Home » Careers » Want to work abroad? 5 steps to get your search started

Deciding that you want to work abroad is a big decision and can often be a difficult and stressful goal to achieve. However, with a little advice and a lot of planning and commitment you should be able bag a job abroad and experience a whole new way of life. This article provides a few tips and ideas in order to get you on the right track to finding a job abroad.

1. Deciding what sort of job you want

This might sound obvious but you should first decide on what you want to do, as this will affect how you search for a job, plus it will really give you a chance to think about how it will impact on your life. You have to decide whether you are looking for short term employment abroad such as working as a holiday rep, or if you’re looking for more long term employment such as teaching English as a foreign language or a permanent position  working for an international company.  By deciding what you want to do it will make it easy to create a plan made up of steps that you need to take in order for you to get that job.

Making a plan is important because it will help to organize everything you need to do and think about when trying to get a job. To help create your plan you should spend time researching the job you want to do. Scour the internet for tips and blog posts (blog posts about people’s personal experiences can be incredibly helpful as you can see exactly what it takes to be successful in your search), ask people you know who have worked abroad, and take advantage of the career services at your university as they will be able to help you make a plan.

2. Where in the world?

Choosing what country you want to work in it important to think about, because at the end of the day you have to live there too! You might already have your heart set on the sunny beaches of Spain or the streets of Tokyo, or you might have no idea where you want to go, but again research here is key. Think about what you want for a place, what is most important? Do you want to live somewhere hot? Do you want to live in a big city or a small town? Do you want to be able to get home easily? These are all important things that need to be thought about before you make your decision of where you want to live and work.  Google different options and even visit the places that you might want to live, if possible. Also spend time researching and learning about the country and culture of where you intend to work, and investing time in learning the local language will be a real benefit too.

3. Good places to start looking

The internet is an obvious place to start. Many websites such as LinkedIn allow you to search for jobs all over the world. Most countries have government bodies that are similar to job centers that often publish job positions online and also act as an invaluable source of information about working in that country.

If you’re specifically looking to work in Europe, the European Job Mobility Portal (EURES) website is very informative. The website, run by the European Commission has a huge database of jobs in all Member State countries of the EU. You can also find plenty of information about working in the EU and what rights you have as a workers in the EU.

Don’t forget to talk to your university careers services. They should again be able to provide you with help and information that you might need.

4. Visas

Going to work abroad isn’t as easy as just jumping on a plane and leaving, there is quite a lot of paperwork to think about. No single country works on the same system as another which makes things even trickier. Here are some things that you must take into consideration before working abroad.

Visas are always the cause of a lot of problems for holidaymakers and workers alike, but if you do your research you will know where you stand. Most countries require that you have a work permit before you are eligible to work there and many employers will not be willing to employ you unless you already have a permit or work visa in place. Whilst there is plenty of information on the internet be careful because it might not always be accurate; try to find official government websites that provide the relevant information. If in doubt, call the embassy of your chosen country, they should be able to help you.

If you are a citizen of an EU Member State and want to work in another Member State you don’t need to have a work visa, and actually have the right to work in another EU country. The EURES website outlines all the details and rights that you have as a worker or a job seeker.

5. Be prepared!

Of course you need to be prepared in trying to find a job and then finding somewhere to live, booking plane tickets, opening a new bank account etc. but you also need to be mentally prepared. Moving away from home to another country is a big challenge, especially if you’re doing it alone. You won’t be able to see your friends and family as much as you would perhaps like to, your new country and job will be different, sometimes you will get frustrated, sometimes you will get homesick. You also have to remember that things might not work out either. But, if you approach this new chapter of your life with a positive attitude but also accepting that big life changes take time in getting used to, you will get a lot out of working abroad and will have great fun too.

A British expat who is currently living and studying in Sweden. Emma loves to travel, rock climb and write.
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