Working Abroad: What You Need to Know
Working abroad is one of the most exciting experiences you may encounter in the course of your career. It is a great opportunity to live in a beautiful place and enjoy your evening Tequila Sunrise at the coast of Mediterranean Sea. In addition to brightening up your life and expanding your comfort zone, the abroad experience is beneficial for your career as well. Many companies seek employees with cross-cultural experience and advanced language skills.
To take the most out of working abroad, however, you need to plan the trip carefully. Visas, calculating the cost of living and diving into the bureaucratic issues will save you lots of money and effort. Our professional resume services are going to reveal the key things you need to consider before you book the flight.
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12 things to keep in mind about working abroad
1. Make sure it’s the right time
Working in a foreign country is always a great experience. Yet it might be not the right time for you to give up on everything and head across the ocean. If you work for a reputable company in a great position and have a real opportunity for getting promoted this year, or have family obligations, maybe it’s better to postpone your trip. When moving abroad, even temporarily, you’ll always miss something that happens at home. Make sure you won’t regret the missed opportunities or events here.
2. Be prepared for the culture shock
If you’re going to the UK or France, there isn’t going to be much culture shock involved. However, if your destination is Rwanda or Thailand, you might find yourself completely baffled by the new strange environment. People react to this kind of shock differently, and many return back home after a couple of weeks because they find it hard to adapt. Consider the culture shock factor when planning a trip. If you haven’t traveled outside the US before, it’s better to choose a destination with the culture similar to American.
3. Research salaries and costs
Before you start packing the suitcase, do some calculations. Your goal is to find an answer to the question: can you really afford to work and living in your target country? Research the average industry salaries and compare them with the cost of living. How much it will cost to rent a flat, a car, how high are the taxes? If you want to work abroad, you probably intend to travel, buy souvenirs and wouldn’t like to count every penny, would you? It goes without saying that you should have savings that will cover living expenses for at least a couple of months.
4. Take care of your visa or work permit
Although the money factor is important, it’s your ability to obtain the visa that determines if you are even going anywhere. Start collecting all the papers early on – it might take months to the necessary permits. Also, research the different types of visas and work permits. Figure out if you will be able to stay in the country after the job ends, change employers, apply for jobs in different industries, and so on. Figuring out the right visa type and obtaining it is sometimes stressful, yet it will make the abroad experience maximally positive for you.
5. Choose an employer with a good relocation package
Good companies often offer relocation packages to attract top talent. The most popular industries offering to cover relocation expenses include healthcare, engineering and IT. If you manage to find a reputable company that hires in your target destination, they will take on most of your relocation worries. In particular, companies offer help obtaining a visa, housing stipend, and sometimes even job search assistance for your significant other. And, of course, make sure that the salary they offer you is sufficient for the comfortable life.
6. Learn the tax peculiarities in advance
While investigating the financial matters, pay special attention to the taxes. Learn what local taxes you are expected to pay and if you are entitled to tax refunds. Also, check out if you still will be expected to pay the US taxes. For instance, did you know that you must file taxes with the US IRS even if you work abroad? Consult an accountant if you feel confused. Study the matter carefully in advance so that you won’t have to pay more later.
7. Pack lightly
Although some employers cover shipping expenses for your belongings, we recommend that you not take many things with you. Firstly, leaving most of your things at home will help you really step out of that comfort zone. Secondly, you won’t need many of those things – clothes are easy to buy everywhere, and you can rent a fully furnished flat. And finally, leaving your home country with an only suitcase gives you a sense of adventure. Maybe the country you are going to won’t be your final destination, and you decide to move on with your travels which is much easier to do when you have little belongings on you.
8. Research how to find a job
If you’re planning on living in some exotic country, be ready that there might not be many jobs in your field. In this case, you’ll need to consider the jobs outside of your area of specialization. First of all, research the local tools of job-hunting – there might be websites or magazines that post job openings. Secondly, ask yourself ‘What career suits me?’ For example, as an English speaker you can teach English to children or adults, translate (if you know the local language), or work as a tour guide. You might also explore freelancing opportunities – such as administrative assistance, customer support or freelance writing. If you seriously consider freelancing, first check out if this type of career is right for you: http://resumeperk.com/blog/freelance-yes-or-no.
9. Adjust your resume to the local standards
In our blog, we share plenty of advice on creating the American resume. However, if you intend to look for a job overseas, note that the local rules for writing a resume or a CV might be different. European job-seekers use a standard Europass CV format that includes the applicant’s gender, nationality and marital status. Chinese resumes must contain a photo and place the education information above work experience. If you don’t know the peculiarities of resume writing in Spain, Egypt or Argentina, consider hiring a professional resumes creator. Our experienced copywriter will use the layout, style of writing and formatting that is appropriate in your target country.
10. Research the local professional culture
Unless you are a freelancer who works at your own comfortable pace, research the local professional culture and business etiquette. People in the United Kingdom get a longer vacation – as much as over 20 days. Moreover, they tend to leave the job without staying in the office late to socialize with the coworkers and friends in pubs. In Spain, they have a siesta instead of a lunchtime – a break in the middle of the day that lasts from the hour and a half up to three hours. Also, did you know that in European countries you have to hand in three months’ notice before you quit? There might be also specific rules for dressing for an interview.
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11. Soften the language barrier
If you are heading to a non-English speaking country, expect a language barrier. Even if English is enough for your office job, you’ll struggle to do ordinary things without the basic understanding of the local language. So, gain the basic conversational skills month before you set off. If you work on the command of a local language, your social life will improve and the number of available local job opportunities will increase as well. There are lots of ways to improve your language proficiency – find a teacher, join the speaking club or even use one of the language learning apps.
12. Connect and network with expats
To avoid feeling lonely, join a local expat community. You can find one on Facebook or using other social media. Fellow expats who has been living there for a while can share valuable information, such as where to shop for grocery best or how to find a cheap accommodation. Expats share your language and culture, so you’ll feel more comfortable around them. However, don’t limit your socialization to the expat community – go and meet local people, understand their language, values and local ways of having fun. All in all, you came here to maximally experience other culture, so don’t miss this opportunity.
Working in a country you’ve never been to is a huge challenge. However, it will help you boost language skills, broaden your horizons and make you an expert in cross-cultural communications. So, if you’ve never worked before, follow the above advice and start planning your trip!
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