A Guide to a Career Overseas

by Business Case Studies on Tuesday 20th February, 2018

Are interested in learning about other cultures? Do you communicate in multiple languages? Do you appreciate seeing things from a broader, worldwide perspective? Did you choose to major in international business or international studies? Do you want to broaden your corporate experience by working internationally? Have you always wanted to work in a foreign country?

if you answered ‘Yes’ to one or more of these questions, read on to learn more about the 10 essential tips to land a job overseas.

  1. Create a Job Search Strategy

Coming up with a job-search strategy is the first thing you need to do to land that dream job. It’s important that you have a plan for finding employment because not having a plan will most likely make you job search experience frustrating, and lead to missed opportunities.

How do you develop a job search strategy? Well, you have to sit down and decide the kinds of companies that interest you, and the different methods you can use to track down any job leads. Establish whether you want to work for private or public firms, foreign or domestic, or even global (international) firms. You should also consider the kind of corporate culture you prefer.

To track down job leads, you’ll need to develop a strategy for how much you’ll use the following job-search tools:

  • Networking: ideally with the members of relevant professional organizations, former supervisors, alumni, family, co-workers, friends, etc.
  • Cold contact: using a direct mail campaign targeting selected companies
  • Corporate websites: you can use the company career centers of your chosen firms to see if there are any openings.
  • Job sites: you can look in both the general and international job sites
  • Recruiters: both by geographical location and by discipline
  • Trade journals and foreign newspapers
  • International job fairs
  • Government sources: trade offices, governmental agencies, and embassies.

    2. Decide what Kinds of Jobs You Want to Pursue Overseas

According to Immigration Solutions the biggest problem inexperienced job seekers have is lacking real focus in their job search. Many of them know they want a job in a foreign country, which involves excitement, travel, and foreign cultures, but they’ll have no real sense of the job titles or the requirements they’re looking for. If you know exactly what kind of job you’re looking for, skip to the next question.

Where to start? Consider what made you interested in finding an overseas job in the first place. Then, review the various college courses you’ve completed and create a list of the skills and experiences you’ve mastered. Next, assess the accomplishments you’ve made from your volunteer and work experiences. Analyze how you performed in these, and see if you can create a profile suited to the kind of jobs that interest you the most and that you’re qualified for. Be as specific as possible.

  1. Research the Potential Companies, Jobs, and Countries

At this step, you should consider creating a spreadsheet containing all the information you need to know, including the job titles, experience and skills required, the name and the location of the company, as well as work eligibility requirements. It’s better to focus your efforts on the foreign, domestic, and global conglomerates. Keep in mind that working for a company in your native country is one of the best methods for securing an international position. That’s because you’ll get a chance to build your skills and reputation first before you’re transferred to a division or branch office overseas.

What are the best ways to get information about a given company or country? Well, there are many available resources, such as:

  • A comprehensive guide to research industries, companies, and countries
  • Job and career resources for the international job seeker.
  1. Developing and Polishing Up Key Language and Job Skills

After completing your research, make sure you have a clear understanding on whether you have all the necessary skills for the kind of job you seek. According to recent studies, there are three essential items that the global employers look for from the job seekers: cross-cultural adaptability with language fluency skills, technical knowledge in the field/industry, and prior work experience. So, in case you feel lacking or weak in a particular area, this is the time to get the training or education you need.

For those who are still in school, find out if your college or university provides the necessary coursework, otherwise, you can consider nearby colleges or taking up long distance education programs.

  1. Preparing for Job Search Correspondence

Just as with any other form or job search, your correspondence is vitally important, probably even more considering the regional differences in CVs and resumes.

First or all, your cover letter. Don’t forget the key rules of a great cover letter: addressing the named individual (the hiring manager) directly via the letter, use an attention grabbing and enticing first paragraph that explains why you’re writing; relate exactly how your mix of education, skills, and accomplishes, matches the needs of the employer; be sure to end the cover letter proactively, asking them for an interview.

Take advantage of the resource section for cover letter on our site, where you can find all you need to write a compelling cover letter.

Second is your resume. In most cases, the resume might need to be converted to a CV. Most of the countries outside the U.S. prefer a CV to a resume. Be sure to do your homework first about the country or region of the world where you intend to work, and then tailor your CV to suit them. Look at the following to find out how to write the perfect resume before you submit one.

  1. Develop and Make Use of your Network of Local and International Contacts

Although networking is an important part of job hunting in your local country, it’s vital in the global job search. Make use of all the sources of networking, especially professional organizations and college alumni. People in your network will not only help you by giving you alerts for any job leads, but also help you build your contact list, understand the culture and economics of the country they reside in, and offer other information that could be helpful in your job search.

  1. Prepare Well for the Job Interview

Most of the initial screening job interviews will most likely be conducted in a non-personal medium such as telephone, email, or video conferencing. You should be prepared for not only dealing with such kinds interviewing methods, but also make sure you’re confident in your language skills.

Though you need to be prepared for the kind of challenges you’re likely to face under such interviews, such as showing confidence and enthusiasm, be sure to stay focused on the point that if the company wasn’t willing to conduct an unconventional interview, you probably wouldn’t have a chance for the foreign job.

Preparation and practice are key for success here, just as with any other job interview. Whatever, the medium they choose, you need to articulate how your unique blend of skills, accomplishments, and education make you the perfect candidate for the position. You also have to show that you have an ample knowledge of the company, and ask questions.

Some of the resources that can help you prepare include:

  • Tutorial for acing a job interview
  • Question database and practice interviews for job interviews
  • How phone etiquette in an interview can propel you into the next step of the hiring process
  1. Follow up on All Job Leads

If you want your job search to be a success, it’s important to make an effort to follow up on all the job leads you come across. Don’t let potential job finds slip away through your hands. Send emails and make phone calls to all your prospective employers and ask about the status of job openings. Be assertive in your follow up, taking care not to sound too aggressive. It’s essential to understand the culture of the country.

Also, remember to send thank you notes after each interview, and to your contacts. Plus, it’s much better to lean towards seeming too aggressive in your follow ups rather than not following up at all.

  1. Consider Getting a Graduate Degree

Consider going to a graduate school, either a top-ranked school in your country, or in the region or country you intend to work in. Whether it’s a graduate degree in International Affairs or a specialized MBA in International Business, do your homework to find a program that fits your needs and goals.

  1. Anticipate Moving or Going Abroad

Nothing beats meeting your potential employers in person. If you have the necessary resources, consider moving or travelling to the country you want to work. While there, meet all the potential employers, and consider interning, volunteering, or other alternatives as you search for your ideal position.

However, note that moving abroad requires more planning that simply moving across town. You need to have enough money to live with no paycheck in about 3 to 6 months. Have a list of network contacts and job leads before making the move, and be ready to follow any leads up as soon as you arrive.

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