We Know: How To Find An Overseas Job

What Should I Look For In An Overseas Job?

In the right situation, anyone can find an overseas job without putting themselves in danger. When you're checking for a job overseas, try to find one in a country where you speak the language or where there are a lot of English-speaking companies. For example, Dubai is quickly becoming a center for international business, and has large regional headquarters for IBM, Microsoft, and others. Decide whether you want to go for a couple of years of intense experience, or if you want a career in this country; your choice of jobs will be different depending on your preference.

How Can I Find Job Openings?

For those with guts and a little bit of savings, you could try to just move there and find a job once you arrive. One young woman went backpacking through Asia; once she was there, she lobbied to find a position as an English teacher, and now has a well-paid job in Taiwan.

There are also websites that actively recruit people for overseas jobs. Or if you have skills that easily translate to freelance, such as home construction, cleaning, writing, or sales, you can prepare, plan, and move over to start your own business. Even if you can't find a position that way, join the forums on that site, and actively seek advice from those who are already there. You can also seek out pen pals and online friendships with people from these countries to get inside information and have contacts when you get there.

What Should I Watch For?

An overseas job is not a cakewalk. You'll have barriers; you may run into prejudice because of your nationality or accent (a real shock for most Americans!), and you will almost certainly find cultural differences in your new home. But you should be especially careful of the following:

  • High unemployment in your chosen country; this can make you unable to get a job, or it can lead to hard feelings against you from natives who can't get a job.
  • Know all the risks of the country you're moving to. Dubai, though it's a Middle Eastern city, is not too dangerous; Kuwait, on the other hand, may carry risks, and should carry a commensurately more generous salary, possibly tax-free.
  • Before you move, find out everything you can about your destination country, and especially body language and customs. For instance, in Muslim countries showing the soles of your feet or shoes is about the same as holding up your middle finger is in America.

How Can I Remove Barriers?

Though there will be barriers in your new country, you can take steps to minimize or even remove them.

  1. Get a guest worker's Visa from your local embassy for the country you're visiting, and stay scrupulously inside the law. In certain situations, you'll be exempt from needing one of these: if you're working for the US government or for a US-based country, for instance.
  2. If possible, line up a job first, or at least have some professional contacts in your destination country.
  3. Do your homework on what careers are valuable there, and get a degree to line yourself up for that kind of position.
  4. Use the Peace Corps as a jumping-off point.
  5. Learn the language for that country before you go, and practice as much as possible when you're there.
  6. Find out the exchange rate and cost of living in that country, add a little if the average comfort level is lower than that of America, and save at least three months worth of living expenses before you go; figure in travel expenses as well.

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