If you have been stricken with wanderlust and would like to move abroad, securing employment is an important part of the experience. However, obtaining work overseas is not as simple as scouring the classifieds and setting up an interview. It requires a lot more research and preparation than job-hunting in your own country--read on for some helpful tips on how to find a job if you are planning an international move.
Look for internal opportunities
If you are already working for a company, inquire about overseas positions. Your employer could have offices in other countries and be willing to transfer you. Speak with your boss or human resources department to find out what, if any, opportunities are open to you and how to take advantage of them. Some companies will even offer you a RELO package if you are transferred internationally.
Get a work permit
The difficulty of obtaining a work permit will vary depending on your destination country. Some countries will make the process very difficult, while others will be much more lenient. You may have to establish residency and live in the country for a minimum time period before you can apply for a work permit. Do your research and visit the country's government website for more information on work permit requirements, the application process, available jobs, and other pertinent information.
Learn the language
While not always necessary, fluency in the nation's native tongue is always a valuable skill. Unless you are moving to an English-speaking country or a resort area where English is commonly spoken, you may want to develop at least a working knowledge of the local language. Many job industries that are popular in expat communities will require working with tourists rather than locals, so absolute proficiency in the language is an unlikely requirement. Purchase a language tutorial such as Rosetta Stone to get you started, and you will be surprised how quickly you catch on once you relocate.
Research the job market
Before you set your sights on a specific country, you should certainly conduct thorough research on the available jobs and prominent industries. While you may have your heart set on a particular destination, you will want to choose a place with ample opportunities open to you. Find out what countries are currently recruiting overseas employees and if the industries are of interest to you. You should also find out more information about the national economy--if a country is experiencing an economic downturn or has a very high unemployment rate, it may not be the best choice for relocation.
Use your online resources
The internet is an amazing tool for job-searching long distance--you can apply for jobs around the world with just a click of a mouse! Use tools such as LinkedIn to network with other expats in the area you'd like to relocate, and post your resume on websites such as CareerBuilder, Indeed, Monster, RecruitNet, and OverseasJobs. You can also check out opportunities listed on any potential country's government website or the U.S Embassy homepage.
Realize that you may not secure employment in your desired industry--at least not right away. Be open to different opportunities to get your life started in your new country before you acquire your dream job. You can try a temp agency, or explore alternative options for transitional work. Look for internships and other unpaid positions--you may still have to supplement your income with a side job, but it will be excellent experience for your resume and a great reference. Service jobs such as waiting tables, bartending, or hospitality are always available and are often well-suited to expats because of the tourist contact. Jobs in sales or retail may also be easy to procure. If you can find a job that pays your bills so that you can establish residency and actively search for more favorable career opportunities, it can only benefit you. Be open-minded and explore all potential avenues.
Take a trip
If you have the means, a job-searching trip before you permanently relocate can be quite helpful. Any prospective employers will be impressed by your efforts, and being able to attend interviews in person will greatly help your chances. If you have never visited the country before, it will also provide you with an opportunity to become familiar with the culture, social norms, and the language. If you cannot take the time nor afford a trip, make phone calls or take advantage of video conference calls to make yourself visible to potential companies.