) Research local recruiters:

Now that you’re well-acquainted with the market and employers, it’s time to research the local recruiting scene. Ask locals on platforms like Quora about the largest professional recruiting companies.

Always be clear about who you’re looking for: executive, professional or management recruiters – only those can find you good offers. Avoid temporary work agencies if you plan to stay for longer.

4) Network:

Once you’ve identified some top hiring managers of your sector, reach out and present them with your polished resume, cover letter and references. E-mailing randomly various recruiters or uploading your resume in hundreds of job search websites is not always the best idea.

You can start to reach out through social media too. Find out who are the thought leaders of the local industry, follow them, add value to the conversation and you’ll be surely spotted by recruiters hunting for foreign talent.

5) Prepare yourself for expat life:

When you’re in the middle of arranging flights, applying for visas, getting interviewed by various employers and trying to rent a house in your new location, you’re likely to forget that living in another country can be tough.

That’s why you need to prepare yourself beforehand. Research the local culture, fashion and laws. It’s a great idea to start learning the language before you actually leave your homeland. Entering the new reality with some basic understating of what people around you are talking about makes surviving the first few days much easier.

You will need to take into account the effects of this job abroad on your work-life balance, your career, as well as all your relationships – and those are usually closely tied to your current location. To make the social transition easier, don’t forget to talk to your friends and family in order to establish all options for staying in touch. 

Once you’ve arrived at your new place of residence, it might take you some time to find new friends. At least for a while, you’ll be considered an outsider. Why not have a look at local expat communities to get your social life started?

Finding a job abroad isn’t a piece of cake. Don’t be disheartened by this. Entering a different professional environment, you’ll be able to transform your foreign perspective into a great asset. Equip yourself with some patience, flexibility and a sense of humor, and you’ll easily survive the first few weeks in a completely new working reality.

READ MORE: How to Find a Job Abroad

Author: Sarah Collins is chief Flight writer at She is constantly on the go, and loves to share her tips with readers.

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