How to Do an International Job Search

By: Beth Brindle

Beginning Your International Job Search

First, define your objectives as clearly and specifically as you can, beginning with the reason for your international job search. Are you looking for a position in a certain field, no matter where on the map it takes you, or do you have your heart set on a particular country or region, regardless of the work available there [source: University of Texas at Austin]?

If you want to find a position in your current field, you may already know who the biggest international employers are, as well as what sorts of opportunities exist overseas, but you'll still want to carefully define the position you're looking for. The job titles in other countries may or may not be the same as they are in the states, so be sure to consider not just the name of the position but also the job description, responsibilities, qualifications and situation in an employer's org chart (e.g., management vs. entry level; marketing vs. operations).


To the extent that you can, make a list of five countries or regions that you would consider living in [source: University of Texas at Austin]. Would you take a job in the Middle East? Do you hope to stay in Europe, South America or Asia? Fortunately, the Web makes it easy to research the major employers in your field and find out where their locations are; in many cases, you can even find job openings by country on many company's corporate Web sites.

If you know what region you hope to move to but aren't sure what kind of work you'll be able to find there, begin by taking a realistic inventory of your skills and qualifications. What sorts of job would you apply for back home? What types of opportunities are likely to be available in your target destination? Is it a tourist area, a research hub, a manufacturing center or an agricultural region? Is your heart set on Spain, or would Portugal be equally acceptable?

You may feel reluctant to narrow your choices too much, too soon (after all, isn't the notion of endless possibilities one of the attractions of landing an international job?), but the more specific you can be, the easier it will be to begin your search. You can always expand your parameters as your search progresses.

Now that you've started to zero in on the kind of job you want and your preferred destination, it's time to see what's out there.