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Ask Brian – How To Find A Job Overseas?

December 10th, 2007 · Leave A Comment

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Reader Nadia from California writes:

My major is International Business – UCSB. I have traveled to 12 countries and am bilingual – Spanish and English? I was wondering if you had any general advice on the best way to search for an overseas job, preferably with a large multinational.”

Brian answers after the break…

Brian sayz:

Over my years of experience working with international job seekers, the one method that seemed to have the best success rate for US citizens looking to work abroad was this: First, get a job in the US for an international company.

What I mean is, let’s say you know you want to work in London. First, get employed here in the US with a company that has a presence in London. Then, after some period of time, simply ask for an international transfer or assignment from that company.

Some people are specialists who will be sought out by companies to fill unique positions wherever in the world the need arises. But if you are something of a generalist the above strategy seems to be the best. Why? Because a company is unlikely to hire an unknown person to fill an overseas position. The company would either hire a local citizen, or transfer from within. Since you are not a local citizen, the internal transfer is your best option.

Or, Move There

Obviously, this leads to a different strategy: if the dream is to work in a specific place, and the job itself is not the main interest, then why not move their first, get some experience in the place, and then look for a job?

I know, this sounds risky, but it works on the same principal I was outlining above. If you walk in, an American already living and familiar with, say, London, you will seem a better bet to a company (as opposed to an American applying from California and then transitioning to London).


  • If you’re going to do a job search for overseas jobs, this is one of the rare cases where I would say the major job boards are the best resource. Monster, HotJobs, and Careerbuilder have the largest and best international job search sections.
  • Colleges and graduate schools have probably the best-developed resources for international job placement. If you are recently graduated, or still have access to your alma matter, consider starting your job search there.
  • Don’t forget: most likely you’re going to need to use a CV for your international job search, not a resume. Make sure you know the difference between a CV and a resume.
  • The above advice assumes your preference for working for a big corporation. There are tons of other ways to pursue your dream of working overseas. Some of the most popular, especially for young professionals, would be: teaching English, working with international NGOs and charities, construction and the various aspects of the tourism trade.

Related posts:

  1. Ask Brian – How Much Notice To Give When Quitting An Overseas Job?
  2. Ask Brian- Advice For an Overqualified Job Candidate
  3. Ask Brian – Does an Employer Have the Right to Ask About Activities/Groups/Clubs?
  4. Ask Brian – Job Search During the Holidays?
  5. Ask Brian – Who Should I Use For My References?
  6. Ask Brian – What is the Difference Between a CV and a Resume?

Tags: Ask Brian · Job Search