June 10, 2016, by rajeshramesh
Five Effective Ways to Prepare for an International Job Search
By Rajesh Ramesh, student blogger
As an international student studying at a global university, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a “global candidate.” Essentially, how can I stand out as an applicant when searching for jobs internationally?
Throughout the past year I’ve attended several events at the University, including the Go Global careers conference in autumn and more recently, the International Student Summit in Malaysia, where I was chosen to be a representative of the UK campuses.
I was particularly excited to get to visit our campus in Malaysia, as travel is a huge part of my life. The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are just a few places I’ve been recently. I feel very lucky to have met so many people from different backgrounds and cultures. It’s shown me that no place is exactly the same and travelling is an integral part of developing a more global mind-set.
One thing I took away from these events was that there are certain social and professional skills that can help you stand out if you’re looking for study or work opportunities around the world.
So, how can you effectively prepare for an international job search?
1. Evaluate yourself
Firstly, the world is a big place, so it’s important to think about which countries might suit you. What motivates you? What are you interested in? What would you find challenging? Consider what kind of career you would like to have. For example, do you want to work in a particular sector or is there a particular lifestyle that appeals to you?
2. Location, location, location
The next step in your international job search is to do some research about the countries you’re interested in. This will help you to decide on the right country with the right opportunities for your professional and technical competencies. For example, Europe is a top recruiter for students in the finance, management and research sector. Asia on the other hand proves to be a top recruiter for engineering careers.
How do I know this?
By attending employer presentations, following online news and looking though graduate career websites. Our Careers and Employability Department also has lots of information about working abroad online and University of Nottingham students get free access to Passport Career.
I’ve also spent time exploring cultural practices. In some countries, walking into a meeting at the start is considered okay, but some would expect you to be there at least 15 minutes early. In India, eating with your hands is seen as normal, which might not be the case in the Western world where the spoon, knife and fork are used to handle food. That’s the cultural bit. And it is very, very important!
3. Will you need a visa?
To work abroad, you will probably need a work permit or visa, and the rules may vary depending on your country of origin. Check the official government website of the country you’re interested in for more information.
It’s really important to do your homework before you decide to apply for a job. Look into the benefits of the various visa schemes, support for international work permit holders, write or speak to someone from your local embassy in that country, and most importantly, do all of this well ahead of time – at least 6-8 months before.
4. Learn the local lingo
If you can’t communicate effectively in the local language, it could be a big barrier between you and that amazing international job offer. Find out what the language requirements are early on and head to websites such as Dualingo to start learning for free.
If you are heading for the Middle East, Arabic is a sure plus point! Europe? French, German, Spanish are some of the more commonly spoken languages. If it is Asia, Mandarin, Hindi and Urdu will be useful.
5. Ask for help
Finally, ask for help. Preparing for international job search isn’t easy, so there’s no shame in seeking advice from a professional. You can book one-to-one appointments with the Careers team who will be able to give you advice tailored to your ambitions. Do you know someone who’s successfully applied for an international position before? Talk to them about the process. The more you know, the better chance you’ll have of being successful.
If you’re thinking about an international career, we have lots of useful advice on working abroad online. Alternatively, if you’d like to talk through your ideas now, book an appointment with careers adviser online.
Image credit: Global Panorama