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Overseas Job Hunting Tips from HR & Recruitment Professionals

Overseas job hunting tips

Looking for a job in general can be stressful, and the process can be overwhelming for those searching for jobs overseas. MoveHub spoke with five HR and recruitment professionals to get their tips for finding jobs abroad, and find the difference between international and domestic job searches.

Whether you are moving to Australia for work, or trying your hand at job hunting in the US, read the following tips to make sure all of your bases are covered.

Avoid these seven common CV mistakes when apply for jobs abroad

Job hunting tips for expats: CV/Resume writing
  1. Spelling and grammar mistakes. These are a big pet peeve of most hiring managers, though the odd spelling mistake just reaffirms that we’re all human.

  1. Missing job history. There was a unanimous ‘no’ vote for gaps or inconsistency in career history. If a recruiter has the time they will ask you about it, but make sure there are no gaps. This includes highlighting any education or special courses, or being upfront in an interview about any time away do to personal reasons.

  1. Irrelevant information. If the CV isn’t tailored to the role on the application, this is a big turn off for recruiters. You will most likely have to create different CVs for different roles.

  1. Not attaching your CV. Self explanatory, folks. Gmail has a feature to help rectify this; it displays a reminder if your email mentions an attachment but there is nothing actually attached. Similarly, the ‘Undo Send’ function let’s you cancel an email for up to 30 seconds after pressing send. Helpful for when you accidentally send an unfinished email

  1. Writing a novel and not a CV. Keep it short, concise, in reverse chronological order, and don’t list 30+ responsibilities for each role. Director of RLR Consulting, Ruth Ramsook, also recommends a tidy personal statement and not an essay to keep the reader interested.

  1. Not making your CV your own. If you download a template, make sure that all the irrelevant sections are removed, headings filled in with your own information, and that it is writing in the language of the country you are applying to, e.g. American English for the US, UK English for a role in the UK.

  1. Adding common knowledge skills. If you write Microsoft Word or PowerPoint on a CV nowadays, most employers will already expect you to have those skills, as Consultant Shahla Khan points out. Instead save space and try adding any relevant, truthful advanced skills you may have.

How to start your overseas job search

Now that you know what not to do, take a look at some of the things employers and recruiters want you to do.

How to find a job abroad: job hunting tips for expats
  1. Brush up on your LinkedIn and networking skills. As one of our professionals, Darryl Glover, stated, “only a small percentage of jobs are filled by job boards and 80% are through networking and referrals.” Build up your online reputation; join networks, discussions, post relevant articles and be noticed. It doesn’t hurt to contact current and ex employees at the company to find out more about the company culture and their experience there.

  1. Research companies in your area of expertise in the country you want to move/are moving to, as well as any companies with foreign offices. Your CV should prove that you’ve done your research: tailored to the roles, the company culture, and in the format of the country to which you’re applying.

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of a cover letter. This is what most hiring managers will see first, even before your CV.

  1. Let your personality shine in your CV and in person. Include interesting hobbies outside of work, any volunteering, freelancing, and don’t be afraid to be your (professional) self. Hiring managers want you to have a personality, as well as the abilities to perform well in your role.

  1. Strongly consider moving to or visiting the country beforehand to see the area and interview with the companies you’re interested in. As Career Strategist Poppy Ellis says, “It's an expensive and risk truth, but unless you already work for a company and have the option to relocate for work abroad, few employers are going to consider your application if you're not immediately available for a face to face interview.”

Interviewing for a job abroad and coordinating with recruiters

Job hunting tips for expats: phone interview
  1. Make sure respond to your recruiter/interviewer in a timely fashion. They don’t have the time to track you down, and you could lose a potential job offer. Even if you already have a job, or decide that something else is better for your situation, do the polite thing and let them know when they follow up with you.

  1. Practice your phone manner prior to the applying for roles. You know the saying about first impressions, and this may be your only way to communicate your interest with a potential employer. Dress the part, stand in front of a mirror, and watch how you speak as well as how you say it. This is also excellent practice for Skype and face to face interviews.

  1. It is okay to talk yourself up, reasonably. Don’t hide your achievements, and better yet, demonstrate which of your skills helped you earn that achievement and how you will bring that experience into your next role. Talk up your failures as well, especially how you learned from them. No one is perfect, and no one expects you to be.

  1. You should not start a conversation with “will you give me a visa?” Many hiring managers and recruiters will not consider you if you do not have a local address or phone number as they fear that will be the case.

  1. Be prepared to answer why you are moving/living in the new country and for how long you plan on staying. As with most employers hiring for permanent roles, they will want you to work for them for several years and grow with the company, not just part of a working holiday.

  1. Don’t be afraid to follow up, urges Alexandra Newnham of MVF Global. Your interviewer will be busy finding the right employee, not purposely avoiding contact with you. Following up at a reasonable time is appreciated, and also reminds them that you are keen for the role.

Proving your right to work abroad

Your legal status in the country you plan on moving to will affect your job prospects. Research which industries are actively recruiting in that country, and which roles are on a list similar to the UK’s Tier 2 shortage occupation list. If you already have citizenship, or a visa that enables you to work there, this will set you far above the other foreign based applicants.

Overseas job hunting: proving your right to work

If the job you want is not on a similar list to the above, you will have to prove to the company why they should hire you over someone who already has the right to live and work in that country. In the UK, this also includes every applicant in the EU. This is the most depressing part of searching for a job abroad, but unfortunately commonplace.

Legally, if you are moving to another country you need the appropriate visa/right applicable to your intended situation. If your move is dependent on you finding a job, you may have more hoops to job through than other immigrants. If you are moving to the UAE or a country with a similar law, you will have to have a job offer prior to entering the country for the purpose of working.

For more advice on find a job abroad, read one of our many articles on job hunting in specific countries found at the top of the page.

Thank you to our HR and Recruitment professionals:

  • Alexandra Newnham, Senior Internal Recruiter/HR Assistant, MVF Global

  • Darryl G. Glover, COO, nspHire, Inc.

  • Poppy Ellis, Career Strategist, PoppyEllis.com

  • Ruth Ramsook, Director of RLR Consulting

  • Shahla Khan, Consultant