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Distance Education ArticlesBack to Article list

Have Resume, Will Travel

For students who enjoy new adventures and challenges, the prospect of working overseas is very tempting. Keep in mind however, that it may not be easy to identify the right position or sell yourself as an appropriate candidate when you're thousands of miles away.

Determine what you want. Before you begin your international job search, clarify what you're looking for. Do you want career-related work or work that is not career-specific, but located in a specific country? Are you looking for short-term employment or an international career? These answers will help determine which international job search strategies will work best for you.

Think about your skills and experience. Do you have foreign language skills or significant experience in your field? Make a list of unique skills you have to offer. What salary and benefits do you require before you will consider accepting an offer? What are your deal-breakers? Is there an important experience or skill you would like to develop or learn during your stay?

Check out countries. The job market in many other countries is very tough. How easy you can get a work permit will directly affect your job search strategy. Find out what the employment situation is like by checking international newspapers and Internet job search sites. Get a sense of your chosen country's overall employment picture, then look for information on your specific field.

Get help with your resume. Meet with a career advisor to discuss your plans. Get tips on how to prepare an international resume and cover letter. Most placement offices or employment services departments have information on the differences for specific countries. Use several job search methods such as targeted mailings, classified ads, international employment agencies/ headhunters, internships, job fairs and networking with alumni connections, family and friends. Send out resumes and cover letters regularly. Be sure to follow up just as you would in a domestic job search.

Understand the culture. Research the country to ensure you are not incorporating any questionable phrases or actions into your conversations and presentation. Practice your interviewing skills on the phone as well as practicing negotiations for salary, moving expenses and benefits. This process seems very different without face-to-face contact. Then finally, have an acceptance or rejection of an offer prepared. Be sure to discuss with the employer whether or not written notification is required.

Be Persistent and Prepared. Commit the necessary time and effort to conduct a successful search. Overestimate the amount of time and work you will need to put in. Be prepared to obtain a work permit, visa and passport and have the necessary documents and information ready.

Keep accurate records. Organize some folders and 'to do' lists and maintain 'job search' records. Save up for the cost of airfare, housing, transportation and living expenses.

Pack!

Finally, ask other students who have worked abroad or those currently working outside the US how they went about the process. Maybe they have some inside knowledge or tips you may find useful. Surf the web - it has many helpful sites like the ones below.

http://jobsearch.monster.com

http://www.overseasjobs.com

http://www.state.gov

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