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How To Find Your First Expat Job

Expat Job
The idea of finding a job abroad is very appealing for a wide range of reasons. For some people there are clear financial benefits and career-boosting opportunities. Others may find the idea of living abroad a romantic experience that should be seized at every opportunity.

Written exclusively for Expat Network by Sabrina Bucknole on behalf of Aetna International


Whatever the reason, the world is becoming smaller as business becomes increasingly global and travel becomes more affordable. As a result, Finaccord predicts that the number of expats globally will reach about 87.5 million by 2021.

But finding a job is not always easy, especially in a new country. This article looks at the variety of ways that expats can secure an international role and how to prepare for a new life abroad.


Internal roles

If you are already working for a company that has international offices, moving abroad for work could be relatively straightforward. You will not need to look for a new job and there are likely to be several people who have made the same move, allowing you to follow in their footsteps and learn from their experiences. Companies with international staff will also be able to support and offer advice on issues such as work permits and culture shock.

Relocation can have many benefits, allowing you to change your personal life, work-life balance and surroundings while also expanding your professional experience. If you have started to feel stale in your current position, working with new colleagues in a new city could help to renew the spark of motivation that may have otherwise dwindled.

The main drawback is that the decision of which country to move to will likely be taken out of your hands as the company will determine where your skills are most needed.


Picking the right destination

If you are not working for an international company, there will be a lot more for you to consider before making the move. This means the important step is to plan ahead.

Before travelling, it is important that the expat job market in your prospective countries is suitable for your needs. This means identifying skills gaps that suit your experience and researching the cost of living versus how much money you would expect to earn.

It is also vital to check which visas, permits and qualification you will need to acquire. Most countries will require some form of work permit, and the process to acquire it can be lengthy, so it is advisable to begin this process in advance of travelling.

If you are travelling with family it is important to research the conditions of their stay to see if they are also entitled to work. Another factor to consider before travelling is securing international health insurance so that you can relocate with the peace of mind that you will not be faced with a huge medical bill should something unexpected happen.

Getting used to speaking in the local language is something that will be of great benefit from day one. While many countries will use English when conducting business, it would be advisable to begin lessons in the local language to demonstrate your intentions to integrate into the culture and help to expedite the settling-in process.


International job boards

Despite the differences in culture, job hunting overseas is not that different from at home. The most common way to find a position is online through a wide variety of job boards. Some of the larger names in this field such as Indeed and Monster offer international versions of their sites which allow users to search for jobs internationally.

There are also multiple smaller sites that focus on a smaller area of the world or specific requirements. For example, Jooble is a popular option for finding jobs in developing countries and Remote Year provides year-long programs for professionals who wish to travel the world while working.


Remote working

Remote working is becoming an increasingly popular option for office workers. Thanks to the growth of the internet, a combination of video calls, shared documents and email mean that workers no longer need to be sat opposite each other to collaborate on projects. This freedom makes the prospect of living and working abroad far more achievable than it was just a decade ago.

There are many different roles where you can work completely remotely, from PR and marketing to finance and design. If you have the skills and a suitable CV, it is possible that you would be able to work as a freelancer, allowing both the freedom to discover new cultures and enjoy a more flexible work/life balance.

The rules around living in a country and working there vary greatly and the conditions of securing a residence permit and a work permit are likely to change from country to country, especially outside the EU. While this is likely to be less of an issue for expats working for a company, freelancers should carefully consider if they will be able to meet these requirements, or risk their stay being cut short.

Finding a job and moving to a new country are some of the biggest decisions you can make, but if the groundwork of research and preparation is done before travelling, it can be of great benefit. Not only could it boost your career by expanding your CV and professional network, but also improve your personal growth by allowing the opportunity to face diverse challenges and experience new cultures.