How to Do an International Job Search

By: Beth Brindle

International Job Search Tips

As you continue to do your research, be sure to find out what types of documentation you'll need to enter the country (and leave again!).
As you continue to do your research, be sure to find out what types of documentation you'll need to enter the country (and leave again!).

Now that we've covered the basics, here are a few tips to keep in mind throughout the job search process.

Know what's important --This goes for you personally, as well as for the employers you hope to impress. Are you more concerned about career development or a new cultural experience? Are foreign language skills required, or can you conduct business (and life!) in English? Some jobseekers expect international employers to be wowed by their knowledge of the local language, but unless you're applying to be a translator or an interpreter, it's usually your work experience, not your bilingual skills, that companies are after.


Know the requirements -- What documentation will you need to enter the country (and leave again)? Is your passport up to date? When does it expire? Do you need any additional licenses or certifications to conduct business in your country of choice? What about immunizations or medical records? What sort of references or background checks might your new employer require?

Do your research -- As with any job search, international or otherwise, you'll want to find out everything you can about the companies you're targeting, certainly before you interview and preferably even before you submit your application. With an international job search, you have the additional task of researching the country where you plan to move. How do average salaries and housing expenses compare to those back home? Are there cultural differences that may affect you? Can you expect your employer to provide health insurance and paid vacation?

Give yourself plenty of time --Ideally, you will have learned everything you possibly can about the country you want to move to and the industry you hope to work in before you ever pull up your first international job listing. No matter what stage of the job search process you're in, remember to allow plenty of time for research, paperwork, and the inevitable paperwork delays, as well as good old fashioned thought and reflection. Better to deal with any unexpected issues while you're still on your home turf so there are no unpleasant snafus or surprises once you step off the plane.

And, finally, remember that an "international" job can take many different forms. If your international job search isn't working out as you had hoped, you might consider seeking employment with a foreign-owned company here in the States with the goal of gaining experience and eventually transferring to a new position overseas. Or consider a position with a U.S. company that offers the opportunity to travel outside the United States. There's more than one way to reach your destination, so consider any opportunity that will help you build your skills while you continue to perfect your international job search.

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More Great Links


  • Association of Americans Resident Overseas. "6.32 Million Americans Abroad." (Feb. 2, 2012)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Unemployment rates by age, sex, and marital status, seasonally adjusted." Jan. 6, 2012. (Feb. 2, 2012)
  • "Emigration." (Feb. 2, 2012)
  • "Understanding the Hidden Job Market." (Feb. 2, 2012)
  • Going Global. "Resume/CVs." (Feb. 2, 2012)
  • Going Global. "Work Permits/Visas." (Feb. 2, 2012)
  • Going Global Blog. "Five Steps to Start Your Overseas Job Search." Sept. 1, 2011. (Feb. 2, 2012)
  • Morgan, Diane. "Five First Steps To Finding A Job Abroad." Sept. 25, 2009. (Feb. 2, 2012)
  • University of Texas at Austin. "Common Myths About The International Job Market." (Feb. 2, 2012)
  • University of Texas at Austin. "Designing Your International Plan." Liberal Arts Career Services. (Feb. 2, 2012)