In an article in Transitions Abroad Magazine, Jennifer Hamm explains how more young professionals now are seeking work overseas than ever before. The reasons for this are varied, but Margaret Malewski, author of GenXpat: The Young Professional’s Guide to Making a Successful Life Abroad, suggests that before, companies only dispatched senior staff abroad. Now, junior workers who demonstrate the desire to do so, can find work abroad because employers seek younger employees who are more flexible and mobile. The following are four basic tips for landing your dream job abroad.
1. Plan ahead.
It’s an indisputable truth–landing an international job is much more difficult than finding employment at home, the poor American job market notwithstanding. It will take a lot of planning and dedication. So the first step, really, is asking yourself if you really want to do this. If so, then start planning. If you’re still in school, then be sure to take classes in the language of your target country or countries. Consider studying abroad. Take classes with an international focus, like international business.
If you’re already working, find out whether your company has offices abroad. If so, then let HR know your interest in being transferred. Stephen Kantor, a twenty-eight-year-old banker who was assigned to work in Amsterdam for three years, explains that it was his assertiveness that got him the job. “No one was looking for me,” he said. “I looked at it as this is my career. This is something I want to do and the only one that is going to make it happen is me.”
If your company doesn’t have offices abroad, then consider taking a few months off to travel and volunteer, building some international experience and contacts along the way.
2. Get a Master’s degree
An MA is now considered standard for most international jobs, especially in the social sciences and business. Consider getting a Master’s degree abroad, too, so that you can build those all-important networks.
3. Travel and…Network!
If you don’t have any special skills that would make you more attractive than a local to an employer, then you probably aren’t going to seal the deal on a job abroad from home. This is especially true of Western European countries. In this case, you’re going to have to save some money, travel to your target country, and NETWORK.
Teaching English is a good way to earn a livable wage while looking for better job prospects and contacts. However, be advised that many schools require English as a second language teaching certificates. Consider doing freelance work in translation or editing, advertising private English lessons, or becoming an au pair for wealthy families interested in exposing their children to a different culture. All these jobs require some credentials or experience, but if you’re in-country and available, then employers are often willing to forego the credentials for convenience.
Also avail yourself of networking resources at home. Let everyone in your circle (cast your nets wide–include friends, family, alumni, professors, everyone) know that you want to work abroad. You never know who’ll have that connection that you need to find employment overseas.
4. Tailor your resume…err CV.
Although they’re essentially the same thing, resumes are more commonly referred to as C.V.s abroad. Be aware that employers from different countries often expect something different than the resume you already have. For example, in the United States, it’s isn’t common practice to include a photo with your resume, but in many countries, it’s standard. For more information on international resumes, click here .