It can be overwhelming thinking about how to get a job abroad. As someone who has moved abroad twice for work, it can be challenging but possible. Figuring out your country of interest and what career path to take is the easy part. Before starting the job search, you will need to do the necessary due diligence. Then, come up with a strategic plan using SMART goals that you can put into action.
As an American, I was able to secure work in different countries and now work in the Netherlands. Companies were willing to provide sponsorship and help me obtain work permits and residency. Whenever I receive questions from readers on whether it is hard to get a job abroad, I always answer that, of course, it’s possible but you will need to put in the extra effort. This is why I would like to share with you the following tips that can help in finding a job abroad.
How Does it Work and Why Is Finding a Job Overseas So Difficult?
The biggest challenge foreigners face is how to obtain sponsorship and a work visa. Each country has its own set of rules, immigration policies and processes. And what makes this so complicated is that companies need to prove that local citizens are not capable of doing this work.
For instance, if you are applying for a UX role in France, the company will first decide on French citizens, EU nationals then non-EU candidates. This way they don’t have to go through the trouble of sponsoring non-resident candidates for a working permit. It may sound discouraging but many companies regularly search for international candidates. That being said, if you’re specifically wondering how to get a job as an American, this article has relevant tips to follow.
Which Country is the Easiest to get a job?
One of the most frequent searches I encountered when job hunting was, which country has the most job opportunities for foreigners? Honestly, this depends on a variety of factors and how easily you can obtain a visa from the country you’re interested in. If you work for a reputable company with global offices that is willing to relocate employees, this can be the easiest way to move abroad. You can request an inter-company transfer. This way you can move wherever the company has a physical location.
However, it’s rated that South Korea, Spain and Mexico are the best, especially for native English speakers. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that getting a job in any of these countries is ‘easy’ but instead, more likely than in other places.
What Kind of Jobs are Easy to Get in a Foreign country?
Teaching English abroad is one of the easiest ways to get hired. Countries like South Korea frequently hire English speakers to teach students. Similarly in the field of education, there is a need for professors and PhD candidates to teach and lecture on all kinds of topics. They offer pretty sweet benefits like housing, a food stipend and generous salaries.
Are there any other easy jobs abroad besides teaching?
Highly Skilled Foreigner
Professions like computer science, technology and engineering hire worldwide. There is a surplus of companies in need of developers. Every job board I visit has multiple postings from countries in Europe and Asia. They will take care of your sponsorship, work permit and visa, so all you really need to do is travel over.
If you are a nurse, the profession of a traveling nurse is not only a nice option but one that is in demand. You can work at all sorts of health care facilities and hospitals all over the world for a limited period of time. I have friends from the states who would move from country to country for assignments.
Freelancing or a Digital Nomad
A great way to work abroad without finding a job is by being a freelancer or digital nomad. You can work remotely from wherever you want as long as you meet the country’s visa requirements. With today’s current environment of companies going completely remote or implementing a hybrid solution, working remotely abroad is becoming more feasible. Lastly, working holiday visas are another possibility of having paid work abroad. It permits adults from the ages 18-30 to earn money doing work and have the freedom to travel and move around the country as you like.
Which Country Pays the Highest Salary?
It’s mainly western countries such as Luxembourg, Switzerland, Australia and the US. But also Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pay higher on the scale. Especially if you’re an academic scholar or have a technical background. Evidently, higher salaries depend on local factors such as cost of living and location. For instance, working in a metropolitan area like Berlin or Singapore will offer a higher salary than a small town in Ecuador.
How to Get a Job Abroad Without Experience?
If you have no experience, apply and sign up for internships to boost your CV. An easy alternative is to apply for international intern programs such as BUNAC. Choose a destination, pass a screening and start interviewing for companies. I used this program when I first moved to London and was seeking to gain international experience. It’s convenient because they organize all the essentials that would typically give you a headache. Setting up interviews, required visas, accommodation and airport pick-up/drop-off.
An Internship Abroad Program Is a Great Starting Point
I had a wonderful experience with this program as they take off the stress that you would typically have to endure if you were moving abroad on your own, without any help. However, these programs can be expensive and you will end up racking up prices for things you can easily do and book yourself.
However, in the long run, partaking in this program helped put my foot in the door several years later when I decided to go back to London on my own. UK employers that I interviewed with were impressed that I had previous work experience in London. This type of international experience certainly increased my employability. Another alternative is doing work like WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) which offers paid work abroad with accommodation in exchange for working on organic farms.
Get Your Degree Abroad
This option may take more time and resources but if you wish to pursue higher education then I would go for it. It actually may be cheaper to study abroad than in your own country. There are many benefits to getting a bachelor’s or masters in another county. You’re able to reside there for a longer duration, giving you the opportunity to know the people, culture and make connections. After obtaining your degree there’s always the possibility of getting hired.
Employers will love the fact that you studied here and have knowledge of the customs and culture. If you get an internship during your studies this gives a better advantage to potential employers. You will have demonstrated knowledge of the industry you’re in and firsthand experience with how the local workplace functions. Having prior and relevant work experience in the country you reside in always gives you more leverage over foreigners who don’t.
Improve Your Skills
What expertise can you bring to an organization? Being highly skilled can make you an asset anywhere in the world. If you have experience in an area go the extra mile and get certified. Take classes, private lessons, or work with a coach. Do whatever is most feasible to make you and your application stand out from the rest. I also suggest that if you move to a country in which you don’t speak the language, to get started right away. It gives you a more competitive edge compared to other applicants that don’t speak the language. Remember that unless you have rare skills in demand that a company is unable to find with the local talent pool, it will be challenging to find a job abroad.
Make Your Own Portfolio Or Website
Having a portfolio is a great way to showcase your best work. Think of it as a tool that presents your abilities, skills and expertise. Depending on your industry and if you’re in an area that is more creative, a portfolio may even be mandatory. For designers, photographers and website designers this is the case.
Be Strategic About Your Employment Search if you Wish to get a Job Abroad
Make a list of all the international job websites, remote companies, regional and local job portals and more. Sign up with a recruiting agency that specifically hires international employees. Build and make relevant connections on LinkedIn because some recruiters may cold message you there. Setup email alerts and notifications for new jobs from sites like Jooble, Indeed, Monster and LinkedIn. These are all legitimate actions you can do to help with your search.
To streamline the process I like to use a Trello board specifically for job hunting. This way you can keep track of companies you’ve applied for, interviews coming up, and add any opportunities you come across. It’s an easy way to be efficient and organized.
Reach Out To Your Network
Get in touch with alumni, previous colleagues, friends and family members. You will never know who knows who unless you get in touch and find out. This may sound like the standard, old advice, but I would not disregard it. Utilizing LinkedIn is one of the best ways to reach out to others you are not so familiar with. Check and see if you have mutual connections with recruiters or colleagues at an organization. Send tailored messages to them.
Post your resume announcing to others that you are looking for jobs overseas. Head to networking events and mixers in your industry. It’s a great way to meet people and make personal connections. And face-to-face interaction is always better than over the internet.
Reaching out to your network is one of the most useful methods when seeking how to get a job abroad. Asking for a letter of recommendation from one of my colleagues I worked with abroad, supplemented my admission to grad school in France. Ultimately, this helped me get a job in the Netherlands.
Practice for Interviews
When you start getting interviews most of these are going to be held over video calls such as Skype and Zoom. Dress to impress and ace this interview as if your life depended on it. This might sound dramatic but this helped me receive second interviews and offers. This is also the case if you have an invite for an in-person interview. If you are not familiar with the culture of the company you are applying for, do some reading beforehand. Certain mannerisms and greetings from your county may mean the opposite for the country you are seeking to get employment in.
Final Thoughts on how to get a job abroad
You should have a better understanding of how to get a job abroad and where to start. There are plenty of working abroad opportunities but you need to be strategic about how you plan to obtain one. As long as you’re persistent, positive, and realistic with yourself, knowing how to find a job abroad may be easier than you think.
This was really an amazing blog. I have always wanted to go to UK for a job, I will follow your suggestions for it.
Super interesting Hannah and lots of great advice. Having moved from the UK to Denmark I know how difficult some things can be.
This is exactly part of my plans after a few years. Thanks for sharing this because I’ll definitely need this when the times comes. Wish me luck
Apart from the fact that this is a difficult time to look for a job abroad, we cannot predict what the labor market will be like once this mess is over. Obviously, the best way is for your company to send you somewhere – and pay for it 😉
This is very helpful. It’s difficult to get a job in certain countries but this makes it easy. Thank you for sharing!
Getting job abroad is really hard. You have given really good infos!
I agree with improving your skills. It very important especially learning the countries local language, It is a great advantage.
I am already working abroad as I am an American living in Japan. It was my dream since I was a kid.
This would be so exciting, especially in my younger years. I would have loved this!
Depends on the job you are looking for (either a white-collar or a skill-based job), searching for a job abroad have ups and downs. If you are from a Western country and traveling to the Eastern part, then teaching English could be a good side-hustle. You can also look for volunteering jobs that will eventually give you an opportunity for a paid job.