Guide to Finding a Job Overseas

Living abroad can be an exciting experience that allows you to discover a different culture and way of life, fulfill your sense of adventure, and provide experiences that can benefit you in all walks of life.

Applying for Jobs Overseas

Before you get to applying for jobs, you’ll need to do some work and research. If you’re applying to a job in a non-English country, you’ll need to have your resume or CV translated. There are companies that provide this service, including Linguistic Systems, Inc. (www.linguist.com) and Rev (www.rev.com). In addition to translation, you should find out common practices of CVs in other countries. For example, resumes in France typically include nationality, marital status and a passport photo. German resumes often include a photo, your place of birth and whether you are a citizen of the European Union.

Japanese resumes are filled out in a standard format, known as a “Rirekisho,” which can be downloaded at www.accessj.com. They include education (dating back to elementary school), and your entire work history, not just jobs that have prepared you for the one you’re applying to, so add that high school job.   

You may also be asked to have your college degree translated, though that’s pretty rare. The degrees from Ivy league schools (Yale, Harvard, Princeton) are in Latin, and the schools themselves offer translations of degrees. University Language Services (www.universitylanguage.com) offers translations of transcripts and diplomas.

To get started with a search, try www.rileyguide.com, which offers international job listings.

Working Holiday Visas

If you simply want to explore the world and make some money while doing it, then you’ll have an easier time finding work. With a “working holiday visa,” which many countries offer, you don’t need to have pre-arranged employment in the country you’re going to. You simply get the visa, and then look for work.

Working holiday visas allow people to work in a country for a set amount of time, usually up to a year. For most countries that offer them, work holiday visas are for younger travelers, up to ages 30 to 35. Each country has its own rules and regulations in regard to working holiday visas, but the U.S. State Department has resources for people interested in working abroad

The working holiday visa allows you to move about the country (for the duration of the visa), working from job to job. Teaching English is one of the most popular jobs for expats, but those jobs usually involve a contract for a set period of time, so it’s not for people who want to live a nomadic life abroad. Expat Teaching Recruitment expatteaching.com has information about expat teaching jobs all over the world.

Find Jobs Based on Industry

Expat Career Opportunities

One thing anyone who wants to move to a different country has to do is decide whether or not they want to live in a particular place, or work in a specific career.
  • Hospitality: Explore a Caribbean nation, such as Barbados, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, or St. Barts. The website CarribeanJobs.com has listings for hospitality jobs in the Caribbean.
  • Finance sector: Check out living in Germany, where Frankfurt is considered by some to be the capital of finance in Europe, or Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. Other key cities for finance are London, England; Zurich, Switzerland; Tokyo, Japan, and Hong Kong. To find expat jobs in the finance sector, go to www.expatfinancejobs.com.
  • IT field: Consider Finland (go to www.jobsinhelsinki.com for job opportunities), Sweden (www.thelocal.se/jobs/), the Netherlands (netherlands.expatjobs.eu)  and Norway (www.jobsinoslo.com), all of which are praised for their digital infrastructure, innovation, and strong economies.

Find Jobs Based on Country 

If you would like to work in a particular country, there are a bevy of opportunities for expats in different industries. The working holiday visa requirements vary by country depending on age limitations and duration of visas. Here’s a guide for finding jobs in the most popular expat destinations: Australia, Germany, Japan, UK, and New Zealand.

Opportunities in Australia

Working Abroad in AustraliaIn Australia, a working holiday visitor allows people ages 18 to 30 to do any kind of work they can for up to a year. They can move from job to job. Some high-demand jobs are working in cafes, in the mining industry, or working on a sheep or cattle firm.

If you are over 30, you can work in the Outback but need to have arranged for a job. You can’t just leave that job for a better job without authorization. For more information, go to www.australia.gov.au.

Getting Down to Business in Germany

Working Abroad in Germany U.S. citizens with a valid passport can stay in Germany for vacation or business purposes for up to 90 days. Beyond that, a residence permit is required. In order to work in Germany, you need the permit to expressly state that it allows you to work. The permits can be obtained at the German Embassy in Washington D.C. or at a consulate in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. They also can be obtained at a “Foreigners Office” (known as an Ausländerbehörde) in Germany within one week of arriving on your visa.

There are two types of residence permits. A limited permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) is issued for a determined period of time (which varies based on your purpose for being in Germany). After five years, you have to apply for an unlimited permit (Niederlassungserlaubni), which allows a person to live and work in Germany if they meet certain qualifications, such as proving a secure livelihood and being able to speak German.

Engineering, the medical field, tourism, science, technology and mathematics are all fields with job possibilities for expats. For more information, go to the U.S. State Department’s web page about Germany.

Working in Japan

Working Abroad in Tokyo

Japan is a popular destination for expats, with about 40,000 Americans living and/or working in Tokyo. Anyone staying in the country for more than 90 days must register at a local municipal office to obtain a “resident card” from an immigration office. This card must be carried at all times and any move from one residence to another must be reported to both your current municipal office and the new one.

Teaching English is a common job for Americans in Japan, but work also can be found in finance, engineering and skilled labor. The website for the Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners is a key resource for expats looking for jobs in Tokyo. The U.S. Statement offers a lot of information for Americans interested in working in Japan as does Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Job Opportunities in the UK

Working Abroad in the UKThe United Kingdom might seem like a great option because you won’t have to learn a language, but even though Americans consider England their “mother country,” getting a work visa there isn’t a simple process.

A work visa can be obtained only when an employer wants to hire an American, and prove that the American candidate is better for the job than candidates from the European Union. It is technically illegal for Americans to enter the UK and look for a job as a tourist. The best way to find a job there is to find an opening on the Internet and apply for it. The Guardian newspaper’s website has job listings. Another site for job listings is uk.xpatjobs.com.

You also can try contacting US companies that have offices in the UK, most likely London. Among the areas where Americans can find jobs is with investment banks, technology companies and media. 

The Beauty of New Zealand

Working Abroad in New Zealand

New Zealand is a popular destination because of its friendly people, work-life balance and because it is ranked among the best places in the world to live. It also has natural beauty, culture and a thriving nightlife.

Americans ages to 18 to 30 can work there for up to 12 months on a working holiday visa. Americans older than 30 have options as well, such as a temporary visa, which can be a step toward gaining resident status in New Zealand. Jobs for expats can be found in hospitality, construction, and agriculture, including seasonal fruit picking for temporary work.

The country also offers “essential skills work visas” to people who are qualified to fulfill jobs for which candidates are needed. You can find out if you have skills that meet those needs at skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz.

New Zealand’s official website offers lots of information about living and working in the country, including a jobs board.

Tips for Building a Career Abroad

Building an International CareerAs you travel abroad, it’s important to be well versed in other languages and to follow social norms and business etiquette. Did you know that you are supposed to use both hands when receiving and giving a business card in China? You might have heard of the most popular language in India, Hindi, but did you know there are 300 million speakers of Bengali throughout the world? Bengali is the 2nd most popular language in India and spoken in Kolkata in the Bengal region. Find out other top languages to learn for international business and the top 10 tips for international business customs

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or e-mail request@clements.com to discuss your organization's needs.

Top Languages to Learn for International Business