How to Get a Job Abroad

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Written By Matt Shannon

There are multiple strategies that you can use to try to land a job abroad though there is no perfect way to land a job abroad. Some people try their luck in getting a transfer from home abroad, some look for jobs abroad while still at home, but many look for a job once they have arrived. This is the option that will definitely give you what you want as long as you have a bit of patience. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each one of these strategies.

Transfer Abroad From A Local International Company

If you have ever contemplated working abroad and asked for advice, you have undoubtedly heard the advice that sounds something like this – “find a job in your home country at an international company and then transfer abroad.” While this strategy may work for some, it is not the best method, especially if you have a certain country in mind. Now, if you are working in an industry that has significant exposure to your desired country, then this might be a decent route. This rarely works though in my experience after talking to many expats across industries. It may get you abroad at some point, but it likely won’t be the place to you wanted to go. If you are set on this strategy, look for employees from the companies you are targeting and talk to them, do people go abroad? What kind of jobs are they doing and in which countries? You will find that almost anyone will be willing to talk about their experiences if you are interested. Simply reach out on LinkedIn to those people who you think have the experience you want.

Search For Jobs Abroad From Home

The next option is to look for a job abroad from home. This option is not bad depending on the field in which you are looking to work. For example, if you are interested in being an English teacher or editor, this might be your best option if you are risk-averse and looking for an option to start working from day one. You can look at local career sites in your desired country for relevant jobs. English editing skills are very highly valued all around the world, especially in news agencies, consulting companies who work for western business clients, and IT companies selling their products globally. If you have previous experience as an editor, you should have no trouble finding a job in most countries, though the salary will certainly be closer to local pay rather than an expat salary. If you are ok with this, simply search “native English editor” in the local job boards. English teaching jobs can be found the same way, simply looking through the local job boards. If you want to go a step further, try searching Google for companies that you think would be interested in English editing skills and then connect with employees on LinkedIn. You would be surprised how many foreign companies are looking for English editors, but simply can’t find them. These are skills that no one typically has in non-English speaking countries, so exploit this advantage.

Show Up At Your Destination Country And Search

The last option to consider is simply showing up and looking for a job. While this option certainly has a risk factor to it, if you are prepared, it is the best approach. When you are on the ground it is much easier to meet with potential employers and network. Many employers while they may want to hire an expat, they are nervous about hiring without meeting the candidate in person. Also, many companies worry about whether candidates from abroad are truly serious about working in their country. When you show up, you, first and foremost, are demonstrating that you are very serious about your job hunt and desire to live and work in the new country. Before arriving, it is imperative that you prepare a list of companies that may be interested in your skills. You need to think outside the box a bit too, it might seem immediately apparent that international companies are the best to target, but that isn’t always the case. Once you have a targeted list of companies that you are interested in working for and you believe have a potential need for your skills, begin looking for employees on LinkedIn at these companies. In advance of heading to your country of choice, start conversations with 10 people on the ground who will be the beginning of your network so that once you arrive, you will have people who can vouch for you. A mix of expats and locals is probably the best in this situation because they both have very different experience to share. Locals know the local market much better, but expats are much more in tune with the difficulties associated with working in any given country as a foreign citizen. Use this to your advantage, knowing both the local and expat aspects of the job market will give you a drastic leg up on the competition. If you can demonstrate to a potential employer that you understand the visa complications associated with your candidacy, all the better.

Once you arrive in the country, it is time to get to work. You need to meet with the 10 people with whom you connected and conversed on LinkedIn. At these meetings, you should ask questions and listen to what they are telling you. They will give insights on what types of jobs are in demand in the local market, and the expats should be able to tell you more specifically what skills employers are looking for from expats. As you have conversation with these contacts, most will suggest you meet with someone else and usually they are more than willing to make this introduction. If for some reason they do not suggest meeting with others, you need to ask them if they have any recommendations for who else you should speak with in the city given the extra information they now have about you. As you meet more connections in your city, you will begin to notice exactly who is hiring expat talent. It may take some time to land a job, and unfortunately, once you have signed an offer, you still will likely need to jump through visa complications and immigration regulation. Through it all, keep an open mind; you never know what opportunity might present itself that you have never considered.

As you can see, there are a few ways that you can tackle finding a job abroad. We will look at each of these options in much more detail in later posts so you know exactly what you need to do to find your dream job abroad. We also offer consulting services to help you decide how to market yourself in another country. We can help you create your list of target companies based on the local landscape, we can help you prepare for networking meetings and we can even help you network with LinkedIn before you even leave your home country.