7 Useful Tips for International Job Search All posts

7 Useful Tips for International Job Search

Whether we want it or not, the definition of a successful career is evolving even faster than technology does. Unlike those of our parents who might have been able to be employed by one place for 30 years or more and never leave one city, our lives are mostly turbulent and unpredictable. Changing jobs every three to five years is becoming a new normal and isn’t antagonized but praised by recruiters.

In this corporate world of constant change, it should come as no surprise that sometimes our career ambitions take us on unexpected journeys. Whether they have simply outgrown the place where they are right now or they feel that there are better possibilities elsewhere, many professionals decide to look for employment opportunities abroad. If that’s your story as well, our team has prepared some tips that can help you on your international job search.

Set expectations

Before you begin calling up recruiters and browsing job listings, know clearly what you’re looking for. It is nice to have some flexibility, but only to a certain extent.

Not knowing what it is you’re looking for will be obvious to everyone who reads your application. Now, this is a hard one. To be honest, if you have not defined your career goals yet, this might not be the right time for you to be searching for a permanent employment abroad. Opt for an internship, volunteering or studies instead. This will give you the international experience you are craving for without the commitment of having a full-time job.

If you do have a clear career objective in mind that you want to achieve by making this move, then we’d recommend having in mind a minimum salary you would be willing to work for. Do your research on the cost of living in the city or country you will be moving to. Check out Teleport to see some useful data that can help you a lot when researching the quality of life in different cities around the world.

Polish your CV and establish online presence

If you clearly know what it is you’re looking for, tailor your CV to match the requirements for that job. But please don’t think you can get away with just one CV for any position! The thing is that with an overwhelming number of candidates for each job opening, recruiters simply don’t get a chance to go through all resumes they get manually. Therefore, you need to make sure that the CV you’re sending in matches the keywords for that particular position and can get through the initial screening process.

To have a positive online presence is almost as important as having a well-polished application. Long gone are the times when your CV was the only way potential employers could find information about you. Now all they need to do is to type your name in a search engine or any social media platform. And if what they find is pictures from parties or, worse, unpleasant comments about your previous employer, your chances to score a job offer are pretty much zero. Before you start reaching out to companies, better take down anything that shows you in a bad light. Optimally, your social media channels market your professional skills and you have a website or blog displaying your interest in the career you’re pursuing.

Make sure recruiters can reach you

Even before you start reaching out to recruiters and companies, make sure that they have a way to reach you. Often a position you would be perfect for needs to be filled immediately, so missing that one call or email can be a deal-breaker. To prevent the opportunity to land your dream job from slipping away, have your primary channels of communication open 24/7. Having email notifications active on your smartphone is a must as well as checking the spam folder. As for phone calls, having a local number from a country where you’re hoping to score a gig will definitely earn you some extra points. Check out the list of the countries where onoff Numbers are available and get yourself one you can use for the job search.

Check international job postings regularly

It goes without saying that looking for a job should be considered as your full-time job. Screening available vacancies abroad on a daily basis is a must. Fortunately, now doing it is way easier than a few years ago. Here are some places that we recommend to consider when looking for a job abroad:
  • LinkedIn. Pretty much Facebook for your career. Well, we assume you know how it works if you have ever searched for a job.
  • Jobbatical. The solution is focused exclusively on cross-border hiring. Job listings updated regularly and include interesting gigs in major European, Asian and American companies. 
  • The Muse. An informative platform that has both promising job listings and useful tips on how to approach the hiring process. It mostly focuses on the US job opportunities, but there are also some European postings. 
We advise to set up alerts for your desired position and location so that you would have a daily overview of what is happening on the market.

Network, network, network...

While for seasoned professionals it is totally possible to score a job offer through a traditional online application, never underestimate the power of networking. This is especially true when looking for a job abroad. Hiring an employee that needs relocation is a huge commitment for a company. For this reason, the preference will always be given to a candidate that employer already knows at least a bit. Take advantage of international conferences, groups and blogs related to your field of expertize, connections on LinkedIn, etc. You never know who can help you in your career, so connect with people around you as much as you can.

Contact companies directly

Another useful thing to do is to research the companies that you would like to work for. Even if a company you like doesn’t have any job openings at the moment, it is worth a shot to reach out and pitch your candidacy. Explaining why you’re interested in working for this particular organization is especially important when using this approach. Go beyond professional interest and show the connection between your personal values and the activities of the company. Show that you understand what the needs of this company are and how you can contribute to its growth. Doing proper research and showing you are eager to help will make you stand out in the crowd of other candidates that just want a job.

Do interviews in person whenever possible

Now, we understand this might be difficult and costly. But trust us, this might make a difference. If you had scored an interview for your dream job, it might be worth it to spend a bit of time and money and hop on a plane to be there in person. Not only it will show your potential employer how much you care and differentiate you from other candidates but also give a chance for both of you to connect on a different level. There is just something that a phone or Skype interview will not do: human connection. Whenever possible, do an interview in person as it will help both sides to understand better whether they are a good match.

Bonus tips from our onoff Team members
“Be patient and take your time to learn how people operate in a different culture when looking for a job in an international company.”
Mégane (France), Community Manager @ onoff
“When moving abroad, you’ll probably need more money than you think at first. Like, twice more! So be prepared for unexpected and make sure you have some funds saved up before starting your job search.”
Joseph (Lithuania), UX Designer @ onoff

“The position you’re moving abroad for better be your dream job, otherwise it won’t work. Consider carefully all pros and cons of this career move: it might seem just like a fun adventure now, but working abroad is in fact a serious decision and should be approached as such.”
Daria (Ukraine), iOS Developer @ onoff
Do you have any tips to add to the list? If you do, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Marta @ onoff

Comments: 1

joe August 07, 2017
really cool article, helped me a lot

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