Before packing up and moving to another country to find a job, remember to get a work visa.


Although young professionals may be the most mobile in the workforce, getting a job in another city, or even country, can be a challenge. While the idea of travelling sounds appealing to some, there are many issues that need to be considered.

“Firstly, you must be realistic about your marketability,” says Susan Griffith, a Canadian who has lived in the U.K. for many years, and is the author of books like Teaching English Abroad and Work Your Way Around The World. “For example, if you want to work in Germany (a country with 11.7 per cent unemployment), yet don’t speak fluent German, you are most unlikely to be hired for any professional job, even if you have specialist skills.”

Jean-Marc Hachey, international career editor for Transitions Abroad magazine and the author of The Big Guide To Living And Working Overseas, says deciding on how to start your search is important.

“You first need to decide if you are going to move to your new city before you start looking for work. It is much easier to build a rapport with employers if you have a local address,” he says.

Although it is difficult to look for jobs before you arrive in the city, you can send out cover letters and resumés before moving, stating your exact date of arrival suggests Hachey.

“If feasible always express your willingness to come earlier for an interview.”

Also having a number to reach you at is important to employers. Hachey suggests getting a cell phone soon after arriving.

However, even before you get to this stage, you may have to apply for a work visa.

“(Work visas) must be applied for by the employer who must want to hire you over local candidates so badly that he or she is willing to go through all the hassle, delays and expense of applying for a work permit on your behalf,” says Griffith.

However, there is another route. Agencies like the Japan Exchange and Teaching program or SWAP Canada are ideal for graduates who need work visas says Griffith.

“While spending six or 12 months in the country doing a job just to make money, use the opportunity to delve into possibilities for more high-end jobs and more importantly discover whether the expat working life will suit you,” she adds.

All the traditional, bold, innovative and entrepreneurial job hunting techniques apply, whether you are looking for local work or in another city says Hachey. “Employers don’t care where you come from, they want to know that you are committed to being employed in your new city.”

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