Finding a job abroad is not as impossible as you might think. You just need to prepare yourself better. Read my guide about the thing you need to know about finding a job abroad below…
When you decided that you wanted to continue your study abroad, surely you had some end goals in mind.
Most likely, one of the goals was to be able to find a job in your host country and get working abroad experience, perhaps even a long and prosperous international career working in a global team.
But, like many other things in life, it will not come easy. So, what is the best way to find a job abroad as an international student?
When you study abroad, there are plenty of things you have to do. Adjusting to a new place and new culture which is completely different than yours, learning a new language (if you study in a non-English speaking country), adjusting to the foods, trying to make new friends from all over the globe, and so on.
You will also have to adapt to the changes in your lifestyle. Before, in your hometown, you were surrounded by your friends and family, who could help you whenever you needed. Now you need to be more independent, alone in a foreign country.
Then there’s the school and all of its responsibilities. Between attending classes, finishing assignments, working on group projects, and attending language courses if you study in a non-English speaking country while trying to enjoy and explore the city and the countries, most likely you won’t have time and energy to strategize on your next move after you finish your study. Just trying to survive and get by day by day.
But if you want to try to find a job there, you need to start working on it, as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be. Finding a job in a foreign country is not easy.
It’s highly competitive, as you have to compete with the local talents and other international students.
Therefore, you need to have an amazing level of skills, knowledge, and expertise that sets you apart from your competitor, an outstanding USP (unique selling propositions) that will convince your future employers to hire a foreigner like you and go through the grueling, time-consuming and most likely expensive process of preparing your paperwork so that you can work legally.
Moreover, you will need to demonstrate your capability to adapt to a work environment that is completely different than the one back home.
But it doesn’t mean that working abroad after you finish your study as an international student is impossible. It is completely the opposite. You just need to be smart about it and prepare yourself, as soon as possible.
Here are some of the best ways to find a job abroad :
1. Start Looking Since the Beginning of Your Study
Start your job search early. For example, if your study abroad program is a two years Master’s program or Graduate School, start roughly one year before you graduate.
If your program is less than that, start earlier, so that you are able to allocate at least one year to try to look for a job. Don’t wait until after graduation to look for a job.
Usually, your study visa will only cover the amount of time needed to finish your study. Some countries even give a visa validity period according to the length of the program, leaving you with no extra time to repeat a semester or remedial classes in the summer holidays if you somehow failed during your study.
Other countries will give you another visa to replace your student visas which enables you to stay in their country for a certain period of time after graduation, such as a Graduate Route Visa in the United Kingdom, or Permesso Ricerca Lavoro (Residence Permit While Looking for a Job) in Italy.
Thus, you need to find a job before the visa expires.
The sooner you start your search, the bigger your chance to find a job before your student visa replacement expired.
You can start at your university. Usually, they will have boards of announcements, whether physically hung around campus, or could be accessed online on the college’s website, or both.
You can also try to attend as many campus and professional events as you could and meet with the alumni and the professionals, and get their advice in career, writing a great resume, job interview tips, and so on.
Don’t forget to check the career counseling center of your university. They can provide you with services like job opening information, career counseling such as advice on making Curriculum Vitae (CV) and cover letters according to the country’s standard, preparing you for interviews and other selection processes, and so on.
They can even give you a few helpful introductions to some of the notable alumni who are now already in top-level management.
From there, you can follow up and ask them if they would have a chat with you over coffee or whatever is most convenient for them.
Who knows, something may come up from those meetings. The best result, you could end up with a job, and at the very least, you’ll build a network.
2. Get a Part-Time Job or Volunteers in Projects
Be proactive and ask your professors if they have projects, inside or outside the university, that you could help out with. The job inside the campus is usually to become a teaching assistant, research assistant, class tutor, etc. It can be a paid job or a volunteer job.
Enroll in an internship or volunteer in a program related to your industry or study field. Participate in summer classes, leadership organizations, and the like of it. Be active and consistent.
Enter competitions, whether held by your university, private companies, industry associations, and so on, at local or even on a national and international level.
Submit your work to local magazines or publications related to your fields, such as your reviews about some products or certain designs. Ask if there’s a possibility for you to do some volunteering, part-time job, or internship with them.
3. Grow Your Network, Anywhere and Everywhere…Literally
According to this article on LinkedIn, referrals are a powerful job search tool and can increase the odds that your application will be seen by a recruiter or hiring manager, and ultimately give you a boost in the hiring process.
As an international student studying in a foreign country, you might not have a large network, and if you don’t do anything to change it, that will be a problem.
When you contact the alumni, attend professional events, seek advice from your college’s career counseling services, and actively look for a part-time job or volunteering project, you will expand your network.
But don’t neglect the connection you make with people you met in informal settings such as your neighbors and friends you make along the way. Your relationship with them may be informal, but it could grow into a professional relationship too.
I studied abroad in Italy and had a job after I finished my study through a referral from my personal connection. My daughter had a friend she loved to have a playdate with. Usually, in the playdate, it was just the girls, me, and the girl’s mom.
Over time, I got to know the father too and we talked every now and then, exchanging pleasantries and bits of information about our lives and careers. When he needed someone to fill a position in his office, he thought I was a great fit and offered me the job.
Although I had to follow the entire recruitment process, having a referral from a high-level executive who brought my CV and his personal recommendation to his company’s HR by himself, certainly boost my possibility of getting seen, compared to applying to their company’s website along with hundreds of other people.
Surely you don’t need to look at every people you have a relation with as a potential job offeror or treat them as such by keep asking them if they know anyone hiring.
Just share information about you and your educational and career background in a naturally flowing conversation. Who knows, your dream job might come from a very unexpected place or person!
4. Connect With Your Embassy or Your Government Representatives
Contact your embassy and consulate general, or government representative body such as your country’s Investment Coordinating Board or Trade and Promotion Center, and ask if they have an internship program for students.
One of the most essential roles of embassies and other government-related bodies is to build, establish, and maintain relationships with the host country.
Therefore, they usually held cultural events, and investment/economic gatherings and participated in exhibitions for industries such as food, textiles, commodities, and so on, to boost the export-import level.
Find information about their activities and events and ask if there’s a possibility for you to volunteer or work part-time in the activities and events that matched your studies and interests. Even if you could only participate, you’ll gain new experience, knowledge, and insights from it.
Plus, you are establishing networks with them and being on their radar. Next time, when they need someone with your expertise, they might hire you.
During my study here in Italy, I worked freelance by doing market briefs and market intelligence analysis for my government. Many other Indonesian students were also doing some work for our government representative bodies.
Some of them even got hired for permanent positions. This demonstrates that working abroad is not limited to only working for local companies or international companies. You could also work for your own government too.
5. Customize your CV and Application Letter
Every country/ region has its own format. In certain countries, it’s uncommon to put on your pictures, or gender. marital status and other personal things. It’s even illegal in some countries. But in some others, it’s expected, even mandatory.
Therefore, adjusting your CV and application letter format is crucial. See if an application letter is even needed at all. If the application/cover letter is required and you want to make a good impression, you have to take the trouble to research the company and the key person and create a customized cover letter for each of them.
The other thing you need to prepare is your portfolio. In some countries, and in some industries, a portfolio of your work is mandatory.
But even if they are not, having all your previous work documented clearly and nicely will be an added value that could increase your chance of getting hired.
6. Post Your Resume Directly to The Hiring Managers
Make a list of 10-20 companies you want to work for, and in what department you thought will be a perfect fit for you, and find out the name of the head of that department. You could also use Linkedin filtered choice by company and job title, then mail your resume to them.
Remember, these people are not recruiters, they didn’t post a job for you to apply to. They are people who have the power and authority to hire you. Most importantly, you reach out to them directly. So, you need to make sure you presented yourself in the best way possible.
The worst thing that could happen is they might ignore your application. But you can always hope they will take a look at your application, make some notes and reviews, and pass them on to the HR department to keep and follow up.
7. Research as Many Job Descriptions for Your Target Job Title as You Can and Apply!!
After you know how to format your CV based on the country’s standard, now you need to adjust the content of your CV as well. Read carefully the job descriptions and requirements and adjust your CV to highlight the most suitable/ match parts of your work experiences with the job’s requirements.
Don’t just dump your past experiences onto your resume. It’s not about what you did in the past. It’s about what your future employers need and what they were looking for. Try to translate your past experiences in the best way to respond to that needs.
After reading large numbers of job announcements, you’ll start to see trends in requirements and qualifications. Make sure your resumé speaks to those trends, as in you have the qualifications needed but not many people have them yet.
If you will need more education in order to achieve that, then do it. Perhaps you’ll need a certification to become a Certified Internal Auditor, CAD Specialist et cetera.
Don’t ever think you are too old to go back to school and study. There are plenty of adult students and student moms and dads out there who went back to school.
But, keep in mind that you need to do it for the right reasons. Weigh in the pros and cons of going back to school. Most importantly, assess yourself and your situation.
Don’t waste your time and money pursuing more education just because you want to keep yourself busy and feel productive.
If the job description does not mention a Master’s degree or a certification for your target job title, don’t bother getting one if your sole purpose of pursuing it is to improve your chances of getting your job.
But if going back to school is something that you always wanted to do, or you think will be beneficial for your future endeavor but still have doubts, check out my free roadmap here. Hopefully, it can help you to decide whether or not going back to school is the right move for you.
8. Practice Your Interview Skills
If a company called you for an interview, congratulations!!!because you’ve passed the administrative selection process and managed to stand out through the piles of applications.
Don’t waste this opportunity and practice, so that you can perform well and impress your interviewer, with getting the job as the end goal.
You could ask the career counseling services on your campus to help you practice for the interview. Also, practice your professional interactions through your meeting with the alumni, or attending professional events, pay attention to how they interacted with you.
Observe and make mental notes, what kind of questions are they used to asking when it comes to having a conversation about your educational background? Your past working experiences? Your skill set? and so on.
Think about which part interests them the most and why? Was it because it says a lot about you and your abilities? Or your personalities, as you could sense they wanted to know if you are a team player or not?
Put those insights into consideration. From the questions they asked, prepare the best way to answer them. Most likely it will become useful during your interview, because after all, some of the networking you did, in an informal way, was also an interview.
If you impress them, even though they don’t have any opening, for now, they will remember you and recommend you by the time their work have an opening/new job vacancy suitable for you, or refers you to someone else who is looking.
You can also learn interview skills and best practices by reading books about how to ace a job interview or watching Youtube channels about this topic.
9. Be Proactive
I have to admit that, for the first couple of years of my career, I didn’t know you can actually call or email HR’s email address and phone numbers written in the job vacancy advertisement.
And don’t be reluctant to contact them either. If you have something more to ask regarding the job position, you could contact them. Introduce yourself and prepare your questions beforehand so that you don’t annoy them by calling them again and again.
When you do it politely and correctly, most likely they will remember you and appreciate your interest in the job and their company.
If you managed to get called for the interview and they told you they’ll get back to you in a week, don’t hesitate to contact them if you don’t hear anything after a week.
Even if it is a “No”, you could politely email them and ask them to elaborate more (if they didn’t explain much before or if the reasons were not clear enough for you).
Do not hesitate to do that because the feedback will be useful for you, you can learn from it by not repeating the same mistakes in your future job interviews.
10. Be Tenacious, Don’t Give Up Easily.
It goes without saying, no pain no gain. Send your resume as much as you can. Don’t despair if you don’t hear anything soon.
Like many other good things in life, it takes time and patience, as well as hard work and grit, for you to finally get what you want, to finally be where you want to be.
You may need to send hundreds of resumes before you manage to get a job. You’ll also need to develop a thick skin. Don’t be upset if you don’t hear anything from the companies you applied to.
You are not alone. Millions of people around the globe experienced the same thing. Hundreds, sometimes even thousands applied to the exact same job that you applied to. I know it’s cliché, but if one door closes, another 100 opens.
Besides, the number of rejections you received didn’t matter. In the end, you’ll only need one who believes in you, and that’s enough!!! It’s ok to feel down and unmotivated once in a while. Give yourself some rest, relax a little and do something that makes you happy.
After you are rejuvenated, start all over again with the new energy. Be positive, keep your spirit high, and never stop believing in yourself, and what you are capable of.
Over To You…
Finding a job after finishing your study abroad is not a walk in the park. As a foreigner, you’ll face difficulties that will be disadvantages for you, compared to the locals. But it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. You need to put on a game plan in order to get yourself a job as soon as you finish your study.
You need to start looking as soon as possible, even since the beginning of your study abroad. Get an internship or be involved in volunteer projects.
Expand your network, contact your college’s alumni, join student organizations, get in touch with your embassy and your government’s representative institution in your host country, and so on.
Don’t forget to work on your CV and application letter. Adjust them accordingly. Make sure they comply with the rules and regulations there. Research and apply to as many jobs as you can, and send them directly to the hiring managers.
Prepare yourself for the recruitment process. Practice your interview skills, be proactive, and don’t just sit and wait for something to happen. Keep on working, it will take some time for you to finally get what you want, and be patient. Don’t forget to keep positive and motivated. Your dream job is waiting for you!!!
Have you tried to find a job abroad? How was it for you? Did you manage to get one? Would you mind sharing with us your experiences? Leave a comment down below! It surely will be useful for us.
Want to keep this post and read them later? Pin it and share them on your social media, really appreciate it.
Thanks so much and till next time !!!