If you want to widen your job opportunities or just fancy a change of scene , you could be looking to travel in search of employment. Wherever it is you are moving to, you will need to do your homework.
The main routes to working overseas are:
- applying directly to work in an overseas company.
- experience in a work-abroad programs.
Some graduate training programs include an international placement or training session, providing a taste of life abroad while taking the pressure off organizing things from scratch. If you are moving abroad by yourself, then it's important to try and establish some links out there before you move. Ask your employer to put you in touch with the people you'll be working with as well as some social/leisure groups so that you have a social base to start mixing with upon arrival. There are also several work-abroad schemes that provide short-term employment.
Things to consider
There is no generic style of overseas working practices. For example, the working hours and office culture in Asia tend to be very different from Europe and North America. Local attitudes to work and efficiency vary considerably too. Your careers service should be able to supply you with some alumni contacts, or you could ask prospective employers to put you in contact with someone in a similar situation so that they can answer your questions.
Your degree will not necessarily carry the same value, or status, in some countries countries. You may need to explain to potential employers how your A level grades or Leaving Certificate results directly compare with:
- The International Baccalaureate, a program widely respected in Europe and which grew out of international schools' efforts to establish a common curriculum and university entry credential for geographically mobile students.
- The Scholastic Assessment Tests (SATS) the US university entry-level requirements.
Tailoring job applications
Different countries have different application methods. In Malaysia and the UK or Europe, most employers will expect you to apply with a covering letter and CV, or an online application if stated. A covering letter should be a page long while a CV shouldn't be longer than two. In some companies however, the standard method of application is a resume a one-page document chronicling relevant employment history and academic achievements. There are numerous websites out there offering help on putting together a resume or alternative applications, and your careers service should have some useful resources on hand.
It can be tricky to open a bank account at the best of times, and it is especially difficult if you have just moved. For this reason, it is useful to get a letter of introduction from your employer with your start date and social insurance number or equivalent, as you may not always have proof of address so soon after moving. Documents that may be useful when going to open a bank account are your passport, driver's license, tenancy agreement or e-mail correspondence with a landlord/agency, birth certificate, marriage certificate and a reference from your present bank.
- Think through your options.
- Have some idea of where you will be working and opt for somewhere to live that doesn't require a huge commute.
- Do plenty of research.
- Ask people how they found the city or company you wish to work for. Word of mouth is a powerful recommendation.