There must be something in the air as I’ve been approached several times in the past few weeks by people who I’ve known in all different stages of my life regarding working abroad as though I unlocked some magical secret that makes Santa Clause real. Sadly, Santa still isn’t real and I don’t have any magical formula that would make finding a job abroad any easier than finding one back home. In my humble opinion, it all boils down to the perfect storm of stupidity and fearlessness that’s dusted with a love of travel. I say this because I am someone who wholeheartedly believes that no matter where I turn up, I will land on my feet and so I never hesitate to take the leap. But what gets lost in translation is that when I leap – it’s never blind.
I find that the first and most important step is to make sure that you’re able to work in your country of choice – either by some sort of birthright (lucky bastards!) or locking down a work visa. This is an easy and very logical step as its just paperwork peppered with research but surprisingly, the majority of the people who contacted me hadn’t even thought about this. I guess there’s the dream of getting sponsored by some amazing company in a foreign land that you’ve never set foot in before but I have yet to meet anyone this lucky. A long time ago, I was told that it’s very rare to be hired by a company without a face to face meeting and its even harder to convince anyone to sponsor you if they’ve never worked with you before and I find that there’s a lot of truth to this. This is why I always believe that you have to take a leap out of your comfort zone and just get on that plane.
That said, I will always do a little research on my industry, recruiters, companies hiring, and the whole lot prior to leaving but I am not fully off to the races until I land as this is when I start job hunting like a mad woman. I find that with the work visa in place, finding work abroad is on a level playing field to finding work at home and that means if I’m not qualified to do something back home then I’m still not qualified to do it in a foreign country. For me this translate to finding career related work abroad and as a safety measure register with a temp agency for the duration of my job hunting season. I am one of those people who will treat job hunting like a full-time position so I can be found on my laptop or at an internet cafe during business hours doing what I need to do get let everyone know I’ve arrived and am available.
All this however, should be taken with a grain of salt as I’m still leading the life of a jobless bum in Ireland. In New Zealand, I was rather successful as 3 weeks after landing, I had started a career related job without ever having to temp a day in my life. Ireland, however may be a little different as my first temp placement is scheduled for this week and it doesn’t look like a longer term career related contract is on the horizon even though the 3 week mark is fast approaching. Damn you recession! Recession or no recession though, one thing I am positive about is that I will lock down that longer term contract but this time around it may take me a little longer to get it done. As for anyone looking to me for advice, I’ll help in any way I can but at the end of the day, it’ll all be you and just a little hard work sprinkled with luck.