Have you ever sat in your windowless office, stared into space and thought: ‘I sure could use a change of scenery’? Well, maybe it’s time you booked some well-deserved time off work and did some travelling – perhaps a weekend getaway to Paris or a weeklong break somewhere exotic like the Bahamas.
But considering you’re reading this particular article, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume the kind of change you want to make is a little more permanent. You’re here because of a very specific reason, and that’s because you’re either considering or have already decided to move and work abroad.
And this article just happens to contain some very useful tips on how to do just that.
1. Plan Ahead
First things first, make sure that you’re 100% certain about your decision of moving and working overseas. It’s important that you understand the emotional, psychological and practical elements of such a move – including being away from loved ones and finding yourself in a completely alien environment. Remember, this is a decision that should not be made lightly; it requires careful and deliberate consideration.
It’s also a good idea to start saving up money well in advance. Your target should be around $5,000. This is vital for survival in case things go south (for example, you lose your job).
2. Research the Country
So, you’ve decided to follow the American dream and move to the States, but have you considered all the facts?
Before you book a one-way ticket to the Land of the Free (or wherever it is you’ve decided to move to), it’s essential that you do a little research. Generally speaking, you should look into things like:
- Crime rate: How safe is your destination country? Are you likely to be mutilated by a Jack the Ripper-esque serial killer on your way home from the corner shop?
- Cost of living: With the average salary you’ll be earning, will you be able to afford basic necessities like rent, food and utilities?
- Education: If you have children, will they receive a good education in the country you’re moving to? What is the standard language of instruction in schools? Will their qualifications be internationally recognised?
- Employment rights: Will you be protected from workplace discrimination? What is the minimum wage? What is the law regarding breaks?
- Healthcare: How are the country’s medical services rated for quality and consistency?
- Politics: US politics are a bit of a headache at the moment, so it’s not surprising you’re thinking about moving abroad. But is your destination country’s political system any better?
- Rights: What is the standard of human rights and gender equality?
- Taxes: What are the laws regarding taxation, both in the country you’re moving to and the country you’re moving from?
- Visa requirements: Will you need a visa? How much will it cost and what will you need to do to apply for one? Will your employer (if you have one lined up) arrange this for you?
3. Localise Your CV
Let’s say you’re from the UK and you’re considering moving to the US for work. You wouldn’t send your CV to employers; you would actually send your résumé. (While the terms are often used interchangeably depending on where you go, they are two very distinct documents in the US, with a CV being traditionally used by the medical, scientific and academic communities.)
But beyond terminology disputes, you also need to take spelling and grammar rules into account when writing your CV. And if you’re fluent, you might want to consider translating your CV into the language of the country where you’re applying.
4. Find a Job Before You Go
The keyword here is ‘before’.
You really don’t want to show up without something lined up, as you’ll quickly find that looking for a job (wherever you are in the world) can be a long and tedious process – in fact, career experts reckon that the average job search takes about three months. This means you’ll be broke before you know it and you’ll have failed – miserably, might I add.
There are plenty of places to look for suitable opportunities online, including major job boards like Indeed and Monster – we hear that CareerAddict Jobs is pretty good, too. You could also try your luck with more specialist sites like:
It’s also worth looking into whether there’s a demand for your profession in the country you want to work. Most government sites contain lists of skilled professionals in demand which you can consult – Australia and Canada are two prime examples.
It goes without saying, but make sure you’ve got a job offer in writing before moving!
5. Tap Your Network
If you have family, friends, old (or current) colleagues, business clients or mere acquaintances based in the country you want to move and work, be sure to let them know. Even if they can’t help you directly, they may know someone who knows someone who knows someone (you get the picture) who may be able to help you find a job.
6. Perfect Your Skype Skills
Since you’re applying for jobs overseas, most employers (luckily) won’t expect you to jet off to destinations halfway around the globe for interviews. Which means you’ll likely be interviewed over Skype. It is, therefore, essential that you learn how to rock a Skype interview. So, make sure all your tech is in working order, you’re dressed for the part and that you use a neutral background (i.e.: no picture frames of your six cats should be visible behind you).
7. Get Professional Help
There are hundreds of companies out there who will help you find work abroad through various programmes and can prove especially useful if you’re not entirely sure where to start. BUNAC, for example, helps recent graduates access work permits for 6 to 12 months in Australia, Canada Ireland, New Zealand, Spain and the UK.
8. Learn the Language
Sprechen sie Deutch?
If you don’t already, now is probably a good time to learn the language of the country you want to move to. Learning the local language will make a great and valuable addition to your CV, while it can also be particularly helpful when you have no experience to speak of. After all, multilingual workers are always in high demand.
Find out which are the top languages employers look for.
9. Reap the Benefits
What many people fail to look into is the benefits they’re eligible to claim while living and working abroad from the country of origin, which can prove particularly helpful, especially during the first few months when you’re still trying to get on your feet.
In the UK, for example, expats may be able to claim:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Maternity and childcare benefits
- Illness and injury benefits
- Benefits for carers and people with disabilities
- Winter Fuel Payments
- Bereavement benefits
Your eligibility to these benefits largely depends on where you live. The GOV.UK website has more information about claiming benefits if you live and work overseas.
If you’re a citizen of another country, check what benefits you may be able to claim before you move abroad. You will also likely be able to claim benefits in your destination country if you meet their eligibility requirements.
10. Try to Get a Foreign Transfer
If you work for a company that has an international presence (and really want to keep your job), you could ask about being transferred to another country’s office. On that note, big companies like Deloitte offer two to three-year rotational assignments at one of their overseas offices, and will take care of everything from visas to moving costs and finding you a place to stay to setting up your internet connection.
Are you in the process of looking for a job abroad or have you already made the move overseas? Do you have any tips of your own you’d like to share or questions you need answering? Join the conversation down below and let us know what’s on your mind!
Don’t forget to check out our list of the best countries to live and work in for a little inspiration if you want to move abroad but you’re not entirely sure where to go!