Posted by Oliver Meredew on April 25th, 2016.
If you’re flexible on job location and salary, the odds are you’ll be able to find the position you want in the UK. However, competition is fairly fierce in the home theatre and if you’re looking to advance your career and enjoy greater job satisfaction, broadening your horizons could really pay off.
There are a number of obvious and not-so-obvious advantages to moving out of your comfort zone, so why not take the time to find out how you could succeed when taking the ultimate plunge and moving out of the UK to work abroad?
‘Working abroad’ is a simple enough phrase, but it carries significant weight in terms of what it really means for you. Depending on the circumstances, the opportunity to work abroad may mean you have to sell your home, embrace a new culture and social network and spend a great deal of time away from your friends and family.
Moving abroad to work is a major decision, and not one to be taken lightly. You may find you need to go through a lot of internal debate while you work out the pros and cons of staying put versus opting for something new, so don’t expect to feel confident in your decision overnight.
To ease the decision making process, it’s worth remembering that the choice isn’t as black-and-white as never working abroad or leaving home forever; working abroad can be done on a permanent or semi-permanent basis.
When considering a career transition there are many important points to consider, but one of the biggest is: are you moving abroad because of the job opportunities or because you fancy some sightseeing? If you’re concerned your desire to work overseas is just wanderlust, perhaps travel to the country you’re considering for an extended holiday and get a feel of whether living there will fit in with your requirements for an overseas career.
If you do choose to pay a temporarily visit, this ties in nicely with the next point on the checklist, which is to take in the culture of the country and decide if it’s really ‘you’. While business practices generally follow a similar pattern the world over, the differences in language, working hours and attitudes might not gel immediately with those you are most familiar with.
As well as potential culture shock you also need to think about visas, as different countries have different requirements when it comes to working as a foreign national.
For example, it’s relatively easy to move from the UK to a European Union country and start working without any real issues. Further afield, however, it’s worth looking at each country individually for the specific details of employment-based permissions. In the US, for example, a Green Card (the US equivalent of a visa) can be obtained by getting an offer of employment in the country, while in New Zealand, the Skilled Migrant visa can be applied for as a way of ‘fast tracking’ through the immigration process.
If you want to move abroad for work but don’t know where to start, doing a bit of market research is a good starting point as it can help to identify which nations have skills deficits in which sectors. This, of course, can provide easier entry for a skilled foreign worker due to increased demand.
A key example of this in the news recently has been the junior doctor’s strike in the UK, which has led to concerns that large number of junior doctors may emigrate from the UK to Australia, due to Australia apparently offering better working conditions and having a great demand for medical professionals. By contrast, Australia isn’t doing too well at turning a profit from its mining operations so anyone looking to advance a mining career might want to look elsewhere. In New Zealand, meanwhile, the dairy industry is facing difficulties at present but demand from the education sector for skilled teachers is extremely high.
This might seem like a lot to take in when thinking of moving abroad, but these points are key considerations if you’re set on working overseas, and in most cases there’s relatively little that can stand in the way of the truly determined.
If you’re still uncertain over whether moving abroad to work is the right choice, consider some of the many positive aspects that come with employment overseas rather than at home.
In addition to the obvious positives that come from seeking out a new job in a new country, such as a potentially higher salary, the excitement that comes from being somewhere new and the challenge of operating under new conditions, there are also less apparent but highly beneficial reasons to take a look at working abroad.
These include the cultural side of things, where you’ll be granted the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a new way of life, perhaps including the adoption of different traditions and languages. By learning about a new country in this way, you’ll be expanding your knowledge of how the world works and may be able to take back some new perspectives to the UK if you decide to return home in the future.
Plunging head-first into working in a new country can also make your mind more flexible and adaptable when it comes to new ideas, scheduling and business practices. This boosts the ways in which you can communicate and as a result of this multinational experience, you may find that future employers take more notice of you.
If you’ve decided to up sticks and work abroad, there are a number of factors to consider when it comes to making the most of your time and fully committing to your new job.
Contacting employers in your chosen field and getting a job offer before entering the country proper is the best case scenario. In addition to having the security of a role that you were specifically invited to fill, you may also be able to expedite your integration in the new country by slotting into a post immediately.
If you feel more like ‘winging it’, however, travelling to a country ‘blind’ and looking for work is still an option, although to maximise your chances of finding your services in demand, do look at the biggest occupational vacancies on offer, as explained above.
Regardless of how you gain employment, the question of how long you’re able to remain in the country is one that should be answered as soon as possible. Visas in their various forms are available in a large number of countries, although depending on where you look, they may be temporary or permanent with 2 year renewals, just as an overseas job can be full time or only for certain parts of the year.
It’s really best to get a full working knowledge of the visa system in your chosen country before heading out to avoid any potential pitfalls in the future. This can often be accomplished by checking the official government website on the subject.
If you happen to be working in a country where English isn’t the official language, chances are that your linguistic capabilities as a native English speaker could allow you to progress quickly up the career ladder within companies, as employers greatly value being able to communicate easily with a wide global market. Extending this facet by properly picking up a second language can only further increase your appeal to current and future employers, both at home and elsewhere.
If learning a new language isn’t really your speed, at least make an effort to adopt the customs of the new country, as colleagues and employers are certain to take notice of your willingness to adapt to fit in. Employers in New Zealand, for example, tend to focus on individual independence when approaching and dealing with problems, while in Spain, politeness, discretion and the ability to tackle serious matters with delicacy are valued highly.
Making a good first impression should be high on your personal agenda, as should building local business connections and networks. This can lead to gaining contacts on an international scale, expanding your presence in your new country and increasing available opportunities further down the line.
When thinking of the future, it helps to set up an online profile detailing your work back home, so that the option to pick up where you left off in the event of a return is always available. Any acquired skills from your overseas employment are sure-fire additions to such a profile, as are pieces of work or projects that you take particular pride in.
So there you have it, some points to think about if you’re considering moving abroad to work. There’s a whole world of opportunity out there, so why not step onto a new path and see where it takes you?
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