3 Tips for a Successful International Job Search

There are a lot of exciting benefits to working in another country. However, the process of getting there can feel daunting and intimidating. Where do you even start? If you’re considering working abroad, keep the following tips in mind for a smoother and (hopefully!) more successful process.

Tip #1: Research Local Job Market & Employment Trends 

When I meet with students who are job searching in the United States, I often ask them what types of position they are seeking and where they hope to live. This question is crucial because each geographical area within the U.S. has a specific job market, cost of living, and set of employment trends. For example, if you are interested in banking you may want to look at San Francisco, Chicago, or the East coast. This idea applies just the same to the international job search. Did you know that Paris, France is a major Aeronautics hub? Or that Johannesburg, South Africa has an internationally recognized Business Management & Marketing sector? When you think about working abroad, what type of work do you want to do and where do you hope to do it? You may come to find that where you hope to live doesn’t have many opportunities related to the work you want to do. Or if you are set on a specific location, understanding the job market could inform the skills and experiences you need to have to compete in the local job market.

Tip #2: Tailor your Application Materials 

You also want to consider how resumes and cover letters are formatted in your country of choice. Unlike the U.S., many countries require a photo and personal information such as your marital status or date of birth to be included on your resume. In some countries like Japan, it is custom to submit two resumes: a handwritten resume form  and a traditional typed resume. Many countries also appreciate when you submit your materials in both English and in the country’s native language. While many international organizations will gladly accept the U.S. style resume and cover letter, taking time to tailor your materials to that country will set you apart from other global candidates.

Tip #3: Employ a Variety of Job Search Strategies

Fortunately, how people find jobs in other countries is pretty similar to the process in the U.S. Networking is still going to be a key job search strategy and even more so in the international job search. The encouraging thing is that most major cities have accessible professional organizations, in-person and virtual career fairs, as well as a global increase in company and employee utilization of LinkedIn. Of course, you can also use job boards and staffing agencies to find opportunities as well. Most large global cities have their own job boards that you can directly access to find and apply for jobs. Job aggregate boards like Indeed also have global job search filters.

Do you have a country or city in mind for your international job search? Want to apply these tips to your search? One free resource* available to UW students and recent alumni is Going Global.  Going Global is updated annually to provide country-specific career information developed by career specialists located in each country. By logging in with your net-id and password, you’ll have access to:

  • Career guides that include job market/employer trend information, interview tips, resume/cv & cover letter samples, and job board sites for specific countries.
  • Global employer directory
  • Worldwide job and internship listings
  • And much more!

Still have more questions? Come on in and meet with a Career Counselor!

*Please note that you must access Going Global through careers.uw.edu to get free access with your UW credentials.

By Sha'terika Perkins
Sha'terika Perkins Career Counselor Sha