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Making your move - internationally

Danielle Lovell | January 24, 2017

Making a global career move can happen for many reasons - a new adventure, a change in pace, taking advantage of the flexibility of freelancing. Global career experience can really set you apart in the job market with exposure to a variety of experiences and cultures from around the world. Though the modern workforce allows so many people to work from anywhere, there’s something special about moving to a new country to immerse yourself for a role.

There’s a range of options available, from teaching English Abroad to landing a position in a global office of an international firm. In our growing global world, international work experience can be a huge asset as well, providing you with local knowledge of an international market and experiences only possible to glean by being in market.

So how do you make this dream a reality?

Know Before You Go

What countries and what jobs you can get will depend on what languages you know, whether you can obtain a work visa on your own (or will need a company to sponsor you) and how much it will cost to get there. This isn’t to dissuade you, but to help you prepare to be the strongest possible candidate. Some companies will be open to sponsoring international workers and some won’t. This will depend on a number of factors, including options in their immigration programs and what type of role you’re applying for.

Working holiday programs are available to many citizens of Commonwealth nations, providing work permits of 12-24 months for travellers under 30. And in some nations, you can qualify for permits based on the citizenship of your parents or grandparents. Do some digging in your family history and on your goal country’s immigration website to see what options you might have. The simplest way to get hired abroad is to have the work authorization you need before you start the interview process.

Get By With A Little Help From Your Friends

Leveraging your network at home can accelerate your job search. Post on your social networks, reach out to friends you know who have lived in your country of choice before, or ask to be connected to their friends. These connections can be invaluable for pointing you in the right direction, connecting you to hiring managers in-country and giving you the local insights on where to live and shop once you arrive. And everyone is delighted to help support a friend’s international adventure.

Start Where You Are

If you work for a larger company with global offices, the simplest way to have an international adventure might be to be transferred abroad. Internal transfers often qualify for relatively quick work permits, and can be a way to have a soft landing in a new country (you might even be able to nab yourself a relocation package!).

The best way to approach this is to reach out to your internal HR department or the HR department in your goal country. Ask how someone would qualify to be considered for an assignment and if you can put yourself forward for consideration. They may want certain skills or experience, but you might be able to develop these in your current job. Connect with colleagues who work in your overseas offices, to see what they know about what positions are available for you.

Localize your Resume

Using VisualCV, you can create multiple resume versions. So work to ensure that your resume is localized to your goal country. Should you include a professional headshot or is this a big faux pas? Should it be one page or two? page? What is common for the US and for Asia is quite different, so make sure that you have your resume set up to match what’s common where you’re going. You can also include your citizenship or work eligibility if you have snagged yourself a work permit. (i.e. “Eligible for Young Professionals Visa”)

Take a Networking Vacation

Once you’ve done your research, and if you can, take a 2-3 week trip to meet the connections and global team members you have been reaching out to, go to local networking events, meet up with expat groups in your country of choice (InterNations is a great way to connect).

The best way to start your international adventure is to dive right in, and start researching and connecting. There are helpful international job boards like Idealist, but every search is unique. Good luck!

Resources we like

  • GoAbroad - international jobs & programs available focused on early career and working holidays
  • MyWorldAbroad - Advice for finding international jobs & picking the right country for you
  • TransitionsAbroad - Great information about getting yourself a work permit

If you’d like to learn more about Simply Canadian, visit my website. If you’d like more information about creating a localized resume, VisualCV has a handy guide.

Blost post author Danielle Lovell

About the author

Danielle Lovell

Danielle grew up with a globally mobile family, moving between Calgary, Houston, Kuala Lumpur, London and more. She uses these experience to bring a human touch to her Canadian immigration practice at Simply Canadian. She’s also delighted by eating noodles from as many countries as possible.


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