There are two distinct parts to working abroad: it’s not for the faint-hearted, but it could be one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of your career and life in general.
When you choose to work abroad you not only face the challenge of adapting to a new and foreign work market. But there are also language barriers, major cultural differences, weather changes, and budget challenges to keep in mind.
This being said, it’s one of the best ways to diversify your skillset when it comes to both your career and general life skills. Thinking of applying for a job abroad? Here’s what you need to know.
The Benefits of International Work Experience
There’s no doubt that working in a completely new country comes with its fair share of challenges. But the excitement of being in a new country should eclipse that!
Whether you aim to grow in your career and personal life or just want to earn some serious cash and send money abroad, back to your home country, here are the benefits of international work experience:
- Diversify your cultural experience and learn about new cultures, their customs, foods, and general way-of-life
- Grow your level of work experience and add to your resume — international experiences look good, no matter the industry you work in
- Learn a new language — this also looks good on your resume, even if aren’t 100 percent fluent
- Improve your workplace adaptability — an employer always appreciates a worker that can adapt and thrive in any work environment
Not only this but working abroad is one of the best ways to improve your level of independence and confidence as an individual. You’ll be thrust into difficult situations, some of which may test your limits. This experience helps you to become self-reliant, self-sufficient, and mature enough to handle difficult situations in the future.
How To Work Abroad: Steps To Get the Ball Rolling
If there’s one thing to prepare yourself for, it’s the fact that it may take you some time to find the right job abroad. So if you have a goal to gain international work experience in a specific time-frame, it’s best to start your job hunt sooner, rather than later.
There’s no sugar-coating it, it’s a lengthy process. The other alternative is to visit your chosen country, scout out the job market, and submit a few applications while you’re there. But if you’re applying from home shores, here’s how to go about it:
Step #1: Apply For a Job You’re Actually Interested In
This is important, simply because you want to work in a job that’s fulfilling and challenging for you. Otherwise, the stress of being away from home, plus working at a job you don’t really like can make things twice as difficult.
Some of the best places to find a worthwhile job include:
- Social media — use your online presence to advertise that you’re looking for a job, network with professionals, and share your portfolio
- Job fairs — look for international job fairs in or near your city and network with international recruiters
- International employment websites such as Indeed Worldwide, Joobles, CareerBuild International, CareerJet, and more
- Business career pages for which you can apply directly via their company website
- International job boards — do research on job listing sites that are particular to your country of choice
If you work for a larger company that has a number of international branches, why not consider or pitch an in-company transfer? You never know what could come up!
Step #2: Get Your Work Permit/Visa
Bear in mind that some countries don’t simply allow you to enter, work, and earn a living without an adequate work permit or visa. This is one of the more complicated/stressful steps when it comes to working abroad.
It’s crucial that you start the work permit application process as early as possible. In some cases, your employer may need to sponsor you in order for you to get the right permission to work in the country.
Research is your friend in this regard. Do your homework and look at foreign embassy websites which often list work permit/visa requirements per country.
Step #3: Ensure Your Resume Is Up-to-Date and Localized
If you’re sending out the exact same resume that you used for job applications within your own country, this is a major no-no. As with any job you apply for, you should be tailoring your resume to suit the position.
The same goes for international job applications. You want to include the keywords used in the job posting/description. Do some research on the country’s own resume standards and layout. Tailor and localize your resume to suit.
In short, your resume should be a reflection of the exact job you’re applying for, within that particular country.
Step #4: Applying for the Job
When you apply for an international job, make sure you have written a cover letter to introduce yourself, and why you’re worth hiring. Remember that a foreign employer must be convinced that you’d be better at the job, rather than someone local, with relevant experience.
Once your resume is updated and your cover letter is ready, have someone else proofread them both. Make sure the spelling, grammar, and layout are impeccable.
Make sure to submit your application at a decent hour, according to the other country’s timezone, and not your own.
Top application tips:
- Do yourself a favor and follow a few foreign media sites to acquaint yourself with the country’s current business trends
- Do some research on leading companies in the country that are willing and usually do hire expatriates — start your search there
- Be open-minded and flexible, you may need to fill a specific need — think it over and don’t turn down an offer right away
- Consider short-term work or a short-term contract — there is always the possibility that they could extend it after some time
- Remember the be patient and prepared — the process can take longer than you think, so make sure to have a back-up plan
Don’t quit your job! The last you want is to leave your job and then spend months looking for an international position. You want to do your research and manage your application while still earning an income.
If possible, it’s also a great idea to travel to your chosen country before you take the job. This way you can get a feel for it and determine whether you could really fit in and make the most of it.
Are You a Budding Entrepreneur?
If your dream is to work abroad and gain incredible international experience, you have to be prepared for some rejection, too. Bear in mind that the process takes time in order to find the best-suited job. Try to remember this if you feel disheartened!
If you have a dream of becoming your own boss one day, then this site is for you. Be sure to explore for more on all things news, business, and tech to grow your entrepreneurial knowledge.