Wondering how to get a job in another country? Here's the breakdown
Looking for a fresh start? A new challenge? Tired of running into your ex in the produce section? I don’t care how you came to this article, but I have a feeling it wasn’t random. Finding a job in another country is more popular than ever with the number of expatriates rising rapidly, including myself.
When I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to work abroad. I accepted a short-term gig on the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka, but only as a placeholder, since I didn’t know where I really wanted to go. Barcelona? Maybe New Zealand? Well, nearly a year later, I’m still loving life as a freelance marketer in Sri Lanka.
I’ve met a lot of people who choose to make their living abroad by finding jobs in another country. They all vary in personality and profession, yet their stories share a common thread: they took a first step and kept going. So, buckle those boots and consider this your manifesto as I’m about to teach you how to get a job in another country, step-by-step, with visual aides.
So here’s the deal. Finding a job in another country isn’t necessarily easy or difficult, it’s just different. It requires introspection, research, and the ability to brush off passive expressions of doubt from friends and family. Ignore all the “what ifs” and start simple...
Step 1: Decide what you’re gonna do
We live in a world where you can do just about anything, anywhere! Sure, this step is way easier said than done, but chances are you know where your passions lay or what professions you can see yourself enjoying.
Au pair, teaching, and hospitality are some of the most popular jobs abroad and for good reason; They’re structured, well-paying, and often require native english skills which may ease the guilt from dropping out of your second language course back in high school. Muy bien.
For inspiration and information about jobs in other countries, check the latest articles in the Jobs & Working Abroad section on GoAbroad. Some of my favorites include:
- How to Get A Job Overseas With No Experience
- How to Work Abroad: Words of Encouragement from Those Who've Done It
- 6 Unwritten Rules for Working Abroad You NEED to Know
Step 2: Figure out where you’re gonna do it
Next you’ll need some throwing darts, a wall map, and a blindfold. Just kidding. Consider regions and cultures that you’re interested in exploring first and leave the spontaneity for when you get there. I chose Sri Lanka because I wanted to learn how to surf, so don’t be afraid to keep it simple.
Here are the top four suggestions (and programs—because we like you!) to help get those cogs turning:
Smack dab in the middle of Europe and a champion of STEM jobs abroad, Germany is a work hard, play hard haven that is full of eclectic cities and some seriously understated nature. This is a great country for hopeful expats to start looking for jobs abroad.
- Recommended program: Check out Camp Europe for the amazing opportunity to immerse yourself outdoors and provide education programs to participants from all over the world. Prost (cheers) to that!
- Related: Read Camp Europe reviews | Visit their site
The world’s oldest continuous civilization is a modern testament that ‘the West’ doesn’t have all the answers. China’s emergence as a global powerhouse and the country’s sheer size means there’s an opportunity for just about anybody. Future business moguls—especially—would do well to look for jobs abroad in China.
- Recommended program: China Internship Placements has a number of professional jobs in some of China’s most popular cities, including one later in this article. Trust me, once you get a taste of China you’ll be wonton more...sorry I couldn’t help myself.
- Related: Read China Internship Placements reviews | Visit their site
Who would have thought that cities and scenery could intertwine so perfectly? From the highest capital city in the world to some offshore islands called the Galapagos (maybe you’ve heard of em’), Ecuador is adventure’s favorite basecamp.
- Recommended program: When it comes to making a difference and earning a living, you can’t go wrong by teaching English in Ecuador with International TEFL Academy.
- Related: Read International TEFL Academy reviews | Visit their site
Every group of friends has one person who worked abroad in Australia and made everyone insanely jealous, right? You too can be that bloke or sheila! Hit the surf in the morning and that staff meeting at noon. Working abroad in Australia is all about work-life balance.
- Recommended program: Embrace the beachy, Aussie lifestyle and earn competitive wages with Alliance Abroad Group. You’ll have a wild time working in hotels and resorts all across the land Down Under with fellow adventurers.
- Related: Read Alliance Abroad Group reviews | Visit their site
Step 3: It’s time to start finding a job in another country
Finding a job in another country takes a bit of research and a whole lot of grit. It took a few months of back and forth before I landed my first gig in Sri Lanka. Persistence is key and committing to a few jobs that really interest you will reap better results.
Want to save yourself from opening a few hundred tabs in your browser? Check out these jobs hiring NOW:
… connects young adults with challenging, career-centered internships all around India. Their Writing and Editing Internship is perfect for aspiring journalists or PR specialists looking to stretch their comfort zone and develop eastern media strategies in vibrant Mumbai.
… are responsible for teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to French campers through immersive and energetic activities. No formal teaching experience is required to be a Camp Counselor and you’ll be getting paid to play in the beautiful French countryside.
… is the perfect springboard for launching a career in China. Their Human Resources Internship can further your HR skills and put them to the test in a multinational, Fortune 500 company. That’s one AWESOME door to put your foot into if you're planning on finding a job in another country long term.
… is a HUGE organization that offers hands-on experiences to students from around the world. It’s like if Bear Grylls was an accredited global education foundation. They are currently looking for Program Instructors proficient in Spanish. Dang, now that guilt from dropping out of my second language class is back.
Although it may sound like a questionable cocktail, it’s actually a stunning boutique hostel in Uruguay. They’re looking for chefs and servers for their beachfront restaurant to help cultivate a truly South American experience for guests. They also ensure you have time to see the country yourself meaning you can have your alfajores and eat them too.
… is recommended for anyone seeking a highly immersive, cultural experience worldwide. For instance, their Marketing Internship in Hau Hin, Thailand benefits a non-profit animal rescue center and is ideal for animal lovers and marketing experts alike.
[Looking for something else? Browse recent job postings abroad here]
Step 4: Give your resume a lil’ sparkle sparkle
A little extra effort makes all the difference. This is especially true regarding resumes. Yeah, you could tweak a few things and blast it out like a Fast and Furious movie but jobs abroad will be competitive; be sure to go the extra quarter mile.
Your resume should be bold and closely related to the desired job. Highlight relevant experiences and include any stand-out talking points. Also note that different countries have different resume/CV expectations. One page or two pages? Should you include a photo? Try to tailor your resume to the employer and local culture while conveying your uniqueness at the same time.
Keep in mind… different countries have different resume requirements
For instance, when it comes to putting your photo on your resume. Different countries have different approaches. In England, you would never ever attach a photo, whereas in other European nations, like Germany or France, you should consider it. Many Asian countries also require photos of applicants on any job applications. In the US and Australia, it is not recommended or encouraged.
Point being: research best practices for your work abroad country in advance. Part of finding jobs in another country is playing by their rules.
Step 5: Apply!
Once you’ve nailed down that resume, show it to your parents (because they love that stuff) then get ready to apply. Those years of Facebook stalking can be modified to create contacts within the company or country. This network will provide additional insights about the role, application process, and life abroad.
Fine-tune your application materials according to your network then go ahead and hit send. The sooner the better! If you don’t hear back right away, don’t lose hope. Remember that grit thing we talked about earlier? Use any updates as an excuse to open up communication and try to secure some screen time through informational interviews. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right?
Finding a job in another country can take multiple attempts. Don’t get discouraged if you have to jump back to Step 3 a few times before you finally get that interview. Once you do, prepare by referring back to Steps 1 and 2 and rock the socks off that hiring manager.
Step 6: Pack Yo’ Bags!
If you commit to finding a job abroad, this last step is inevitable. Give your two weeks’ notice, send your regards to your ex in the cereal aisle, and be proud that your hard work has lead to a golden ticket of unimaginable adventure.
Oddly, packing might just be the hardest step yet. I suggest setting everything you think you need aside then packing approximately half of that. Take it from me. Corduroys on an island off the equator? Nice one, Joe...
Extra resources to help you snag jobs in another country
GoAbroad knows how to find a job in another country. If you need extra assistance on those earlier steps, check out our Online Advisor for personalized advice. You’ll be matched with available programs to your individual career and travel goals.
Be sure to register for MyGoAbroad too. It’s a free profile where you can easily compare programs and bookmark your favorites making the decision-making process way less complicated. Oh, you can enter contests and win prizes and money with MyGoAbroad too. Cha-ching!
Need a bit more inspiration? Check out these articles that shed some valuable insight in the reality of jobs in another country. I certainly wish I read some of these before my departure!
- How to Find Success Working Internationally
- Mistakes I Have Made While Working Abroad
- 4 Magic Tips On Working Abroad
Now, finding a job in another country should be a cinch!
Congrats! You’ve made it to the bottom of the article which means you’ve expressed a real interest to work abroad; However, an interest isn’t enough. You have to choose to work abroad and no amount of time daydreaming or googling is going to make that decision for you.
You must choose to take a step and keep going. Trust me, it’s a big step but you’ll find footing and you’ll never regret it.