Moving abroad is a dream for many, but unless you have budgeted and saved enough to support yourself during your stay - you're going to have to find some way to work abroad to make it happen, which is no small task. On top of the usual stress that comes with searching for work and standing out amongst the masses, you'll also have to go through a visa process to work in another country legally.
The good news is - it's all worth it.
The new and deeper understanding you'll receive from becoming a part of an overseas workforce is like no other travel experience you've had before. It gives you the chance to form long-lasting relationships with people from other countries, see how the rest of the world operates, and learn things that you normally would not in your own country. You might find a better way of doing things while working abroad that could transform your career, but at the least, you'll gain unique experience and an expanded perspective. Working in another country, rather than just visiting it, allows you to immerse yourself in the culture and have a deeper and more fulfilling experience.
Are you ready to work abroad? We’re here to show you how to apply for jobs overseas.
Psst! You should also read: The 10 Best Countries for Working Abroad
Step 1: Find a Position Abroad
The first and likely most daunting task in applying for jobs abroad is reviewing international job boards and finding a position that you can apply for in the country or countries where you desire to work abroad. This step can be confusing since there is no clear-cut model to finding work abroad, but resources like the Go Overseas Job Board can help you review open positions that are recruiting internationally.
Helpful Tips for Indian Citizens:
Search for jobs in these popular destinations:
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Apply for jobs in these popular industries:
- Tourism and Hospitality
- Web Design
- Child Care (Au Pair)
- Health Care
Helpful Tips for United States Citizens:
Search for jobs in these popular destinations:
- Hong Kong
- Southeast Asia
- Australia or New Zealand
- The United Kingdom
Search for jobs in these popular industries:
- Tourism and Hospitality
- Child Care (Au Pair)
Networking is an essential skill set to finding a job in nearly every situation. These days networking is both done the old fashion way - through word of mouth, friends, and parties - as well as online. You can often find communities of digital nomads and international job seekers, as well as companies looking to hire them, through groups on social media sites like LinkedIn. Finding online groups with similar career interests is a fantastic place to start making contacts internationally and may even land you your first overseas job.
Create a profile that stands out, including your passions, experiences, and goals. Once your details are live, you never know who will find you. But don't just sit back and watch - be proactive. Ask people who hire on behalf of prospective companies abroad to connect. Maybe even send them a message seeking advice. Look at job listings every day based on your preferences. Also, remain active in these Linkedin and Facebook groups and engage with content people post that is of interest to you. It's not uncommon for companies to post jobs in these groups to subvert paying recruiting firms. Apply for every job that seems of interest to you, even if it's a longshot position.
If you graduated from university, use your alumni association to create contacts. See what the rest of your fellow alums are doing, and reach out to those living in countries where you'd be interested in working. Alumni events can also be a valuable way to grow your list of professional contacts. Go to as many events as possible for people in your field. When you find people with international work experience, ask questions and form a relationship. You never know where one chat will lead you.
Don't just sit back and watch - be proactive. Ask people who hire on behalf of prospective companies abroad to connect. Look at the job listings every day based on your preferences.
Overseas Job Fairs
Search your local area and attend overseas job fairs. A quick google search for the phrases "overseas job fair" or "abroad job fair" then the name of your nearest city will likely result in at least one option. International job fairs are yet another way to find companies recruiting people to work in their international offices. You could even go through an interview on the spot, but at the least, you'll get your foot in the door.
Worldwide Companies Hiring Overseas Positions
Rather than just applying straight through, say a UK company, in hopes of moving to London, apply for jobs with US companies that have offices around the globe. Companies like Price Waterhouse and Cooper, Wells Fargo, Datacom, Hilton, and Conde Nast, to name a few, are worldwide. They're looking for people willing to travel and move abroad in an array of positions too.
Understand that for some people, having to move abroad for a job is a bad thing, so apply for positions knowing that your willingness to do so is a huge asset. The only drawback of applying for international jobs this way is that you might have to wait a year or more to move abroad with your company. They'll want to train you locally and see if you can handle the move before just sending you off.
This method is perfect for those who want to work in hotels. One of the biggest things an American hotel company needs when it opens a new location abroad is English speakers who know the company and how it works.
International Job Boards
There are great resources for finding positions nearly anywhere in the world that you are interested in working, but it's key to narrow your search to a desired country or set of countries. When you find a position of interest to you, understanding if they sponsor international workers is also essential. Certain jobs will say in their description that they're open to sponsorship. Some websites even have a filter to help you search for companies looking for US citizens or English speakers specifically.
Overseas Government Jobs
The US government probably offers more international job positions to its citizens than practically any private company, and they also can easily get your visa sorted out with other countries. Plus, the US government almost always needs US citizens to work for it at all times, so if you're an American, there is less competition in the country than non-government positions.
Searching and applying for jobs abroad through the US government is simple. Go to USAJobs.gov, type in the sort of job you are skilled in and country you wish to work, and a listing of available positions will come up. You can apply directly through the website.
Apply to Overseas Jobs In-Person
This option is risky, but it will definitely prove your determination. Basically, show up in a country and start applying in-person or setting up interviews while you're there. Though the internet is a fantastic source, nothing compares to being in a place and meeting people. While it's typically illegal to work in another country on a visitor's visa, it's not illegal to look for work. Also, many countries have working holiday visas that allow you to travel and work for a set amount of time. If you enter on a tourist visa, you will probably need to leave the country while you sort out work permits and visas.
Study or Intern Abroad
A more structured way to get face-to-face with overseas companies hiring is to either study or intern abroad. There are endless study abroad and intern abroad options out there. If you know you eventually want to join an overseas workforce, use these opportunities to start getting your foot in the door.
An internship in a city overseas is a chance to prove how good a worker you are, and begin growing international professional network. Several different program providers, like AIFS and Hutong School, and IFSA-Butler, can actually set people up with internships abroad so they don't have to go through the hassle of finding one themselves and convincing human resources to take a chance on an international worker. You can also apply to internships through your university and/or do them in addition to studying abroad.
Often, visa options for people on an internship are a lot easier to get approved than actual work permits. Make the most of this opportunity and at the end of it make it clear to your boss that you want to stay.
Studying abroad offers those same opportunities to either find an internship or at least make contacts for possible employers, but one way to almost guarantee yourself a spot working abroad is to get a college degree from a university abroad. Usually, if a country trains and educates you, they'll try to keep you there to work.
A lot of student visas, such as those in Australia, not only permit international students to work up to a certain amount of hours while in school but also stick around for a year after graduating to work full time. Once you're working full-time somewhere or even have a reference from a company in the country, you're in the perfect position to find sponsorship to stay on a working visa.
Entire agencies exist that work on behalf of international companies to find workers from around the world. Going through a recruitment agency cuts the hassle of looking for positions abroad and companies willing to sponsor, but it comes at a price. Make sure you thoroughly read any contract you sign with a recruitment agency as they will sometimes require a percentage of your future paychecks for finding you a job abroad. It might not be a lot, but be aware of it. Recruiting agencies are very easy to find online. Just google a phrase like, "recruiters for jobs abroad" and contact agencies in your area.
Step 2: Send an application that suits your destination country
Once you find a position that you know you're right for, start applying. Easy as that, right?
Even if you speak the same language as the country where you're applying for jobs, not everything runs that same way or is called the same name, so you have to do some research to make sure your application is on their terms. Otherwise, your application will go straight to the bottom of the pile.
This is not as hard as you would think, thanks to the internet. If you're applying for a job in England, Google "how to apply for a job in England." I don't say "resume England" because they call a resume curriculum vitae (CV). It might seem pointless to get all these little things correct, but when you're going up against people who companies can hire without worrying about their visa situation, you need to be perfect, and you need to stand out. Search or even ask someone from the country if they add photos to their application, cover letters, etc. Also, spell everything the way they would in their country.
Further, make sure they have every means of contacting you and a way to reach your references other than by phone. Include email addresses, phone numbers and sign up for Whatsapp, Zoom, and Skype, so you're prepared to do an interview online whenever that company contacts you.
Finally and most importantly, talk about why they should hire you even with the hassle of sponsorship. What do you have that others don't? What makes you stand out, and what will you bring to that job that they are missing at the moment? Hiring an overseas worker is a huge risk that could cost a company a lot of money. You need to assure them that you're worth it and you're ready for it. Talk about your love for that place, their company, and why you want to join their staff. Nothing excites an employer like someone who understands their company and believes in it.
Useful tips for Creating a Global Resume:
Your resume is your first impression with a company. It's essential that you take the time to submit a resume that accurately describes you to the recruiter. Here are some tips for creating a resume for anywhere in the world:
Know the Guidelines
Research and strictly follow any resume guidelines that are standard for the country you're applying in or provided by the company. Industry standards for resumes vary greatly by country, and you will stand out (in the wrong way) if yours isn't formatted correctly or is missing crucial information.
Research the Company and Tailor Your Resume For Each Job
This should go without saying and applies to job applications in every context: tailor your resume and application to the specific job you're applying for. While it's important to keep a master file of all your academic and work experience, this shouldn't be what you send out to companies or organizations. Highlight your relevant skills and experience for the company, position, and industry -- and leave our completely irrelevant information.
Thoroughly review the job description and requirements and ensure your resume accurately tells the story of why you're a qualified candidate. Recruiters read countless resumes, so your job is to describe yourself in a concise and relevant manner, not tell your entire life story.
Before applying, review the companies website -- especially their mission statement and about us page -- to better understand their core values. The more you know about the company before an interview will help you in connecting with the recruiter and display your seriousness about the position.
Step 3: Go through the visa process
You got the job, but your work is not done yet. Visas and work permits take time and require a bit of money and a lot of information on your behalf. You'll be asked to submit medical exams, police records, and more. You'll have to have a passport, obviously, and you might have to visit the embassy for an interview. It's critically important that you're aware of every part of the visa process and the correct forms to fill out before searching for jobs abroad. Once you find a job and they're willing to sponsor you - make sure you stay on top of the visa process and get everything done as soon as possible.
It's really important that you're aware of every part of the visa process as well as the correct forms to fill out before even searching for jobs.
Step 4: Turn the dream of working overseas into a reality
The dream of working abroad seems impossible at first, but it will happen if you put your mind to it and refuse to quit. With companies being as global as they are today, it's almost a requirement that each has someone on staff that understands international markets. For example, if you're an American, you have insight into the largest financial market in the world, which companies overseas may find extremely valuable.
Think about all the things you have to offer a company abroad, but don't forget everything you can learn from them. Go through this process with confidence, and don't be afraid of the word no. Understand that it's a lot of responsibility to take on an international worker no matter how much they have to offer, so a lot of companies will not even give you a second glance, but a growing number will, and that's where the opportunity to work abroad lies.