Working abroad is a fantastic way to see the world, earn some money, build your career, learn something new, experience another culture and have an unforgettable adventure. I‘ve heard a lot of people tell me that they would absolutely love to have the experience of working abroad, but they just don’t know how to get a job overseas or even where to start. However, working and traveling is not as difficult as you might think.
The internet is an incredibly valuable resource for anyone who wants to work and travel and everything that you need to know to make your vision of working abroad come true is all at your fingertips. It’s simply a question of taking the time to do your research, find an opportunity and make your application. The process of setting up a working abroad opportunity can take a few weeks or months and in the meantime you can be planning your trip, saving your money and packing your bags.
If you want to know how to get a job overseas, the first thing is to choose your destination.
Decide Where you Want to Go
Four years ago when I was 22, I had just finished University and all I wanted to do was travel the world. I read travel blogs and dreamed about wandering through far away cities, meeting new people and immersing myself in a different culture. I didn’t know where I wanted to go, I just knew I wanted to get out there and explore!
I brought home handfuls of brochures from the travel agents about working abroad and my Google history was filled with web pages explaining how to get a job overseas. I considered doing a professional internship in Finland, teaching English in Japan, touring around schools in Italy with an English teaching theatre troupe, Woofing in France and many other options.
However, these were all just ideas and I was only fantasizing about going to these places, not actually putting the plan into action. It wasn’t until I chose something that I could actually get started on making it a reality. I ended up one day pulling out a brochure about working holidays in New Zealand. I’m not sure why exactly I chose that particular option, but it just appealed to me. It was a country with a culture different enough from Canada, yet without a language barrier which would make finding work difficult. Also, I liked Lord of the Rings.
It was only when I choose New Zealand as my destination that I really got things started. Before then, I was aimlessly daydreaming about every destination in the world but I realized that even though I have big plans of seeing the world, I have to take it one country at a time. Once I made my choice, I could start researching the New Zealand working holiday visa, figuring out how to get a job overseas, booking a flight and planning my trip.
If you are looking for ideas of what destination to choose, we have a helpful post that outlines all of the countries that offer working holiday visas.
Decide What You Want to Do
The next step is to think about what you want to do in your chosen destination. Do you want to find a job in your field or will you take any job that you can find just so that you can make the money you need to keep traveling? The more open minded you are when it comes to jobs, the more opportunities you will have to live and work in the places that you want to travel to.
Here’s something to keep in mind – With a bit of research and a lot of time spent applying, it is possible to find a working abroad experience that will be relevant to your field. If you want to come back with something impressive on your resume, this might be the best plan. However, if you want to have fun and be more flexible in your travels, you might want to take a different approach. If you get a working holiday visa and you are working and traveling around your destination for six months or a year, it will serve you well to be quite versatile and flexible with your job options. Keep your eyes open for opportunities and try something new. There are many fun and casual jobs out there for backpackers in hospitality, retail, tourism and agriculture (such as farm work and fruit picking).
When I was in New Zealand I worked as a tour guide at a haunted prison, milked goats on a farm, fund raised for Green Peace and was the hostess of a pub crawl. I didn’t plan these jobs in advance, they were all opportunities that I took at the time and place I was in.
You Already Know How to Job Search
Once you have decided what type of work you are looking for (or whether you will take any work you can find) it’s time to start your job search. The best thing is that if you have already found yourself a few jobs in the past, figuring out how to get a job overseas isn’t that much different. Do your research, craft your CV, find the opportunities that look appealing and send out your applications. However, there are a few things that are different that you will need to take into account.
What’s Different About Getting a Job Overseas?
The Duration of Your Stay – You are not moving to this destination permanently and usually the longest you will be there is six months to a year. Some employers will not want to hire you because of this, as they will want to invest their time training staff that will stick around. It’s up to you how you deal with this, whether you give them the impression you are staying for longer or simply look for employers who are open to hiring travelers.
Living Expenses - It’s important to find out the living expenses of the areas you are considering working abroad in. You might think that wages in an area are extremely high or low, but the corresponding living expenses might mean that you won’t end up with as much cash in your pocket as you might think. Go on forums or social media and ask locals about the average costs of things like rent, food and entertainment.
Taxes - Take into account the tax rate of the country you will be working in and find out how you are taxed when working abroad. You might be able to claim your taxes back, so look into this as well.
So Now You Know How to Get a Job Overseas
The hardest part of figuring out how to get a job overseas is actually making the decision to go for it. Once you have committed to making this dream a reality, the rest involves a lot of hours spent researching, planning and setting up your adventure. It takes some work, but once the plane sets down in a foreign land and you start your adventure, it’s all worth it.