At AIM Overseas, we’ve helped thousands of university students create lifelong memories while studying overseas. Amazingly, many of our past participants are now working all over the globe in fields including English language teaching, international security, corporate finance, and conservation, just to name a few.
Read on to find out their tips for securing work overseas.
BEFORE YOU SEARCH
STEP ONE: Explore what you love
Moving to a new environment is hard, but it can be easier if you love what you are doing there (and you love the culture)! Take some time before you begin your search to find what career area and lifestyles you enjoy so that the change isn’t quite as intense when you arrive.
You could do this by:
- Getting involved in university or community groups
- Studying your passions in your free time
- Volunteering for events and organisations
- Attending cultural activities like film festivals, language exchanges, or markets
STEP TWO: Boost your resume with an overseas experience
If you have the opportunity to spend time working or living in a different country, grab it with both hands. An overseas experience will show employers that you are adaptable, have experience working with other cultures, and are willing to challenge yourself. It can also show that you have language or practical skills that will give you a competitive advantage!
Exposing yourself to a foreign culture over short periods of time will give you the opportunity to test different jobs and places before making a commitment. It might even lead to a more worthwhile opportunity that you never considered!
We don’t mean to brag, but a short-term academic program with AIM Overseas ticks all of these boxes. Our programs can also help you knock off a uni subject while overseas. This means that you already have a head-start when looking for a job, and many connections to start with!
WHEN YOU APPLY FOR A JOB
STEP THREE: Know what to expect
Prepare yourself for anything that could be a barrier to your success in a new country when looking for a position. Important things to consider include: VISA restrictions, language barriers, and different cultural expectations.
Smarttraveller.gov.au is a great first resource to find out this information. This website offers the ability to subscribe to relevant travel advice so you know if the country’s situation changes. Other good ways to research are:
- Joining Facebook groups that are specifically for foreigners living in a certain country
- Talking with locals
- Reading blogs
You’ll also need to think about localising your resume before sending it out. Find out what employers in different countries are looking for in terms of language, structure and local experience. Then, adapt your resume!
STEP FOUR: Think about what makes you stand out
You already have many attributes that will make you a unique job applicant overseas, but you might not realise it yet! For example, having English as a mother tongue is a huge asset for companies who are looking for English-speaking customers. If you are a native English speaker, find out who those companies are before you begin applying for positions.
Similarly, your educational experience has most likely given you very specific expertise. This knowledge may be needed in countries or cities you haven’t already considered. Don’t limit yourself if you don’t have a particular place in mind already! Instead, take some time to see where the opportunities are and where your skills will be most valued.
ONCE YOU’VE MADE IT OVERSEAS
STEP FIVE: Put in the effort to improve your foreign language skills
One thing that can impact your chances of feeling comfortable in a new country and scoring a job is a lack of language skills. Learning a foreign language can also help you learn about a new culture intimately, which should help you feel more comfortable in your new home.
To set yourself up for success, it’s important to find a method of language learning that you enjoy, and to not be afraid to make a fool of yourself. To boost your skills, consider:
- Enrolling in a language class
- Listening to foreign music
- Watching Netflix in another language or with foreign subtitles, or
- Having conversations with native speakers
STEP SIX: Be proactive
There is a lot of competition out there, and sometimes you’ll have to create your own opportunities. One thing you can try is sending an email to companies who haven’t advertised a position to show your true passion for the work they do.
Networking with new people is a key part of being proactive. Be kind and genuine with all the people you meet, whether they are friends, family, lecturers, or colleagues. Be inquisitive and open about what excites you too, because you never know where in the world your relationships can lead you. A new contact may know someone who is looking for an employee just like you!
STEP SEVEN: Be patient with yourself
Living and finding work overseas can be as challenging as it is empowering. Your job search might leave you feeling tired, unmotivated and silly at times, but don’t give up! If you stick at it, you’ll see the benefits in no time.
It’s important to realise that you aren’t expected to become a local overnight. You also might not find a position right away. Give yourself time and understanding, and be actively curious about the things that seem strange to you. If you do this, you’ll be able to welcome the challenges you are facing as opportunities to grow and learn.
Photos by Steph Haber (@stephhabes) and Riley Scott. Thanks girls!
Read about the real-life experience of someone who took the leap to live and study overseas HERE. Our very own Veronica moved from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney in 2014, and we’re so glad she did!
Hello! I'm Taylor, a Marketing Coordinator here at AIM Overseas. What I also am is a mediocre salsa dancing amateur, a lover of modern art, and someone who falls over a lot. Studying overseas in Germany for a year in 2015 changed my life for the better.... so much so that I did it again for three months in Spain after I graduated two years later. I'm passionate about helping students get overseas during their degree, as well as encouraging anyone to dive out of their comfort zone to travel!