Are you looking for a career change in a new country? For a variety of reasons, people seek to change careers. For instance, your career objectives or values may have shifted, you may have discovered new interests that you’d like to incorporate into your work, or you may want to earn more money, just to name a few.
Before you decide, you should evaluate your current situation and explore career options in the country where you want to relocate. Look for job openings and choose a career that will provide you with the most satisfaction.
People who want to work in another country gather information from relevant sources to see if the move is worthwhile. Before deciding, you can consider factors such as quality of life and job satisfaction. For instance, Australia is the most popular destination for people looking to work in another country. According to the UN Human Development Index, the country is among the best in the world. Access to education, life expectancy, and socioeconomic progress are all strong selling points for Australia. This positive image entices people to apply for jobs here.
International work can be highly beneficial to your career growth. Here are 11 simple tips on how to prepare for career change overseas and some of the most important considerations to make if you prepare for overseas job!
1. Be clear about why you would want to work overseas
One of the most essential tips on adapting to working overseas is to ask yourself how an international career change might suit your personal lifestyle. If you enjoy the idea of working during the day and then going directly to the beach after work, then considering moving from London to Australia may be the best option for you. Aside from having a fulfilling career, the country you intend to move to should also fit into your lifestyle, ensuring that you will have an adequate work-life balance even after your move.
2. Keep an open mind when deciding on a location
If you’re looking for international experience to help you advance your career, you should look beyond the prominent destinations. Well-established locations are generally saturated with talent, hence you’re likely to face a lot of competition, and it’ll be more difficult to see results. An alternative then is to be daring and consider entering emerging markets, for instance: Australia. The market may not be as mature on this new frontier, but there is less competition and plenty of opportunities – not to mention fascinating local culture and heritage.
In an emerging economy, you may be part of a smaller and newer team – perhaps even helping to launch an operation. This allows you to have a greater level of responsibility and higher profile, which in turn allows you to gain experience and expertise much faster.
Many people are swayed by glamorous locations with reputations for vibrant lifestyles, such as Tokyo, Singapore, or London. However, in places like these, you’re likely to be a smaller fish in a big pond. If you’re ambitious, a dynamic city lifestyle won’t suffice in the long run. Instead, look for a country where you have a chance to advance.
3. Finances and the cost of living
Once you have been offered a position, you should clearly understand your salary and benefits package. Why is this important? Well, you should ensure that your salary is under the cost of living in your new location. Research rental costs, household and living expenses that will need to be taken into consideration.
You might need some time to open a local bank account, and (depending on the bank), might even need to head down to the bank to do so. Do your research regarding how to open a bank account as an expat ahead of time to avoid dissatisfaction. Amongst other sources, consider your future employer as a source of information as they might have a better grasp of how local financial issues are dealt with.
4. Visa/documentation requirements
Depending on where you currently reside, your options for moving abroad may be limited by the types of visa you can obtain. International relocation, especially if you are considering a nationality change, can be a challenging process when navigating visa documents.
So, start by thinking about what passports you have and where you might be able to go. How simple would it be for me to obtain the paperwork I require for my dream relocation?’ You can begin to plan and conduct research more realistically once you understand your constraints.Take, for instance, a country like Australia which provides a wide range of visa options. The Australian government grants workers visas based on their qualifications or the skillsets that they possess. Visas for temporary or permanent employment, as well as visas funded by employers, are available.
5. Seek advice from your employer
If you’re planning for a career change with a global corporation, consult with your company’s human resources or talent development team. Sit down with them and seek their advice on whether an international move would be a good fit for you and what kind of progress you could hope for within the company as a result. This is particularly important for multi-national corporations that tend to have headquarters all over the world. If you’re looking for a move, consider how this relocation might affect your future career advancement prospects within the company.
6. Carry out your research
You might have been on vacation to London, Bangkok or Sydney and think you have a good grasp of the place. However, if you’re considering a permanent (or temporary) move, there is a great deal more information you’ll need to make an informed decision.
For instance: What is the actual state of the job market in your territory? How often do new opportunities arise – and how mobile is the market in general when preparing to work abroad. What kind of salary will you need to cover your rent, as well as essentials such as food and public transportation? On average, how many hours per week do you expect to put in? Fortunately, a good recruiter can guide all of these issues, and if you work with a global consultancy, their services can be rendered for you both before and after your departure.
7. Consider the concept of transferable skills
If you prepared to work abroad for a few years before returning to your home country, make sure that you are not applying for positions that require extremely niched skills. Why? These skills could potentially become obsolete or will not be in high demand back home. Make sure you don’t take on a role that is so specialised that there is no equivalent position available when you return home, causing you to have to seek another career change when you do move home.
Technical roles, digitisation, information technology, digital marketing, and eCommerce are areas where skills are typically very transferable and always in demand. On the flip-side, areas such as legal, risk, and compliance require a greater deal of caution about your choices.
8. Keep your expectations realistic
When you prepare for an overseas job, it is not only your location changing, but the nature of your work may potentially change as well. Before relocating, it is critical to research your prospective employer thoroughly.
Some questions you can consider whilst researching about your future employer includes: How have the members of their team progressed? What are your promotion options, and do they meet your expectations? Learn more about your employer’s work culture and how it compares to yours. If possible, speak with potential coworkers or someone in a similar role within the organization for insights.
9. Find a friend who is willing to show you the ropes
A key point many fail to consider when relocating is how much you might miss your friends and family back home. It can be difficult to adjust to a new culture and country where you know no one. The sense of disconnection from what you consider home can be unexpectedly powerful. If you can find a friend or a colleague on the ground who can show you the ropes – even if it’s just practical matters like where to shop or how to get an excellent mobile deal – it makes a huge difference as a new expat.
This is especially important if you are considering a permanent relocation. Plan ahead of time to build and grow those relationships – even knowing just one person can make a huge difference in your landing! Look up if the country you’re relocating to has an established migrant community that can remind you of home even after your move. Researching these communities can provide a ready source of support for newcomers as well.
Aside from the obvious benefits of an international career change, working overseas provides an excellent opportunity to gain authentic local experience. You can also consider looking beyond your colleagues and the expat community for ways to broaden your network. Learn the local language and be open to new experiences and connections – you never know what you might discover or where these new connections might lead you to later on.
10. Make sure your loved ones are on board
There’s a reason why many young people seek international experience – when you’re young, you have fewer tangible responsibilities tying you down to a specific place. Preparing for an international career change is a significant life event, and if you have a spouse and children, there are even more factors to consider.
However, regardless of your marital status, everyone should consider the impact of their move on their loved ones and ensure that your loved ones are entirely on board with your plans. It’s also worth considering how to stay in touch with the people you’ll miss the most via conferencing tools like Skype, Zoom or Google Meets.
11. Prepare to take one step back to take two steps forward
Perhaps one of most important things to remember when considering an international career change is to not get too fixated on a specific job title. If you’re making a serious move and considering the big picture, don’t get too caught up in trying to find the exact equivalent role. As there are many unknowns in regards to relocation, employers want to reduce your risk of failure, so they may advise you to start one rung lower on the career ladder to give you the best chances of success.
When approached correctly, embracing such a move can pay off handsomely. There have been many situations when a candidate has embraced what appears to be a minor demotion before rapidly advancing to a position beyond their original one.
To prove yourself in a new market, you may need to make a lateral or even a tiny “backwards” move – especially if you’re moving from managing a team of 50 to a team of 15. But, in the long run, after you’ve adjusted to the new culture and environment, this can be a good thing – especially if you intend to stay for the long term and truly establish yourself.
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