How to Apply to Jobs in Another Country

Global Citizen By Stefan Zechner June 28, 2017

Working in another country is an exciting way to advance your career, but getting started can feel overwhelming. Our nine-step plan can help. We can’t guarantee you’ll land your dream job, but you’ll be positioned to succeed if opportunity strikes.

Step 1: Identify labor market gaps

First you’ll have to determine where you want to move. Popular expat countries are good places to start. Familiarize yourself with the job markets of your shortlist and take note of places where there’s an imbalance between supply and demand for your skills.

Step 2: Look for opportunities

Now that you have a few target destinations, it’s time to look for openings. Beyond LinkedIn, there are  entire websites dedicated to helping expats find jobs overseas. You can also tap local recruiters or ask your network for leads.

If your company has international offices, file for a transfer at least six months before your target move date. Securing a visa and arranging the move can be a lengthy process.

Step 3: Investigate visas and work permits

The next step is paperwork – not fun, but necessary. First check if you’re one of the fortunate few who qualify for birthright citizenship through your family. Otherwise, you’ll have to explore work visas and permits.

In most cases, you’ll have to get sponsored by your job before you leave the states. Some countries require a written job offer, while others necessitate a notarized contract between you and your prospective employer. To find out exactly what you need, it’s best to contact the country’s local consulate or embassy.

Step 4: Plan a networking or interview trip

If possible, head to your desired country for a test drive. Make the most of your time by attending networking events, lining up job interviews, and exploring neighborhoods all in one trip. Add anyone you meet on professional networking sites and send follow up emails so you stay top-of-mind.

Step 5: Build your credentials

Now that you’ve done your homework and made some first impressions, it’s time to make sure your application blends in – in a good way. This means crafting your resume to match the local style. For instance, if you’re interested in moving to the U.K., it’s called a C.V. rather than a resume and two pages is standard. You’re competing with local candidates, so it’s important that you have these nuances down.

Step 6: Get international digits

Email is great, but once you get further along the application process, you’ll probably have to hop on a few calls. Instead of placing the long distance charges on prospective employers, you can get a local number that redirects to your current phone. It’s an added expense, but this small investment can make a big difference when recruiters are filtering through resumes.

Step 7: Nail the interview

Prepare for every interview the same way, whether it’s in-person, on video chat, or over the phone. Be sure to mention any prior experience abroad (including studying) as well as your adaptation skills. This is your chance to show why you’re more valuable than any other applicant.

Step 8: Negotiate

Research the cost of living and tax system in your new home so you can calculate how your current compensation and lifestyle compare. Coming to the table with a solid understanding of industry standards and exchange rates will strengthen your bargaining power in salary negotiations.

Inquire about what moving benefits are available through your job too. Some companies provide house-hunting assistance or a moving stipend. Even if it’s not standard for your role, it doesn’t hurt to ask.


Step 9: Prep for the move

When it comes to relocating, organization is key. From internet providers to health insurance, make a checklist for every aspect of the move.

Having a support network when you’re new can help ease the stress of a big move. Here are some tips for meeting fellow expats overseas so you don’t get homesick in your first few months.