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Once you have decided to work abroad, it can be daunting on where to start. It is not always easy to find the right opportunity, especially if you are looking in a region you may have never lived in. However, like every other type of job search, this takes some planning and strategy. While you might be ready to leave tomorrow, the truth is finding suitable employment can take a while, especially if you are an established professional. Unlike a new, college graduate, you may have a work history you’ve created in your field and a standard of living you’d probably like to maintain.
If you’re ready to get serious about your life abroad, here are some strategies to help you find an expat job.
Use Your Professional Membership Organizations
Professional associations are a smart way to understand what is happening in your field domestically and abroad. You should be part of these groups, regardless of your global dreams, because networking can keep you connected to both trends and opportunities in your field. They can help raise your professional visibility and make it a bit easier as you are developing your career. As a member, you often have access to employment job listings that are pertinent to those who are in your industry.
In addition, if you are part of a regional or national chapter domestically, you may want to find out if an international chapter exists. If that’s the case, you might be able to join that group. Not only would that provide exposure to more opportunity, but it can help with professional development as you start to learn more about global trends in your field. That can only make you more marketable as you start to put together your resume or CV for an international audience.
Request a Job Transfer
Sometimes, the easiest route is to request or apply as an internal candidate for a position in your company for another location. This opportunity is best suited for those who have companies with an international presence or are in the plans of expanding. No doubt, this requires conversations with your supervisors about how realistic (and easy) the process might be. You may want to consider learning as much as you can about the other locations so that you can figure out if it’s a good fit for you.
Another option is to flip your current position into an internationally based one. This will definitely require a conversation with management/leadership — especially surrounding adjacent issues.
Find A Recruiter
If you don’t know where to start, it might be worth it to find a professional to help. Recruiters are in the business of helping employers and future employees make a match. However, if you are using a recruiter, you need to be clear on what you are looking for. They aren’t there to career counsel you but instead find a fit for their openings.
That said, you might want to work with a recruiter that has familiarity in the region you are looking for. They can tell you some of the cultural nuances of the job applying in a certain country, what requirements you may need to meet or even how to get your CV in the right cultural context. This doesn’t mean you can’t work with a recruiter in your own country but it helps to have someone who truly knows the market in the place you are trying to go.
Engage on Social Media
Since I’ve mentioned Linkedin, this is a good time to bring up social media, overall. Given the amount of time that we spend on it these days, it shouldn’t be surprising that it can be a wealth of resources when it comes to the job search. With Linkedin, you can conduct job searches based in your ideal locale, research companies and reach out to hiring managers. You can also engage in conversation with hiring managers and recruiters on Twitter. There are a number of people who give advice to job seekers on Tik Tok and you just might find the individual who is hiring or has information on the region you’re interested in. Meanwhile, Facebook has quite a few regional expat groups where you may want to ask questions about employment opportunities. Find the platform you’re most comfortable with and use them to engage with those who are hiring in your industry.
Localize Your Search
If you have zeroed in on where you want to go, apply for opportunities in that region. In other words, apply directly to companies. This makes some extra effort because you need to get a sense of how opportunities are shared. While LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed might be good places to start, understand that many places have regional search engines as well. In addition, your access might be limited if you don’t speak the local language.
You may want to consider companies with a multinational presence. Often, their websites will have postings for global openings. Those listings generally make it clear if they are accepting international based clients or must be a domestic/local hire. You will have to make it clear that you are currently internationally based.
Use FlexJobs & Go Remote
Unsurprisingly, interest in remote work is on the rise. Not only does this allow for flexibility, but the right opportunity makes it easier to consider even more countries to relocate to. The truth is the pandemic already sped up what many of us were thinking. In order for the right opportunities, you want to use job boards that are focused specifically on remote work.
If you are not opposed to paying some money, you might want to consider using FlexJobs. Considering the company started with an emphasis on remote & hybrid jobs for professionals who were looking for beyond freelance gigs, this might be the site for you. In addition, all of the opportunities are hand screened and curated before they are posted to the site to avoid scams. And you can run a search for international opportunities.
With some time and a lot of patience, combine these tips and you might find the opportunity that is the right match for you.