Develop a Job Search Strategy
The first thing you need to do is develop an overall job search strategy. It is imperative that you develop a plan for finding employment because if you don’t, your job search experience will likely lead to frustrations and missed opportunities. What’s involved in developing a job search strategy? Sit down and determine the types of companies that interest you, as well as the different methods you’ll use to track down job leads. In terms of the types of companies, determine whether you are interested in public or private firms; domestic, foreign, or international (global) firms. You should also consider what type of corporate culture you are seeking.
Tracking down job leads involves developing a strategy for how much you will use the various job-search tools:
- Networking (with members of professional organizations, alumni, former supervisors and co-workers, family, friends, etc.)
- Cold-Calling (direct mail campaign to selected companies)
- Corporate Websites (using company career centers of selected firms to search for openings)
- Job Sites (including general job sites and international job sites)
- Foreign Newspapers and Trade Journals
- Recruiters (both by discipline and by geographic location)
- Government Sources (including governmental agencies, embassies, trade offices)
- International Job Fairs
Check Local Job Boards
LinkedIn is an excellent tool for finding work in the U.S., but not every country uses it as regularly. To find lesser publicized jobs, check local, and international job boards. There are boards based on locations, like Monster’s many offshoots, and industry-specific boards, like globaljobs.org for those interested in NGO, think tank or private sector work.
- Monster: https://www.monster.com/geo/siteselection
- Indeed: https://www.indeed.com/worldwide
- Jooble: https://jooble.org/
- CareerBuilder International: https://www.careerbuilder.com/jobseeker/jobs/jobfindil.aspx
- CareerJet: https://www.careerjet.com/
- Go Abroad: https://jobs.goabroad.com/
- GoingGlobal: http://www.goinglobal.com/
Descriptions are often written in the country’s native language, but it’s nothing Google Translate can’t solve. However, its some cases, this means you’ll need to know the language to some extent to qualify.
Look into Multinational Companies
Apply for jobs at multinational companies — especially ones that have global exchange programs. During your interview, express your interest in working abroad down the line. Once you have been there for a few months and have a relationship with the team, you can inquire about the relocation process. Making your intentions clear can help make the transition happen faster. Know your industry; international development and foreign service jobs are often very flexible on location. Companies like Google, Bain, HSBC, Deloitte, Accenture, and IBM have offices all over the globe and are known for hiring international employees.
Identify In-Demand Career Skills
Research the market you’re trying to enter and identify gaps in demand for specific skills. Acquiring or fine-tuning a specialized skill, whether it is data science, graphic design or free-diving, enables you to fill a void. Learning another language can also provide a competitive advantage.
Study abroad programs expose you to international work experiences, build your network of overseas contacts, and often lead straight into international job prospects. Studying in another country is also a great way to test out the abroad experience and decide if it’s right for you.
With modern technology making it possible to work from almost anywhere, it’s no surprise that the international freelance economy is on the rise. If your work isn’t dependent on your physical location, the opportunities to work abroad become endless.
Get a Job in an International Organization and Make a Geographical Move
Use your career center, alumni network, and informational interviews to identify internships and jobs at international organizations. You might land an entry-level job as a receptionist or administrative assistant. If so, make a goal of having lunch once a week with a co-worker. Learn from them about options in the field. Attend your organization's presentations and workshops to sharpen your skills and learn from colleagues who have worked overseas. Do the best job you can in your current position. Let your supervisor and HR office know that you want to go abroad eventually, but be prepared to pay your dues and work domestically for a while first. Check out very highly recommended My World Abroad by long-time guru Jean-Marc Hachey, Going Global, and Interaction for lists of international organizations. Such an international career route is more prevalent than commonly realized for those with long-term career ambitions.
Go to a Country and Do Your Job Search
An in-country job search is a great option only if you can support yourself for at least a month upon arrival and are good at networking. Plan on joining the local Rotary Club, Toastmasters, and faith organizations. You might also consider finding a part-time volunteer job to give structure to your day, learn local business practices and expand your network. Research visa issues so when you get a job offer you know how to proceed.
Apply for a “Paid” Volunteer Program
Programs that cover all expenses for recent grads: Peace Corps or faith-based non-missionary programs such as Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Brethren Volunteer Corps, Mennonite Central Committee. Programs for those with lots of work experience or high-level skills include UN Volunteers, International Executive Service Corps, and Doctors without Borders.
Research Potential Jobs, Companies, and Countries
Consider building a spreadsheet that contains all the information you need to know, including job titles, skills and experience required, company name and location, and citizenship or work eligibility requirements. Focus your efforts on domestic and foreign companies as well as global conglomerates. Realize that one of the best methods of securing an international position is first working for a company in your native country — and building your reputation and skills — before seeking a transfer to a branch office or division in a different country.
Once you’ve completed your research, you should have a clear understanding of whether you have all the skills you need for the jobs you seek. Studies show that the three key items global employers desire from job-seekers are: technical knowledge in your field, cross-cultural adaptability, language fluency skills, and prior work experience.
Sometimes you need to have your degrees translated and notarized by authorities in order for them to be considered valid. If you have a license to practice in your field in your country, it may not translate across borders, and you may have to rectify in your new country before getting a job.
Prepare Job Search Correspondence
As with any kind of job search, your job-search correspondence is critically important; perhaps even more so because of the regional differences in resumes and curriculum vitae (CV).
First, your cover letter. Remember the key rules of any cover letter:
- Address the letter to a named individual (the hiring manager ideally)
- Write an enticing and attention-grabbing first paragraph explaining why you are writing
- Relate how your mix of skills, accomplishments, and education matches the employer’s needs
- End the letter proactively by asking for an interview
- Take advantage of our How to Write a Cover Letter tips, where you’ll find everything you need to write a dynamic cover letter.
Second, your resume. More than likely, you will need to convert your resume to a CV.
Most countries outside the U.S. favor the CV over the resume. Do your homework on the region of the world where you want to work and tailor your CV to fit.
Prepare for the Global Job Interview
The majority of your initial job (screening) interviews will probably be conducted in a non-personal medium like email, telephone, or video conferencing. You need to prepare not only for dealing with these specific types of interviewing methods, but also be confident in your language skills. While you need to be prepared for the challenges you face with these interviews — showing enthusiasm and confidence — stay focused on the point that if these companies were not willing to do unconventional interviews, you wouldn’t have much of a chance for a global job.
As with any job interview, the key to your success is preparation and practice. Whatever the medium of the interview, you still need to articulate how your unique mix of accomplishments, skills, and education make you an ideal candidate for the position and you still need to show your knowledge of the company as well as ask questions.
Try to Get a Foreign Transfer
Many companies have programs in place to send employees abroad, so you could look for a job at one of these firms. One of the best ways to get a job overseas is to do something called a rotational assignment. Big companies like Deloitte are known for offering two- to three-year assignments at an international office. They take care of the visa, moving costs and logistics, and your taxes. They’ll help you find an apartment, set up your cable, get an international driver’s license—everything that goes along with a huge move.
Convince Them You’re Worth It
The biggest challenge to winning a position abroad is showing a hiring manager that it’s worth it to bring on someone from another country. The first place to sell yourself is in your cover letter. Let them know that you’re currently in your country but looking to relocate to their city, most likely at your own expense—and tell them why you’re the perfect candidate for the job.
Tell them you’re willing to do what it takes to have a face-to-face interview. Above all, market yourself the same way you would here—let them know why you’re the best person for the job, above and beyond anyone else.
Adjust to Their Time Zone (and Holidays)
You’re the job seeker, so you have to be flexible and match your schedule to theirs, not the other way around. If they’re available to interview at 3 a.m. your time, that’s when you have to do it. “And be mindful of holidays. Just because we’re closed on Labor Day or Thanksgiving does not mean that foreign companies are.
Perfect Your Skype Skills
Since you probably won’t be jetting around the globe for interviews, you’re going to need to learn how to nail a Skype interview. Be sure to test your camera, use a neutral background and look just as polished as you would in person—no matter what time of the day or night it is. If you’re fluent in a particular language, be prepared to prove it. Not only might they ask to speak with you in the foreign language, but you may also need to take a language test, so be ready for that.
Localize Your Resume
Make sure your keywords match with the local language. Computers won’t find words that are misspelled, so if you’re applying to jobs in the U.K., change words like “humor” to “humour." And if you're fluent, translate your resume to the language of the country where you're applying.