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Applying for an overseas job requires preparation and diligence

Finding work overseas can be a great experience to get out and see the world and build your resume, but it isn’t as simple as applying for a job in the USA. Among other things, you need a work visa, relocation assistance, and you need to set yourself apart from the other applicants. Here is some expert advice when thinking about an overseas job, what to know and do before you apply.


Do your research

So you want to work overseas, living in another culture making good money tax free is very appealing. But how much do you really know? This is not the USA, you need to get some basic questions answered before embarking on your adventure. What is the culture like? How different is it from home? Will my spouse be able to work? What is the schooling system like? What are the tax implications? Is it a safe country? Will there be other Americans? What about health care or what if I get seriously ill? What if there is a death? Do your research and find out these answers beforehand.

Do highlight your strengths

When you are applying for an overseas role, you will be chosen if you are the best of the best; if you have some skill that the host country needs or can’t find in their home grown talent pool. Be critical of your experience, pick out experiences that you are proud of, that are unique. And make sure they are emphasized in your resume.

Do be patient

Applying for an overseas job is not as simple as sending in your resume. There are a multitude of matters that need to be factored in: immigration and visas, relocation assistance, overseas interviews, background and security checks, and the long list goes on. All of these take time, typically an overseas position will take twice as long to complete as a domestic role, so patience is key.

Do be prepared

If you are going to interview for an overseas position, you need to be prepared both mentally and physically for the change. Mentally start telling family and friends that you are thinking of moving. You don’t want to spring such news on them at the last minute. Telling loved ones that you are thinking of moving will make the transition easier when it happens. Physically you need to be prepared also. Will you sell your home? What about your belongings, will you store them? Will you sell them? The more that you are prepared the better your interviews will be.

Do accept change

Most people who are considering overseas jobs are mid career. They are somewhat settled in their life, family, home, friends, church, etc. If you are looking at an overseas role just for the tax free money, you will be doing yourself more harm than good. Accept the fact that everything that you know now will be different: the food, the weather, the clothing, the language, the faith, everything will be a shock to your system. If you are prepared for such a drastic sensory explosion, your overseas adventure will be a lot more successful.


Do not be a typical American

Lets be honest, Americans have a reputation for being inward looking; as being somewhat self absorbed. I have had candidates ask, “How many McDonalds are there?” in the first interview. If you are applying for an overseas role, you need to exhibit your willingness to look outside of your comfort zone. There will be the initial prejudice against Americans, so you need to prove to the hiring company that you are different.

Do not assume anything

The job you are applying for will be vastly different from the job you have now. The best way to have a successful interview and job transition is if you assume nothing about the position or the location. The more questions you ask, the more research you do, the better interview you will have.

Do not be intimidated

I have found that some companies can be brash and forceful at the beginning of an interview process. Do not let them control the agenda. Some companies purposely come across pushy and rude to filter tire kickers. You need to let their negative attitude slide off your back and be diplomatic, but also forceful in getting your questions answered.

Do not be a pest

The process can be very time consuming and it will be very natural for you to think you are no longer in the running. Never assume anything. Politely send the company emails asking where you stand in the hiring process. Be professional with your queries, but don’t be a pest.

Do not think its just about the money

Working overseas can be a wonderful personal experience. What you are about to embark upon is way more than just another job; it’s a whole lifestyle change. It cannot be stressed enough that the move overseas can not be just about the money. Overseas work is an adventure and you need to approach the job as such.

Jumping cartoon

Overseas work is a great way to see the world and expand your resume. Don’t be unprepared and realize that you need to be at the top of your game so that the employer knows you are the one for the job. Take this advice in mind as you are applying to help you in the process.

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Photo Credits: 01 (340) by Flickr: Victor1558; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas -

John FrancisPresident

21 years recruitment and assessment experience, president and managing partner of ACareerJob and Theonera Inc., Human Resource professional association member....

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