You: “I want to work abroad for a year!” Us: “No problem.”
If you have ever shared your hopes of working abroad for a year with friends or family, you may have been met with the following reactions:
Oh, yeah, my brother tried to do that but it is basically impossible.
Do people do that? I don’t think you can really do that.
I looked into working abroad for a year already and there really aren’t jobs abroad in our industry.
As the kids say: haters gonna hate. And, anyone who really, truly wants to work abroad will put in the elbow grease and make it happen.
The truth is, while working abroad for a year does require some grit and savviness, it certainly isn’t impossible. In fact, with awesome resources online, it is has never been easier to find international work.
We’re here to help make that dream a reality! Here is how to work overseas for a year (maybe more!).
How to work abroad for a year
The most infamous questions: How do I actually get to work abroad for a year? There are an infinite number of ways to get your overseas career started, but below are a few of the essential things you should be doing to set a solid foundation for your job search.
1. Tighten Up Your Online Presence
Let’s tackle the basics right from the get-go. If you want to work abroad for a year+, presenting yourself as a polished professional online is critical.
Start with updating your resume. Your resume should reflect your most recent professional experiences and highlight any international experiences as well. If you are in college, head over to your campus’ Career Service department (yes, your college has one of those!) and let them know your professional goal of working abroad for a year (or more!). They can help you tailor your resume perfectly for an international job search.
Once your resume is in good shape, I suggest doing something a bit scary:
Google your name. Potential employers will absolutely Google your name and you probably don’t want them to find that picture of you on a mechanical bull with a drink in your hand. This is your opportunity change privacy settings, remove images, and delete Tweets that maybe you wish you hadn’t posted.
But, beyond removing your less-flattering internet moments, think about what you would want employers to find when they Google you. A professional industry blog where you share your thoughts? An online portfolio of your work? Your Linkedin Profile where you are interacting with industry leaders and sharing your ideas? Professional social media accounts where you are joining industry conversations? This is your time to sculpt your identity online to make it represent you as a professional in the best possible light.
Take this opportunity, before you start reaching out to industry leaders, making connections, and applying to jobs, to create an online presence that you are not only proud of, but that also demonstrates the value you can bring to a company.
2. Step Up Your Digital Networking Game
In the 21st century, industry leaders, CEOs and hiring managers really are that accessible. They are on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and often provide their personal email on their website.
And guess what? You can actually talk to them. So, don’t be afraid to reach out! The worst thing that could happen is you don’t hear back.
A few months ago, I wanted to interview the CEO of a start up network in Europe. I found the company on Twitter, exchanged a few messages with them, and a week later I had an hour long Skype conversation with their CEO. It was really that easy!
Of course, going begging for jobs probably won’t do much good. But, what if you asked them if they would be willing to share with you their experience working in the country you want to move to? Or if they would be willing to provide a quote for an article you are writing? Or if you asked them about their career path and tips for doing the same?
You will be surprised at how willing people will be to offer 30 minutes of their time if your request is professional and genuine. And it is those types of connections that can help you grow your network and increase your visibility, helping make your dream of working abroad for a year a reality.
[Let us do your research for you — get matched with programs today!]
3. Utilize Job Boards
When people say working abroad for a year is impossible! I always feel a bit compelled to re-introduce them to the internet. A quick search for “international jobs” pulls up literally millions of results including job boards with thousands of listings.
If you head over to The GoAbroad jobs abroad page, you can view jobs and programs that allow you to work abroad for a year in countries all over the world. You can even filter by location and industry. Impossible to find a job!? Pffffffffft. Hardly.
If the number of options and locations is a bit overwhelming, I also recommend heading over to GoAbroad’s Online Advisor where an expert can help you sort out your own goals and then match you with the perfect job or program to satisfy your work abroad dreams.
4. Start Your Job Search Now!
Yes, RIGHT NOW! I have spoken with many people who want to work abroad but they are “waiting” for some non-existent perfect time to start their international job search. If you are always waiting until tomorrow, or next week to get started on your dream to work abroad for a year, you will never get your search rolling.
Get your resume cleaned up, start letting people know you want to work abroad, and start applying to jobs and programs that interest you right away. There will never be a “perfect” time to start, so get on the horse and start now.
Besides, the sooner you start, the sooner you will live and work abroad for a year or more.
[Save & compare your favorite work abroad programs with MyGoAbroad]
5 year-long work abroad programs to check out
Don’t worry, I wouldn’t leave you hanging without giving you a place to get your job search started. Below are a few great programs to help you work abroad for a year.
This program provides training in human nature and the art and science of selling. The selected job candidate will have the opportunity to study on a military base in Japan but will live outside the base allowing them to have an immersive Japanese experience. Candidates are required to have U.S. citizenship and to pass two personality tests and one I.Q. test.
- Get paid to learn as part of a world class sales training program
- Live, work and study in Japan
- Previous experience in the military or otherwise is not required
- The program is limited to people with U.S. citizenship
- Does require previous experience in sales
Oyster offers work abroad opportunities for up to and beyond one-year in Australia in a variety of industries and job functions including: administration, agriculture, construction, and hospitality. The right candidates will have a chance to live and work in Sydney, tour the country, all while being employed and bringing in a little extra $$$.
- Assistance with work permits, setting up a bank account, mobile and other personal logistics
- Work for pay
- Travel opportunities around the country
- There are additional costs to look out for
- Only make minimum wage
- The program is limited to American, Canadian, European, Australian, Kiwi, British and Irish Participants.
InterExchange’s bread and butter is long term au pair programs (great option to work abroad for a year), but their New Zealand program offers tons of other work opportunities. You can find jobs in tourism, resorts, construction, even in agriculture or as a camp counselor. All this—and more—await you in Aotearoa. Like Tim Tams! All BA/BS degrees are accepted.
- Receive a competitive salary
- The program is open to candidates worldwide
- You’ll get to live and work in beautiful New Zealand!
- Orientation and training is a lot to take on — be prepared
- May have to provide your own supplies depending on your placements
- You’ll need to learn to balance a potentially hectic schedule
International TEFL Academy provides training certification to be able to teach English in over 80 countries across the globe. If you want to work abroad for a year or more, geting TEFL certified and teaching abroad is a great way to do it! Though pay compared to standard of living differs by location, certain locations such as South Korea pay enough to save $1,000 per month.
- Job placement help with competitive salaries
- Flexibility to work in over 80 countries around the world
- Top notch, internationally recognized TEFL certification
- Your savings potential will be dependant on location
- Program is limited to American, Australian, Canadian, European, Kiwi, South African, British and Irish participants.
The program SeekTeachers is hiring English teachers with Bachelor’s degrees in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Selected candidates will have the opportunity to work in the capital, allowing them a full-immersion cultural opportunity while also working for pay.
- Earn a competitive, tax free salary up to $5,000
- Offers up to a three-year renewable contract
- Full airfare for yourself and spouse and three dependents/children included
- Full health insurance for yourself and spouse and three dependents/children included
- Placement requires a minimum of four years of experience
- Placement also requires bachelor's degree
Still seriously planning to work abroad for a year? Keep reading!
These additional resources have your name written alllll over ‘em. Actually planning on working abroad for a year can be as exhilarating as it can be overwhelming. With so many locations, recruiters, job boards, and online resources, it can be difficult to know where to start your search. To help you get started, I have provided some helpful resources for your search.
- A GoAbroad Online Advisor will help match you with jobs abroad
- You can save and compare opportunities side-by-side with a MyGoAbroad account
- Watch this to get inspired! How to Work Abroad: Words of Encouragement from Those Who've Done It
- Want to know what types of jobs out there? Check our fabulous infographic on The Best Overseas Jobs for Americans
Arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to kick butt when working abroad for a year.
Working abroad for a year—not as hard sounding anymore, huh?
Working abroad is not impossible. I have been working abroad for three years and I am only a mere mortal! However, It does require that you dedicate yourself to your job search, you are proactive in making connections, and are willing to accept that it will be a learning experience and an adventure.
All that being said, what could you possibly be waiting for? When it comes to working abroad for a year (or more) there is no time like the present. So, hop to it!