International job search strategies


If you have always wanted to work abroad, there are several things you can do formulate an international job search that works for you.

Visas and Work Permits

It goes without saying that you must have a proper work permit to work legally overseas. If you have a job offer in hand, your employer usually sponsors your visa application. Otherwise, you must initiate your own application process to obtain a work permit for your new country. Research your options well before your move to avoid a situation that is truly impossible.

If you are married or living with a partner, you must also consider the effect an overseas move may have on your relationship. The “trailing spouse” may be allowed to accompany his or her spouse to an overseas assignment, but may not be legally allowed to work. Evaluate whether that is an acceptable situation for you family.

Prepare Credentials

The first step is to make sure your credentials are ready to be sent abroad. The curriculum vitae or résumé and cover letter must be polished to perfection. If you have foreign language skills, study abroad experience, or both, you have an advantage over the competition. 

Search for Work

Internet Resources

International job boards, employment agencies and national agencies can all be found online. These can help you locate available positions, average salaries, and desirable skill sets. Sites will also allow you to post your resume so international employers can search for you. Use keywords like “international job listings” or “job title” and “country” to find pertinent positions.

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Another possibility is to enlist with a clearinghouse that matches candidates with available jobs. Such services also often take care of obtaining necessary work permits for their clients. The jobs that are available are often service oriented jobs, and you may be required to pay a fee, but if you are more concerned with living in a particular country than with the type of work you do, such services are a viable option.

Social Networking

No longer just a way to communicate with friends, social networking platforms like LinkedIn or Xing represent a rich resource for international job listings. Take advantage of the job search function to search for job leads in countries where you want to work, or for companies for which you would like to work.

Join groups within the social networking platform that include international job listings, as well as discussion boards. Reach out to your connections within LinkedIn for introductions to company officers at companies that interest you. A more indirect strategy to draw attention to your profile and broaden your potential reach is to post questions relating to international work, and follow up with personal responses to those who respond to your question.

More social networks like Facebook and Twitter can also help you reach out to contacts and find work. People you know may know of positions you are eligible for, or put you in contact with people who do.

College and University Listings

If you attended classes at a college or university, that should be one of the first laces you look for international job opportunities. Many college and university career offices have job listings that are searchable by region as well as by type of work and required experience levels that are exclusively available to their students and alumni. You may also be able to make connections with alumni who are working abroad. They can refer you to possible leads within their companies or in the country.

Personal Contacts

Many people find that people they already know are a resource for finding jobs abroad. Your personal contacts abroad, as well as people living in the same country as you, may have surprising contacts. The more you can expand your network and spread the word, the better your chances of finding a position. Let people know what you are looking for, and what you can offer.

Create Your Own Job

If you are self-employed or work in the growing field as a digital nomad, you are already prepared to become geographically independent. If you think you are prepared to work for yourself, the opportunities are endless. Evaluate your talents, and if there is a market for them. Create a business plan, research your visa options as a freelancer or independent contractor, and then just do it!

Geographically Independent Career Ideas

  • Translating
  • Photography
  • Online marketing
  • Writing and copy writing
  • Virtual assistance
  • Publishing
  • Sales
  • Coach
  • Music composer / sound designer
  • Software development
  • Professional poker player
  • Online community manager or community consultant
  • Consulting services for organizational development
  • IT project management and regulatory compliance
  • Jewelry Designer
  • Professional Barterer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Voice-Over Artist
  • Game Designer
  • Financial Planner
  • Illustrator
  • Crafts
  • House-sitting
  • Pet Care

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