Finding an Expatriate Job

Finding an expatriate job is not easy and you need to be prepared to put a great deal of time and effort into your search. Here are some tips for approaching the job search in the most effective manner.

1) Prepare in Advance

If you are travelling to a country before finding a job, it is advisable to examine the expatriate job market and make sure that it can fulfill your career goals. Before you start applying for work abroad, you need to find out what qualifications are preferred for your desired job and how much experience is required. Check how your qualifications will transfer or whether you need to re-qualify for anything.

Preparing in advance will also allow you to identify any skills that may be in shortage in your destination country. By assessing your own skillset and analyzing how it may fit in within the chosen destination you will be able to implement a more targeted expatriate job search.

It may also be prudent to consider returning to education in order to acquire new skills. Research which skills are in shortage in your ex-pat destination and work hard to gain those skills in order to make yourself marketable. You can find this type of information in each Expat Info Desk relocation guide, with each city guides containing comprehensive insights into the job markets in popular expatriate destinations and the best methods for conducting your job search.

It will also help you find out if you need to learn the local language to ensure better roles. Despite English being the language of business throughout the world, many countries may require at least a basic knowledge of the local language. If this looks likely, it will be worth taking language lessons before you leave so that you can communicate with prospective employers.

2) Refine Your CV

Ensure that your CV is in an acceptable format for the local market. Ensure that the information contained within it is presented in a suitable style and all the required data is present. Place your CV on all job search websites and ensure that it is fully searchable so that the right employers can find you.

3) Ensure That Appropriate Work Permits and Visas are in Place

In addition to finding out as much information as possible before you travel, you should also try and get any bureaucratic difficulties out of the way in advance. The majority of countries will require some type of work permit and the application process for this can often be lengthy. Accompanying spouses may be able to work on their partner’s visa in some countries whilst in others they will not. Fully researching the applicable law in your chosen destination will allow you to identify any obstacles you will face in your expatriate job search and you can begin to plan ahead for how you will deal with these. Our international relocation guides contain comprehensive details of the visa requirements for your chosen destination and provide you with all the details you need to ensure that you make the right application at the right time. We also provide insights into common problems expats face when applying for their visas and how to avoid them.

4) Be Open to New Career Opportunities

When you relocate to a new country it will not always be possible to recommence your career at the same level as that you enjoyed within your home country, and you may need to be prepared to take a more junior position, less pay or change your career entirely in order to secure some type of expatriate job. Local people will often be favored over foreigners and you may therefore need to position yourself in a market whereby you have something that the local people do not. International teaching jobs are a prime example of this. You might also like to consider opportunities in NGOs and charities. Although some of these may be unpaid, they may offer you an opportunity to gain experience working in your chosen destination and develop a network of contacts that may be able to assist you to secure a job at a later date. There is an abundance of volunteer operations throughout the world, working for a wide array of different causes. They range from world famous organizations such as Oxfam or World Vision to smaller, more local organizations.

5) Circulate Your CV

When you first move abroad it is worthwhile remembering the rule of six degrees of separation (everyone is connected to one another through six people or fewer). Tell everyone you meet that you are looking for work as an expatriate, there’s every possibility that one person you tell may be in a position to help you. Send your CV speculatively to any friends you have living in the area and inform them that you are searching for a suitable opportunity. If you have a college alumni network include them on the email, even if they are currently not living in that location. The more people you tell, the more likely you are to become acquainted with someone who may be able to assist you.

6) Target Multi-National Corporations

One of the best ways to an expatriate job in an international environment is to target companies that have an overseas presence. It is often useful to identify companies that may have a use for your skillset and work experience. Visit the jobs and careers pages of their websites in order to identify any roles that may be available in your chosen destination and apply directly.

7) Investigate Opportunities With Overseas Consulate Offices

Consulate offices can be an excellent place for expatriates to focus their job search activity. Consulate offices function as a business, except they represent countries as opposed to commercial entities. Native speakers will always be valued by consulates abroad and it is, therefore, worthwhile exploring this avenue in order to attempt to identify job opportunities.

8) Network

Joining business associations will offer you an opportunity to network with people and make valuable contacts. By attending meetings with fellow professionals you will gain an opportunity to communicate the fact that you are looking for work. The majority of expats who successfully find a job abroad will often have done so through personal contacts and friends as opposed to the traditional job search techniques. Strengthen your own network by joining as many social groups and clubs as you can. Be open about the fact that you are searching for a job and enquire if the people you know are aware of any opportunities that may be suitable for you. A good place to find social groups is Meet Up or through ex-pat forums and groups.

For further details on securing an expatriate job in your chosen destination see our relocation guides.

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