Career Advice

How to Successfully Apply to an International Job

Smiling friends walking through colorful town while shopping during vacation

If your dream is to travel and experience other countries, or you simply want to broaden your corporate experience, an overseas job may be the opportunity you’ve been looking for.

Due to the robust job market, an increasing number of people are packing their bags for an adventure abroad. According to a survey from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), 51 percent of respondents from the U.S. said they would consider working abroad, a 16 percent increase from 2014. 

In particular, Americans under the age of 30 and those with a master’s or doctoral degree are more willing to travel abroad for a job. 

Applying for an international job has its own set of unique challenges, including cultural barriers, complicated paperwork, and stiff competition. Use these tips to apply for the international job of your dreams and get one step closer to packing your bags.

Choose Wisely

There are job opportunities everywhere, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every country is the right fit for the industry in which you are applying. Do your research to ensure there’s a healthy job market within your respective industry in the country of your choice. 

Do so with Glassdoor, which offers user-generated information about the labor market, average salaries, and the cost of living in cities and countries worldwide to inform your decision.

To best understand the market, make sure you can answer the following questions: 

  • How many jobs are available?
  • What’s the average salary?
  • What’s the cost of living?

Make Yourself Marketable to International Recruiters

When applying for a job that’s open to applicants across all continents, you may come up against more competition than usual. You’re not only competing with applicants in one country, but with job seekers around the world.

This is why it’s critical to make yourself more marketable to international recruiters and employers. Here are a few ways to stand out:

  • Demonstrate leadership experience: Leadership is a critical characteristic that companies of all types look for. Focus on earning that experience now by spearheading a new initiative or taking on added responsibility in your current role. Volunteering to manage your company’s internship program, for example, is a great way to demonstrate that you can lead and manage a team of individuals.
  • Join a professional association: Almost every industry has a professional association, in which members meet for networking events, educational seminars and more. Joining a professional association comes with many advantages—most importantly networking. Forming relationships with people within your industry both domestically and abroad can go a long way in making you more marketable to employers.

Include these details on your resume so potential employers can see the work you’ve done, outside of simply excelling in your career.

Customize Your Application and/or Resume

Customization is key when filling out any job application and ensures that your resume stands out in a pile of local and international candidates. The information you include in your application will largely depend on the needs of the employer, but generally speaking you should personalize the following areas with keywords and skills that are most relevant to the job which you’re applying:

  • Summary/Personal Statement
  • Education
  • Employment history
  • Skills, certifications, and credentials

Your personal statement is where you can really shine. Think of it as your elevator pitch. In addition to summarizing your qualifications, experience and accomplishments, take the opportunity to explain why you’re the standout candidate for the job, including why you want to live abroad. 

Understand the Visa Process

While the thought of working abroad is a dream, the actual process of getting there can be more like a nightmare if you’re not prepared. Before you start applying to international jobs, it’s important that you understand the ins and outs of the employment visa process. 

Visit the U.S. Department of State’s website to get more information about how to obtain a temporary work visa. Don’t forget to visit the visa website of the country you want to work in to be sure you’re clear on requirements, timing, applications and more.

Apply for Your First International Job

If you’re ready to take your career abroad, use the tips and tricks apply to the international job of your dreams. While the process may be similar, the way you position yourself as the best fit for the job is even more important. Don’t forget to get familiar with the regions where you want to work to make sure the location is also a good fit for you.

 

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