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How To Find An Expat Job – A Guide

find an expat job

Barring a few exceptions, life as an expat is now easier than it has ever been. The march of technological and social progress has made living abroad much less strenuous and much more accessible. Still, the life of an expat is rarely all sunshine and roses – especially when it comes to employment.  Here is a guide to help you find an expat job.

Finding a job is usually a daunting task – even if you’re in your own country. Sure, in theory, the fundamentals are always the same – write a good CV, make a good presentation, and show it to the right people and you should land a job in no time. Still, many people find the task insurmountable, for various reasons.

For the most part, this isn’t usually because the environment abroad is inimical to them. Rather, it’s more likely that they just don’t know the ropes of local job-hunting well enough. Taking steps to remedy that type of shortcoming is the key to landing a job as an expat.

Learn the Language

If you want to have the best chances of landing a job abroad, you need to make sure no language barriers hinder your communication. While the English language may seem like a universal means of communication, it is often not sufficient for landing a job.

Many people abroad, even the well-educated and travelled ones, only know it in passing. If they don’t practice it in their day-to-day lives, communication with them may prove difficult.

Ideally, learning the language should happen before you even move abroad. However, don’t despair if you’ve already missed the opportunity to do so. Learning a language becomes much easier once you’re on location and committed to the task.

Get to Know the Culture

There are many steps you can take to improve your chances of landing a job as an expat. Taking time to discuss cultural norms and practices with the locals is one of those that usually gets pushed to the side.

This is a mistake, as synchronizing your clock with the locals on cultural issues is crucial for finding employment abroad. The old saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” has been good advice for millennia – and still rings true today.

Learn all you can about the expectations and practices of local employers. Find out what qualities the local business culture values highly. Note those well and put them at the very top of all lists when writing your CV.

Localize Your CV

While on the subject of CVs – make sure you localize yours. Take some time to research the proper format for all paperwork. Download the appropriate templates and tailor your CVs and cover letters to the expectations of local employers. Even if you aim to land a job with an international corporation, you’re likely to first get in contact with local recruiters. Hence, presenting the company with a localized CV is a must.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t present your prospective employers with a copy of your CV or cover letter in English. Demonstrating good command of the language is always something employers value. However, at the end of the day, being well adjusted is what counts – and a localized CV shows that you’ve got the right idea.

Reach out to The Specialists

Cultural norms, politics, and economics inevitably reflect on the job market abroad. The ongoing pandemic certainly isn’t helping the chances of expats finding worthwhile employment at the moment. Naturally, some countries have it worse than others – but in general, when working abroad, you need all the help you can get.

Don’t hesitate to turn to specialists for this type of help. There are agencies that focus specifically on finding jobs for expats. Research them and get in touch with them – they can be of great aid to your job-hunting efforts. Even if they can’t hand you the key to your dream job, they can certainly ask around or give you advice on where and how to look for it.


Studies consistently show that the vast majority of all job positions are filled not by applicants applying through job boards, but via networking. This is as true now as it was back in 2016. This is a consistent pattern that has persisted for as long as the job market has existed in its modern form.

Although social media can be of use in certain instances, real-life networking remains the best way to get a job. This is true in all situations – even when it comes to expats. So don’t be reluctant to ask all your connections abroad about opportunities that may be open to you.

Businesses and organizations are built upon the relationship between employer and employee. Trust is the most important aspect of those relationships. This is why the most reliable way to get a job is if someone on the inside vouches that you’re a trustworthy individual. In most instances, that recommendation is worth more to the employer than any certificate you can produce.

Look For Remote Work

Before the pandemic, remote work used to be a privilege of just a handful of white-collar workers. Now, it’s a reality everywhere. Many companies are hiring exclusively remote workers, and many people are on the lookout for remote work specifically.

There are some steps you will need to take if you want to have a shot at landing a remote job. However, remote employment is arguably the one job market that isn’t significantly more difficult for expats than it is for locals.

Maximize your chances of landing remote employment by updating your CV to emphasize your tech-savvy. Put your remote-friendly soft skills front and center. Showcase your remote experience and relevant credentials.

Present yourself as a proactive, communicative, resilient, and flexible individual. That last bit may be especially relevant if you need to adjust your schedule to fit the shifts of your employer while you’re working abroad.

Here are some related articles you may find useful:

How To Say ‘Willing To Relocate’ On Your CV

How Do CVs Differ From Country To Country?

5 Reasons Why Working Abroad Is The Ultimate CV Booster