Have you been thinking about moving overseas? Whether you are dreaming of a sea-change, or just a change in general, moving to a new country can be quite stressful and challenging, especially if your move includes looking for a new job. The good news is that there are loads of tricks that you can use to make sure you get noticed by overseas employers. In this post, we are exploring those tricks, as well as a bonus tactic you should avoid when trying to put your best foot forward.
- Be realistic about your options
First things first. It’s time to get real. Moving overseas is just not possible for everyone. I know this because I have considered it myself. I have also recently looked extensively into bringing some overseas relatives here to live with me. It is a hard road. So, before you get carried away with fantasies of leaving your home behind, start by asking yourself these very important questions:
- Does the country you would like to move to have migration options available?
- Is there a market for the type of work you do, or is there scope for you to retrain?
- What are the costs involved in relocating abroad and is this in your budget?
- Are you within the age requirements for migration to the country you have chosen?
- Become familiar with the relevant work rights
Great! You have decided to progress with your plan to move overseas. One of the next steps is to make sure you are across all the relevant work rights and visa options. This can be a tricky step, so do your research and consider engaging the services of a lawyer or migration agent to talk you through the options. Some key questions to ask include:
- What are the work visas available that you are eligible for?
- How long do these visas permit you to remain in the country? Is there a possibility of having the visa extended if you would like to stay longer?
- Are there any permanent residency options available?
- Are there any skilled migrant or sponsored visa options if you can find an employer who is willing to support your application?
- Consider having your qualifications recognised
As you are probably aware, qualifications vary from country to country and for most areas of expertise, there is no international standard. One step to help you get your foot in the door, is to understand how your qualifications translate and to explore options of having them recognised in the country you are looking to move to. You might want to consider:
- Does your qualification directly translate or is there a specific process you need to go through to have your qualification accredited or recognised?
- Are there any bridging courses you need to complete to ensure you are fully qualified to work in this specific country?
- Reach out to targeted employers
Once you know whether there is any basis to your dream of moving overseas, you can start to think about which employers you would like to work for. A word of warning here. A lot of government employers require their employees to be citizens of the country they are working in – you should find out if this will be a barrier for entry so that you aren’t wasting your time prospecting employers who can’t legally employ you. These are also good questions to think about:
- Does your current employer have branches in the country you are moving to?
- Does your current employer have any competitors with an international presence that might be interested in your skills and experience?
- What type of employers would you like to work for?
- Is there any evidence that these employers have hired overseas candidates in the past?
- Ensure you are aware of specialist projects
Recently, my employer has started a new unit to investigate practices within a specialist industry. Similar investigations have been conducted in the past in other countries, so it has made a lot of sense for us to employ a candidate from overseas who has direct experience in the work we are about to undertake. This specific experience is important to us; we have sponsored the candidate’s working visa and will be supporting her in her relocation. This scenario is not uncommon. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Are there any specific projects being undertaken that could benefit from your expertise?
- Is there a possibility that your specialist skill and knowledge could be the catalyst for a project to be commenced?
- Start building connections
They always say, “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know”. And “they” aren’t wrong. Building the right connections will be incredibly helpful in ensuring your resume gets in front of the people you need to see it and it is never too early to start working on those relationships. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some options:
- Do you know anyone in the country you are moving to, who could assist you with your job search or make introductions to someone else that could help you?
- Do you have any contacts on LinkedIn or other social media networks who might be able to provide some warm leads for job hunting?
- Have you considered reaching out to a couple of recruitment agencies who specialise in your industry?
- Are there any industry bodies you could reach out to, who could provide you with more information (and perhaps some helpful connections)?
- Learn the language
This might seem like an obvious tip, but I decided to include it as it is often one that is overlooked. When I talk about learning the language, I don’t just mean learning enough to get by. If you are expecting to be considered seriously for a professional job in another country, you need to be able to communicate fluently, both orally and in writing. That means being across spelling, grammar, pronunciation and perhaps even local colloquial language. Here are some suggestions:
- Is it possible for you to get a native language teacher to help you perfect your speaking and writing skills?
- Do you have the opportunity to travel to your preferred country for an immersion experience?
- Are there any language accreditations you could complete to prove your ability and make your application more convincing?
- Don’t be a spammer
My final tip today is a “what not to do”. Please. Don’t be a spammer. Although sometimes when you are working on building your networks, you may be in a position where cold calling or cold emailing is your best option, there are ways to go about this without coming across in a negative light. The first step is making sure that you aren’t just using a generic email template – customisation is highly recommended. Some other tips include:
- What do you know about the person and/or organisation that you can mention in your communication to tailor your message and make it more personal?
- How can you go about ensuring that you are contacting the right person within the organisation, rather than just flicking emails to generic addresses?
- Why are you planning to move abroad? Is there a story you can include to demonstrate that you are a serious applicant and that you aren’t just desperate?
I hope these tips and tricks are useful to you as you are considering and planning your overseas move. Do you have any other suggestions for candidates looking for work in another country? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know – we would love to hear about your own experiences in relocating!
Author: Rebecca McFarland
Rebecca McFarland is a Career Coach, HR Professional and creator of Pop Your Career. Rebecca is committed to helping you to discover, define and celebrate your own personal flavour of career fulfilment. You can connect with Rebecca through Facebook, Instagram or The Career Club, which is a free portal for Pop Your Career VIPs, packed with loads of practical resources to help you get ahead in your career.