Although the vast majority of my clients are looking for work in the country in which they are already located, I am faced with an increasing number of people trying to get a job abroad. For example, I worked with a German woman in Zurich who was looking for a job in Amsterdam, and an Italian immigrant in The Hague who wanted to move to the Middle East.
Although finding a job abroad is more difficult than finding a job where you already live, it is certainly possible and is becoming more and more common in our globally connected economy.
Below you will find a list of 12 tips that will increase your chances of working abroad.
1. Start your search with clarity
First, you need to be crystal clear in what you are looking for. Why is this important? A clear understanding of what you want will help you stay focused. Looking for a job abroad is already quite difficult, and in a sea of opportunities it is easy to be overwhelmed. By staying focused, you dramatically increase your chances of success.
Second, it will be easier for you to tell others what you are looking for, and it will be much easier for people to help you.
Start by compiling a list of the following:
- Countries you want to move to
- Professions you want to pursue
- Industries that interest you
2. Think about what you offer
Then it’s time to think about your “unique selling points” – your talents, skills and experience. Once you’ve figured out what kind of job you’re looking for and where you want to go, you need to think about why the company would want to take a risk and hire you rather than a local person.
What can you offer that makes you an insurmountable candidate? Make a list of your main talents, skills, knowledge and experience.
3. The Internet – your friend – use it
I usually tell my clients not to spend too much time online looking for work, but searching abroad is a completely different situation. You need to spend enough time online to find out if there are vacancies that match your profile. Who can help you? Where can I go for help?
Below I will explain in more detail what steps you need to take online to make your international job search more efficient.
4. Learn about life in the destination country
First of all, you need to get a clearer idea of the destination country. You need to know if the country you plan to move to is not only the one you want to work in but also live in.
Read about relocation procedures, customs, culture and politics. Ask people who have moved from abroad to this country to check their opinions, learn from their mistakes or listen to their advice.
5. Learn about the job market
It also makes sense to test the viability of your plans by doing some labor market research in your destination country. Although nothing is ever impossible in life (in my opinion), it makes sense to check if the job you are looking for is on the market in your chosen country.
Be sure to learn local labor market practices such as the use of resumes, cover letters, vacancy boards and recruitment agents.
6. Write down your top 20 employers
You may be lucky and you will be able to move with your current employer to your destination. If you work for an international company, consider moving abroad through your current employer.
If this is not an option, make a list of the top 20 companies in which you would like to work in an ideal world. Research them carefully online and research your network for the people who work there. The more focused your search, the better!
7. Seek help with your network
In all likelihood, you have contacts around the world – now is the time to use them. Let everyone in your network know that you are looking for a job abroad and ask for help. They may know people who have already moved there or work for the companies you selected in step 6.
This will definitely help you save time on job search and quickly connect with the right people.
8. Create new connections offline
If your own network doesn’t give you goods, it’s time to start throwing a wider network. Start contacting relevant people you don’t know yet but are related to your country or industry. The best way to do this is through LinkedIn.
Look for career coaches, relocation consultants, international recruiters, hiring managers and other expatriates who have moved abroad. An easy way to find immigrants is to use LinkedIn groups.
9. Compose the right mindset
Looking for a job abroad is not easy. To succeed, you need to stay positive and focused. It often happens that things do not go as planned and you will be disappointed.
Remember why you started this process in the first place, as well as the benefits and rewards. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who can lift your spirits. Come up with a positive mantra for finding a job and don’t forget to read it to yourself daily.
10. Remember your clear goals
Maintaining a positive attitude is also much easier when you have clear, achievable goals. Nothing helps you stay focused better than clearly set goals.
Decide on a date by which you want to move abroad, for better or worse. Make a plan of when you want to follow certain steps, and stick to it.
11. Take language classes
While, of course, you can find a job abroad just by knowing English, it can greatly increase your chances of working if you speak another language – ideally in the native language of the country you are heading to.
Even if your work has nothing to do with languages, it will demonstrate your initiative. Often an attitude is what sets you apart from other candidates.
12. Go on a journey
You may have fallen in love with your destination country while on vacation a few years ago, so it’s a good idea to freshen up your memory – and take your job search to the top. Depending on your finances, you can visit a country that interests you.
While you are there, be sure to schedule several meetings with international recruiters, experts and be sure to attend some local networking events for expats and foreigners. People will be more willing to help when they see your face and get to know you directly.
If there is no opportunity to visit the country, think about scheduling Skype calls with people who can help.
I keep my fingers crossed for your successful job search abroad! Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions related to this topic.