Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Taking the plunge - getting employment in another country

After making the hard decision to move abroad on a long-term basis, either solo or with family, and deciding on a country it is now time to knuckle down and really get into making it happen. Whether you are moving half way across the world with all your worldly possessions, your family, pets and much more, or spontaneously country hopping alone, here is a short overview of getting employment abroad. If you have had similar experiences, and would like to add your advice or questions at the bottom, please feel free.
Some tops tips from the Overseas Digest suggests that there are really five ways to get employment abroad, and the experiences of expat bloggers out there seem to back this up. They are as follows:
  1. Get posted abroad.
  2. Volunteer.
  3. Study.
  4. Freelance.
  5. Just go and hope for the best.
The only addition to this would be teaching, but in most cases this would either come under volunteering, studying (moving to a country, studying to become a teacher and then teaching) or freelancing. Some of the items on this list may seem like they should not appear on a post about how to gain employment abroad, but this is a long term plan, and sometimes they may need multiple steps. 
For example, volunteering abroad, should you be fortunate enough to be able to work for free even for a short time, is a way of creating a local network of contacts and discovering where you want to work and where the jobs are. Studying allows similar benefits.

Get posted abroad
The first point on this list has become increasingly difficult in recent years with many companies capping the number of employees that they will give foreign assignments to, with many stopping their posting abroad programmes all together. This point is made very well by Expat Daily in their article on Convincing your company to move you abroad.
Expat Daily gives the advice that most companies will be much more willing to move you abroad if you are motivated by the experiences that it will afford you and the advancements that you can make for the company, rather than simply wanting to be paid more. This advice comes with a caveat that convincing your company that you are the right person for that overseas posting is no easy feat, and may take a lot of persuading.

There are an almost infinite number of volunteer abroad companies out there that will (usually for a fee) arrange your volunteer work and accommodation for you. Although this may often be an expensive way of going about getting employment it allows you to be your desired location for an extended period of time (budget dependant), create a network of contacts and find the right job, as opposed to any job. If you can volunteer in a company, sector or area related to the job that you want to get in the long-term, even better. Of course, this point leads to volunteering as a teacher. There are many ways of going about this, such as studying in your home country then moving abroad to volunteer, finding a programme that allows you t study in the resident country before moving. The best known accreditor for teaching English is TEFL, but there are lots and lots of ways of gaining this.

Apart from a teaching qualification, there are many courses that you can do in your chosen country, provided you obtain a student visa. Studying in a country is a particularly good way to be able to stay in a country for a reasonably long period of time, whilst creating a game plan and meeting people who can help you in the long term. The most comprehensive list of universities who give classes in English (outside of native English speaking countries) can be found on College Lists.

Taigh Smyth
This is all about using the skills that you have to make money in a different country, whether your "thing" is writing or teaching, website design or accountancy, creative or technical, there is always a need for skilled workers in almost every country. Have a look at Taigh's experiences for inspiration.

Just go for it!
This approach is not, as Overseas Digest points out, for the fainted hearted. It won't suit everyone, and may not be what you are looking for in your life abroad, but it definitely one way of making it happen. Take inspiration from Leif and his Runaway Guide.

Once you are in your dream career in your perfect country, have a look over John Falchetto's 10 tips to grow your career abroad. Hopefully these points have been helpful to you and would love to hear your comments and suggestions.

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