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How to look for new job opportunities abroad

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 17 Mar 2023

Engineering jobs abroad

Job searching isn’t always as simple as you initially think, there are a lot of jobs out there you may just have to branch out to find the one for you. Have you been thinking about looking further afield for your next role? Maybe across the country or in a whole new one altogether? 

Sometimes, we want a little something extra from our next job opportunity and if you can’t find it here, you can find it in another country. Finding a job abroad isn’t the simplest of tasks, but it can be done with your dedication and determination. Once you’ve decided you want to look for a job abroad, it can feel a bit daunting. There is more than just the job itself to organise, it’s likely you’ll be moving your life to this new place, so you should really take your time to consider this big life change. Once you’ve settled on your decision, this article is all about how you can find your dream job abroad. 

Decide where you want to work

If you don’t know where you want to look for your next job, it can make the search more complex. There are a lot of different places out there, so once you decide on a country or place you want to work, it can narrow down the job search drastically. Not only should you decide on a country, but if it’s a big place, decide on the region you want to live and work in. Again, this can help narrow down the search and save a lot of time. 

If there are multiple places you’re considering, write a list and take some time to check them. You want to be somewhere you’ll be happy, a place that suits your current lifestyle (unless that isn’t a factor) and a place that can provide the type of job you are looking for. 

Once you’ve decided on your destination, take some time to research and visit that place. If time and money isn’t a factor, it’s probably a good idea to plan a short-term visit to that country and see if you like it. It’s one thing to want to move somewhere new on paper, but it can feel a lot different once you get there and experience the place. It’s a big decision, so don’t rush into anything without careful consideration. You can always move back or make another change, but these kinds of changes can be expensive, so it can be best to test the waters. 

What job is it you’re looking for?

Much like any other job search, it’s important to know what kind of role you want before you begin. This can save you time, energy, and money. Have a think about where you want to go in your career. How will this step help you move forward and what is the plan for your career development once you get there?

They may seem like big and scary questions to answer, but it’s important to think about them. You don’t have to have all the answers straight away. Not everyone has a career plan that’s set-in stone, some like to see where their jobs take them and move freely when they feel it’s right to do so. It’s your career, take the steps necessary to ensure you’re making the right decision for you. 

  • Are you looking for a specific company to work for?
  • How will this company help you with your career development?
  • What area of expertise do you want to work in?

All relevant questions to help you figure out what you want to be doing in this new adventure. It doesn’t even have to be similar to the job you currently have. Sometimes, one big change provokes another. 

Have you considered internal transfers?

Are you looking for a change of scenery but like working for your current employer? A lot of companies have other branches in different countries, so is it worth asking your current manager or HR director what opportunities there may be to transfer within your company? Not all change is driven because of a bad employer, some individuals may just want a change for various reasons. Whether that be culturally or a change of scenery, it might be worth the ask!

What have you got to lose? This shows dedication to your employer and it’s likely they’ll be happy to help, if they can. If not possible, are there international opportunities with past employers? One of the points to having a strong network is to use it when you feel the need. 

Use your network

Have you ever worked with anyone that currently works abroad or for a company that offers this kind of opportunity? Your network should be nurtured and grown as your career does. When you meet interesting people at work or events, take the time to have a chat, add them on LinkedIn and share opportunities when appropriate. Hopefully your network will be built of lots of different people you have worked with in the past that could potentially help you. It only takes a minute to ask someone to join your online network and what’s the worst that could happen?

Your network is there to help you when you need it. Look around on LinkedIn, people may be sharing jobs, opportunities and one chance could lead to you finding the job you want. You can find out more about the importance of your network on our careers and advice page. 

Use international job boards

Job boards give you the opportunity to view a wide range of different roles all in one place. You can take advantage of the filters and make sure you are looking for the right thing, it can save a lot of time. UK job boards may not be able to give you the full range of jobs available, but they’re a good place to start. There are loads of companies that are looking for engineers to work abroad, whether that be short-term or long-term vacancies. 

Engineering and Technology Jobs have employers looking to hire in a wide range of countries. Whether that be relocating to Geneva to work with CERN or Antarctica to work for BAS, we’ve partnered with some amazing employers in the past and will continue to do so in the future. However, if we don’t have exactly what you’re looking for, websites like Indeed have country-specific pages that are able to help you find the right job for you. 

Make sure you localise your CV

You probably don’t notice it because it’s what you’re used to, but your CV is great for the country you currently work and live in. However, just because it’s good for your current situation, doesn’t mean it would be a good fit for the country you want to work in. It’s important to pay close attention to their job specs. What are they asking for in a person? Do you have the right skills? Are there language barriers? So many different questions that you’ll have to answer when applying for a job abroad. 

There may also be cultural differences that you should consider when applying for jobs:

  1. What is their recruitment process like?
  2. Typically, how long are their CV’s?
  3. Do they expect a cover letter?
  4. Are you spelling words correctly? - some countries have different spellings for certain words
  5. What are their preferred contact methods?
  6. Is there a big-time difference? - Will you have to interview at inconvenient times of the day?

Questions that can be answered with a bit of research! Important to show that you are making an effort to localise your CV and make it relatable to them. A simple step but something that will be greatly appreciated. 

Are you able to move there?

Most countries will have rules and regulations for working aboard. In some you’ll need specific visas and others may require you to have specific documentation in order to work there. Whichever the case, make sure you understand what you need and the processes before applying for jobs. Some countries may even want you to have this sorted before you start your job search. Be careful and make sure you are following laws at all times. It can be tricky, so get advice if you feel necessary. 

You may also need to take some time to sort out living arrangements which can feel more difficult when not currently living there. This is why it can be a good idea to take a trip there first, to see how you feel about the place and what you need to do to ensure a happy and healthy work-life environment. 

Finding a job abroad is a lengthy process but one that has its rewards. Sometimes it can feel like you’re trapped in one place, limited by the jobs that are on offer close to you. But that’s not the case. There is a whole world of opportunity out there, you just have to look for it. Whether that be through job boards, international recruiters or taking a chance and taking a trip out there, you’ll find the place and the job for you.