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One of the toughest things many prospective expats face in choosing a new home abroad is landing that dream job. In general the emigration process follows two routes: individuals choose a destination and see which positions they qualify for, or individuals seek out destinations where their skills are required.

Thing is, it’s not that easy to land your dream job abroad, and skills shortages change over time. Here are a few pointers to help you get that perfect job abroad.

10 Tips for landing that dream job as an expat

1. Check skills shortages

The first, and most important thing you must do is to check the skills shortage lists for the region or country you want to relocate to. You’d be surprised at which skills are in short supply and which ones are completely exhausted. If your skill is in this list, you may be able to get a job in your new home.

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2. Network

Whether your skill is on the shortage list or not, the best way to land your dream job is through networking. You can do this by joining social media groups, expat forums or asking friends, family and colleagues for referrals, contacts and advice on connecting with the right people in your new home. Networking may not be something all of us are inherently good at, but it’s a necessary skill to learn if you want to excel abroad.

3. Upskill

This is one of those things which is particularly hard for the older generations – upskilling. But, you needn’t be intimidated. These days there are a host of free and affordable courses you can do online which will boost your career or help you make a job change. Some of these sites can even be accessed via your phone, including:

4. Update your CV

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t have the most impressive CVs, or oftentimes it’s convoluted, lacks necessary information or not geared towards the company or industry you are targeting. Take a look at some modern CV templates and guidelines and do a few Google searches to determine what the requirements are for your industry and the country you are moving to. You can also give Google Docs’ Resume templates a go. Be sure to drop all colloquial terminology or references which employers abroad won’t understand.

5. Know your etiquette

This one may not be top of mind for those seeking jobs abroad, but it’s important to know the etiquette and customs of the country you aim to immigrate to. This includes greetings, dress code, manner of addressing peers, the opposite sex and superiors, tipping and paying for meals and services, order of entering and exiting rooms and buildings, order of speaking and so forth. If you’re on your best behaviour, your prospective employers will know you’re making an effort and will respect your diligence.

6. Be yourself

This is probably the hardest part of it all – being yourself. Most people aren’t forthright when applying for positions, and only after landing the job does it become apparent that they’re not suited to it. Or perhaps you seem reserved at first, but your true boisterous personality comes out after a few weeks. Mayhaps even, you move abroad, and you find yourself working with colleagues or superiors you never met during the interview – people who will only have “met” you through descriptions and information from others. Thing is, if you’re moving abroad, it will be far harder for you to just find another job if you’re not suited to your current one than had you been in South Africa – it’s a new world, a strange world, and foreigners will be wary of newcomers skipping jobs so fast. Best be yourself and show your employers who you really are so there aren’t any surprises along the way.

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7. Stop being so modest

Another thing which many of us find difficult is shamelessly marketing our own skills and talents. It’s not as easy to market your own brand as it is to market someone else’s product. Most of us believe it’s rude to shine our shoes so flamboyantly in front of strangers. Truth be told, though, if you don’t have the courage and confidence to market your own strengths, there really is no reason your employer should trust in your strengths either. Employers and human resource practitioners understand that interviews necessitate interviewees to be a little boastful and they won’t see this as a negative, as long as you don’t promise things you can’t deliver.

8. Talk about yourself, your dreams and your family

In line with point 7 above, many people often keep their private lives and dreams separate from their professional lives. If, however, you want your employer to understand who you are and to connect on an empathetic level, you need to talk about yourself – your dreams, your family and your heritage. Not only will this show that you are open and honest, but it will show them you are not just another number.

9. Get a grip of the language

Even if you’re moving to a country where English is the native language, is important to polish your linguistic skills before your interviews. Most countries include language tests as part of the visa applications, but it’s good to work at your grammar, spelling and pronunciation even if you’ve passed these tests or if they’re not required. Watch a few YouTube videos about local vernaculars and definitely do a search of words which may be confusing or contradictory if you’re moving to a multilingual nation.

10. Research employers, not just jobs

It’s absolutely crucial that you do your research about the employers in the country you’re moving to and see what others have to say about them. See what the culture is like. Check if there are any disgruntled former employees. Try to find out which employers are more accommodating to foreigners. Many people grab the first job they get abroad and are only too grateful when they receive an offer. But in the long fun, the culture may be stifling, the perks may be measly and the working conditions may be horrid. If you can’t find anything about your prospective employer it may also be a sign that things aren’t going too well. See how they interact with people on social media. Gauge whether the people you’ve met or dealt with and their public CRM is in line with the values and vision they profess on their site.

Good luck with your job search

We hope you land that dream job and that your new life abroad is everything you’ve hoped for. If you need help shipping your funds abroad, just leave your details and we’ll get back to you to assist with your financial migration.
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