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Many recent graduates and experienced professionals are dreaming to work and live abroad. 2023 is a perfect year to change your life and get out of your comfort zone. Firstly, international career can be extremely rewarding. Secondly, you can improve your skills and achieve new professional exposure. But how to get a job abroad remains a big question.

Finding a job abroad can be a daunting experience, but we are here to help. With over 30 years supporting expats around the world, we will give you easy steps to get a job abroad. Are you ready?

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How to get a job abroad: step-by-step guide

Jobs abroad are on the rise, according to data from LinkedIn. Since the start of the global pandemic, remote working has become very popular. Besides, many companies have international offices these days.

Deciding to move and find a job abroad is a big decision. Factors such as learning a new language and cultural differences make individuals sceptical about moving overseas. However, getting a job abroad can open up an array of opportunities. An international move will really show your adaptability and tenacity as well as your comfortability around taking risks, which hiring managers always wants to see examples of.

Getting a job abroad is the main reason people become expats

Step 1/ How to get a job abroad: analyse the job market and your skills

Set up the direction

First you need to understand whether your specialisation is popular and whether it is possible to find a job according to your professional experience. For example, if you are a designer and would like to do the same in another country, go to the professional social network LinkedIn and search for designer roles in your country of interest. Now try other design-related titles. Look where there are more vacancies.

Estimate the salary level of specialists with your skills

Keep in mind that each country has its own ways of specifying salaries in job descriptions. For example, in Russia the salary is indicated for the month and usually this is the amount “on hand”, that is, after deducting taxes. In Europe, this is usually the salary for the year and what you see is the amount before taxes (gross). For example, “€50k per annum” means a salary of 50 thousand Euros per year BEFORE tax deductions.

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An important role is played by the tax rate itself, which varies from country to country. Keep this in mind when assessing the level of salary in the country where you plan to move.

Assess your qualifications

Skills that seem ordinary to you may be in great demand in your desired country. Browse as many vacancies as possible for the job you are interested in to understand what skills are really required by the employers.

Consider seasonality

For example, the smallest number of job opportunities in Europe is in December because of Christmas. August is considered a quiet month for job search in Europe as well.

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Step 2/ How to get a job abroad: decide on the type of company you want

Startup or corporation? This step cannot be skipped because the job search strategy will depend on the type of company.

When looking for a job in a startup, you need to demonstrate that you are a professional with a wide job profile and great potential. In such companies, you will be expected to solve diverse problems and you will most likely face a frequent change in strategy and receive a wide range of responsibilities.

Large companies and corporations are often looking for specialists to deliver “narrower” tasks. Therefore, in your resume, it is important for you to show your qualifications and the maximum compliance of your skills with the stated requirements.

Note that we’re not discouraging you from trying both. But by identifying exactly what you want, you can make your search more targeted, and therefore effective.

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Step 3/ How to get a job abroad: study visa issues

What are the job opportunities in the country of your interest? What types of work visas are available for foreign citizens? This information can be found on the official websites of the immigration authorities of the selected country. Carefully study all the features and take them into account when looking for a job.

Step 4/ How to get a job abroad: take your time to do job search

If you can devote at least two hours a day to finding a job, your chances of getting employed will increase. 5-10 minutes a day is not enough to get involved in an effective job search. On weekdays, for at least 20 minutes a day, respond to vacancies that do not require a lot of time to apply (for example, if you can send a resume with one click and you do not need to write a cover letter).

In the morning and in the evening, look through the vacancies on social networks – it is important to respond quickly. On Sunday, you can plan work for the week and analyse what has already been done.

Step 5/ How to get a job abroad: update your resume

The general rule for European companies is that work experience should be presented in reverse chronological order. First you indicate the last place of work, and so on.

What to pay attention to:

  1. All text in the resume should be written in the same font size, color and style. It may seem like a small thing, but in reality it gives recruiters and HR managers the opportunity at this stage to assess your accuracy and attention to detail.
  2. Photo. In Denmark and England, using a photo on a resume is considered inappropriate, but, for example, in Austria and large companies in Germany, an employer still expects to see your photo. The photo should be taken against a light background, you are in business attire, full face and with a slight smile.
  3. Showcase your achievements. The most important thing is your work experience. Describe your work experience in an achievement format. For example, “Conducted a financial audit of the company and optimized operating costs by 20%.” Describe as much as possible the skills that were listed in the vacancy. In the hobby section, it would be good to indicate something related to the company in which you want to work. For example, if you have experience of volunteering with children and it brings you joy, be sure to indicate this if this company actively supports children with special needs. It doesn’t make sense to write overly common hobbies – it doesn’t make you stand out from other candidates.
  4. Use the words and phrases that were used to write the job posting. This simple move will bring you emotionally closer to your employer.
Before you start applying for jobs abroad, make sure you have localised your CV, as formats differ from country to country.
Anna Bogdanova,
Career Consultant and International Career Expert

Step 6/ How to get a job abroad: work on your Linkedin profile

Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date.

This should include a short text with the keywords for which people in your industry are looking for. The maximum number of characters is 120. Use them all.

Summary/About section. Use this feature to highlight your strongest skills, just so it is easy for potential employers to understand why you are the best candidate for the job.

Recent experience. Add your recent professional experience and qualifications to your profile.

Step 7/ How to get a job abroad: set up regular job alerts

Set up notifications to track matching jobs on LinkedIn and the rest of the job sites you’re looking for. Don’t use too many filters.

The reason is that not all companies provide a detailed job description, and you may accidentally miss the right employer.

Step 8/ How to get a job abroad: actively network with your contacts

When looking for a job, it is important to maximize your activity. If you want to build an international career, networking is key for you. 

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Step 9/ How to get a job abroad: be pro-active

Look for vacancies in three ways:

  • Apply for vacancies on career sites. At the same time, do not forget to adapt your resume for each vacancy. Take a close look at requirements. Write high quality cover letters.
  • Email companies directly. It sometimes happens that a vacancy has not yet been published, but an employee is already needed. Or the employer is not looking for anyone yet, but if your resume interests them, they will contact you.
  • Network. Use the power of social connections and get in touch with your ex-colleagues and people who know you professionally. There might be a great role which has not been advertised yet.

Step 10/ How to get a job abroad: reflect on your results and learn from it

Reflecting on your mistakes is one of the most important success factors. We recommend that you periodically look for your bottlenecks.

Ask yourself: 

  • At what stage does the job search end?
  • Do my skills match those stated in the job description?
  • Does my resume reflect my performance as a professional?
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Next steps on how to get an expat job abroad

Many professionals think that their industry is not suited well for a career abroad. At William Russell we believe that any job is suitable for a career abroad. You just have to seek out the opportunities. Getting out there and meeting people in your new country is the best first step you can take. Networking is even more important abroad than it is in your own country.

Wherever you move, go with total peace of mind

Making the move to another country can be challenging. But no matter where you go, you can take one thing off your mind.

William Russell offers international health insurance that covers you for everything from minor injuries to long hospital stays, and we can even offer medical evacuations to patients who require treatment in other countries.

Looking for expat health insurance?

Learn more about our plans