Working in another country can be one of the highlights of your career. Preparation can make all the difference, use these tips as your guide.

Working in another country can be one of the highlights of your career. You learn the language like a native, see the countryside as no tourist can, and immerse yourself in the culture of the land. But, launching a career abroad can also seem a little scary. Preparation can make the difference between an easy transition and disappointment when you arrive. Put your fears aside, and use these tips to plan for a career abroad.

  1. Find a country.

This seems easy, but takes into account things such as your preferences. Perhaps you are drawn to the exotic atmosphere of an Asian country, or maybe you have always wanted to live in Europe. Make a list of those countries or areas of the world that draw you in and make you want to visit. If you get a job there, you’ll have time to explore the surrounding country. Narrow the choices to particular cities or regions.

Antwerp, Germany

Be realistic. Sometimes finding a career abroad is a matter of finding available jobs and moving to that country. You may find that factors such as your skill set or a country’s requirements and benefits may lead you to a particular country rather than another.

  1. Do your research.

Learn about the requirements for working in your chosen location. Obtain all the official information you can and start ensuring that you have all required forms and information, such as a copy of your birth certificate, ready. In addition it pays off to understand the culture before you go and what you’re getting yourself into.

Each country has requirements for work visas, permits, and length of stays. Sometimes you will be required to leave the country and re-enter to keep the visa active. You may need to have at least a rudimentary familiarity of the language before you apply for a job.

Learn the religious and cultural customs of your chosen country.

What is your budget? You may be lucky and find a U.S. company with offices abroad looking for someone just like you to send to another country, but the chances are, you’ll be paying upfront costs yourself, such as airfare, passport fees, application fees for working permits and visas, and any other transportation fees to get you to your new home and to work on day one. Don’t forget to include rent. Downsize living expectations if necessary.

  1. Be honest about your skill set, and look for any workable skill you may have, even that as a greeter at an event.

Use the Internet to search for jobs. There are job resources out there, and companies who will help you find a job – some for a fee.

If you are young and carefree, you can always get your foot in the door with a backpack and sleeping bag, and then go from job to job as you find your way around.

  1. Network!

Whether introvert or extrovert, it’s time to reach out to family and friends and to your social network. Put out the word that you are looking for a job in a particular country, and ask for help. Someone in your network of friends or family may know someone else who knows someone in the country you’ve selected, and who is willing to help you learn the ropes.

  1. Learn the language.

Many people in other countries do speak English, but to travel the country and to find a job, having a conversational familiarity with the native tongue is best. You can learn the language in local community colleges, language schools both physical and online, by purchasing DVD courses or online courses, or even by installing an application on your smartphone.

plan-a-career-abroad

Have fun with the process! There is nothing so exciting as to reach for a dream and succeed. Make the search itself a fun task. Practice your language skills on friends and family, and in short, relax and enjoy the process. The preparation can be a rewarding part of the goal.

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    About Doug Cunnington