10 Tips to Help You Find Work Abroad

Posted April 1, 2013 by Nellie Huang in Expat Life

Finding work abroad can seem like a daunting task; you’re in a foreign country with no support network and no one to put in a good word for you. But in reality, finding work overseas is as easy as job-hunting at home – you just need to have adequate information, the right frame of mind and some determination. These tips are the accumulation of what I have learnt from years of traveling and working overseas.


1. Ensure that you have a resume that is up-to-date

It’s really important when applying for work to update your resume with all of your most recent positions. There is nothing worse for recruiters or employers to see a resume whereby the last position held was years ago and nothing has been updated since. Also make sure that your resume is easy to read and structured correctly. It should be no more than two pages and your work experience should always be listed in chronological order.

2. Include time spent traveling in your resume

If you have been traveling and not working for a period of time, explain this on your resume; if you don’t, employers are likely to conclude that you were unemployed and doing nothing. Be sure to include experiences such as volunteering in Cambodia or teaching English in Japan – these are extremely useful even if they are not related to the field of work you’re seeking for. Some people avoid doing this as they think that it doesn’t look professional or is irrelevant – on the contrary; it will give prospective employers a clear picture of your experiences and ideals.

3. Tailor your application 

Ensure that you tailor your application to the job that you’re applying for. Don’t send out the same covering letter for every job opening – it will be very obvious that you have done so. Spending a little extra time tailoring your application to the job and addressing it directly to the person looking after the recruit for the role will make your application much more personal and therefore increase your chances of being considered.

4. Be proactive in your job search

Being proactive means reaching out to people personally. Do not rely on sending application after application on your laptop; yes you might get an interview this way, but what if you don’t? The best way to successfully secure a job is to make personal contact with recruiters or employers. If you’re looking to secure a job in hospitality, the best thing you can do is personally give your resume to the manager – they are much more likely to consider an application from someone they have already met than someone who just sent their resume to them online.

5. Keep an open mind

While you might be attracted to applying for jobs that you have the most experience in, widening your scope will give you a much higher chance of finding employment. The more open minded you are as to the type of work that you do, the more likely it will be that you secure a job, and secure one quickly.

6. Act professionally

If you are invited to a job interview, make sure that you act in a professional manner. This means wearing professional attire, not chewing gum or wearing sun glasses on your head. It also means not turning up to an interview late, regardless of the country’s culture. Being new to the country is not an excuse any more with Google Maps around!

7. Be ready to start work immediately

Employers and recruiters like people who are ready to get straight into work. So, when arriving at your destination, make sure that you have registered for a tax file number / IRD number, and that you have a local back account set up so your wages can be paid.

8. Honesty is the best policy

It can be tempting to give a friend’s name and number to act as a reference for you, especially if your references are all overseas. Similarly, it can be tempting to bump up your job title, or lie about how long you were with a company; but be warned, you will always get found out. Be honest and up front at all times with prospective employers.

9. Prepare references

Most recruitment agencies will not be able to progress your application until they have received at least one reference for you. In order to speed up your application ensure that you have got the names, numbers and email addresses of your references. Also ensure that you have contacted your references to advise them that you have nominated them – not only is it courteous to do so, but it will also mean that they are more receptive to take a call or answer an email when your prospective employer does contact them to get a reference for you.

10. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth

Let the people you interact with know that you are looking for work – this includes the bar staff you speak to on a night out, and the hostel staff you chat to when you’re checking in – the chances are someone will know of a place that is currently recruiting, and they will be more than happy to help you out, or point you in the right direction.

Do you want to work abroad or have you worked abroad before? Share your experience with us below!

About the Author

Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of WildJunket. As a professional travel writer with a special interest in offbeat destinations, she has written for numerous publications including CNN, International Business Times, BBC, Wend, and Lonely Planet. In her quest for adventure, she’s climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, swam with sea lions in the Galapagos, played with lemurs in Madagascar and cruised alongside penguins in Antarctica.

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