5 Tips for Job-Hunting Abroad

Looking for a job – particularly your first graduate job – can be a daunting experience. This is only intensified if you decide you want to work in a foreign country.

Overseas job markets can appear as anything from a utopia into which we are denied entrance, to a bureaucratic nightmare where it is necessary to play by certain rules, the intricacies of which we do not understand.

But in today’s world, it is perfectly common for workers to be mobile, and the challenge of searching for a job need not make you want to stay in your hometown. Here are a few tips to try and demystify the process.


  • Finding a job

Websites such as Graduateland are a good place to start, as they post job listings from all over the world.

Another good idea is to focus on large multinational businesses, as these are always looking to recruit, and they are likely to value your international outlook. Multinationals are also good because you may be able to go through the recruitment process in the UK even if the job is located abroad. Here is a useful map which allows you to view a list of the companies which employ the most graduates in each European country.

If you are not planning on moving abroad right away, but would like to keep the option open for the future, this can be something to consider when job-hunting in the UK. If you can find a job with a company which has international offices, there may be opportunities further down the line for a transfer. This would allow you to work abroad with reduced stress as you will already know the company, and they may pay for your relocation costs.


  • Translate your qualifications

A Spanish employer may not necessarily know what A-Levels are, for example, so it’s always good to clarify your qualifications with an approximate equivalent.

Tables such as this one offer a simple comparison between British degree classifications and international equivalents. You don’t want to miss out on your dream job abroad because the employer was unable to understand your qualifications!


  • Learn the conventions

When it comes to crafting that perfect CV or cover letter, it is not enough simply to translate your English CV. Different countries have varying norms when it comes to applications.

These can be issues related to the language. In French, for instance, there are set phrases which may sound unnecessarily convoluted to us, but which are necessary if you wish to attain the required level of formality for a cover-letter or for other correspondence.

In certain European countries, it is also common to include a passport-sized photo as part of your CV. Even within the English-speaking world, there will inevitably be different conventions from country to country.


  • Play up your extra curricular activities

If you have ever studied abroad in another European country, you may have found that universities outside the Anglophone world do not always have the same societies culture as we do here in the UK.

While your experiences of being part of university societies will always impress employers in the UK, this can have an even greater impact when applying for jobs overseas, as you will stand out from the crowd.


  • Show why you want to move abroad

If you are applying to work abroad, you are likely to have a good reason for wanting to do so. In your application and during the interview stage, you should let that enthusiasm shine through.

Perhaps you want to experience a new culture, or improve your language skills. Or maybe you love meeting people from different countries and different backgrounds and would relish working in a multicultural environment.

It is even better if you can show that you already have experience in an international environment, or in adapting to new situations. At the same time, it is best not to mention that you are mainly drawn by the shorter working week and the superior number of public holidays in that country.


Martin Greenacre is a final-year history student at the University of Edinburgh, having just returned from a year at the Université de Bourgogne, in France. Find him on LinkedIn.

Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internship jobs and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit our website.